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20 Top Beaches On The East Coast of Scotland

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With hundreds of coastlines in Scotland, it is unsurprising that Scotland has some of the best beaches in Britain. This post describes the best beaches on the east coast of Scotland.

Scotland’s beaches are among some of the best in the world, equal to what you will find in Seychelles or the Maldives.

Scotland’s beaches are a perfect setting and combine the tranquil nature of the Scottish countryside and the crashing waves of the North Sea.

There are some idyllic spots to lay out a picnic basket sheltered from the salty sea breeze. Whether you are looking for an adventurous day of water sports or somewhere secluded to relax and soak up the scenery.

Coldingham Bay
Source: Unsplash

Coldingham Sands 

Location: Coldingham Sands Car Park

On the east south coast of Scotland, you will find the famous Coldingham Sands near the town of St Abbs.

The bay is stunning and is surrounded by rocks at each end. You can view the rocky coast and golden beach from a great cliff viewpoint.

Also, the sheltered bay is protected by the headlands to the north and south. This pristine beach is part of St Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve

There are old colourful beach huts at the back of the beach which makes the bay perfect for a photograph.

Coldingham Bay has plenty of facilities, there is a cafe where you can get refreshments and a hot drink. Also, there are toilet facilities, car parking and a shop. 

Moreover, Coldingham Bay has been awarded the Blue Flag which is the Marine Conservation Society’s top award for cleanliness and the Seaside Award.

There are rock pools to explore and the bay is popular with surfers and dog walkers. For more breathtaking wildlife and crystal-clear seas, you can follow the Creel Path from Coldingham to St Abbs.  

Nearby Accommodation: The Cedar Tiny House

Whitesands Bay Beach

Location: Whitesands Nature Reserve

Whitesands Bay is a rural, secluded stretch of sand which is located two miles south of Dunbar.

An attractive stretch of fine, clean sand dunes is backed by grasslands and it is one of the most exotic-looking beaches in Scotland.

Rockpools can be found at low tide. Also, there is a picturesque lighthouse which is great for photographs during sunset. 

Nearby Accommodation: The Bridge House

Yellowcraig Beach

Location: Yellowcraig Car Park

Yellowcraig Beach overlooks Fidra Island. Fidra Island has a lighthouse topped speak and is the inspiration for Edinburgh-born author Robert Louise Stevenson’s Treasure Island map.

This beach is a great spot for kite-flying and taking a dip in the chilling waters.

Nearby Accommodation: Roe Cottage

Seacliffe Beach

Location: Seacliffe

Seacliffe Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches when the tide is out. The beach attracts surfers, canoeists, dog-walkers, horse rides and anglers.

All of these activities can only be enjoyed at low tide, as the beach is mostly submerged. A dense woodland backs the beach. 

This little-known corner of Scotland is steeped in history. You can enjoy views of Tantallon Castle which is dramatically perched on a cliff face.

Tantallon Castle is a semi-ruined 14th-century fortress and the last medieval curtain wall castle to be constructed in the country. 

As well as Tantallon Castle you can look for the remains of Auldhame Castle, this castle was a military fortress.

Also, you can catch a glimpse of Seacliffe House. This ruined mansion has been unoccupied since 1907 and was originally built in 1750. 

Moreover, you can admire Bass Rock which is a great big chunk of volcanic rock which rises spectacularly out of the sea and is home to around 150,000 gannets.

Also, there is a tiny harbour next to the beach. The harbour dates back to 1980 and it was carved out of red limestone using steam-driven compressed air. 

Nearby Accommodation: Auldhame House East Wing

Aberdour Silversands 

Location: Silver Sands Car Park

On the southern edge of the ancient Kingdom of Fife is the beautiful beach called Aberdour Silversands. The sand on the beach is white and is surrounded by woodland.

Silver sands offer peace and tranquillity along with freshness. Also, the beach has views across the water to the islands of Inchmickery and Incolm

The beach is also one of the favourite beaches on the east coast of Scotland and is a popular stop on the Fife Coastal Path.

Silver Sands is perfect to spend a day at as there are some great facilities. There is a beachfront cafe, toilets, first, a dog-restricted area and a dog exercise area. 

Nearby Accommodation: Garden Cottage

Ruby Bay

Location: Ruby Bay Car Park

Ruby Bay is a stunning resort beach located in Elie. This is a beautiful sheltered sandy beach with rock pools. Also, the beach is a great place to watch birds and wildlife while relaxing.

Lady Tower is the showpiece and creates a perfect dramatic scene in the right weather, perfect for photographers.

Ruby Bay also links onto the Fife Coastal Path, while Elie is a perfect place to relax after long periods of walking on the route.

There is plenty of good cafes, restaurants and bars. Ruby Bay has a car park where you can park overnight, also there are toilet facilities.

The beach is popular with wild water swimmers.

