8 of the best beach picnic spots in Scotland

While we don’t often get the weather to enjoy Scotland’s beautiful beaches, when the sun is shining there’s nothing better than a seaside picnic.

Aberdeen beach is a great place to spot bottlenose dolphins in the summer. (Image: Shutterstock)
Aberdeen beach is a great place to spot bottlenose dolphins in the summer. (Image: Shutterstock)

From city shores to island beauty spots and surfer hangouts, here’s our round-up of some of the most picturesque beaches for picnics in Scotland.

St Ninians Isle beach, Shetland.

This beach is a large, natural sand causeway that links the south mainland with St Ninians Isle. With sea on either side, you’ll have spectacular ocean views no matter where you decide to set up shop.

Surfers take to the water all year round at Coldingham Bay (Image: Getty Images)

West Beach, Berneray

This three-mile long beach is home to grassy borders filled with rare orchids. In 2009, a picture of the beach was mistakenly used for a Thai resort, proving that with its white sand and dazzling turquoise water, Scotland can be a tropical paradise. This beach also has access to public toilets.

The Silver Sands Of Morar, West Highlands

For fans of the Scottish film Local Hero, this series of beautiful beaches along the coast from Arisaig to Morar is a must-visit, so crack open the snacks and enjoy the views. A favourite among dog walkers, these beaches are perfect for sharing your picnic with your pooch. There is a small car park with toilet facilities on the B8008 just south of Morar.

This famous beach made it to the opening scenes of Chariots of Fire (Image: Shutterstock)

Aberdeen Beach, Aberdeen

A proper picnic beach, Aberdeen beach boasts one of the best locations in Scotland to watch bottlenose dolphins in the summer. Only a short distance away from the city centre of Aberdeen, the beach is close to many amenities such as cafes, restaurants and even a cinema if the unpredictable Scottish weather decides to take a turn for the worse.

Uig, Lewis

Listen up chess enthusiasts: this beach is the discovery site of the world’s most famous chess set. Found here in the 19th-century, the ornate chess pieces dating back to the 12th century are carved from walrus ivory and are thought to have viking origins. They constitute some of the few surviving medieval chess sets. Why not pack a travel chess set and have a game between sandwiches?

The perfectly picturesque Uig was also the discovery site of some very famous chess pieces (Image: Shutterstock)

There are public toilets here as well as showers that cost £1 if you’re looking to shake off some sand before heading home, and a community shop is situated nearby if you’re in need of extra refreshments.

Coldingham Bay, Eyemouth

This is a beach for the surfers who are willing to brave the water all year round. As well as being a hotspot for catching waves, it’s also perfect for little ones who can be entertained by hermit crabs in the rock pools and butterflies thanks to the coastal grassland. For those looking to work off some of their picnic treats why not try getting in the water before tucking in for lunch?

Situated close to St Abbs village and harbour, Coldingham Bay has many facilities on hand to ensure that you have everything needed for your beach visit.

Sandwood Bay, Northwest Sutherland

Considered one of Britain’s most unspoilt beaches, picture-perfect Sandwood Bay is accessible on foot only, via a four-mile path from the carpark at Blairmore.

You’ll be able to enjoy a well-deserved picnic when you get there, admiring pink-hued sand and absorbing the ancient surroundings. Some of the rocks around the beach are amongst the oldest in the world, even dating as far back as to when the Highlands were connected to North America. How many beaches can claim that?

West Sands Beach, St Andrews

Another famous beach, West Sands is recognisable from the opening scene of Chariots of Fire. The perfectly picturesque beach extends for almost two miles and has a golf course for those looking to tee up after lunch.

With car parking available and located just a 15 minute walk from St Andrews town centre, West Sands beach is an easily accessible picnic destination.