9 Things To Do On A First Date In Edinburgh

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While some people are perfectly happy to be single, others at out there in the big bad world desperately seeking their soulmate. Somebody who completes their soul, brings them contentedness and who they can spend the rest of their life in harmony with. It’s perfectly okay to be either of these people, there is no right or wrong way to want to spend your life (as long as it’s legal!), but if you’re the happily single type then this probably isn’t the post for you!

When I speak to people who are celebrating special anniversaries – golden, diamond, blue sapphire – their stories on how they met almost always took place at a dance. He saw her across the room, he knew right then that she was The One. Slight differences from couple to couple, but almost always a very similar story. I don’t really know what happened, but there are less dances nowadays and so this just isn’t how couples seem to meet nowadays. In fact, less and less couples are meeting in person I think. Online dating seems to be the way to go nowadays if you’re proactively looking for a life partner (and even if you’re not looking, but you’re just nosey to see ‘what’s out there’). There are so many online dating options now too – from generic sites and apps like Tinder or Plenty of Fish to ones based on your lifestyle, orientation, interests or location like Edinburgh Dating Site.

So you sign up to one of these websites, you scroll or swipe your way through an overwhelming amount of potential life partners, you start chatting to a few and suddenly there’s a spark. You like them, they like you and you both decided it would be nice to meet up in person. Then you remember that you’re away to meet a stranger off the internet and every horror scenario ever clouds your mind. So do you panic and leave it, or do you go for it?

silhouette of people
Photo by luizclas on Pexels.com

I think if you start feeling the warm butterfly fuzzy wuzzy feelings, then you should totally go it and there are a few basic rules which you can use to keep safe that you’re bound to have heard by now – meet in a public space and let somebody know where you’re going.

(if they’re not okay with meeting you in a public place, then that is a big red flag and you need to nip that in the bud immediately. also remember that they may be feeling just as threatened as you are)

So where can you hit up in Edinburgh for your first date? One of the great things about Edinburgh (in this scenario, not so much the rest of the time) is that pretty much everywhere has got people on the go all of the time.  I have pulled together some suggestions for you to consider though…

man and woman having a tea conversation
Photo by Burst on Pexels.com
  • Omni Centre

You can enjoy a meal in one of the many restaurants and then go see a movie – a classic date.

  • A cute little cafe

Edinburgh is full of unique little cafes, and while the Chihuahua Cafe or Cat Cafe might be a bit intense for your first date (unless it’s super important to you that they’re a dog or cat person and you want to put them through some kind of test) but there are no shortage of cute little places and between the two of you someone’s bound to have a favourite already. I’d suggest a cafe rather than a bar, just for security reasons.

  • The National Museums Of Scotland

First up, it’s free. The two of you can wander around at your leisure, and learn more about each others interests and what makes you tick as you peruse the varied exhibits. Of course there is a wild amount of museums in Edinburgh, and any of them would be a good shout.


  • Fountain Park

Similar to the Omni Centre, this one offers some classic date option. There are a selection of eateries, you can take in a movie, go to the arcade, or get a little competitive in ten pin bowling  (or I recently read that there is a crazy golf there too now!)

  • Calton Hill or Arthur’s Seat

…or, of course, one of Edinburgh’s many other climbs, but these two are probably the most popular and therefore the most likely to be populated with other people. If you and your new found love are into fitness at all, then this might be one to consider!


  • Christmas Markets

Okay, so admittedly this one is both seasonal and might just have too many people round about. If you’re looking for a first date idea in the winter though, then why not consider a walk around the Christmas markets. Go for a spin on the big wheel, get a hot drinking and let the magic of Christmas wash over you. Best enjoyed on a weekday evening or afternoon, to be honest, as everybody from outside Edinburgh descends on the weekends. If it’s not Christmas, why not keep an eye out for some of the other public events that take place, like the outdoor movie festival in St Andrew’s Square in the summer? The August festivals are probably best avoided for a first date, though.

  • Pub Quiz

Okay, I know I said no bars, but maybe you’re determined to go to a bar. There are regular pub quizzes in various establishments across the city pretty much every night of the week – sometimes just general knowledge or sometimes themed like Harry Potter, sports, Ru Paul’s Drag Race…the options are endless. Most people who go to these kind of things are going for a fun night out and generally aren’t taking it too seriously, so why not hit up a pub quiz, put your knowledge (or lack there of) to the test and have a good laugh at the same time. If you are going to drink though, remember to be safe.


  • Edinburgh Botanic Gardens

It’s like a walk in the park, but a little more special. Why not get lost in nature? (I can’t be the only person to get lost every time I go to the gardens!) No matter when you visit, there are always some beautiful sights to be found in the gardens. Oh yeah, and entry to the gardens is free! or you can pay a little extra to go into the greenhouse and see some of the more tropical wonders!

  • Picnic In The Meadows

Now, obviously this is probably a more summery idea but it balances out my Christmas markets suggestion. Why not enjoy each others company with a wee picnic in the Meadows, one of Edinburgh’s most popular green spaces. Princess Street Gardens or Holyrood Park are equally good choices.


These are just a few ideas, of course somewhere the size of Edinburgh offers far too many opportunities to ever fit into one blog post. Hopefully one of these suggestions might have sparked something in your imagination and you will be able to construct a perfect (and safe!) first date for you and The One.

Good luck, and if any of these do inspire please come back and let me know how you got on in the comments!

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