From the quiet traditional fishing villages to vibrant seaside resorts, Scotland has a kaleidoscope of ever-changing reasons to head to the coast. So find your favourite seafront spot and simply sit with an ice-cream and breathe in that sea air...


It takes some effort to get to Ullapool but it’s well worth the time spent getting there. Although Inverness is only an hour’s drive to the south, the town really feels like a proper escape and the word “unspoilt” in this case can be used truthfully. Ullapool is certainly one for the outdoor types, with some of the most beautiful and varied walking routes in the country. There are nature reserves and the views across Loch Broom are tempting enough to board a ferry and head off to Stornoway. There are galleries and museums for those who prefer to enjoy the indoors and the town has a charm that leads visitors to head to estate agents’ windows and dream.

The Herald:


One of the most popular family holiday destinations for generations, Largs still has a big pull for day trippers or short breakers looking for traditional seaside fun. There is much more that nostalgia here, however. Largs has maintained everything that has made it so popular over the years and added attractions for the next generation of visitors – then again children are always happy with ice-cream and Largs does this very well. There are traditional putting, bowls, play parks and a museum, Vikingar!, devoted to the town’s Viking heritage. Have a wander around to admire the yachts at the marina or head south to the more pebbled shore where the Pencil Monument stands with more Viking connections. This commemorates the Battle of Largs 1263 when King Haco of Norway’s troops were defeated by the Scots warriors on the shore.

The Herald:


Rothesay really is a grand old lady – always smart and beautifully turned out. The frontage of Bute’s Victorian seaside resort is unapologetically traditional and all the more attractive for it. 

There are still all the favourite elements of a seaside break here with ice-cream and fish and chips at favourite establishments like Zavaroni’s. Modern developments have been added sympathetically, with the Isle of Bute Discovery Centre housed in a stunning 1920s building of glass and cast iron, known as the Winter Gardens. 

Inside there’s a cinema, theatre and interactive displays that are a great introduction to exploring the rest of the island. Even further back time is Rothesay Castle and alongside it sits Bute Museum, so the cultural offering is impressive.

The Herald:


Visitors to Anstruther will find out pretty quickly it’s much more than a quick stop-off for the multi award-winning fish and chips at the Anstruther Fish Bar. Part of that pretty, unparalleled run of villages that stud the East Neuk of Fife, Anstruther’s link with fishing goes back centuries. And here fishermen still land their catches, providing the freshest fish and seafood, not only to be fried and enjoyed sitting at the harbour but for the best restaurants in the area.

Boat trips to the Isle of May have begun and run until September – who doesn’t love a puffin? Also if the romance of the harbour appeals, then the Scottish Fisheries Museum will give you the whole story. Twin your visit with a trip to Cellardyke. Both of these villages have the properly unspoilt atmosphere that a quiet break away needs.

The Herald:


For many years people saw Portpatrick as simply the destination to board a ferry to jump off to Northern Ireland. Now it’s recognised on its own merits, as a beautiful seaside village with the houses painted in pastel hues on a small bay that are obviously a great photo spot for every visitor.

It’s peaceful. It’s a destination for people who want to relax and enjoy great food and a gentle pint after a stroll to Dunskey Castle. There is a much longer stroll for the more active, with the Southern Upland Way starting here and continuing until it reaches the east coast at Cockburnspath.

The Herald:


Crossing water to arrive anywhere is always rather thrilling. When it’s the island of Arran and its main village Brodick there’s always a treat in store. It’s the busiest village on the island and the ideal location to base any short break while you explore the island. From the beach to the challenge of Goatfell, Brodick is naturally made for the outdoor life. There’s also tailor-made activities such as an 18-hole golf course and a putting green.

History buffs have Brodick Castle and Gardens and for those who just want to escape to the island and relax there are spas and excellent artisan shopping opportunities. Brodick packs a huge punch for such a small area, particularly when it comes to food and drink. It’s a short break on its own.

The Herald:


Arbroath has a long association with fishing. The harbour is still pretty busy and the greatest export of the largest town in Angus has to be the famous, and always tasty, smokie.

For the uninitiated, this is haddock, which is smoke-cured over oak chips. The smell of the smokie is in the air once you reach the harbour – called the ‘Fit o’ the Toon’ and where the cottages still stand. The history of the town draws visitors who visit Arbroath Abbey and who want to see where the Declaration was signed – the one here is a facsimile but it’s all about context!

There’s a beautiful walk along red sandstone cliffs, and for the particularly energetic there’s a walk of about 90 minutes to the village of Auchmithie, with its pebbled beach and the But n Ben restaurant with its famous Arbroath Smokie pancake – as well as many other tasty goodies.

The Herald:


Often overlooked for other destinations on the Ayrshire coast, Girvan has its own quiet confidence and will always show visitors who give it the chance a rather lovely time. Of course, Ailsa Craig is just offshore but turn inland to the hills and there are some of the most amazing walking trails in the Carrick Forest. The McKechnie Institute in the town centre is a fascinating insight into the culture and the life of the town since the Seventeenth Century. Of course, who wouldn’t be tempted to visit somewhere called the Stumpy Tower? This was originally a prison, but today it’s the perfect place to find out more about the history of this town, before grabbing an ice-cream and hitting the beach.

The Herald:


If it’s good enough for the king of comedy… Follow in the footsteps of Charlie Chaplin and take the air on the promenade at Nairn, his preferred Highland getaway from his home in Switzerland when he was in his 70s. Nairn is also home to actor Tilda Swinton, who also enjoys the escape and quiet. The town, overlooking the Moray Firth across to the Black Isle, Cromarty and Sutherland, has always attracted visitors looking for a slightly more refined experience. East Beach stretches towards Culbin Forest, the Central Beach is at the harbour and promenade, and the West Beach, a quiet spot for wild swimmers and access to Whiteness Point and the Secret Beach. 

Learn more about the town at Nairn Museum or head to the annual three-day Taste of Nairn festival, home of the World Scone Championship.

The Herald:


The name John Muir hangs in the air here and rightly so. It’s home to the start (or the end) of the coast-to-coast Way named after the naturalist who was known as “Father of the National Parks” in the US. There is also the John Muir Country Park, a nature reserve and a perfect place to enjoy the countryside around the town and, of course, the coastline.

The East Lothian town looks out over the North Sea and benefits from that sunnier east coast disposition weather wise. It’s a true family destination with the East Links Family Park and the water-based fun of Foxlake Adventures. For the history buffs, Dunbar also has its ancient corners where some of our most iconic moments across the centuries have happened. Many places claim to have something for everyone but Dunbar can truly stick its picturesque hand up for that one.