It would appear that February has blown in, and with it comes the most romantic day of the year, or so they say. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and we’re here to bring you a fabulous list of (alternative) ideas and gifts for anyone from loved up couples to proud singles! Don’t fret if this time of year makes you want to binge watch Bridget Jones’ Diary while singing “All By Myself” at the top of your lungs, as this list is easily transitioned to all our independents out there as well.
Cocktails in the city
Ok, so cocktails on Valentine’s Day might not be so “alternative,” but Edinburgh is seriously spoiled with some amazing cocktail bars. Whether you’re looking for a cool vibe complete with dark corners or possibly a great place to start a girls’ night out there’s no lack of choice. Filled to the brim with exciting new flavour combinations and flair, the bartenders are definitely masters of their trade. With well thought out and ever-updating menus, we’re sure you’ll find something to push yourself out of your comfort zone. After all, variety is the spice of life! Our favorites include Award Winning Bramble (16A Queen St), Heads & Tails Gin Bar (Rutland Street, under the Huxley), and Panda & Sons (79 Queen St).
Dinner and a show
This year, the Filmhouse will be showing 2 screenings on Sunday night (14th), starting off with the classic Casablanca at 6:45pm and the English subtitled In the Mood for Love at 9pm. Neither one your “typical” love-fest, but both appropriate all the same. Filmhouse, 88 Lothian Road
If you’re pulling out all the stops this year, get in quick to book a reservation at One Square, located just up the street at Festival Square, for a lovingly prepared five-course dinner made with local, seasonal ingredients and accompanied by a bottle of Prosecco for £95 per couple. If you’re looking for a great place to grab an affordable meal accompanied by some tasty beverages, and perhaps a lack of Valentine smugness, the Red Squirrel will suit just fine with a menu full of pub grub and a great selection of local craft ales on offer! Red Squirrel, 21 Lothian Rd
Romantic strolls & long walks on the beach
One of the reasons Edinburgh is one of the best cities to live in is its great balance of city and green space. Take advantage of the sprawling parks and cycle/walking paths and have a stroll! From the vast spaces of Holyrood Park (including a cheeky hike up Arthur’s Seat) to the Botanical Gardens down in Stockbridge to an afternoon wander along the Portobello promenade, there are plenty of chances to enjoy the elusive Scottish sunshine if you can get it! As the parks and paths run very close to, and through, the city centre, there will be plenty of places to hop off the trail and nip in for a warming hot toddy or a pub lunch.
Get into the Valentine’s Day Spirit(s)
Whisky may make you frisky, but when it comes to love, with gin you always win! This year two Scottish distilleries have released festive versions of gin to celebrate the season of love. First, the Love Gin from Eden.Mill in St.Andrews. This one has actually been out for a few years and can be found not only in their online shop, but also in local stockists (and even at the Sunday Stockbridge markets). Its key botanicals include juniper, coriander, angelica root, hibiscus, rose petal, elderberry, raspberry leaf and more, giving it that lovely pink shade to boot!
Elsewhere, distilling deep within the underground of the West End, comes Edinburgh Gin’s limited Valentine’s edition. Botanicals in this soothing spirit include chamomile, lemon balm, lemongrass and juniper. To get the perfect blushed shade, they’ve also included rose petals and hibiscus. Both are perfect to add a little blush to your Valentine’s cocktails, whether you be on a date or a night out with the girls.
Spa packages from Zen Lifestyle
They say you’ll never truly love another until you can love yourself first, so treat your deserving self to a treatment from Zen Lifestyle to really feel the love this Valentine’s Day. A massage to relieve life’s tensions, a facial to treat any winter damage, or even a quick mani/pedi to give you that extra boost. Vouchers are also available if a certain someone doesn’t quite know what to surprise you with. We hear casually leaving our treatments page open on your computer/phone/every device you own increases your chances greatly! (Multi-treatment packages start from £115)
Not just another box of chocolates…
While Valentine’s Day is the holiday of love, for some of us it’s also the season of chocolate. As the years pass, though, it can feel like a bit of a cliche, so why not mix it up a bit? Get your fix without the guilt of eating the whole box of chocolate by trying these chocolate-laden beverages! These aren’t the horrible booze filled chocolates from the shop we used to eat too many of in our teens to get a buzz, these are classy and delicious! For the red wine lovers, we’d recommend the Chocolate Box Shiraz from Australian winery Rocland Estate. This deep dark wine has hints of blackberries, chocolate, vanilla and spice and can be found at most Vino shops in Edinburgh, or via their online shop.
If red wine is not really your thing, why not give local Leith brewery Pilot’s Mochaccino Stout a try? Exactly what it says on the tin, not only do you get chocolate but coffee as well, balanced perfectly in a smooth quaffable stout. Smooth and rich? Just what we were after this Valentine’s Day….
While many think Valentine’s Day is one for the lovers, there’s no reason the rest of us can’t get out and have a good time as well! This year, Studio 24 (24-26 Calton Rd) will be throwing a girls night (Anything Goes on Girls Night) on Friday, February 12th complete with an all-female live music lineup, and the Stand Comedy Club will also have a night of performances in honor of the Anti supporters out there! The Stand, 5 York Place. Shows from £6.
We hope we’ve provided a few ideas for those both coupled and not this Valentine’s Day. For some, it may be just another day, but it doesn’t mean you can’t take the time to treat yourself.
Also, don’t forget that as well as spa packages you can purchase gift vouchers for any of our beauty treatments online, over the phone or at our salons.