Nearby Accommodation: 28 Wadeslea

Roome Bay 

Next to the village of Crail, is the stunning Roome Bay. The bay is an award-winning beach and has won a Keep Scotland Beautiful Beach Award.

There is a disused swimming pool at one end of the beach that is popular for wildlife. Also, it is a stunning area with a combination of coves of sand and rock pools with tranquillity.

To get to the beach you have to park in Crail. Crail has one of the prettiest harbours in the East Neuk of Fife.

It is worth checking out the village on the way to the beach. 

Nearby Accommodation: The Old Vinery

East Sands Beach 

Location: Woodburn Place

East Sands Beach is located on the west side of St Andrews in Fife. It is much smaller than the West Sands.

The beach is a very popular destination for locals and visitors to Fife. Also, the beach is in close proximity to the harbour and sailing club, making it a perfect place to try a variety of water sports. 

East Sands Beach is a popular place for fishing, swimming, kayaking and windsurfing.

The beach is along the Fife Coastal Path, therefore, there are good amenities. There are cafes close by, lifeguards on duty during the summer, toilets and a car park.

Nearby Accommodation: Adamson Court

West Sands Beach 

Location: St Andrews Public Car Park

To the north of St Andrews in Fife the long stretch of sand known as the West Sands Beach.

The beach was made famous from the beach training scene in the film Chariots of Fire. West Sands Beach stretches for two miles alongside the golf course. 

It is well known for simply being a long, lovely beach. You can soak in the dramatic views of the seaside town’s ruined castle and cathedral on the skyline.

This beach is one of the most accessible beaches from the centre of St Andrews and it is only a fifteen-minute walk. 

Nearby Accommodation: Rusacks St Andrews

Kinshaldy Beach 

Location: Tentsmuir Nature Reserve

Kinshaldy Beach is a long beach with golden sands within the Tentsmuir Nature Reserve. The beach is backed by sand dunes and forests.

Tentsmuir Nature Reserve has plenty of trails through the woods which are good for walking and biking. Also, there is plenty of wildlife, including bats, red squirrels and seals.

The beach itself is a breeding ground for grey seals. Car parking costs £2. 

Nearby Accommodation: Vicarsford Farmhouse

Lunan Bay 

Location: Lunan Bay Car Park

Lunan Bay is a stunning bay with golden sands. This beach is one of my favourite beaches on the east coast of Scotland.

The beach between Arbroath and Montrose in Angus, Scotland.

To the south side of the beach, there is the crumbling Red Castle perched high on a cliff. Lunan Bay is a 2-mile curve of white sand and tall dunes, some of which are steep to slide down. 

There is a free car park and a viewpoint with a boardwalk. This car park fills up quickly in the summer.

There is a farm and stables behind the beach which is family owned. On the farm, there is a caravan and camping site with toilets, showers and an electric hook-up. 

The beach wins the Blue Flag status every year, also, the beach is popular with surfers and kite surfers.

At the north end of the beach, there is a cave and arch which is accessible when the tide is out. 

Nearby Accommodation: Lunan House Hotel

St Cyrus Beach

Location: St Cyrus National Nature Reserve

St Cyrus Beach is located in St Cyrus Nature Reserve, near Montrose on the Aberdeenshire border. The beach is backed by cliffs and is known for grasslands, rare flowers, butterflies and moths.

At the nature reserve, you can admire the magnificent cliffs and sand dunes as you stroll along the stunning expanse of sand. There are car parking facilities, toilets and a visitor centre. 

From the beach, you may have the chance of spotting dolphins, whales and porpoises. Moreover, there are seals and a variety of birds closer to land.

Nearby is the spectacular Den of Finella waterfall which is one of the top 12 fairytale waterfalls in Scotland

Nearby Accommodation: Eskview Farm

Aberdeen Ballroom Beach 

Location: Aberdeen Ballroom Beach

To the east of the city centre, you will find Aberdeen Ballroom Beach. The north of the beach is more exposed as there is a nature reserve.

Whereas the south is more sheltered as there is a protected harbour in the south. The nature reserve is perfect for spotting bottlenose dolphins and whales.

Toilets, cafes, restaurants, an ice rink and a ballroom are located on the art decos-inspired esplanade. Also, the esplanade is popular with cyclists, walkers and runners.

The waters in the summer are popular with kayakers, surfers and sailors. There is always so much going on when the weather is nice. 

Further along the esplanade, you will come across Footdee. Footdee is a former fishing village with quirky cottages and is known as “Fittie” to the locals.

You can explore the history of the area and get an idea of what life was like for the fishermen who lived there. Also, there is a great chance to catch fresh seafood at the Moon Fish Cafe or Silver Darling in Aberdeen’s City Centre

Nearby Accommodation: Footdee Cottage

Balmedie Beach
Source: Unsplash

Balmedie Beach 

Location: Balmedie Beach North Car Park

Balmedie Beach is located eight miles north of Aberdeen and is a complete contract of the Ballroom Beach in Aberdeen.

