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Planning to pop the question and looking for places to propose in Edinburgh? This guide details not only the most romantic locations but also which sites work best for each season.
Most Romantic Places in Edinburgh to Propose in Edinburgh Old Town
1. Edinburgh Castle
Looking for iconic? Check out Edinburgh Castle’s Esplanade.
The views from the half-moon battery over the city set the scene for the perfect backdrop to your proposal.
If you climb higher to the Mons Meg platform, this is the large cannon that fired the salute when Mary Queen of Scots was married for the first time, you will be beside St Margaret’s Chapel.
This royal chapel is available for weddings as well!
- Season: All year round
- Pros: Landmark, historic, city views, free (esplanade)
- Cons: Crowds
- Best for: Those who appreciate local history and scenery
2. The Vennel
Jean Brodies Steps at The Vennel in Edinburgh’s Old Town Grassmarket is one of the top three popular Instagram spots in the city.
Why? It has elevated views of the castle and a vintage lamp post in shot.
- Season: All year round, even looks good in rain
- Pros: Striking, Castle in background
- Cons: Super busy with twirling skirts and Insta-hats so get there early
- Best for: Couples who like to be seen at ‘the’ place
3. Victoria Street
The pink, blue and orange painted buildings on Victoria Street make it instantly recognisable.
If your husband/wife to be is a Harry Potter fan then this might be the proposal spot for you as Victoria Street is said to be the inspiration for Diagon Alley.
You can read all about the Harry Potter locations in Edinburgh here.
- Pros: Pretty
- Cons: Crowded, hard to photograph, not pedestrianised
- Season: All year round
- Best for: Potterheads
4. Victoria Terrace
Instead of being in the action, why not get on top of it?
Victoria Terrace is a long stretch located above the shops at Victoria Street.
There is a handful of restaurants but you could definitely find a secluded space to get down on one knee.
You could organise a meal and drinks at Scotts before, after or even for the big reveal!
You may also like our guide to romantic restaurants.
- Pros: Quiet, looks down onto Victoria Street
- Cons: Not as pretty as the real deal
- Season: All year round, parts are covered for rain
- Best for: Couples that want a bit of privacy close to the action
5. Arthur’s Seat/Salisbury Crags
If you are a more athletic couple, you won’t get a better view than from the top of Arthur’s Seat/Salisbury Crags.
It takes around 1-2 hours to complete this hike so it is not suited for every couple.
However, the views include 360 scenes over to The Kingdom of Fife as well as a backdrop of Edinburgh.
You could check out St Anthony’s Chapel ruins (image below) which has a loch in the background.
Not a common proposal spot in a popular area if you are thinking about something a little different.
Remember it is Scotland, and even in the summer, you will need to wrap up warm to enjoy this.
There’s more about what to wear in our tips section below.
- Pros: Views, possible to find quiet area
- Cons: Busy, windy, long walk back if they say no
- Seasons: All year round, avoid rain forecast or too much wind
- Best for: Nature fans who don’t mind a good hour hike
6. Dunbar’s Close Garden
This secret garden just off The Royal Mile is ideal for a shyer couple looking for a hideaway proposal spot in Scotland.
Surrounded by shrubs, bushes and flowers, this quiet green space is found through one of the unique closes in the Old Town.
- Pros: Among nature, quiet
- Cons: Open to elements
- Seasons: All year round if open
- Best for: Couples looking for privacy in the Old Town
7. The National Museum of Scotland
This unassuming building from the outside opens up to the lightest and airy space.
The building dates back to 1861 and is in the style of Romanesque Revival architecture.
The wrought-iron balconies that surround the various floors, give you an amazing birds-eye view over the whole of the exhibits.
If the inside of the building doesn’t meet your requirements, then keep wandering because you will find an outside area.
Here you have direct views of Edinburgh Castle and over the city.
Your proposal will be very memorable.
- Pros: Indoors or outside on the terrace (free entry)
- Cons: Busy with families
- Seasons: All year round
- Best for: Museum fans
Looking for romantic things to do in the city? Here’s our extensive list.
City Centre Proposal Ideals
8. Calton Hill
Why not take a romantic walk up to the top of Calton Hill and watch the sunset before your surprise?
Take a picnic with you, find a comfy space, cosy up, and watch as the colours unfold over the Old and New Town.
It does get chilly so pack layers.
While this is one of Edinburgh’s most popular walks, there is ample space to find a secret spot to pop the question.
- Pros: Stunning views, lots of space
- Cons: No shelter from wind, busy
- Seasons: All year round, have a back up if it rains
- Best for: Couples who don’t mind a short hike for panoramic views
9. Ross Fountain at Princes Street Gardens
There are lots of potential proposal locations in Princes Street Gardens in the City Centre.
