Whitesands Bay

Whitesands Bay - Lothian
© Richard Webb and licensed for reuse under this Licence

Just over 2 miles down the coast from Dunbar, down a single track road off the A1087, Whitesands is a rural, secluded beach.  An attractive stretch of fine, clean sand curves gently round the bay and is backed by grasslands. 

The bay faces east, so gets lots of early morning sunshine.  This fact, together with the soft sand underfoot as you enter the gently sloping waters of the bay can make an early morning swim an attractive option. Conditions here can be good for surfing too.
The beach is flanked on either side by rocky areas and low-rise cliffs which provide some degree of shelter to the bay.  At low tide, interesting rockpools can be found.

This area of the coast is rich in limestone, which has been mined in the locality for hundreds of years.  The beach was gifted to the local council by the Portland Cement Company for use as a recreational area. The grassy areas behind the beach provide ideal growing conditions for wild flowers which flourish in alkaline soil, such as autumn gentian and yellow-horned poppy. There are some fine views along the coast.

There is a grassy car parking area behind the beach.  A geology trail starts in the car park, and footpaths from the car park pass the old lime quarry areas and the former limekilns. .

The beach is usually fairly quiet, making it a good destination for those seeking a bit of solitude.

Type of beach


Lifeguard service


Dogs friendly beach?

Dogs allowed

Lothian dog friendly beaches »


  • Swimming/bathing
  • Rock pooling
  • Surfing


  • Toilets
  • Picnic area

Nearest town



EH42 1QP

OS grid ref.

NT 7127 7743


Ample space on grassland.

Water quality

Water quality star rating


Marine Conservation Society Recommended

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Whitesands Bay Reviews


Sue campbell
Jun 26th 2019

Dogs & I come here everyday it’s OUR beach lol

Did some filming there this year ,2023, in February & March

Chris K.
Oct 19th 2023

Helped out on a short film further up from the main bay. There’s a food truck every weekend selling a variety of snacks & small meals that kept the film crew in food when we were there. Plenty of surfers too. Well worth a visit , but probably best in Spring & Summer.