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Home » Feature: Valentines Day, 14 February, Love and Mindfulness, Walks in Edinburgh

Feature: Valentines Day, 14 February, Love and Mindfulness, Walks in Edinburgh

View: Princes Street Gardens, Beside the Ross Fountain, Looking up at the Castle, photo by Yana

It’s Valentines Day (at time of publishing), but there’s really no reason to restrict your love for one another to a particular month (or even day), it just seems like a fitting time to post something after a time away.

This is for all those who love their husband, wife, partner, friends, family; there’s plenty to do in the Capital all year round.

I shall offer a few suggestions and hopefully there’s something here for everyone:

So, let’s get started with a few ideas for spending time alfresco or even beneath this beautiful city, and why not it’s free?

(Weather’s crap? Skip this next bit and move onto the ‘Maybe do something indoors instead section’).

Any of the following are great ways to spend time traversing our greenspaces or even stopping for a picnic. As always, check the forecast before heading out to avoid soaking in the rain or burning in the sun. Honestly, we can send people to the moon over fifty years ago but can’t predict the weather in two hours’ time. Moving swiftly on …

Edinburgh has between 40-49% Greenspace i.e., only around 50% of land is built upon, the rest is set aside for parks and recreation and such. According to Greenspace Scotland that means Edinburgh has more undeveloped green areas than ANY other city in the UK! Did you know that? I didn’t but do now.

Slap bang in the centre, at the foot of the castle, is Princes Street Gardens. Amazingly, (that’s right) bang in the middle of Edinburgh we have a decent sized park which (like all parks in the UK – at time of writing anyway) is free for the public. (Basically, we’re the same as New York – just a tad smaller but with a 900-year-old castle). At one o’clock everyday except Sunday’s, Good Friday and Christmas Day, you can hear a cannon fire from the ramparts to mark the precise time – this tradition dates back all the way to 1861. Watch all the pigeons scatter.

If you’re in the centre and you have moderate mobility you might want to climb Calton Hill at the East end of Princes Street. On a clear day you’ll get excellent views of the city and the chance to see a monument referred to locally as ‘Edinburgh’s Disgrace’ (essentially, this is a monument that began as a memorial to those who died during the Napoleonic wars, and intended to replicate the style of the Acropolis in Athens., but the council ran out of money and it was never completed, hence the nickname).

You could also take a walk above and below the cobbled streets of Edinburgh’s Old Town (the Area closest to the castle). This area comprises the Royal Mile, Grassmarket and Cowgate). Some truly amazing buildings. At night you might want to check out a Ghost Tour (see previous article), .Really atmospheric in the cold dark winter months but still informative and fun all year round.

If you walk along the Cowgate or Royal Mile away from the castle you will arrive at the Queen’s Park which surrounds Edinburgh’s largest Extinct Volcano named ‘Arthur’s seat’. I might add here as a point of interest, that Edinburgh, coincidentally, is built upon seven hills the same as Italy’s capital the city of Rome. Hey, there you go! It’s pretty widely known the by locals, along with very important ‘Don’t Rub The Wee Dog’s Nose’ rule – despite what your tour guide may encourage you to do!

The park itself is quite large (260 hectares or 650 acres if you prefer). There are three lochs within the park (ponds you might say, in comparison to those in the Highlands and Trossachs); St. Margaret’s Loch, Dunsapie Loch, and Duddingston Loch. These attract Swans, Geese, other bird species and you can feed them with bread, or ( even better) some sunflower seeds which you can get in most small shops and supermarkets, or bird seed which you can buy from a pet store. There’s even the ruins of a tiny castle – if you can find them.

Places of interest in the area include (as suggested by the title ‘Queen’s Park’) the Royal Family’s official residence in Edinburgh, Holyrood Palace.

Also, the distinctive Scottish Parliament building (designed by Catalonian architect Enric Miralles, officially opened in 1999 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II).

Dynamic Earth, an educational establishment focusing on science and our place in the universe. This one will cost you for admittance. It’s highly rated and probably quite worth it. They do Pink Floyd laser shows and stuff as well.

And you’ll find the Global Headquarters for Rockstar Games (but you’re not getting in there – I just thought that might be of interest some).

You can even climb the Arthur’s Seat volcano for more fantastic views of the city. But you should be reasonably fit before even considering this feat, and also please be careful around the area known as Salisbury Crags (made famous in the movie ‘Restless Natives’) as every year people get too close to the edge and … that’s their last visit to Edinburgh or anywhere else for that matter. Seriously, please, please, don’t risk serious life-changing injury by thinking of going anywhere near the edge.

The Meadows is a massive greenspace, a couple of miles from the ‘Queen’s Park’, close to the National Museum of Scotland, and popular for just lazing about, or playing various sports from football to shinty, during the better weather. There are even tennis courts there which I think (I think) are open to the public during summer, child friendly play areas, fairs and festivals can often be found here.