For a cool Edinburgh Castle capture, consider the Ross Fountain in West Princes Street Gardens.
This green and gold sculpture is perfectly placed underneath the castle which sits on a rocky cliffside.
Ross Fountain is framed by a circular gate and flowers.
There’s another lovely shot lined with trees to the left of the fountain.
- Pros: Pretty, castle views
- Cons: Busy, birds surround the area when people eating at cafe, rain
- Seasons: All seasons, landscape changes accordingly
- Best for: Couples that don’t mind an audience
10. Gardener’s House at Princes Street Gardens
Another cute suggestion is Gardener’s Cottage aka Great Aunt Lizzie’s House from the BBC show, Teacup Tales.
- Pros: Quiet, pretty
- Cons: Seasonal, secured by a gate so you can’t access the house
- Season: Spring and summer
- Best for: Nature fans who want to avoid crowds
11. The Meadows
The Meadows is a popular park in Edinburgh which is open all year round.
In summer, students and young families hang out on the grass. It is always busy with runners and pushchairs.
However, for just over one week, mid to end of April, there is a tree arch which is absolute perfection for an engagement shoot and proposal because it becomes a cherry blossom tunnel!
- Pros: Ridiculously pretty
- Cons: Timings can be difficult to get right
- Season: Spring
- Best for: A spring photoshoot
Find out where the best cherry blossoms are in Edinburgh here.
Stockbridge Proposal Ideas
12. Circus Lane
A curved mew of tiny houses with well-manicured greenery, Circus Lane is THE place to get your photo taken in Edinburgh’s New Town.
It is very popular with IG fans and photographers which makes getting the street to yourself quite a challenge.
If you are planning to propose in winter or don’t mind a bit of rain then you will increase your chances of having this Stockbridge beauty without others snapping it.
- Pros: Very pretty, nice area
- Cons: Popular, often used for photoshoots
- Season: All year round, quieter in winter
- Best for: Couples who want ‘that’ engagement shot
13. Stockbridge Market Sign
An alternative to Circus Lane is just a couple of minutes away, the historic Stockbridge Market sign.
This is not where the current market is held and it is fairly unused however, there is sometimes bright ‘for sale’ signs next to the arch.
A good photographer will be able to work around this.
- Pros: Vintage, cool, nicely framed, quiet
- Cons: Signs often ruin it
- Seasons: All year round
- Best for: Couples looking for an urban shot with some history attached
14. Potted Garden
The Potted Garden has become a bit of an institution thanks to Instagram and the Edinburgh photographers.
33 NW Circus Place, just across from Circus Lane and close to the Stockbridge Market sign, is a private garden so you can’t get access to the stairs but it could be a worthy alternative to Circus Lane if you decide it is too busy.
- Pros: Pretty, looks good in photos
- Cons: Private access
- Seasons: Spring and summer
- Best for: Alternative to Circus Lane, horticulture fans
15. Dean Village
Dean Village is a dreamy spot only 10 minute walk from Edinburgh’s West End.
This historic area is a pocket of history with cobbled streets and old mill buildings.
Down by the water on the side where you see the yellow buildings is the most popular photo spot for couples.
Dean Village is part of the Waters of Leith Walkway which connects Leith, Stockbridge and Dean Village plus many other areas of Edinburgh.
Read next | Everything you need to know about Dean Village
16. Portobello Beach
Did you know that Edinburgh has two beaches which you can get to from Leith?
Portobello Beach is like a throwback to childhood holidays with its boardwalk, arcade and golden sand.
Parking can be a bit a nightmare when the weather is nice and it becomes the busiest place in the city when the temperatures hit ‘taps aff’ degrees.
This could be a really nice winter proposal spot providing it isn’t windy. East coast sunsets are really quite something else.
There are a couple of cafes, pubs and a food truck that sells oysters called Little Chartroom On The Prom.
Most have outdoor seating if you want to factor in food and drink to your proposal.
There’s even a food truck that sells oysters called Little Chartroom On The Prom.
- Pros: Photogenic, vintage vibes
- Cons: Crowds on sunny days
- Seasons: All four
- Best for: Beach fans, dog walk proposal
Thinking of taking your dog to Edinburgh? Here are the best hotels that welcome our furry friends.
17. Cramond Beach
Cramond Beach is the quieter of the two. There are a couple of walks which are popular with locals but not crowded.
Firstly, the walk out to Cramond Island which you need to time with the water.
