The Best Beaches To Visit Near Edinburgh
The best days of summer are finally upon us here in Edinburgh and it’s time to head outside and catch some rays! Relaxing by the seaside is one of our favourite ways to spend a sunny summer’s day. Whether you prefer a stroll along the water’s edge or you’re ready to bravely take a dip, there are plenty of places to flock to when the sun comes out.
Edinburgh’s Best Beaches
Sand and sea may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the Scottish capital, but you don’t have to go far to discover some of Scotland’s finest beaches. Portobello is the city’s most popular and famous seaside destination and the East Lothian coastline is dotted with plenty more beaches and harbours. So keep reading to discover five of our favourite beaches near Edinburgh!
1. Portobello Beach
Portobello lies around three miles east of the city centre and is easy to reach by bus. At the famous Beach House Café on the ‘Porty’ beach promenade, you’ll immediately be transported to the seaside with their whimsical decor and beautiful views of the Forth. Take one of their famous homemade ice creams to go and relax along the waterfront while you watch the world go by. Then set out a blanket in the sand and claim your spot on what can quickly become a crowded beach on a hot day. Alternatively, pop into the seaside funfair and arcades for some old fashioned fun!
Later, enjoy fish & chips by the seaside from Portobello’s famous St. Andrews Takeaway. You can discover more of Edinburgh’s best fish & chips in our recent blog post.
2. Musselburgh Harbour
You’ll find two sandy beaches on either side of the harbour here. West of the harbour is Fisherrow West Beach, a stretch of sand and shingle with beautiful views. With a play area, toilets open year round, and plenty of places to eat nearby, it’s a great spot to take the kids for a day of fun!
3. Silverknowes Beach
This lesser-known Edinburgh beach lies just north-west of the city and boasts some lovely views across the Firth of Forth and over to Fife. The beach here is a mix of sand and pebbles and is backed by a golf course. It’s a little walk from the bus but it’s worth the trek. Alternatively, parking is easy with spaces available along Marine Drive. From here a pathway leads past a small woodland area to the shoreline.
After you take a dip, head west on the seafront and stroll along the promenade – a three-mile stretch that’s a popular spot for dog walkers, joggers, and rollerbladers. Make your way to Cramond Village and relax in the picturesque Cramond Gallery Bistro, where you can enjoy homemade food by the harbour. Dogs welcome, too!
4. North Berwick
The popular seaside town of North Berwick lies around 24 miles east of Edinburgh and easy to get to by train or car. This beautiful area in East Lothian boasts many miles of stunning coastline, with plenty of golden sands and breathtaking views to enjoy. Here are three of our favourite beaches to visit near North Berwick.
This sandy beach is ideal for splashing in the water, sunbathing, or enjoying a picnic. Access by car is easy with parking available along Beach Road and just a short walk along the path through the putting green in the nearby golf course. You’ll also find the Scottish Seabird Centre here and it’s possible to take boat trips out to the gannet sanctuary on Bass Rock.
This hidden gem lies east of North Berwick at the mouth of the Firth. Though it’s a private beach, visitors can pay a small charge to access it via a path leading from the car park. The entry fee is worth the price as it is by far one of the most stunning beaches you’ll find near Edinburgh! Once you’ve reached the water’s edge, a wide stretch of golden sand and breathtaking views will captivate you. Swimmers, surfers, and sand-castle builders will love this beautiful beach. There’s even a tiny harbour here, said to be the smallest in the UK.
Yellowcraigs is another hidden gem worth seeking out and was even given the title of the “Best UK beach for urbanites in search of the sea” by Conde Nast Traveller. Head for the village of Dirleton where a country road will lead to a carpark with plenty of room to accommodate the many visitors who flock to this idyllic spot. Miles of golden beach, large sand dunes, and rock pools make it the perfect place to spend a summer day with the family.
5. Gosford Sands
It’s hard to believe these stunning sand dunes and clear waters can be found so close to Edinburgh! Gosford Sands is not the most accessible – you’ll need a car to get here – but it is well worth the journey.
Located near the Craigielaw golf course in Longniddry, this breezy beach is ideal for kite flying and building sandcastles with the little ones. You can also see a number of seabirds here in their natural habitat, making it a fun place to explore. A word to the wise though – there aren’t any amenities or facilities here, so come prepared.
6. Belhaven Bay
Belhaven Bay is part of the John Muir Country Park and though it is our furthest choice from Edinburgh, it’s within a short walking distance from Dunbar station. The journey from Waverley station to Dunbar takes around 20 minutes, making Belhaven Bay very easy to get to.
This beauty of a beach has won numerous awards for its stunning views, rolling dunes, and pristine sands. There are some great waves here too and it’s a popular spot for surfers. If you’ve ever wanted to try surfing yourself, lessons are available at the nearby surf school.
Visiting Edinburgh with family this year?
We have a home away from home waiting for you!
With a wide range of family-friendly homes available to let, Dickins has the perfect holiday home for family’s travelling with small children. We also wrote a blog post recently on what makes Edinburgh such a brilliant city to visit with children, with suggestions for places to stay and things to do. You can read it here.