Best Beaches in Scotland
Below are a list of the best and most beautiful 15 beaches in Scotland as selected by the users of the Beach Guide website.
The current top-rated beach in Scotland is Luskentyre. If you would like to have your say on which are the best beaches in Scotland just follow the link to the beach and vote by clicking the star ratings at the top right of the page.
1. Luskentyre Beach, Hebrides© Helen Hotson
Few people expect to find a beach like Luskentyre on the remote western side of the Isle of Harris. When the sun is shining and the tide is out the beach here is one of the most beautiful sights you will find anywhere; the water colour lies somewhere between aquamarine and turquoise, and the sand is the kind of silvery-white you would expect to find in the tropics.
But this isn't the tropics (as a dip of the toe in the sea will tell you) and instead of palm trees for a backdrop there are…
2. Seilebost Beach, Hebrides© Chris Combe
The stretch of sand at Seilebost beach on the south side of Luskentyre Bay was once voted one of the top 10 best beaches in the world. Come here on a fine, sunny day and it won't be difficult to see why. Whatever time of year you visit this is a perfect destination for spectacular photo shots or for those just looking to truly get away from it all.
Pure sands with rocky patches slope gently into the pristine,…
3. Lunan Bay, Tayside© Ellen Munro | BY-SA
Lunan Bay is a mile-long sandy beach, with a reputation as one of the best in Angus. It is set in a secluded, pretty, rural location, with a cave and arch at the northern end, and is divided in two by Lunan Water, backed by sand dunes. The beach is particularly popular for swimming as well as watersports, fishing, horse riding, and peaceful walks in a natural setting. It is also an excellent place to search for gemstones, and is overlooked by the historic ruins of Red Castle. A number of other historic…
4. Achmelvich Bay, Highland© Paul Burnett | BY-SA
Beautiful Achmelvich Beach looks across the bay to the coastal village of Lochinver with the islands of Lewis and Harris just offshore.
This is a beautiful sheltered beach on the rural west coast. A large crescent of white sands with granite outcrops that divide the beach into sections. The Blue Flag awarded beach is edged with rocks and grassland with a mountain backdrop. Just north of the main beach is a smaller sandy cove reached along the beach at low tide.
5. Scarista Beach, Hebrides© David Crocker | BY-SA
Just along the coast from Luskentyre beach is another Hebridean gem, Scarista. This wide, open expanse of white sand faces into the turquoise shallows of the Sound of Taransay. You could be forgiven for thinking you were looking at a beach somewhere in the tropics. However a quick dip in the sea will remind you of just how far north you actually are. Scarista Beach is without doubt one of the finest on the Isle of Harris, although the rest share many of its charms. These include the wildflower-carpeted…
6. Huisinis Beach, Hebrides© Peter Amsden | BY-SA
If this beach were anywhere except at the end of the road on a remote Scottish island it would be very well known indeed. As it is this small slice of coastal perfection is one of the UK's most beautiful beaches but often as not completely empty. Here the near-white sand meets the aquamarine waters of the Atlantic whilst nestled in the grassy slopes behind are a huddle of crofters cottages. South facing and protected from the worst of the weather by Huisinis head the beach here really is a lovely…
7. Oldshoremore Beach, Highland© Tom Richardson | BY-SA
Reputedly one of Scotland's most beautiful beaches (against some stiff competition!) Oldshoremore Beach is quite spectacular. It is in a remote curving bay facing west near Kinlochbervie, Sutherland in the Scottish Highlands. Known locally as Am Mellan, the one-mile-long narrow beach is graced with clean white sand made up of eroded stones and crushed seashells. It is separated from neighbouring Polin Beach by the Eilean na h-Aiteig peninsula. Make use of the small car park which has toilets and…
8. Sunnyside Beach, Grampian© Alan O'dowd | BY-SA
Located between Cullen and Findlater Castle, Sunnyside beach is very much the definition of a hidden gem. A beautiful stretch of fine, pristine sand dotted with rocks and flanked by grassy cliffs.
Sunnyside beach is a little off the beaten track and you'll have to walk for at least ten minutes along the coast path to get here. Once you are here you can enjoy the peace and tranquility. There's a distinct possibility you will have the beach to yourself…
9. Sanna Bay, Highland© Wendy Kirkwood | BY-SA
With its white sand and clear turquoise water Sanna Bay is one of those Scottish beaches that, on the right day, could pass for being in the Caribbean. The wide bay here is actually comprised of a handful of little beaches all separated by low rocky outcrops.
Sanna Bay is located just around the corner from the most westerly point in mainland Britain at the tip of the Ardnamurchan peninsula. This is about as remote as it sounds and access is by a long, winding journey along a narrow…
10. Balnakeil Beach, Highland©
Situated near the extreme north western tip of mainland scotland is Balnakeil beach, an expansive crescent of near white sand backed by grassy dunes. The beach forms one side of a narrow neck of land that stretches out to the rocky headland of Faraid Head. Overlooking the beach are two buildings of interest; most obvious is the imposing white Balnakeil House which was built in the 18th century before many years of decline. From being a laird's residence it became home to tenant sheep farmer and…
11. St Andrews West Sands Beach, Fife© James Allan | BY-SA
West Sands is the largest and best-known beach in St Andrew's, surprisingly one of the sunniest and driest places in Britain.
The south end of the two-mile-long sandy beach featured in the opening sequence of Oscar-winning film, Chariots of Fire, while the north end is popular with kite surfers and overlooks the Eden Estuary Nature Reserve, home to birds and seals.
Beach wheelchairs also available for hire.
12. Kingsbarns Beach, Fife© Richard Law | BY-SA
Admirers of big skies and wide open spaces will enjoy Kingsbarns Beach, which can be found about 8 miles down the coast from St Andrews. The 2-mile stretch of golden sands with interesting rocky outcrops is the perfect destination for those seeking solitude and stunning scenery.
The beach is backed by low, grassy dunes and one of Scotland's finest golf courses. The dunes provide a habitat to a variety of insects and birds with the Fife Coastal Path passing alongside the beach.
13. Coldingham Bay, Scottish Borders© Foilman | BY-SA
The beach itself is about 1 kilometre long and 200 metres wide. It faces east and is a good place to catch the early morning sunshine. The clean sands are backed by plenty of grassy areas and the place has a relaxed, rural feel to it. To the northern end of the beach are some historic beach huts, while at the southern end lies Homeli Knoll, a steep, grassy hillock, well worth the climb for excellent views along the coastline. Beyond that, at the southernmost extremity of the bay is Yellow Craig,…
14. Yellowcraig Beach, Lothian© Ikeofspain | BY-SA
Yellowcraigs, sometimes referred to as Broad Sands Bay, is a sandy beach surrounded by forest and grassland. The natural beach affords visitors lovely views out to Fidra Island and its lighthouse built in 1885. Fidra Island is most famously known as the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. Yellowcraig is a popular family beach and offers activities to suit family members of all ages. There is a pirate themed adventure play area and an expansive network of paths running through…
15. Rockcliffe Beach, Dumfries and Galloway© Ann Cook | BY-SA
Rockliffe is a sandy beach located at the southern end of the Dumfries and Galloway coastline. It is part of a National Scenic Area and there are plenty of National Trust areas around the beach. In fact this is known for being one of the most beautiful areas of coastline anywhere in Scotland. As such it is a great favourite with walkers, many of whom flock to Rockliffe and its surrounds every year, particularly as dogs are allowed on the beach year round. There are many marked routes for visitors…