Best Beaches in Scotland

Ringed by 8,137 miles (13,118 km) of contrasting coastline, Scotland hides many a cove and turquoise bay with powder soft sands to rival the Caribbean. Islands such as the Hebrides and Shetlands pepper the offshore regions, all hiding their own swathes of unspoilt seaside and wheaten hued sands, while the South West is fringed by flat bleached dunes and rippling marram grasses. Encouragingly, there has been a ten-fold improvement in water quality of the most popular beaches - over 44 awarded the distinction of 'Scotland's Most Recommended' by the Marine Conservation Society in 2007. Now, the only anxiety-inducing decision will be where to pick for your Scottish retreat!


Finally.... the beach! - flckr - photojenniSandwood Bay, Cape Wrath, Sutherland
Shrouded by the sombre majesty of 200 foot cliffs in the far North West of Scotland, lies one of Britain's best kept secrets. Hikers in the know and intrepid explores have tagged Sandwood Bay as Britain's remotest beach, since the only way it can be reached is via a four mile trek through loch punctuated landscapes from Blairmore. The towering Jenga formation of Am Buachaille peeps over the horizon as you make the final descent into the salmon-tinged bay - the first glimpse of Scotland's poetic paradise. Facing the aggressive North Atlantic, Sandwood is definitely no place for surfing, however there a plethora of adventures to be had exploring the nearby Loch a'Mhuillin and the ruinous cottage, said to be the haunt of a Spanish Armada castaway.


Beach and clouds - flckr - Ed.wardWest Sands, St. Andrews
Flanked by the world's oldest golf course and the azure waters of the North Sea, the premier St. Andrews beach known as West Sands has maintained it's popularity as a family retreat for over a century. Close enough to civilization for those who need a fast food fix, yet vacant enough for a peaceful stroll, West Sands appeals to both families and sports enthusiasts seeking to escape the whirl of a busy town. In recent years, the platinum dunes have been divided into several visitor friendly areas, separating the sun-seekers from the sand yachting and stunt kite flyers. Holiday cottages in St Andrews.


cruden-bay-beach - flckr - stusmith_ukCruden Bay, Slains, Aberdeenshire
The disarming melancholy of the craggy Cruden Bay is all the more darkened by it's ruinous castle, perched just under a kilometer from the vast coastal expanse, upon a cliff-like precipice. It's among the wave-lashed rocks and cavernous lairs of Cruden Bay, that the inspiration for Bram Stoker's 'Dracula' first took hold - although local legend has it, Dracula was based on a 16th Century native. Cruden Bay is one of the finest examples of wild Scottish coastline, however may be navigated at low tide providing hikers are up for a challenge. The terrain can be perilous; the rocks unrelenting in number, but the views upward to Slain Castle are well worth the effort. Find somewhere to stay in Aberdeenshire.


Nairn beach - flckr - CayetanoNairn Beach, Moray
The sprawling dunes of Nairn Beach have long been loved for their sandcastle readiness, however the Moray Firth stretch of coastline is also home to relatively rare British sight. Scores of dolphins congregate during summer months, putting on a theatrical show of playful mischief as they chase above the breakers. Nairn is also one of the largest stretches of beach in Scotland to be supervised by full-time lifeguards, making it both safe and swimmable during peak season. Land-lubbers will find alternate chill-out zones in the form of tea shops, arcades and amenities dotted along the beach front, as well as summer recreation centres offering adventurous activities for the kids. Looking for holiday homes in Moray.





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