The White Sandy Beaches Of Scotland
Shells on the beach
Imagine yourself relaxing on stunning white sands against the back drop of jaw-dropping rugged mountains and with a view of beautiful islands out to a crisp blue sea. Heaven; open your eyes, where do you think you are? Somewhere on the European mainland? Perhaps Asia or even the USA? Wrong, welcome to Scotland.
The north of the UK might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of a beach holiday, but despite the obvious lack of sunshine it is still an incredible place to visit. Scotland is home to more than 50 beaches with flag awards, seven of which boast the prestigious blue flag.
The north of Scotland is well known for its rugged landscape and stark solitary beaches. The turbulent waves of the Atlantic Ocean have battered the coastline, leaving behind dramatic cliffs and moody skies.
Sandwood Bay Beach
The powerful sea meets a mile and a half stretch of beautiful sands against a backdrop of sand dunes and a striking sea stack.
Getting there: There is some effort involved, as you’ll need to park up just over four miles away in the Blairmore car park and head over on foot.
Where to stay: There’s a great little spot in Kinlochbervie called Shegra Wild Camping. Don’t expect any fancy facilities, but it’s a clean place to stop for the night before moving on somewhere else.
This beach has some of the whitest sands on the planet, which look even more spectacular when contrasted with the bright blue waters.
Getting there: Follow the A830 “Road to the Isles” until you are just a few miles south of Malliag; you’ll come to a car park after passing over the low dunes.
Where to stay: The Camusdarach campsite is just a few short minutes from the beach, offering incredible panoramic views but with good shelter thanks to the mature trees.
The east coast of Scotland is perhaps lesser known for its beaches than the west, but these shores do still have a certain charm. The rocky shores and sandstone cliffs are incredibly vast and largely untouched by humans.
Horses on the beach
Seacliff, East Lothian
The most popular beach on the east coast is undoubtedly North Berwick, but if you want to avoid all the usual tourist tat, head a few miles further to Seacliff. This beautiful beach looks north towards Bass Rock and sits at the base of Tantallon Castle.
Getting there: head down the A198, about half a mile south of Tantallon Castle visitor centre take the sharp turning down a private road. You will be directed to the left onto a track to the car park.
Where to stay: Head back to North Berwick and park up the van at Gisland Caravan Park, where you’ll find a number of motorhome pitches.
A lovely August day on Tentsmuire Sands
This beach is over three miles long, stretching right from the Tay estuary down the River Eden and backs onto the beautiful pine forest.
Getting there: take the Tay Road toll bridge, turn onto the A914 towards Leuchers, and then follow signs to Kinshaldy. The beach is found down a road through Tentsmuir Forest.
Where to stay: A few miles from the beach and back towards Dundee, you will find Tayview Caravan & Camping Park.
The climate is much warmer on the west coastthan the north and east, so there is a lot more rain, but this only leads to lush tropical greens as well as the traditional coastline.
Sanna Bay, Ardnamurchan. White sands, Aqua water
Sanna Bay, Ardnamurchan
This gorgeous white sandy beach is situated at the most westerly point of mainland Britain. You will be greeted by huge sand dunes and spectacular sweeping bays.
Getting there: the roads are narrow and a little rough but the 45 minute trip to Sanna Bay is well worth it.
Where to stay: A quaint campsite with just five pitches for motorhomes and campervans called Fair View Campsite in Ardnamurchan.
Traigh Ban nam Monach, Iona
Traigh Ban nam Monach, Iona
This is the cream of the crop when it comes to beaches on Iona. Traigh Ban nam Monarch (Gaelic for “white strand of the monks”) is a beautiful stretch of isolated white sand.
Getting there: Turn right out from the ferry terminal and head straight past the Abbey, continuing until you stumbles across the glistening shells of the beach.
Where to stay: At the other end of the small Isle of Iona you will find Cnoc-Oran, a small campsite with basic facilities and cheap nightly rates.