Beyond the castle: Edinburgh’s seaside getaways

Rocco Forte Hotels

Edinburgh is famed for its storied past, hearty food, and thrumming cultural scene. From Edinburgh Castle to the lively Princes Street where The Balmoral has stood for over a century, it’s no surprise that the city’s coastal charm is often overlooked.

Yet, just a short journey from the city’s cobblestone lanes, Edinburgh’s sandy shores offer a serene, and salty, escape. Within just an hour’s drive from The Balmoral, discover our selection of Edinburgh’s finest beaches, and whittle away those languid summer days with cool dips, fish and chips, and stirring sea views. 

Cramond Beach

22-minute drive from The Balmoral 

This quiet beach offers a retreat that feels worlds away from the capital’s clamour. Framed by a quaint village where whitewashed houses gaze out over the Firth of Forth, this sandy stretch - one of Scotland’s earliest settlements - blends history with natural beauty. As the tide recedes, a historic causeway is revealed, leading adventurous souls to Cramond Island. The village itself is adorned with cosy cafes and winding paths, perfect for a warm drink after a brisk walk along the promenade.

Portobello Beach 

23-minute drive from The Balmoral 

Affectionately known as ‘Porty Beach’, Portobello Beach is Edinburgh’s quintessential seaside retreat. The beach bursts into life on sunny days, drawing crowds to its sprawling two-kilometre stretch of golden sands. The lively promenade is the heartbeat of the area, lined with amusement arcades and the historic charm of Turkish Baths, offering a glimpse into the coastal traditions of yesteryear. Nearby, The Epsy - a local favourite - entices with fresh seafood, juicy burgers, and glittering sea views. 


North Berwick 

50-minute drive from The Balmoral

Trade the city’s hustle for the soothing sea breezes of North Berwick, a picturesque haven along the East Lothian coastline. This locale is home to Misley Bay and West Beach, a serene setting ideal for dramatic coastal walks or ascending Law Hill for sweeping views towards the mysterious Bass Rock. Its High Street, the beating heart of this seaside town, is alive with an array of independent shops, cosy cafes, and eclectic galleries like the Fidra Fine Art, celebrating local Scottish talents. Whether soaking up the sunshine, tackling exhilarating hill climbs, or browsing boutiques, this idyllic destination delights at every turn. 

Silver Sands 

1 hour drive from The Balmoral or a 30-minute train ride from Edinburgh Waverley.

Journey to Silver Sands at Aberdour, where the shores shimmer with their namesake silver sands and open onto majestic views of the Firth of Forth and its enchanting islands, Inchcolm and Inchmickery islands. On sunny days, the shoreline buzzes with excitement as children conquer the famous bouncy castle, while the nippy waters invite kayakers and windsurfers to slice through the gentle waves. Adding to its charm, the beach is backed by woodlands, providing a lovely spot for picnics under the sun-dappled shade of trees.

As the sun dips, you’ll find your way back to the city, leaving behind the wild beauty of Edinburgh’s beaches. Returning sunkissed and lulled, The Balmoral awaits with a warm welcome.

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