Oh Scotland, you do make us swoon! Absence really has made the heart grow fonder and no longer do we take your beauty for granted.
So much has changed in all our lives over the past couple of years, and yet the stunning wild beauty of our country has remained there for us. Ready and waiting for when we could return to visit the places we love, the places that hold special memories and those that we’ve yet to discover. As Valentine’s Day approaches, it feels more poignant than ever that celebrating love is something that should be done. We don’t mean in the commercial sense, but in visiting the places you love, being with the people that make you feel good and truly appreciating the love in your life.
Whether you’re getting the train to Scotland for the first time to experience a romantic staycation or city hopping from Glasgow to Edinburgh, our country is filled with lots of incredible sights and experiences, guaranteed to make your heart feel full.
Let’s take a look around at what could fill your heart’s desire:
Fall in love with wild, rugged landscapes
There are so many incredible landscapes across Scotland that are guaranteed to leave you open mouthed in wonder. Taking the train is one of the best ways to experience the sights as a lot of the landscapes are only accessible by rail.
The West Highland Line
A trip along the West Highland Line will always leave you satisfied. The views between Glasgow and Mallaig are epic and make for a remarkable journey. The line takes you along the banks of Loch Lomond, across the rugged terrain of Rannoch Moor, through remote highland wilderness and along the sides of sparkling lochs. Once you arrive in Mallaig cosy up in a guest house for a night or two or carry on over to Skye for a truly breath-taking adventure.
If you don’t fancy travelling too far, then take your loved one by the hand and enjoy the beautiful journey up the Highland mainline to Aviemore. Leaving Perth behind, the train journey takes you through stunning highland landscapes, made even more magical if they’re coated in snow which is always possible in February. Once you arrive in Aviemore take your pick on where you’d like to stay, there’s an abundance of self-catering places, cosy chalets and luxurious resorts. Perfect for a short break to relax and recharge in truly magnificent surroundings.
Soothe the soul at the seaside
Even in February a trip to the seaside can be just what the soul needs. The crash of the waves, the bracing sea air and the stunning views can make the heart soar. Plus, the nippiness gives you the perfect excuse for a stroll hand in hand before heading somewhere cosy to warm up.
Over on the west, Troon beach is always guaranteed to make your heart sing. It’s so easy to get to with the station a mere five-minutes’ walk away. The beach stretches for miles so wrap up warm to enjoy the views over the sea towards the Isle of Arran. If your love-filled day features the kids, it’s easy to keep them happy here at the fantastic, and newly improved, waterfront play park. And when everything starts to go numb there are lots of cosy cafes to warm up in over a steaming mug of hot chocolate and some cake.
The beaches of Fife
Enjoying a coastal walk has been scientifically proven to lift our mood, help us sleep and bring about a sense of peace. So this Valentine’s Day, if you need a bit of self-care or somewhere to reconnect with your other half away from life’s little distractions, then head for the beautiful Fife coastline. Let the sound of the waves and the fresh sea air soothe you. The Fife coastal path runs for 183km and can be easily reached by train. For a shorter stroll, hop off at Aberdour and follow the coast to Burntisland where you can get back on the train, or keep on going until you feel fully rejuvenated.
Embrace the romance of castles
There are a lot of castles across Scotland, all telling a dramatic tale or two. Find yourself swept away as you discover their stories and marvel at the incredible architecture that still stands today.
If your partner loves history then make it a Valentine’s to remember with a visit to Stirling Castle, one of the most historically important castles in Scotland. The views from the castle are magnificent allowing you to see for miles around. Follow in the footsteps of Scotland’s Stewart Kings and Queens and discover why it was their favoured residence with an audio tour. A fun way to spend a day!
Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven
To seriously impress your other half, Dunnottar Castle is the place to visit. Sat on a clifftop, overlooking the North Sea, these castle ruins, dating back to the 15th century, offer one of the most spectacular viewpoints from any castle in Scotland. To get there, enjoy a 45-minute walk from Stonehaven station to the castle along the Coastal Tourist Route. Take a gourmet picnic with you and find yourself lost in the romance of it all.
Reconnect on a city break
Taking a couple of days out of real life to enjoy a city break is always a joy. Whether it’s spending quality time with your other half or an overdue catch up with your best pals, a city break gives you everything you need to disconnect and be fully present with those you love.
For a Valentine’s to remember whisk your other half away to the capital for culture, great food, fantastic attractions and lots of cosy pubs to relax in. Whatever your style, Edinburgh really does have something for everyone. Show off your silly side with a fun afternoon at Camera Obscura or step back in time at the castle, connect over Whisky tastings at the Scotch Whisky Experience or wrap up warm and climb Arthur’s Seat for the best views of the city.
Hark back to the romantic days of train travel with a truly mesmerising journey along the Highland mainline to the Capital of the Highlands, Inverness. The scenery is stunning, particularly if the sky is blue and the sun is shining! And once you arrive in the city, enjoy the views of the castle with a walk along the river before snuggling up in one of many cosy candle-lit pubs and restaurants for the evening.
Valentine’s Day shouldn’t cost a fortune. After all, the most important part is being with the one you love. To save on train travel, look for an Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak ticket, depending on when you want to travel. And always check to see if there’s a railcard for you. The Two Together railcard may just make the perfect Valentine’s gift.