The second option is to walk to Cramond Falls which is surrounded by trees and greenery.
Learn more about Edinburgh’s best beaches here.
- Pros: Quiet, scenic
- Cons: Not iconic if that’s your thing
- Seasons: All four
- Best for: Couples looking for a short hike
Lesser-Known Areas of Edinburgh
18. Union Canal
Why not take your other half out on a boat trip on the Union Canal in Edinburgh?
You can hire a boat entirely for you and up to 35 people so you can invite guests if you want to make it a family affair.
The Lochrin Belle gives you the option of afternoon tea, a bespoke picnic hamper or meals and corkage is £35 per trip.
You can enjoy the views from a different side of Edinburgh while you work up the courage to pop that all-important question.
- Pros: Unique, lesser-known area of Edinburgh, holds up to 35
- Cons: On the water so not to everyone’s taste, cost
- Season: All year round, weather permitting
- Best for: Water babies, unusual proposal ideas
19. Laurieston Castle’s Japanese Gardens
This 16th-century tower house has a 19th-century extension and popular gardens for families with young kids.
It overlooks the Firth of Forth and is most known for its Japanese gardens, especially in cherry blossom season.
There is a Mimi’s Bakehouse on the premises so you could team up a proposal with some cake.
- Pros: Quiet(er) historic building with views
- Cons: Can get busy in afternoon
- Seasons: All year round
- Best for: Couples including their families, dog walks
20. Romantic Hotel Suites in Edinburgh
Edinburgh has hundreds of hotels and many have a cool, or creepy, story to tell.
Hotels with a bit of history and sex appeal include:
- The Witchery‘s nine suites with roll top baths
- The Balmoral JK suite where the final Harry Potter book was finished
- Waldorf Astoria Caledonian suites with Castle views and afternoon teas
We’ve rounded up the most romantic Edinburgh hotels in this guide.
Bonus – South Queensferry
South Queensferry is technically in Edinburgh but requires a train ride or car journey to get there.
This gorgeous wee town by the water has pastel-coloured houses on its high street and is a prime location to see the famous Scottish Forth Bridges.
You can also hop aboard a cruise to see Incholm Abbey and bridges up close.
It’s pretty easy to find a quiet spot down on the beach by the Firth of Forth water.
- Pros: Iconic
- Cons: Very busy in summer
- Seasons: All year round
- Best for: Stunning views
Edinburgh Proposal Tips
Please consider the following advice before planning your ideal proposal.
Weather in Edinburgh
There’s no such thing as bad weather, they say…
When picturing the big question scene, you have to consider what it will look like in each of the four seasons as that is the reality of life in Scotland.
April and May tend to be our sunnier months however we have experienced snow in April before!
Rain is what makes our country so lush and green but it can really dampen the mood if you don’t prepare for an alternative covered proposal spot, pack decent rain gear or an umbrella.
Last year, 202 umbrellas lost their lives to Scottish gale-force winds.
Not an actual fact but we do get our fair share of cold wind blasts messing up our hair and battering our trees.
Pack Lots of Layers
Even if your proposal date is during the summer months, it will still be chilly in the morning, at night and up on the hills.
Some July days see temperatures with lows of 11 degrees and highs of 23. That’s the difference between a cardigan, pullover (or jumper as we call it, check out our lingo guide) or coat/jacket.
Pack outdoor gear, especially if you plan to propose on top of a hill or hire a photographer as there will bit a lot of waiting around for shots.
Hire a Photographer AFTER the Proposal
If you want to document your big day with the support of a photographer it is worth considering proposing without one and then re-enacting the scene.
While this might sound a bit cheesy, it is really common for couples to hire photographers for engagement shoots at a later date.
If your partner says yes, you will both be at a level of high no one can describe to you. You will be giddy!
Having to then carry out a number of poses for shots might just kill that buzz.
Enjoy the proposal day then do a shoot when you feel fresh, outfits have been chosen, hair and make up done and nails are painted for the ring shot.
Plus, with this option, you can hit up a number of spots that are really close to each other.
- Circus Lane and the Stockbridge Market sign
- Edinburgh Castle and The Royal Mile
- The Vennel and Victoria Street
- Calton Hill city views and monuments
- Ross Fountain, Gardener’s Cottage and Scott Monument (Princes Street Gardens)
There are a number of Edinburgh photographers who do engagement shots at affordable prices. Here is a selection.
Edinburgh Engagement Shoot Photographers
- Rose & Julien – Dynamic shots, 70-100 high res images
- Charlie – Old Town photographer, 20-30 high res images, dogs welcome
- Artur and Ewelina – Flexible photographers
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