This beach is the perfect getaway for those who want to avoid crowds. Balmedie Beach stretches for miles and has been left entirely to nature. 

There is a small car park which charges a fee. Also, there are boardwalks which take you through the sand dunes.

Balmedie Beach is part of a country park which is owned by Aberdeenshire Council and is a haven for wildlife. 

Nearby Accommodation: The Cock and Bull

Forvie Sands beaches on the east coast of Scotland
Source: Unsplash

Forvie Sands

Location: Waterside Car Park

Forvie Sands runs from Collieston to the mouth of River Ythan. This natural national reserve has a vast area of dunes and coastal heathland.

The reserve covers almost 1,000 hectares of sand dunes between the North Sea and River Yethan. Also, it is a great place to spot wildlife as the nature reserve is a perfect location for birds. 

Nearby Accommodation: Newburgh Inn

Cullen Bay 

Location: Cullen Beach

Cullen Beach is adjacent to Cullen, a picturesque fishing village with antiques and collectable shops.

The beach is distinguished by rock stacks known as the Three Kings, whilst the far end of the beach is the Whale’s Mouth – a dramatic deep arch or have.

From the village, you can follow a short coast walk to the east to find the more secluded Sunnyside Bay

Nearby Accommodation: Viaduct View

Hopeman Bay 

Location: Hopeman Bay

Hopeman Beach is one of the strings of beaches which is located on Moray’s Coast Trail.

There is a row of multicoloured beach huts which is a great photo opportunity. 

This bay is one of the loveliest beaches on the east coast of Scotland.

Nearby Accommodation: The Lookout

Burghead Beach 

Location: Roseisle Country Park

Burghead Beach is Findhorn’s main beach. Findhorn is an old fishing village with attractive harbours and cottages.

The bay curves from the town of Findhorn to the fishing village of Burghhead to the east in the Highlands

Burghead Beach is a popular place for walkers and people partaking in water sports. There is a chance that you will see seals basking on the sand. 

Nearby Accommodation: Abbey Cottage

Nairn Beach
Source: Unsplash

Nairn Beach 

Location: Nairn Beach

Nairn has a reputation for being the driest and sunniest town in Scotland. Located on the east side of Nairn, 16 miles east of Inverness, the beach has impressive sand dunes which stretched for miles.

Nairn Beach is well known for turquoise waters, white sands and stunning scenery. 

You can take a leisurely stroll along the promenade or brace the chilly sea temperatures to do some water activities such as stand-up paddle boarding.

Nairn Beach is a great place for wildlife spotting, you might be lucky and spot some Moray Firth Dolphins

Nearby Accommodation: Sunny Brae B&B

Sinclair’s Bay

Location: Reiss Sands

Sinclair’s Bay is a vast sweep of golden sand and it stretches across the Caithness coast. This beach is one of the best beaches on the east coast of Scotland.

The beach is often known locally as Reiss Beach and it is a stunning white-sanded paradise with 16th-century castles at both ends. To the south of the bay, you will find Wick and to the north of the bay, you can the Duncansby Head

The beach is a fine stretch of sand which is backed by huge dunes, it is divided by the River of Wester. Also, the beach is a popular part of the penultimate stage of the challenging John o’ Groats Trail.

Sinclair’s Beach is is a peaceful and attractive spot for surfing enthusiasts. The sea is a popular place to spot a variety of wildlife including orcas.

Nearby Accommodation: The Stable – NC500

What is the nicest beach in Scotland?

There are so many beautiful beaches on the east coast of Scotland. A few beaches that make it to the top ten are East Beach in Lossiemouth, Moray, St Cyrus Nature Reserve and Coldingham Bay, Eyemouth.

These beaches have excellent views across the North Sea, also, you can witness the breathtaking waves crashing against the golden sands. 

One of my favourite bays on the east coast of Scotland is Lunan Bay. At Lunan Bay, you can admire the sunrise, get stunning photographs of the crumbling Red Castle or take a dip in the calming ocean.

Also, the most popular beaches on the east coast are West Sands Beach at St Andrews and Aberdeen City Beach

What are the best places to visit on the east coast of Scotland?

There are so many stunning towns and villages along the east coast of Scotland. You can visit the town of St Abbs which is south of Edinburgh and go to Coldingham Bay which is near Eyemouth

Moreover, you can visit the stunning Kingdom of Fife and choose one of the many villages in the corner of East Neuk. The golden sands at Elie Beach, Ruby Beach, Aberdour Beach and Roome Bay are all worth the journey. 

Final Note

This post lists the best beaches on the east coast of Scotland. The east coast of Scotland has hundreds of miles of coastline which is home to magnificent beaches.

Some beaches are located along the Moray, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Fife and Lothian coasts. For some tranquillity, it is best to get yourself down to one of the beaches on a sunny day. 

The beaches are a perfect place to do some walking and try some water sports including surfing, kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding. Also, it is the perfect place to relax and watch the world go by. 

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