Super Scottish beaches

A beautiful white sandy beach, with small grassy dunes and turquoise sea under a blue sky.

Scotland is home to some of the best beaches in the world, and some are right around the corner from Trust properties – a few of our places even have spectacular beaches of their own. You can do everything from exploring rock pools and spotting the coastal wildlife to surfing, swimming and strolling along on the soft white sand.

Here are some of the Scottish beaches we love the most, and all the great Trust places you can visit at the same time – why not become a member so you can visit our properties for free all year round!

East coast of Scotland beaches

A wide sandy bay with sand dunes and gentle waves on the beach.

Coldingham Bay, near St Abb’s Head

This sandy cove in the Scottish Borders makes a great day trip from Edinburgh for families, dog walkers and wild swimmers. There’s a car park nearby and a surf shop for all your wetsuit-wearing needs – locals like to set up early here as Coldingham always catches the morning sun. The stunning St Abb’s Head National Nature Reserve, our ‘seabird city’, is just a short drive (or picturesque hike) away.

Portobello Beach, near Newhailes

There are plenty of beaches near Edinburgh in East Lothian and Fife, but one of our favourites is practically in the city centre! A short drive or bus ride from town gets you to Portobello Beach, with its long promenade, amusement arcades and bustling atmosphere. Combine your beach trip with a visit to nearby Newhailes in Musselburgh, where there are some beautiful walks around the estate, or to the Georgian House in Edinburgh City Centre places.

A view of the coastline at St Abb’s Head, with the sea coming in between the cliffs.
The coastline at St Abb’s Head

Lunan Bay, near House of Dun

A visit to this special stretch of sand in Angus means rejuvenating walks on flat, firm, golden sand, taking in the rugged cliffs and ocean views, and exploring the caves and castle ruins. Once you’ve sampled the sea air, head to House of Dun near Montrose to enjoy the glorious gardens and estate trails.

Cruden Bay, near Pitmedden Garden

A carpet of soft white sand roughly 2 miles long, Cruden Bay is a favourite among swimmers and surfers – there’s even a digital board that lets you know how clean the water is. It’s great for dogs and day-trippers, too, with a small village and harbour at one end. A short drive inland will get you to Pitmedden Garden, where the parterres in the walled garden will take your breath away.

A wide sandy bay, with golden sand and sand dunes.
The beach at Lunan Bay

West coast of Scotland beaches

The seashore at Iona, with clear blue water and pale white sand. The village and abbey are visible in the distance.


Known as the cradle of Scottish Christianity and the resting place of legendary Scottish kings, the peaceful island of Iona is also surrounded by incredible white sandy beaches and turquoise seas. Explore the whole island on foot, dipping your toes in the clean, cold ocean, and combine it with a visit to the breathtaking island of Staffa for the perfect day out.

Sand, near Balmacara Estate

Just north of the small village of Applecross you’ll find a beautiful beach called Sand. With a car park close by, you can pack all the buckets and spades you need. Let the kids (or the dog) scramble up and down the tall sand bank while you take in the views over to the Hebridean islands of Raasay, Scalpay and Skye. While you’re in the area, head to Balmacara Estate to see the pretty village of Plockton, as well as enjoying lots of walks and wildlife trails.

A row of whitewashed cottages looking onto a blue sea, with small boats at a jetty on the left-hand side.
Plockton village

Largs, near Pollok House

One of our favourite beaches near Glasgow! Even if you’re only in town for the weekend, you can easily make it out to this classic seaside resort, with its cafés, promenade and palm trees (yes, palm trees!), and then back into town to see places like Pollok House.

South Scotland beaches

A family of four walk in a line, holding hands, along a sandy beach. The little boy swings between his mum and dad. All are smiling, and the sky is bright blue.

Culzean Beach, near Culzean Castle & Country Park and Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

One of our most expansive properties, Culzean Castle & Country Park, even has its own secluded beach – at low tide it’s a great place to go rock-pooling. There are some interesting historic buildings along the shoreline (not to mention the exquisite clifftop castle) and you can visit nearby Robert Burns Birthplace Museum for even more history and heritage.

Looking down into a shallow rockpool with colourful pebbles and shells, and a starfish in the centre.
Culzean’s rockpools contain all sorts of marine life

Rockcliffe, near Threave Garden & Estate

Of the many beaches in Dumfries & Galloway, Rockcliffe is a must-see. Cared for by the Trust, it’s known as one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline anywhere in Scotland – the small beach is surrounded by wildflowers, woodland and all sorts of wildlife, from butterflies to birds. There’s more inspiration to be found at nearby Threave Garden, too, which is home to glorious gardens and Scotland’s only Bat Reserve!

A small bay with whitewashed cottages and a beach.
The sandy bay at Rockcliffe

North Scotland beaches

A beautiful white sandy beach with turquoise sea, with mountains in the distance.

Mellon Udrigle Beach, near Inverewe

Go the extra mile to reach this remote beach in Wester Ross, and you’ll soon see the benefits. Visitors often have the place to themselves, and the views across the silver sands and turquoise waters are unlike anything you’re likely to see anywhere else (so don’t forget your camera). While you’re in the area make sure you take the chance to visit the equally majestic Inverewe, with its kaleidoscope of exotic plants, which is less than a half hour drive away.

The shoreline of Loch Ewe around Inverewe Garden. Snow-capped mountains can be seen in the distance. Seaweed covers the rocks on the shoreline in the foreground.
The shoreline of Loch Ewe around Inverewe Garden

Findhorn Beach, near Brodie Castle

The last beach on our list has it all – spectacular natural beauty, miles of open sands, great walks and wildlife-spotting, and a charming village where you can round it all off with an ice cream. Take your bucket and spade, along with a pair of binoculars, as there’s a good chance you could spot some local dolphins! And if that wasn’t enough family fun, head to nearby Brodie Castle for its Playful Garden and child-friendly activities.

A white sandy beach with a forest in the background, under a blue sky.
Findhorn Beach

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