SCOTIA is unquestionably the most romantic country on the planet. So forget France with its crude and unsubtle attractions, like the Eiffel Tower, which is essentially an oversized, rusting Meccano set.

And Italy’s Trevi Fountain? A clear health and safety hazard, especially if you accidentally stumble into its watery depths. (To prevent this dreadful occurrence, it’s advisable to always wear inflatable water-wings plus a rubber tyre around your midriff when strolling in Rome.)

But Scotland? We gave the world the poet and novelist, Sir Walter Scott, one of the towering figures of the Romantic movement.

We also have the hills, the heather, the heat … OK, maybe not the heat. But Scotland is still the lurve capital of the world, even on a blustery afternoon.

So on Valentine’s Day, this Tuesday, don’t you dare buy a plane ticket to somewhere disgustingly exotic.

Stay right here, and fall in love with your partner – and your nation – all over again.

To give you a wee nudge, here are our favourite lovey-dovey Scottish locations to visit…


Pollok Country Park

Glasgow, South Side

Outlander is one of the most romantic dramas on television. It also happens to be as Scottish as a kilt dunked in porridge.

In seasons one and two, Pollok Country Park doubled as the ravishing grounds of Castle Leoch, where the protagonists, Jamie and Claire, first become amorous.

You and your other half can replicate their TV romance, with Pollok Park providing the perfect backdrop. (Though you’ll have to bring your own galloping steed and claymore.)


The Church of Blessed St John Duns Scotus

Glasgow, The Gorbals

Fragments of a skeleton usually lead a person to think of Halloween rather than Valentine’s Day. Though a bone residing in the Church of Blessed St John Duns Scotus in Glasgow is about as romantic as human remains can ever get.

For a three-foot wide decorative casket in the church just happens to house the forearm bone of St Valentine, himself.

The bone was brought to the city by Franciscan monks in 1868, and the location is now a favourite site for marriage proposals.


Sweetheart Abbey

Dumfries and Galloway

The name positively reeks of romance. Though sadly the story behind Sweetheart Abbey doesn’t provide an “abbey ever after”. (Abbey/happy – geddit? Oh, please yourselves.)

Nestling in the village of New Abbey, Sweetheart Abbey was built in 1275 by Dervorguilla of Galloway, a local laird’s daughter. She erected it in memory of her late husband, John de Balliol. Which was a nice thing to do.

Slightly less nice – downright creepy, in fact – she also embalmed her dead hubby’s heart and carried it with her at all times.

Why? Maybe she thought wearing a locket with a miniature portrait of John de Balliol would be a tad morbid (unlike bandaged man meat).

Even with its mixed history, Sweetheart Abbey remains a ravishingly beautiful location.

Just don’t pass the local butcher before your visit. (Off-putting, much?)


Gretna Green

Dumfries and Galloway

America has Las Vegas, where you can get married by an Elvis impersonator, then gamble your life savings away at a nearby casino, before regretting it all the next morning, while nursing a hangover and wondering how long you’ve actually known the brand-spanking new wife/husband sharing your bed. (Their face certainly looks familiar. Maybe they were standing next to you at the slot machines, 12 hours ago.)

Gretna Green isn’t mercenary like Las Vegas, though it’s undoubtedly Scotland’s version of romance in the fast lane.

Traditionally young lovers from England and Wales took flight to Scotland, where you could marry at an earlier age, without the permission of pesky parents or guardians.

Marriage laws have evolved over the years, though the pretty village maintains its allure for the romantically inclined, and 5,000 couples still tie the know here every year.


The Loveable Rogue

Glasgow, west and east end

A lover’s tryst without the sustenance of food is not to be countenanced. Imagine you’re gently stroking your beloved’s hand, brushing a strand of hair from their brow, kissing a blushing cheek … then your stomach goes BrrrrRRRURGGGGLE.

Destroys the mood somewhat, doesn’t it?

So take your other half to a restaurant and avoid ravenous tummy rumbles.

Though probably best not to share a bucket of birdy bits at KFC, for the heated kisses can become sticky and icky when your face is slavered in fast-food grease.

A better proposition is The Loveable Rogue, which is a brace of Glasgow restaurants trading under the perfect name for a Valentine’s meal.

Also, the scoff is tres chic. In other words – plates not buckets.


Edinburgh Castle


When it comes to romance, nothing beats a Scottish castle, with its echoes of courtly love and knightly chivalry.

Edinburgh Castle, which is located just outside Glasgow – or Edinburgh, as it’s occasionally known – is as pretty a pile of rubble as you’ll find.

In comparison, the Disneyland castle looks like a waterlogged shed overlooking Dismal Land.




At the beginning of this article we mentioned Sir Walter Scott, and a visit to his ostentatious gaff is a Valentine must. The rambling mansion is so lavish and ornate that you will easily believe you’ve stumbled into an actual Scott novel.

Soon you’ll be bracing yourself for Rob Roy to leap out of a wardrobe, his dirk covered in mothballs …


Greyfriars Bobby

Corner of Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh

Love isn’t only a human quality. Doggies also dote on their masters and mistresses. None more so than Greyfriars Bobby, the loyal mutt who refused to leave his owner’s final resting place.

Visiting the statue of Bobby in Edinburgh is a reminder that man’s best friend can also suffer a broken heart.

(Though he’ll probably cheer up if you hand over a tasty bone. But not the one located in the Church of Blessed St John Duns Scotus. That would be sacrilegious. )


Romeo & Juliet Italian Restaurant

Glasgow, 5 Clarkston Road

In the introduction to this article a disparaging comment was made about Italy, which we now deeply regret.

For it must be conceded that the Italians are a warm people, and there is no better example of young love than Romeo and Juliet.

Most teenagers are content to squeeze spots in their bedroom, or obsess over social media.

Not R and J.

Their passion was more explosive than a popped pimple; feistier than the most meticulously choreographed TikTok dance.

To celebrate the doomed duo, visit Romeo and Juliet restaurant, where you can fall in love with the pasta, or enjoy a giddy romance with a pizza.

This excellent eatery has a Valentine vibe all year round.


Galloway International Dark Sky Park

Galloway Forest Park

Stargazing is wonderfully romantic. Plus it’s cheap (for all those beaus who would rather spend their disposable income on computer games and footy matches, rather than taking a young lady for a three-course meal).

The best place to ogle the stars is Galloway International Dark Sky Park. That’s because there’s plenty of sky around, mostly in an upward direction, and it’s situated in an unpolluted part of Scotland, so the view is exceedingly clear. Unless you happen to be wearing a paper bag over your head. (Which we don’t advise you to do.)