Portobello (or Porty to locals) has always had an affinity with water. Just 20 minutes from Princes Street, Portobello’s 2 miles of award-winning sandy beach were a popular destination for day trippers from Edinburgh and Glasgow in the 19th century; the town was home to saltwater baths in the early 20th century and then an outdoor lido in the 1930’s.
Today, Portobello remains a highly desirable residential area. All year-round, the 2 miles of award-winning sandy beach and prom are popular haunts for Edinburgh locals looking to stretch their legs, sample some of the foodie delights found in the town’s cafes and restaurants, visit the mini-funfair, try their hand at sailing and kite flying, and, for the hardier souls, take a dook in the water.
With its wide prom and picturesque views across to Fife, Silverknowes Prom is a popular haunt for the city’s walkers, cyclists and skateboarders, while the stretch of water is a popular haunt for sailing and windsurfing. Carry on walking, and you’ll reach the picturesque village of Cramond – see below.
Gaze upwards and you’ll also see a variety of planes making their way into Edinburgh Airport.
A short drive north of Edinburgh’s city centre lies the suburb of Cramond. This popular residential area built around a former fishing community, is a delightful spot to stroll and enjoy the colourful boats in its small harbour.
As one of Edinburgh's oldest villages, Cramond has the distinction of being one of the longest known sites of human settlement in Scotland, with archaeological excavations uncovering evidence of habitation dating to around 8500 BC.
Discover more about Cramond’s history, stories and legendary tales with The Cramond Association >
Lying off the foreshore at Cramond, you’ll see Cramond Island, a tidal island which connects to the mainland at low tide.
At the outbreak of World War II, Cramond Island, along with other islands in the Forth, was refortified and armed with artillery, designed specifically to tackle fast-moving torpedo boats. An anti-submarine net and anti-boat boom was also laid across the estuary from Cramond Island directly to Inchcolm, and then to the Charles Hill battery on the Fife coast.
Several WW2 buildings survive, including the housings for Coast Artillery Search Lights, stores, shelters and gun emplacements, as well as two engine rooms that once contained all the equipment necessary to supply power to the military installations on the island.
Today, a walk out to Cramond Island at low tide along the causeway is a lovely way to spend a summer afternoon – just make sure that you make it home before the tide comes back in to avoid being stranded on the island.
The popularity of Wardie Bay as a place for wild swimming as grown hugely over the last few years.
Close to Granton Harbour, this small bay has a pebble beach which can get busy on a warm summer’s day. On a clear day, the long breakwater also offers some lovely views across to Fife and islands in the Forth.
The coast to the east of the capital is blessed with a glorious mix of quaint villages and world class golf courses, as well as miles and miles of beautiful golden beaches with breath-taking views. Here are a few of our favourite locations…..
[Image credit - Magnus Hagdorn]
Less than 20 miles from Edinburgh, the delightful village of Aberlady is peppered with a variety of independent shops, restaurants and cafes.
Designated a Nature Reserve in 1952, Aberlady Bay Local Nature Reserve is a tranquil spot to admire the fauna, birds, wildlife and beautiful sea views.
[Image credit - Jenni Douglas]
The quaint but bustling town of Gullane boasts restaurants, cafes, delicatessens, hotels and world famous golf courses not to mention a beautiful sandy beach which hugs a woodland walk dotted with gorse bushes and wild flowers.
Gullane Bents is popular all year long with hardy walkers who brace themselves for the cold sea breeze in the winter months and families and sunbathers who come to relax and play in the sands in the warmer summer months.
[Image credit - Martin Burns]
A pleasant drive to the village of Dirleton with its ancient castle and beautiful gardens will lead you down a country road to the stunning beach at Yellowcraigs.
With miles and miles of golden sands, this popular family beach also has a nature trail, and a network of footpaths through the sheltered woodlands and extensive grassland. There is a dog walk away from the beach where dog bins are provided.
A natural cove, the beach also has spectacular views to the 1885 lighthouse on Fidra Island, the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson's famous tale, Treasure Island.
[Image credit - Jonathan Stonehouse]
The old seaside town of North Berwick is a popular destination for Edinburgh residents and visitors who come to enjoy the pretty gift shops, bars, cafes and restaurants.
Surrounded by gentle rolling hills and beautiful golf courses, the golden sands of North Berwick remain a visitor attraction throughout the year. Visitors can enjoy fun activities on the sands, discover small creatures in rock pools or go for a gentle stroll around the harbour.
Not to be missed is a visit to The Scottish Seabird Centre. With cameras pointing to the Bass Rock, birdwatchers can see at close range the hive of activity amongst the resident seabirds, including guillemots, razor birds, fulmars and kittiwakes.
With over 40 miles of picture-perfect coastline to award-winning attractions, discover more about this spectacular area in our Guide to East Lothian >