I think that we could all agree that we are incredibly lucky to live in a city that has so many links to the coast right on our doorstep. No matter where you are in the world, a walk by the sea is one of life’s most underrated, simple pleasures. Whilst the beaches in Scotland are indeed quite different from the tropical warm beaches we tend to look for, they certainly have plenty to offer. From trying out the local foodie spots to a refreshing swim (for those brave enough), you will not be disappointed.
This week we are sharing with you our top 5 hidden gems of Edinburgh and the Lothians for when you just need that mini escape from the hectic city life.
Let’s get that dose of vitamin sea!
One of the East Coast’s best kept secrets, Seacliff Beach is just a short drive away from North Berwick. Whilst the beach is privately owned, you can get access for just £3. Along with an incredible view of the Bass Rock and Tantallon Castle, Seacliff is also home to Scotland’s smallest harbour, measuring no more than 12 metres along its longest side.
This hidden gem is a great spot for spending a quiet afternoon away from the crowds in the city, and a great secluded area to set up a picnic for the day. Feeling extra adventurous? Why not try out a pony trek with the nearby Seacliff Stables?
For any golfing fanatics, you may already know of Gullane Beach. Hidden right behind the golf course, you would honestly think you were in the Scottish Highlands, not East Lothian through the spectacular surroundings. The beach itself is surrounded by dunes protecting the land and tend to be filled with birds and wildlife. The wide beach is great for taking dogs who like to run, paddle, swim, or all of the above! On top of that, there are also the rockpools, which quite frankly are fantastic for all ages.
If you’re looking to try out some of the local foodie spots after a day at the beach, why not try Edinburgh’s local Tom Kitchin’s cosy pub, The Bonnie Badger? Whether you’re taking your kids for the day, your dog or just going with some friends, there is something for everyone!
Yellowcraig, also known as Broad Sands Beach by the locals, is a quiet and secluded natural cove on the outskirts of North Berwick. Whilst the beach is just a short drive from Edinburgh, if you’re feeling like getting a little more exploratory, you could also get the train to North Berwick and walk the 3 miles along the John Muir Way, to Yellowcraig’s and beyond to Prestonpans. If you look to the east, you will have a clear view of North Berwick Law and the Bass Rock, whilst looking to the west will show you a clear view of the 1885 lighthouse on Fidra Island, which was also the inspiration behind Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.
Even on a grey day, Yellowcraig is utterly gorgeous. It is an absolute must!
Not only is Aberlady Bay a beach, but it is also one of Britain’s oldest nature reserve, being the home to over 550 plants, birds, and in the summer months, 30,000 pink footed geese. Whilst you are there, try and spot the remains of two midget submarines on the beach, although you will only see them on a low tide. To access the beach, you need to cross a wooden bridge through the reserve and walk through the sand dunes. It truly is a stunning sight!
Feel like getting those extra steps in? Take a walk from Aberlady Bay to Gullane Point and check out the beach at Gullane whilst you’re at it!
Longniddry Bents is a beach just north of Longniddry, which includes Gosford Bay to the east and a rockier Seton Sands to the west. Just 4 miles to get along the whole coastline, you could catch a glimpse of the remains of wartime defence blocks from WW2 along the shore. With a backdrop of forests and cliffs, creating an especially scenic trip, the beach is just a short drive away from Edinburgh, or a direct train journey if driving isn’t your thing.
Of course, we couldn’t mention Longniddry Bents without including one of our favourite east coast chippies, Alandas Seafood. Trust us, this will not disappoint!