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Want to know the best beaches near Edinburgh where you can enjoy a refreshing day out by the sea?
From the bustling Portobello to the tranquil Aberlady Bay, we’ve got you covered.
In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the best Edinburgh beaches you should explore on your next trip.
Beaches Near Edinburgh:
- Portobello Beach
- Cramond Beach
- North Berwick
- Aberdour Silver Sands
- Aberlady Bay
- Silverknowes Beach
- Thorntonloch Beach
- Gullane Beach
- Yellowcraigs Beach
- Seacliff Beach
- Whitesands Bay
- Gosford Sands
- Belhaven Bay
1. Portobello Beach
|Portobello Beach||1 Promenade, Portobello, Edinburgh and Lothian, EH15 2DX|
Edinburgh’s Favourite Seaside Spot Located just a few miles from the city centre, Portobello Beach is a popular choice for both tourists and locals.
With its 2-mile long stretch of golden sand and a promenade lined with cafes, pubs, and shops, Portobello is the perfect spot for a relaxing day by the sea.
Take a dip in the refreshing waters, rent a paddleboard, or join a beach volleyball game. Whatever you choose, Portobello has something for everyone.
2. Cramond Beach
|Cramond Beach||Cramond Glebe Road, Cramond, Edinburgh and Lothian, EH4 6NU|
Cramond, found northeast of the city where the River Almond meets the Firth of Forth, is easy to get to on the 41 bus.
The main thing to see is the walkway to Cramond Island, a hidden treasure in Edinburgh.
Go two hours before or after low tide, and you can walk on a long path to reach the island.
3. North Berwick
|North Berwick||North Berwick, Scotland, EH39 5YR|
North Berwick is a lovely seaside town in East Lothian, perfect for a day trip from Edinburgh.
Just a 30-minute train ride away, it has a nice town centre with shops, cafes, and tasty treats like ice cream and fish and chips.
The town also has two beautiful beaches, Milsey Bay and West Beach, with West Beach being great for sunbathing and swimming.
For more fun, you can take a boat trip to Bass Rock from the Scottish Seabird Centre or hike up North Berwick Law for amazing views of the countryside and sea.
4. Aberdour Silver Sands
|Aberdour Silver Sands||Hawkcraig Road, Aberdour, Kingdom of Fife, KY3 0UP|
Aberdour Silver Sands, the only Fife beach on this list, is popular and easily reached by public transport. It’s also near the Fife Coastal Path for walking enthusiasts.
Facing the Firth of Forth, the beach offers views of Inchmickery and Inchcolm islands. Facilities like toilets, a cafe, and lifeguards in summer make it convenient for visitors.
In the summer, you can rent kayaks, try windsurfing, or simply enjoy the beach, making it a favourite spot for families.
5. Aberlady Bay
|Aberlady bay||Aberlady Bay EH32 0QD|
Aberlady Bay is a charming East Lothian village featuring a handful of shops and cafes.
You can stroll along a boardwalk and through the nature reserve to reach the beach.
Discover the diverse landscape, including sand dunes, salt marshes, and mudflats, as you explore the area.
6. Silverknowes Beach
|Silverknowes Beach||Silverknowes Beach Edinburgh EH4 5ER|
A Tranquil Retreat Silverknowes Beach offers a peaceful, scenic escape with views of the Firth of Forth and Cramond Island.
Perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic, this beach provides a serene atmosphere.
The nearby Lauriston Castle and its beautiful gardens are also worth a visit.
7. Thorntonloch Beach
|Thorntonloch Beach||Thorntonloch Beach Dunbar EH42 1QS|
A Secluded Getaway Thorntonloch Beach, a hidden gem south of Edinburgh, offers a quiet, secluded spot for those looking for a peaceful day by the sea.
With its unspoiled surroundings and stretches of golden sand, it’s the perfect location for a relaxing beach day, sunbathing, or beachcombing.
8. Gullane Beach
|Gullane Beach||Gullane Beach Marine Terrace Gullane EH31 2AZ|
A Sandy Wonderland Known for its golden sands and clear waters, Gullane Beach is a popular destination for sunbathers and swimmers alike.
The nearby village of Gullane also has a range of amenities, including shops, cafes, and the renowned Muirfield Golf Course.
9. Yellowcraigs Beach
|Yellowcraigs Beach||Yellowcraigs Beach Ware Rd North Berwick EH39 5EX|
A Natural Beauty Yellowcraigs Beach is a beautiful, unspoiled beach near Edinburgh.
