Scotland’s coastline has lots of beaches for everyone to enjoy and the best part is, so many of them are easily reached by train.
Pack a picnic, grab a towel and hop on the rails as we whisk you away for a fabulous day at the seaside.
With summer within touching distance and lots more sunny, brighter days ahead, being able to visit the beach again is definitely one of life’s pleasures. Everything feels better by the sea with the golden sand between your toes, the water glistening and the salty air blowing through your hair.
So if a day at the beach is on your list this summer, let us help you out with a few of our favourites:
Up the coast from Dundee you’ll find the popular seaside town of Arbroath. It’s a popular place for people looking for a holiday in Scotland with gorgeous views, a great beach and plenty to keep the whole family entertained.
It’s less than a miles’ walk from the train station to the beach. On the way you’ll pass the town harbour where you may spot some Arbroath Smokies over the smoking barrel – the town is famous for these local delicacies and featured in the winning fish dish on BBC2’s Great British Menu, 2021.
The Arbroath Signal Tower Museum is worth a visit – it’s Britain’s oldest surviving rock lighthouse. Inside the museum, you can learn all about its history including tales of the lighthouse and its lighthouse keepers and their families. The museum is open on a Friday and a Saturday between 10am and 2pm.
Next stop is Pleasureland, an indoor fun fair and amusement arcade. Please check before you travel to make sure it is open during your visit. Once you finally manage to tempt the kids out of there, just step over to the beach seafront for more family-fun. It’s got an outdoor paddling pool, miniature golf, an adventure play area and a skate park.
Image credit: VisitScotland/ Kenny Lam
When those summer days hit, where you feel you could be living in a tropical climate, Ayr beach is one of the most popular beaches to visit. During the summer months, the huge, golden sandy beach is filled with families and groups of friends building sandcastles, enjoying picnics, paddling in the water or kicking a ball around.
The grassy seafront area is also a popular spot for picnics (without the sandy sandwiches), sunbathing and playing ball games.
Getting to Ayr beach by train is really easy. There are frequent services running from Glasgow Central that take around 55 minutes. It’s then just a short signposted walk from the station to the seafront.
Troon beach is always a good choice – especially when the sun’s out. Regular trains run from Glasgow taking around 40 minutes, and the beach is just a few minutes’ walk from station – making this seaside town really easy to reach.
From the beautiful curved bay, you can see right out to the Isle of Arran and the Mull of Kintyre. There’s a brilliant playpark for kids and some lovely gardens on the seafront as well as the spacious white sandy beach.
No trip to the seaside is complete without an ice cream and Troon has some of the best. The Ice Cream Factory always has incredible flavours available and serves great coffee too. If you watch Antique’s Road Trip, you may have spotted the shop in a recent episode shown in May 2021.
Image credit: VisitScotland/ Paul Tomkins
Back on the east coast, Aberdeen’s long, golden, sandy beach is always a pleasure to visit. Once you arrive into Aberdeen train station, it’s a lovely 20-minute stroll through the Granite City to get to the beach. If you don’t fancy getting the sand between your toes or in your shoes, the promenade is the perfect place to enjoy the beachfront from. It’s not unusual to spot a dolphin or two from here either!
As well as enjoying the beach, there are plenty of other options to enjoy too.
Codonas Amusement Park is one of the most famous family-run funfairs in Scotland boasting fun-fair rides, arcades, bowling, and a cinema. While there are some Government restrictions still in place, please check their website before you travel to make sure that if there’s a specific activity you want to do, that it’s open.
The unpredictable Scottish weather means locals often joke that a trip to Aberdeen beach requires a winter coat and sun cream – you just don’t know which one you’ll need. Either way, you’re sure to have a great day out!
Image credit: VisitScotland
Kinghorn Beach, Fife
There are lots of gorgeous beaches found along Fife’s coastline, most of them within a short walk of the local train station. It’s really difficult to choose a favourite but on this occasion, we’re going to go for Kinghorn Beach. If you fancy reading more about another Fife beach – Silver Sands, Aberdour – have a read of this blog post .
Just minutes after stepping off the train in Kinghorn, you can find yourself with your toes in the sand of the Harbour Beach in Kinghorn. It’s as pretty as a postcard with views out over the Forth towards Edinburgh and the Lothians. During the summer months the beach can get busy but there’s still usually plenty of space to keep some distance from other people. Once you’ve had enough playing in the sand, taking a dip or exploring the rock pools, you can take a wander along one of the paths leading up into the cliffs behind the beach. From here you can enjoy some gorgeous views!
This picturesque seaside town is just 30 minutes from Edinburgh by train and feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city. As well as the beautiful waterfront and sandy beach, the Scottish Seabird Centre is worth a visit. The five-star attraction lets you peak into the natural habitats of the local wildlife using interactive live cameras. Between Easter and Autumn, you can add on a boat trip to sail around Craigleith and Bass Rock to see puffins and gannets. It’s such a special experience! Please visit their website to book your visit and your boat trip in advance.
Like most Scottish seaside towns, ice cream and fish and chip shops are in abundance in North Berwick. But here you’ll also find chic coffee shops and tearooms as well as quirky boutiques for taking home something special.
Image credit: VisitScotland / Grant Paterson