About Seacliff beaches
You don’t have to venture as far as the Hebrides or the northwest coast to find a beautiful Scottish beach. One of the most beguiling beaches is Seacliff, only 45km (28 miles) from Edinburgh.
Sandy Seacliff is overlooked by the dramatic 14th-century ruins of Tantallon Castle. To the north is miniscule Seacliff Harbour, which is only 12m (39ft) across at its widest point and 2m (6ft) across at the entrance – a wonderfully sheltered haven that was carved out of the rock in Victorian times. From the beach you can see the hulking figure of Bass Rock, an offshore lump of volcanic rock which hosts the world’s largest rock gannet colony. To the east is the stone cross of St Baldred’s Beacon, which seems to rise out of the sea, and commemorates a hermit who lived on Bass Rock. The beach itself is backed by dense woodland, and has no facilities.
There are plenty more beaches along this stretch of coast, including wild Aberlady Bay with its nature reserve and wrecked WWII submarines off the coast. The village of Gullane has a manicured golf course and long stretches of sand. But, if you want a beach with candyfloss and tearooms, make your way to North Berwick, a traditional seaside town 5km (3miles) west, which has two sandy beaches either side of its harbour.
Beyond the beach:
For a contrast from the beach, meander around Edinburgh, a richly textured, aesthetically lovely city, taking in its many sights, from the impressive castle to the majesty of its mountain: Arthur’s Seat. The ‘Festival City’ buzzes with life year round, be it the fireworks and concerts of the world famous New Year Hogmanay street party or the flurry of arts extravaganzas that burst through the cobbled streets of the old and new towns during the Edinburgh Festival in August.
With its ruins, islands and carved-out, tiny harbour, Seacliff is a great beach to let the imagination roam, but visitors can also canoe, dive, sail or surf – this can be arranged through various local organisations, including Edinburgh Diving Centre (www.edinburghdiving.co.uk) and South Gyle Royal Yachting Association (www.rya.org.uk). North Berwick sells itself as the ‘Golf Coast’, so golfers will be more than content.
Dust the sand off your toes and dine at Michelin-starred, sleek and chic, The Kitchin (www.thekitchin.com) on Edinburgh’s waterfront. Tom Kitchin has trained under Alain Ducasse, amongst others, and his refined menu combines Scottish ingredients with French finesse.