When the weather gets colder, we dream of warmer days and sunshine, family fun on the beach and long balmy nights celebrating with friends; when the weather gets warmer we dream of cosy autumn nights snuggled up next to a roaring fire and crisp winter walks along remote and beautiful coastline. As a nation, we are never weather-happy, but this does mean that we have the excitement of planning our next holiday adventure in our favourite season, whichever one that may be!
We have put together some of our favourite coastal villages in Scotland to fuel some ideas for your next escape. We wanted to feature the more unusual places, the hidden gems of our rugged coastline, the hidden beauty which can be stumbled upon with a bit of adventure. Here we bring you five of the best:
Also known as 'The Jewel of the Highlands', Plockton is an idyllic highland village set on the shores of Loch Carron Bay. Traditional stone buildings that are dotted along the shoreline date back to the 19th century and look on peacefully as the former fishing town welcomes its annual visitors. Staying here will clear your head from all the stresses of daily life as the village's easy-going, slow pace helps you relax and unwind. There is so much to do here!
For the water babies out there, boat trips, sailing, sea kayaking and beach days can all be enjoyed. Biking - both road and mountain - is a popular sport up here and walking, of course, can be enjoyed at any time of year. The harbour itself offers a peaceful place to sit and watch all the sailing boats come and go, and like most little villages, the visitor centre and arts and crafts galleries are open to all. Plockton is all about quality, not quantity, and you will find some great food in the hotel restaurants, the local café and of course, the chippy!
This beauty is one of three villages quietly existing below the cliffs, along the north facing Aberdeenshire coast at Gamrie Bay. To the east of Gardenstown, you will also find Crovie and Pennan, smaller in size. They are all beneath the cliff edge but Gardenstown is said to be the most stable. It was founded in 1720 by Alexander Garden and, originally known as ‘Gamrie’, it was specifically created as a fishing village with a lovely big harbour.
You will notice that the oldest cottages are next to the sea; as the years have gone by, more and more houses have developed and layered up the cliffs, and even onto the ground above the cliffs. It continues to be a vibrant and thriving village, enticing visitors from all over the world. History buffs will love learning about this Scottish gem, and the wildlife lovers out there will be thrilled with all of the surrounding sea life.
Rockcliffe is one of a number of small seaside villages spread along the stretch of the north shore of the Solway Firth, known as the Colvend Coast. To reach it, turn off the A710 in Colvend, 5 miles south of Dalbeattie, and travel just over a mile (passing Torbay en route) to the southern end of Rockcliffe itself. This is such a lovely quaint place - the arc of white painted houses and cottages look far out over the beach, sea birds surround you calling out to each other as they dip and dive for their supper, while the moving tide changes the beach from craggy rocks to open mudflats.
There is very little commercial activity here, which makes it a real hidden gem in the south. The beach offers hours of entertainment to those families with younger children who are content to play all day with a bucket and spade and challenge each other to sandcastle-building competitions. Hilly walks can be found further afield, and a few hotels and cafés in the area can fulfil those cravings for a much needed shot of caffeine or some tasty Scottish grub!
It would almost be impossible not to include an Isle of Arran delight, and instead of featuring the more well-known Lamlash or Brodick, we thought we would instead feature Corrie. You will find Corrie on the northeast side of the island, boasting two harbours that are about half a mile apart; one of them even has a small Viking longboat that is used by the Arran Viking Society. The village itself is made up of a number of small cottages and houses lining the inland side of the A841 main road, which runs around the whole island, and here you will find a church and village hall, the Corrie Hotel and a village shop.
The Isle of Arran is driveable in a day but we suggest you take your time and discover the island slowly, experiencing all the small villages, Goat Fell - the island's mountain - not to mention all the fresh local produce on offer, including the mouthwatering seafood and Arran's very own cheese shop!
Located in Fife, this beautiful seaside town is home to two picturesque beaches, a harbour, a castle, a golf course and much more. The castle is the village’s main attraction and tempts visitors from all over the globe with its gallery, fine painted ceiling and peaceful walled garden. Dating as far back as the 13th century, this is a historical marvel for many. Silver Sands beach is Aberdour's pride and joy and overlooks the Firth of Forth towards Edinburgh, the capital city itself.
You can enjoy water sports here, spend long lazy days digging sandcastles and investigating the rock pools, as well as observing the harbour's boats coming and going. For keen golfers, the Aberdour Golf Club boasts an 18-hole, par 67 parkland course which enables you to drink in stunning coastal views whilst enjoying your favourite sport. Definitely worth a visit.
Hopefully, we have managed to surprise you with some villages you may not have heard of before! We hope that you have enjoyed reading about them and manage to include one or two during your next holiday to Scotland. If you are looking for a base for your upcoming adventures, have a peek at our collection of coastal cottages in Scotland to find the perfect place to return to at night.