the Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth
a couple walking on Gullane Beach
the beach at North Berwick © Kenny Lam
Yellowcraig beach © Kenny Lam
From empty beaches and unspoilt nature reserves to quaint fishing villages and seaside resorts, there is plenty to discover around Edinburgh and the Lothians. Edinburgh enjoys spectacular coastal scenery thanks to its location on the mighty Firth of Forth.
This award-winning and extensive beach is part of the John Muir Country Park in East Lothian. Stretching from the village of Belhaven to the north of the River Tyne, it is fringed by low, sheltering sand dunes, rich salt marsh and colourful grasslands. A great beach for walking, having picnics and sunbathing, it is the ideal place to enjoy the views across the Forth Estuary and watch surfers – this is the best place to catch a wave in the region.
Not far from North Berwick lies this hidden gem of a beach, ideal if you want to avoid the crowds. Discover the tiny red sandstone harbour, thought to be the smallest in the UK, and enjoy the splendid views of Bass Rock and the ruins of Tantallon Castle.
Enjoy the long stretch of sandy beach alongside the pretty seaside town of North Berwick. This is a pleasant old-fashioned seaside town complete with Victorian villas, fishing boats, ice cream parlours and fish n’ chip shops. For the keen golfer there is also a great links course with stunning views of Bass Rock.
This long sandy beach is popular with families and dog walkers. There's loads of room for the kids to run about, fly a kite or enjoy a game of football, with great views over the Firth of Forth to Fife and the island of Fidra.
Despite its urban location, Portobello still retains its traditional seaside charm, and you can still buy crepes and ice cream on the promenade and peruse the old fashioned sweetie shops. Just a few miles from the city centre, Portobello offers city slickers the chance to relax in the outdoors - and on a hot summer's day, the beach is popular with swimmers and sunbathers.
The suburb of Cramond still retains its fishing village feel, complete with a quant row of whitewashed houses. The small beach is a popular choice with Edinburgh residents who head here to walk and cycle on the beachside paths and offers a splendid view of the Firth of Forth.
Head to the pretty village of Gullane, about 20 miles east of Edinburgh, to enjoy the award-winning beach and golf courses. Golf has been played here since 1854, and today there are three courses, all offering great views across East Lothian, Edinburgh and the Forth.
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Edinburgh and the Lothians sits on the eastern side of Scotland's central belt, in the heart of the country.