It’s fair to say that Scotland has some of the world’s most spectacular scenery. From sparkling blue lakes and lochs, sweeping sandy beaches to snow-capped mountains, you’ll be making time to simply stand and stare.
It’s not just about the scenery though: freshly caught fish, historical landmarks and welcoming locals are also why these 10 seaside spots have been gaining in popularity. Which one will you choose for your next Scottish escape?
Glasgow’s inhabitants are probably very familiar with Gourock as it’s been a favourite day-trip destination for generations. This traditional seaside town boasts spectacular views across the Clyde Estuary, to the Highland mountains beyond. Take a dip in the open-air swimming pool, indulge in some sweet treats at an ice cream parlour and browse the classic seaside shops. If you’ve just tied the knot, head to Kempock Street and walk around Granny Kempock’s Stone: it’s said this 6ft monolith brings good luck to newlyweds and passing sailors.
Sitting pretty on the Moray coastline, this beautiful town is a Scottish seaside gem. It’s home to Brodie Castle, a magnificent 16th-century fortress set in stunning, flower-adorned grounds. For more scenic beauty, pack a picnic and lay your blanket near the River Findhorn just south of the town. You’ll find some gorgeous gift shops, art galleries and craft shops in Forres so bringing back a memento of your travels will be a pleasure. And for more artistic inspiration, the bi-annual Findhorn Arts Festival is taking place in Forres this September.
This small but perfectly formed coastal village in Dumfries and Galloway is a serene getaway. The views here are breathtaking with Criffel hill to the north and Gillfoot bay to the south. The area is ideal for walking so be sure to pack a good pair of boots! While a holiday in Southerness is all about escapism, you won’t feel too remote as the village has some excellent facilities including a pub, fish and chip shop and 18-hole golf course.
Mainland is actually the main island of Orkney. When you visit, it’s easy to see why this archipelago of around 70 islands was voted one of the UK’s top 10 islands in the 2015 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards. Highlights, of which there are many, include the ancient Norse town of Kirkwall with its distillery and fishing port. The seaport of Stromness, with its houses and shops built from local stone, is a delight while the abundance of wildlife along the coastline is like nowhere else in the world.
This picturesque market town on the East Coast railway has some of the most beautiful architecture you’ll see in Scotland. It was established as a Royal Burgh in 1363 and featured in Shakespeare’s gruesomely-good play, Macbeth. Some architecture to look out for includes the neo-gothic St. James Church, the Burgh Chambers, the 17th century Preston Lodge and the Corn Exchange. A must-see is the Hill of Tarvit, an Edwardian mansion to the south of the town. Its impressive collection of Chippendale furniture, Dutch paintings and Chinese porcelain is a thing of wonder.
Also known as the Queen of the Hebrides, this stunning Scottish isle is known for its amazing wildlife and fine whisky. There are eight distilleries on the island and the single malt whisky is the speciality here. When you’re not sampling the local tipple, feast your eyes on the wildlife. Large flocks of wild geese visit the island every winter and there’s a huge variety of rare birds, such as the corncrake and the chough, to be spotted too. What’s more, the sandy beaches are ideal for romantic walks in the evening as you watch the sun set over the horizon. Beautiful.
Expect a friendly welcome when you visit this lively town on the Fife coast. It’s home to Kirkcaldy’s Links Market, Europe’s longest street fair held every Easter. You’ll find over 200 fairground rides and attractions dotted along the town esplanade. The fun continues year round though, as there are plenty of things to see and do in Kirkcaldy: browse the exhibitions at the Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery, take in a show at the Adam Smith Theatre or enjoy an evening out at one of the inviting pubs and restaurants. Its location means it’s a great base for exploring the surrounding towns and villages, too.
If you want to escape the 9-5 and need some peace and quiet, Burghead will be just your cup of tea. The town is mainly built on the Moray Firth peninsula so, as you might expect, the views are out of this world. The sweeping sandy beaches and the remains of ancient settlements give the town a mystical atmosphere. The area is perfect for exploring woodland, cycling, birdwatching and walks along the rocky shore. And, if you’re lucky, you might just spot the Northern Lights on a clear night.
When you arrive in Oban, you’ll soon understand why it’s known as the ‘Seafood Capital of Scotland’. From dining on scallops at award-winning restaurants to freshly caught fish on the dockside, this busy town is a seafood lover’s heaven. Walk off lunch with a 10-minute uphill walk to McCaig’s Tower for outstanding views of the town and neighbouring islands. The ruined Dunollie Castle and the Oban distillery are well worth a visit, as is the Scottish Sea Life & Marine Sanctuary on the shore of Loch Creran.
Carbost is home to Talisker distillery, one of the most famous producers and the only distillery on the Isle of Skye. Even if you’re not a whisky drinker, taking a tour of the distillery is a fascinating experience and the nearby scenery is mesmerising. If you’re into photography, the landscape here looks like a work of art so be sure to take your camera! And in the evening, head to a local pub for a cosy pint by the fire and some local live music.