With views of Fidra Island and its lighthouse, this beach is perfect for a relaxing walk or a family day out.
The surrounding woodland and grassy areas are ideal for picnics, and there’s even a play park for the little ones.
Enjoy a day of sunbathing, beachcombing, or kite flying at Yellowcraigs.
10. Seacliff Beach
|Seacliff Beach||Seacliff, North Berwick EH39 5PP|
A Hidden Treasure Seacliff Beach, a secluded beach near North Berwick, is a true hidden gem.
With its dramatic cliffs, clear waters, and impressive views of Tantallon Castle and Bass Rock, this beach offers stunning scenery and is perfect for a quiet escape.
Enjoy a day of sunbathing, swimming, or exploring the small harbour carved into the rock.
11. Whitesands Bay
|Whitesands Bay||Pembrokeshire Coast Path, St Davids, Haverfordwest SA62 6PS|
A Surfer’s Dream Whitesands Bay, south of Dunbar, is a popular spot for surfers and water sports enthusiasts.
With its sandy shores and consistent waves, this beach is a great place to catch some waves or try your hand at windsurfing.
The nearby John Muir Country Park also offers excellent walking and cycling opportunities.
12. Gosford Sands
|Gosford Sands||Gosford Sands Longniddry EH32 0PX|
A Peaceful Stroll Gosford Sands, located near Aberlady, is a peaceful beach known for its picturesque surroundings.
With a mix of sand and shingle, this beach is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a quiet picnic.
Explore the nearby Gosford House, a stunning mansion with impressive grounds and gardens.
13. Belhaven Bay
|Belhaven Bay||Edinburgh Rd West Barns Dunbar EH42 1TU|
A Stunning Coastal Retreat Belhaven Bay, south of Dunbar, offers a vast expanse of golden sand backed by grassy dunes.
As part of the John Muir Country Park, this beach is perfect for a family day out, with its excellent facilities and opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting.
Belhaven Bay is also a popular spot for surfing and other water sports.
Tips for visiting Beaches Near Edinburgh:
- Check the tide times and local weather conditions before you go.
- Swim parallel to the shore and avoid going out too far.
- Be cautious of rip currents, and if caught in one, swim parallel to the shore.
- Always supervise children near water.
- Wear appropriate footwear when exploring rocky areas or rock pools.
- Keep a safe distance from cliffs and be aware of potential falling rocks.
- Be mindful of local wildlife and respect their habitats.
- Dispose of litter responsibly and leave the beach clean for others to enjoy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about Edinburgh beaches.
What is the best time to visit Edinburgh’s beaches?
The best time to visit Edinburgh’s beaches is during the summer months, from June to August, when the weather is warmer and sunnier.
However, the beaches can still be enjoyed during spring and autumn, with slightly cooler temperatures and fewer crowds.
Are dogs allowed on Edinburgh’s beaches?
Most beaches near Edinburgh allow dogs, but some may have restrictions during peak summer months.
It’s always best to check the specific beach’s guidelines before visiting with your furry friend.
Can you swim at the beaches near Edinburgh?
Yes, many of the beaches near Edinburgh are suitable for swimming.
However, always be cautious and check for any local warnings or advisories before entering the water.
Water temperatures can be quite chilly, so wearing a wetsuit is recommended for extended swimming sessions.
Are there any facilities available at the beaches near Edinburgh?
Many beaches near Edinburgh offer facilities such as toilets, parking, and nearby cafes or shops.
However, some more secluded beaches may have limited amenities, so it’s a good idea to come prepared with everything you need for your beach day.
Can you spot wildlife on or near Edinburgh’s beaches?
Absolutely! Many of Edinburgh’s beaches and surrounding coastal areas are home to diverse wildlife, including seabirds, seals, and dolphins.
The Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick is a fantastic place to learn about and spot local seabirds, while boat tours from various coastal locations offer opportunities to see seals, dolphins, and other marine life up close.
Can you have a BBQ or bonfire on the beaches near Edinburgh?
Having a BBQ or bonfire on the beach depends on the specific location and local regulations.
Some beaches allow small, contained BBQs, while others may prohibit open fires.
Always check the guidelines for the beach you’re visiting, and remember to clean up after yourself and leave no trace.
With so many beautiful beaches near Edinburgh, there’s no shortage of options for a perfect beach day.
Whether you’re seeking a bustling seaside destination or a tranquil, secluded escape, you’ll find the ideal beach to suit your needs.
So pack your sunscreen, grab a towel, and head out to discover the best of Edinburgh’s coastline.