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Sun, sea, sand and ice cream. On a warm day in Scotland, you could be forgiven for forgetting you’re standing at Edinburgh’s seaside and not at the Costa Del Sol!
While Edinburgh is better known for its cultural heritage and rich history, it also has an incredible coastline, which is dotted with brilliant beaches.
If you’re lucky enough to catch a day or two of sun, you should head out to one of the following beaches in Edinburgh.
Make sure to pack a towel and some sunscreen in prep for getting a dose of vitamin sea! Bring some cash or a card to support local businesses and if you can, leave the car at home as parking can be a bit of a nightmare on sunny days.
Don’t miss out on an ice cream cone either! (Although, I prefer a tub – less messy! Make sure you ask for raspberry sauce!)
So let’s dive into the best beaches in Edinburgh.
Beaches in Edinburgh You Should Visit
Silverknowes Beach Edinburgh
Silverknowes is the closest beach to Edinburgh.
This underrated beach North-West of Edinburgh has a mix of sand and pebbles.
Access is a bit tough as it involves a long walk through woodland from the bus stand.
The trek is worth the effort as Silverknowes is said to provide some of the best views of the Firth of Forth and beyond of Fife.
The three-mile promenade along Edinburgh’s seafront is popular with hikers and skaters.
Cramond Beach Edinburgh
Looking for nice beaches near Edinburgh?
Look no further!
Cramond Beach enjoys a prime waterfront location on the Firth of Forth from where beachgoers can watch the pretty coastline as they walk along the promenade.
Expect passing ships, quaint fishing villages and hills in the background.
Give sunny Burntisland in Fife a wave!
The beach is only four miles from Edinburgh, and it is advisable to visit during low tide to get the best views of the Firth and the large number of World War II battlements.
The nearby Cramond Gallery Bistro offers excellent home cooked seafood.
You can park at the Newhaven side of the beach or at Miller and Carter at Queensferry Rd and enter via the bridge which will take you through the woods to the waterfront.
→ Read next | Walks in Edinburgh
Portobello Beach Edinburgh
Probably the best beach in Edinburgh if we’re measuring by footfall, Portobello lies three miles from the City Centre.
Portobello, or Porty, shows off a two-mile stretch of pristine sand and a paved vintage promenade.
During the summer, expect to be share space with lots of locals in good as this is a very busy beach when the temps increase.
For food and drink, the promenade boasts ample facilities like an arcade and cafes such as The Beach House, Portobello Beach Bistro and Civerinos Slice.
A few minutes walk from the seafront is Portobello High Street which has more options for lunch and dinner.
The Victorian swimming pool inside the leisure centre has Turkish Baths, which are sure to provide a warmer environment than the seafront during colder months.
Needless to say, Portobello is an excellent family-friendly beach to add to your Edinburgh itinerary.
→ Read Next | Family Friendly Activities in Edinburgh
How to get to Portobello Beach
Although it’s a little out of the centre, it’s easy to reach Portobello Beach by Edinburgh Bus – Lothian Buses run frequent services from the City Centre and beyond.
Lothian 26 is the best bus to use.
For those who require Portobello Beach parking, there is a car park on Bridge Street (EH15 1DH), however, spaces are very limited and on sunny days you are likely to experience difficulty finding a space.
There is also limited on-street, free for parking available.
If you have a bike, you can cycle from Leith or the City Centre.
You may also like our guide to parking in Edinburgh.
Beaches Near Edinburgh in East Lothian
There are two nice beaches of white sand on either side of the harbour in Musselburgh.
The one on the west is Fisherrow Beach.
Open round the year, the area features cafes, playgrounds, toilets and other facilities which are ideal for a day out with the entire family.
Make sure to visit S Luca’s for an ice cream too!
It’s some of the best in the Edinburgh area.
Nine miles out of Edinburgh, lies the rocky beach of Longniddry.
When the sea waters ebb, visitors are greeted with lovely sands which are actually a part of the popular 134-mile John Muir Way coastal walk – one of our featured walks in Edinburgh.
The trio of Forth bridges can be seen on the left, while nature lovers can spend the whole day watching the large number of seabirds which flock to this region.
Located near Craigielaw Golf Course, Gosford Sands is covered with high sand dunes on the edge of crystal clear waters.
Building sandcastles will keep children totally engrossed as you chill out with a good book or a podcast.
For older kids and adults, kite flying is the most enjoyable activity here because of the constant breeze which flows throughout the day.
A number of nesting seabirds can also be spotted here.
Another gorgeous beach in East Lothian with a mixed habitat of sand dunes and marshes which hold a healthy population of wildfowl.
This nature conservancy is also a hot spot for migratory birds, most of which breed here.
There are also of two submarines which become visible during low tide.
Gullane Beach Edinburgh
Gullane is about a 45-minute drive towards North Berwick and is one of the best beaches near Edinburgh.
Expect to see the stunning coastline of East Lothian, a popular summer holiday region for Scots, especially those with campers.
This area makes a good base for exploring the many miles of golden sands, not to mention several world-class golf courses, such as Gullane Golf Club, which dot the coast.
Despite being a bit off the beaten path, Yellowcraigs Beach in East Lothian is worth the visit for those looking to escape the city.
Features like ample parking, long stretches of sand, a less crowded atmosphere and a picturesque lighthouse makes this beach a great draw for visitors.
Children have lovely outdoor areas to play in.
Families can even opt for amazing woodland walks if it gets too cold.
Seacliff Beach Edinburgh
Lying east of North Berwick, the lesser-known Seacliff is a private beach, but well worth the entry fee charged to access it.
There is a small path leading from the car park which will bring you to this stunning hidden gem.
The beach is ideal for surfing and swimming and the adjacent ‘smallest harbour in the UK’ is also worth the visit.
A very popular beach for surfing, Belhaven Bay lies at some distance from Edinburgh Dunbar which is also known as Sunny Dunny!
The beach has won plenty of accolades for the stunning views across the Forth Estuary against the backdrop of the sand dunes along the coast.
Lying within the boundaries of John Muir Country Park, Belhaven is ideal for picnics, hiking and a clifftop walk which passes by the harbour to an old ruined castle.
Dunbar is a fantastic spot for visitors, especially families and waters sports fans.
There’s a surf school by the beach and a golf course next door.
The cute high street has two chip shops and take away shops including Chinese, Indian and Italian.
Love Sweets & Ices sells old school sweets, ice cream and sorbet.
East Links Family Park is a full day out, wee ones love the train they can hop aboard.
Read more about the town in our guide, things to do in Dunbar.
Also referred to as Ravensheugh Sands, this beach has a wild and lovely approach to its huge sandy bay, which offers unparalleled views of the dramatic Bass Rock.
Tyninghame may not have the same allure as its more illustrious neighbours, but it is one charming stretch of sand.
Numerous walks can be had through the woods winding their way around several paths by the beach.
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