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Head north for a sandy paradise

Luskentyre beach on the Isle of Harris

It’s not just surfers who love a beach in Scotland: From the family-friendly beaches at East Lothian and Dumfries and Galloway; to a dog’s dream of running up and down Luss beach in Loch Lomond or the Portobello seafront in Edinburgh; to lazy picnics on the shores in Shetland or Shandwick Bay in the Highlands; there’s something for all on Scotland’s beaches.

With Scotland experiencing its hottest Easter ever in 2019*, and this summer set to bring even warmer days, make the most of it and head to Scotland’s coasts and waters. Here is just a pick of what’s on offer (and don’t forget your sun tan lotion….)

For families

Kippford Beach in Dumfries and Galloway is the perfect seaside retreat for families located at the friendly town of Kippford, near to Castle Douglas, on the Solway Coast. It is certainly unique as the beach is made up almost entirely of cockle shells; so plenty of gems to collect! The coastal walk from Rockcliffe to Kippford is also a great addition to any trip.

Where to stay: Anchor Hotel, Kippford, £98 per family room, bed & breakfast. www.theanchorhotelkippford.co.uk

North Berwick Beach in East Lothian has long been a favourite seaside escape for families, located only 25 miles from Edinburgh City Centre. With plenty of shops, cafes and the Scottish Seabird Centre close by, a trip to the beach at North Berwick is the perfect day out. In addition, it is just a short drive to Yellowcraig Beach at Dirleton which offers a nature trail, a barbeque site and views to the lighthouse on the island of Fidra, built in 1885. It is said Robert Louis Stevenson based his map of Treasure Island on Fidra.

Where to stay: MacDonald Marine Hotel & Spa, North Berwick, £175 per person per night. www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk

Dreamy beaches…

Anyone looking to spend more time snoozing than building sandcastles can visit the picturesque Shandwick Bay, located between the villages of Shandwick and Balintore in Scotland’s Highlands. Head to the harbour in Balintore to the north and spot the town’s Mermaid of the North statue.

Where to stay: Balintore Inn, Balintore, from £45 per person per night based on a shared room. Tel: (01862) 850328

More lazy days can be spent lying on a deck chair at Spiggie beach at Scousburgh in Shetland. Perhaps not as well as well-known as some other Scottish beaches, it is still a popular spot for taking scenic pictures, with views to Rerwick bay. In the past, Spiggie beach was famous for being lined with Yoals – salted fish was an essential part of the Shetland diet.

Where to stay: The Spiggie Guest House in Scousburgh, prices from £120 per room based on two people sharing. www.spiggie.co.uk

Pawsome shores….

Pups will have great fun splashing around on the beach at Luss in Loch Lomond, with their owners having plenty of dog-friendly cafes close by to choose from, including the Coach House Coffee Shop.

Where to stay: Loch Lomond Arms Hotel, Luss, prices from £195 per night for the self-catering cottages, based on two people sharing with a dog. http://lochlomondarmshotel.com/

All the savvy dogs in Edinburgh know to head to the city’s Portobello Beach for a great run about, with two miles of sand to sniff and explore. With spectacular views off towards Fife, and plenty of restaurants and bars to visit, human friends will also be kept happy.

Where to stay: Principal on George Street, Edinburgh, prices from £140 per room per night based on two people sharing with a £30 supplement for staying with a dog. https://www.phcompany.com/principal/edinburgh-george-street/

It might be a favourite beauty spot for humans, but Luskentyre beach is also the perfect spot for four-legged friends with beautiful sands that stretch for miles, and clear blue sea for getting paws wet.

Where to stay: Dog-friendly Laxdale Cottage at Borve Lodge Estate, a 10-minute drive from Luskentyre beach, which sleeps five with prices from £429 for four nights. http://borvelodge.com/room/laxdale-cottage/

Everybody’s gone surfin’…

Surfers’ favourite Tiree is the most westerly island in the Inner Hebrides. Lovingly referred to as the ‘Hawaii of the north’, Tiree is perfectly placed to catch the swell from the North Atlantic, with year-round, consistent waves to catch. The island’s many white sandy beaches face every direction, so even if the waves aren’t quite right for surfing on one bay, they’re likely to be ideal on another. There are also plenty of local surfing schools to cater for all levels.

Where to stay: Rockvale Guest House, Tiree, prices from £90 per room per night based on two people sharing. www.rockvaletiree.co.uk

Thurso in Caithness is also an ideal place to hit the waves, as the northerly tip of the Scottish mainland is known for providing the most consistent and best quality waves.

Where to stay: Forss House Hotel, near Thurso, from £135 per night for two people, bed & breakfast. www.forsshousehotel.co.uk

For more on Scotland’s beaches, head to www.visitscotland.com/beaches

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