Each year EventScotland celebrates a certain aspect of our country and culture, and 2020 is the year of Scottish coasts and waters. Scotland has one of the most wonderful coastlines in the world, and with all our lochs and islands, and even restaurants and water sports, we certainly have plenty to celebrate.

Loch Lomond

Let’s start with the big one. Loch Lomond is one of Scotland’s most beautiful areas, spanning 27 square miles, which makes it the largest lake by surface area in the British Isles. Every inch of the waterfront and its surrounding hills are worth exploring, made easy by myriad walking trails and ferry cruises.

For a luxurious night away, the Cameron Club Lodges sit on the south west bank and are the perfect getaway location. The luxurious lodges come with access to a spa and swimming pool with views of Loch Lomond below. The Boat House restaurant is just a 10-minute drive south, and serves everything from afternoon tea to steaks.

St Ninian’s Isle, Shetland

The Shetland Isles offer many wonderful sights but perhaps the most impressive of all is the beach of St Ninian’s Isle. It connects the smaller island to Shetland’s mainland, forming a bridge of sand that cuts directly through the ocean.

The beach is like something from a fairy tale, and you’ll feel like you’re walking on water as the ocean bubbles on either side. Add in the golden sand and scenic islands and the perfect backdrop is formed.

For an extra dose of natural beauty, head all the way across to St Ninian’s Isle. As it’s only accessible by foot, via the beach, climbing onto the island is like stepping back in time.

Martin Wishart Restaurant, Edinburgh

Located on Edinburgh’s The Shore, overlooking the Water of Leith, Martin Wishart is a Michelin-star restaurant that offers the best of Scottish seafood. It received the prestigious star in 2001 and has retained it since, while also earning a plethora of other awards including numerous mentions in lists of Britain’s best restaurants.

The interior is bright and as fresh as their menu, which is updated each season to ensure only the best Scottish ingredients are used. It all combines to create a fantastic meal that overlooks the quaint Port of Leith, whose historic buildings create picture-perfect views as they reflect in the peaceful water.

Lochan Urr, Glen Etive

While Lochan Urr is off the beaten path, located in Glen Etive, its scenery makes it well worth the effort. There are magnificent views at every turn as if plucked straight from a painting. Snow-capped mountains stand above forests and pastures, all pulled together by the stunning lochan.

The “Ultimate Scottish Getaway” country house is the perfect place to retreat from the chaotic modern world and is located a 15-minute drive south of Lochan Urr. This 19th century lodge acts as the perfect basecamp for Glen Etive exploration, and 2012’s Skyfall was filmed just down the road.

For the wild at heart, a 15-minute drive north will take you to the River Etive past Dalness, where white water kayakers can challenge one of the most intense routes in Scotland.

Lewis, Outer Hebrides

There’s not enough space to list all of Lewis’s attractions, but here’s some highlights. At the northernmost point of the island stands the Butt of Lewis Lighthouse. Standing over 120 feet tall, the red brick lighthouse is somewhat unique in that it’s not painted white.

A ten-minute drive south is Loch Stiapabhat local nature reserve, and its observatory is the perfect place to view some wonderful wildlife. Further south, on the east coast, lies Garry Beach, which features wonderful sands with immense rock formations.

The perfect place to stay on Lewis is in its largest town, Stornoway, and why not do so in style at Lews Castle, a 19th century building with views of the ocean, and a 15-minute walk from the town centre. During your visit, be sure to try fresh local seafood at Harbour Kitchen, or enjoy a meal with entertainment at An Lanntair arts centre.

Loch Bay Restaurant, Skye

On the north west coast of Skye’s Waternish peninsula is the Michelin-starred Loch Bay restaurant. It earned the star recently, in 2018, through its welcoming environment and magnificent modern Scottish menu.

If you want to embrace the Coasts and Waters theme, Loch Bay offers a seafood degustation that allows the sampling of the very best fresh Scottish seafood. A three-course meal is also available though, with meat, fish, and vegetarian options.

Loch Bay is right on the seafront in the quiet village of Stein, creating a relaxing environment that transfers into the comfortable and casual restaurant.


What better way to explore the waters of Scotland than by diving below the surface? There are many opportunities to do so across the country, even for those with no experience at all.

Why not start in the beautiful town of Oban, where diving lessons are on offer at the Puffin Dive Centre? One-on-one training sessions are available for beginners, but if you enjoy the experience then they do advanced courses as well.

Once the training’s done, the world is your oyster. The Puffin Dive Centre offers trips to the Sound of Mull and Garvellachs; you can uncover sunken warships at Scapa Flow in Orkney; and swim through underwater arches at St Abbs.

Aberdeen Beach

A lot of these amazing lochs and coasts are far off the beaten path, but Aberdeen Beach provides the perfect blend of busy and beauty. Over three kilometres of sand stretches from Aberdeen harbour to the River Don’s mouth, all within walking distance of the city.

Close to the harbour sits Footdee, a quiet former fishing village that seems worlds away from the rest of the busy city. The quirky streets are oozing with personality and well worth seeing yet not well known, making it one of Scotland’s best kept secrets.

The more obvious attractions are here too though: a leisure centre, fun fair, retail park, and of course a wide selection of cafés and restaurants. For good food right on the beachfront, try Sand Dollar Café or The Pier.

Loch Ness

Loch Ness is famous for many reasons. The elusive Loch Ness monster is said to roam its waters, and it’s Britain’s largest lake by volume, containing more fresh water than every lake in England and Wales combined.

It’s the lesser known aspects of Loch Ness that make it so special though. Explore some of its walking trails up Meall Fuar-mhonaidh, the highest nearby hill that boasts stunning views of the entire loch, and you can even see Ben Nevis to the south and Inverness to the north.

If you fancy a more relaxed way to see the sights, a number of boat trips run across Loch Ness and to Urquhart Castle.

The perfect place to stay while exploring Loch Ness is the village of Drumnadrochit on its western shore. The Morlea is a homely bed and breakfast right in the town centre, matching the quiet and comfortable atmosphere that Drumnadrochit as a whole provides.

Plockton, Wester Ross

Plockton sits on the shores of Loch Carron, in Wester Ross, with its main street directly overlooking the water and mountains beyond. There are picturesque views at every turn, and bikes and boats are both available to rent to fully explore the area.

The village itself is utterly charming. The general store sells everything you’d need day by day; the Studio artist’s gallery sells local crafts, art, and jewellery; and the latest newspapers, magazines and a selection of gifts are available at the paper shop. You can even buy freshly caught seafood at the pier each day when the boats come in.

It’s no wonder that Plockton earned the nickname: The Jewel of the Highlands and was the star of TV show Hamish Macbeth