Similarly at the other side of the town there is Leith Links, with child friendly play areas, fairs, a bit of crofting going on and also local Leith festivals.

Ok, this article is becoming a little longer than planned, however I will continue (feel free to close your phone/ tablet/ PC and actually go out and about) I understand completely.

For brevity and anyone still reading, I will simply list some other parks/walks:

Royal Botanic Gardens (free entry, nice café, great for a picnic). The Gardens are awesome!

Adjoining is Inverleith Park, here you can a find a kids play area, and a pond with more Swans, Ducks and other birds, (and is also good for a picnic).

Type ‘Edinburgh Parks’ into your Maps app on your phone and you’ll see there’s loads – I probably should have suggested that at the beginning and would have saved you a lot of time …

Anyway, I’ll wrap this one up. Thank you for reading this article and I hope I have given you some ideas for spending precious time with the one’s you love.

Bonus: Edinburgh has miles and miles (kilometres and yards) of bicycle paths. You can find out more by typing ‘Edinburgh Cycle Paths’ into your favourite search engine (be careful with the spelling of ‘Cycle Paths’ or you might find yourself directed to the darker, less salubrious side of the capital).

And I’ve just looked out of the window, yep, the weather today is dreadful. However, it’s very changeable (so, here’s hoping it brightens up this afternoon)!

Maybe you’d prefer to do something indoors instead (here’s a few ideas):

Go Bowling @ various places across the city.

Go see a film/movie @ Any number of venues to suit all budgets and tastes is a nice wee site about the history of each one (including some really tiny independent cinemas). For more detail once a particular venue has piqued your interest; it’s maps and search engines away we go again!

How about Ice-Skating @ Murrayfield Ice Rink (opens today 2pm (February 14, 2024) and earlier on other days. See link here for further information:

Visit a museum or art gallery: Permanent collections are always free. If you wish you can make a donation, pay to see a special exhibition or share a pot of tea in the café (if there is one). Too many to list here (I’ve been working on a more in depth page on this subject for a while, but in the meantime, your maps and search engines should provide a plethora of free educational and enlightening establishments).

Go to the Theatre or a Show: Recommendations include: the Edinburgh Playhouse, the Festival Theatre, the Usher Hall, the Traverse Theatre, the Lyceum. (some sell out weeks ahead but it’s worth a try – you’ve got significantly better odds here than winning the lottery).

Go to a music gig, I have listed some regular free live music venues here: . The city has many, and subsequently a vibrant music scene with some pretty decent local bands (adults over 18 years only in bars, during evenings, for some live music venues).

Go to see a big time music gig @ larger venues including: Murrayfield Stadium, the O2 Academy Edinburgh, the Queen’s Hall, Summerhall, Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens.

Bannerman’s Bar is a bit of a hidden gem for rock/punk artists and tickets are often available on the door (again a pub, adults over 18 years only) .

Legends Bar, likewise is great for rock and heavier metal afficionados .

Alternative and Indie fans might like to try The Liquid Room .

Go to a pub quiz, an increasing number of bars in the city hold weekly quiz nights (usually with a small entrance fee per team and prizes on offer). Here’s just two of them: Find out what kind of idiot you’ve landed yourself with. (Yet again, ‘pub’ in the name means, as you’ve figured, adults over 18 years only, but with a few exceptions that will allow accompanied children during the daytime).

And yeah, that’s about it. I hope you have a pleasant time today, with someone you love.

But hey, if you’re on your own then there’s nothing wrong with that. You have to grow to become comfortable with yourself and we all need time alone sometimes.

However, if you feel alone then simply call someone up. They might be having a similar time. I can guarantee you there are more people in your life than you can possibly imagine that would be so happy to receive a call from a friend right now.

And as we say in Scotland, Adios Amigos, Hasta Luego!

*Special thanks to Elaine & Pete, Mark & Nancy, Simon, Tao, Yana, Zoe, Claire, & Paul..



Bakehouse Close, off the Royal Mile, Edinburgh 🏰, Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿, used as a location in Outlander. Image by Old Edinburgh 

The Sir Walter Scott Monument, Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, 🏰, Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿. Image by Colin Myers

The Ross Fountain and Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, 🏰, Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿. Image by Yana

The National Monument (Edinburgh’s Disgrace), Calton Hill, Edinburgh, 🏰, Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿. Image by Uk Adventure Collective.

View from  Calton Hill, Edinburgh, 🏰, Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿. Image by Rhona The Unicorn

Inverleith Park #1, Edinburgh, 🏰, Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿. Image by Agent Fabulous 

Inverleith Park #2, Edinburgh, 🏰, Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿. Image by Agent Fabulous

Royal Botanic Gardens, Main Entrance, Edinburgh, 🏰, Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿. Image by Agent Fabulous

Royal Botanic Gardens, Inverleith Row Entrance, Edinburgh, 🏰, Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿. Image by Agent Fabulous

Photos are also available to view in higher resolution on Instagram:

Thank you for reading.

the Edinburgh Insider