We all know that the Highlands are home to some of the most spectacular scenery, but did you know that there are some equally serene walks right on your doorstep? We’ve compiled a list of some of the most romantic walks in the Central Belt area to explore this Valentine's Day. All routes included in this list are accessible by walking, cycling or public transport (bus or train).
Amongst the many physical benefits, walking also helps to improve mood, increase energy and relieve stress. Taking a stroll with someone special is the original quintessential romantic date for a reason, and the bonus is that it’s affordable!
We want to continue to inspire people to take advantage of the incredible outdoors that Scotland has to offer, and what is more romantic than a promenade through the woods to a waterfall, a view overlooking your city, exploring ancient castle ruins which hold a legend, or an Island walk only accessible during low tide?
So here is our list of the Central Belt’s most romantic walks:
1) Cramond Island & Cramond Falls, Edinburgh
Cramond Island is an island just off the shoreline of Edinburgh. This Romantic walk is only available during low tide, making it feel extra special to visit. But careful planning is required. This walk can be extended to include the path up the River Almond to the Cramond Falls and ruins of Caddells Forge.
2) Dollar Glen (Burn of Care and Burn of Sorrow)
Castle Campbell used to be an inaccessible fortress hidden in the beautiful Dollar Glen. Now accessed easily by paths, the Glen and Castle can be explored by all. If the enchanting castle, vibrant lush forest, and cascading waterfalls weren’t romantic enough, legend has it that the twin burns called the Burn of Care and the Burn of Sorrow were named after two lovers who were kept apart due to social class differences. The Scottish princess was locked away in the castle, forever parted from her love, as depicted in this romantic tale of woe.
3) The Kelpies, Falkirk
A ‘Kelpie’ in Scottish folklore, is a mythological shapeshifting beast who would entice humans to get on their backs only to then lure them under the water. These iconic sculptures proudly stand near Falkirk and are hailed as the largest equine sculptures in the world at more than 100 feet tall! In the evenings, these beautiful beasts are lit up, changing colours in a mesmerising fashion. Having a wander around them is a truly special experience, but be warned that the car park does not stay open all night.
4) Kelvingrove Park & Kelvin Way, Glasgow
Kelvingrove is home to some of the most beautiful buildings in all of Glasgow, including the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Glasgow University (just beyond). The road leading up to the gallery, Kelvin Way, is a beautiful canopy of colour changing trees making this a magical backdrop for a romantic stroll. Kelvingrove Park is also recognised as the first purpose designed park in Scotland, and its Heritage Trails include 35 points of interest to follow. Be sure to check out the Cyprus Duck pond, Stewart Memorial Fountain, and bandstand in the park as well!
5) Dean Village, Edinburgh
Overlooking the Waters of Leith, Dean Village looks like it is straight out of a fairytale. This enchanting neighbourhood in Edinburgh was formerly a milling village for over 800 years. A walkway along the water can be followed to the Dean Bridge, and offers a nice refuge from the bustle of the Capital. It is very hard not to be charmed by a visit to Dean Village.
6) Devil’s Pulpit, Killearn
The Devil’s Pulpit in Finnich Glen is located just outside of Killearn. This 100 ft gorge is famous for its strikingly vibrant colours. The moss covered walls are juxtaposed with the burnt orange/red hues from the sandstone in the water. Used in film and TV shows such as Outlander, the Devil’s Pulpit is a magical experience. Wellies are recommended for this one as the path down can be muddy!
7) Wallace Monument, Stirling
The Wallace Monument is one of Stirling’s most famous landmarks. We all know the story of how William Wallace led his troops to victory at Stirling Bridge, and the monument itself is worthy of its hero! No matter which way you look, you are met with fantastic views. One side is the beautiful city of Stirling sprawled out with the castle in the distance, and the other side, features the breathtaking Ochil hills. The steep walk up is most definitely worth it! FREEEEDOM!
8) Bracklinn Falls, Callander
Callander in its own right is an idyllic little town bordering the Highlands and Lowlands, but coupled with a scenic forestry walk to a roaring waterfall, Callander and Bracklinn Falls are a special place worth visiting. The Keltie Bridge at the Falls is in the process of being replaced, so there is some construction going on, but there are plenty of alternate routes and signs to instruct you along the way.
9) Doune Castle & Deanston Distillery
Another idyllic town just North of Stirling, Doune is home to the famous Doune Castle as featured in many movies and TV shows such as Game of Thrones, Outlander, Outlaw King, and Monty Python. Not far from Doune is also said to be the ‘Land of the Faeries’, so take a walk back in time and enjoy the magic as you make your way to Deanston Distillery along the River Teith.
10) New Lanark & the Clyde Valley Woods
Not only is New Lanark an UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it is also the gateway to the Clyde Valley Woods Nature Reserve. An immaculately preserved Cotton Mill, New Lanark looks hauntingly untouched by time. The Clyde Valley Woods offers beautifully maintained paths, including a boardwalk with signs and information about the local Flora and Fauna. Just when you think you’ve seen all this special place has to offer, you are rewarded with dramatic cliffs and impressive waterfalls. Everything about this place looks like it belongs on a postcard!