We have been on the lookout for the best surf spots in Scotland and are excited to share them today. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced surfer, there are some great coastal locations around the country that serve up brilliant wave conditions and long beaches to ride into. Just remember the temperatures are usually chilly in Scotland, so bring your wetsuit and a warm jumper to change into!
The best surfing beaches in Scotland
Anyone of any age can be a surfer; all you need are the basic skills, an outgoing nature, and a willingness to get flung into the water every so often when it goes a bit wrong! When surfing the ocean, you can see the coastline from a whole new perspective, and this is what makes the sport so special, especially in Scotland where the coastline is so picturesque.
Here are what we think are some of the best surfing beaches in Scotland…
Thurso is located on the north coast of the Scottish Highlands, and Thurso East beach is the most popular spot in Scotland for those looking for a great day of surfing. Benefiting from North Atlantic swells rolling into the bay, the waves here are incredible and offer a great water playground for you to practice your moves on. This place is known for its world-class waves!
The beach is situated at the mouth of the River Thurso and has a lovely view of Thurso Castle, which sits proudly on the shore. There have been many international competitions held here including O’Neill Highland Open WQS surfing competition. Just round the corner is Dunnet Bay where there is a company called Coast to Coast Surf School that offers surfing instruction and board hire.
Other beaches close by that are good for surfing:
- Brimms Ness Point
- Murkle Point
- Sandside Bay
If you want to come up and play on your surfboard, then why not make the most of it and stay in a self-catering cottage? We have some great northern Scotland cottages which would make the perfect base for a surfing holiday.
Whitesands is a secluded beach in a rural setting south of North Berwick, in the area of Lothian. Sitting on the east coast, the beach gets a lot of early morning sunshine, and being cuddled by rocks at each end means the waves build up and create great swells and surfing conditions.
The beach here is beautiful, with a generous stretch of white sand, and when the tide goes out there are lots of rockpools to explore for those who are not partaking in the water. The grassy sand dunes behind the beach are home to lots of sea birds and coastal wildflowers, making this a great spot for wildlife enthusiasts.
If you want to surf on Whitesands and are looking for a self-catering cottage to stay in, then take a look at our collection of North Berwick cottages which are close by and within easy access of Whitesands as well as Canty Bay, West Bay and Milsey Bay.
This is a lovely, sheltered beach, slightly further south on the east coast in the Scottish Borders. Located within the St Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve, it is a wonderful spot for those who love nature and wildlife, with many rock pools offering up some of the ocean’s smallest creatures. Hermit crabs and starfish are amongst the many found here.
The waves do not get enormous, but the bay makes for a gentle place to surf when the wind gets up. As well as surfing, there are lots of coastal walks to be enjoyed, and it is a great spot for twitchers, with lots of cliff-nesting birds in the surrounding rocks.
Close by is the village of St Abbs where you will be able to pick up light refreshments after an energetic day of surfing on Coldingham Bay. Stay close by in one of our Scottish Borders cottages.
St Andrews Beach
The beach at St Andrews, also known as West Sands, is popular with all sorts of visitors and is a great place to try lots of sports. From horse riding to wakeboarding, all types of fun can be had on this beach. Keen dog walkers come from all around to spend hours burning off some energy. Keep all this in mind when you plan a day of surfing here; you will want to find a quieter spot so you can travel into the shore knowing you have a clear run!
Just a short 15-minute walk from the famous and historic town of St Andrews, the beach is 2 miles long and has a grassy border that leads onto the world-famous golf course. Spend a few good hours surfing the waves and then pop to town for a bite to eat or a warm-up in a friendly café. The kids will love building sandcastles and playing in the surf whilst you work on your technique!
For options on where to stay, check out our cottages in St Andrews and plan your trip today.
Aberdeen is often overlooked for its surfing, being more commonly associated with the oil and gas industries as well as fishing and shipbuilding. However, when it comes to surfing and water sports, there are a couple of great spots! There is a well-known surf shop on Aberdeen Beach that, in 1993, became a hot spot for keen local surfers and has continued to be to this day. Pop here if you want some surf lessons – it is apparently one of the best surf schools in Scotland.
Aberdeen beach has a long stretch of sand. The best conditions for surfing are when the wind is coming from a westerly direction and is soft in strength. Settled on the north-east coast, this beach can pick up swells from the north, east and south, bringing in generous waves for you to play on. You will mostly see surfers out on nice days when the weather is behaving.
If you fancy coming here for a surf and want to make a week out of it, check out our collection of Aberdeenshire cottages, which offers a selection of quiet and rural places to enjoy some time in this part of Scotland.
Where to get surfing lessons, find surf shops and arrange equipment hire in Scotland
Here are some of Scotland’s best surf schools, which all offer equipment hire - from boards to wetsuits:
• Coast to Coast Surf School – Dunbar, EH42 1NX. Surfing instruction and coastal adventure sports.
• Suds Surf School – Moray, Sandend Beach. Instruction in surfing, paddleboarding and bodyboarding, as well as equipment hire.
• North Coast Watersports – Dunnet Beach, Caithness, Highlands. Instruction in surfing and paddleboarding, plus surf retreats, equipment hire and clothing.
For more inspiration on coastal Scotland:
We hope you have enjoyed browsing these wonderful beaches, it certainly has made us want to get to the coast this summer and try a spot of surfing ourselves! This can be a great activity to do as a family, with a group of friends, or as a couple. If you go somewhere with a surf school, those who are experienced can go off and play knowing your friends are being looked after by the professionals.
Come and stay in our coastal cottages and explore Scotland by water!
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.