Edinburgh Seaside

When the sun is shining, a day at the seaside watching small boats bobbing near the shore or strolling along the Edinburgh beaches are fun things to do. Here we explore the beaches and harbours dotted along the Edinburgh and East Lothian coastline

Portobello Beach


To the East of the capital lies Portobello, a seaside town with a wide promenade and sandy beach.  On a hot summers day, this small resort is a hive of activity as residents and visitors head for the beach, mini-funfair and try their hand at sailing and kite flying.  Local bars, cafes and ice-cream parlours will ensure that there is ample opportunity to enjoy a light bite or relaxing meal.


Cramond Beach At Sunset Cc Jenni Douglas

[Image credit - Jenni Douglas]

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, feed the swans and ducks or people watch with a coffee and cake at the small café overlooking the promenade which sits in a charming row of whitewashed houses. 

Across the causeway is Cramond Island and on a fine day, with an eye on the tide, walkers stride out to the island to watch the sea birds and enjoy a picnic.  Cramond’s lengthy promenade is a firm favourite for dog walkers, rollerbladers and cyclists.  It’s a lovely spot to take in the views across the Firth of Forth.

East Lothian

The coast to the East of the capital is blessed with miles and miles of beautiful golden sands, breath-taking views, quaint villages and bustling, small towns - not to mention world class golf courses.  Here are a few of our favourite locations.

Aberlady Bay

Aberlady Bay Bird Cc Magnus Hagdorn

[Image credit - Magnus Hagdorn]

The delightful village of Aberlady with its sprinkling of shops, restaurants and cafes is a favourite spot for birdwatchers.  A picturesque stroll across a wooden boardwalk (give yourself about 40 minutes for this) and through a small nature reserve leads to a secluded, sandy beach.  This is a tranquil spot to admire the fauna, birds, wildlife and beautiful sea views. 

Gullane Bents

Gullane Beach Cc Jenni Douglas

[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. 

The beach at Gullane 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.  A visit to Gullane is a worthy day out – spend your day on the sands and finish off with some wholesome home cooking in a local bar or restaurant.


Yellowcraigs Beach Cc Martin Burns

[Image credit - Martin Burns]

This stunning beach, despite being off the beaten track, was recently awarded the title of “Best UK beach for urbanites in search of the sea” by Conde Nast Traveller.  A pleasant drive to the village of Dirleton with its ancient castle and beautiful gardens will lead you down a country road to the beach at Yellowcraigs.  A large car park easily accommodates the many visitors who arrive at this beauty spot for a perfect day out.  Miles and miles of golden sands, rock pools and a picturesque lighthouse welcome visitors from far and wide. 

Large sand dunes make a fabulous summer alternative to winter sledging, woodland walks and a super children’s outdoor play area will keep all the family amused throughout the day.  Look out for the Island of Fidra, thought to be the inspiration of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.

North Berwick

North Berwick Beach Cc Jonathan Stonehouse

[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 (and indeed a light refreshment) 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.  See if you can spot a guillemot, razor bird, fulmar or kittiwake.  The Bass Rock is home to the largest colony of puffins on the East Coast of the UK. 

Forever Edinburgh: Explore Edinburgh's beaches and soak up the gorgeous views for a great day out for all the family.