Visiting a beach on the Isle of Arran can be a great way to experience the island’s stunning coastline and take part in various water-based activities or simply chill beside the sea. Here are a few reasons why you might want to consider spending a day at the beach:
- Great walks and scenic beauty: Arran’s beaches offer stunning views of the coastline, rocky cliffs, sandy coves, and crystal clear waters.
- Outdoor activities: Many of Arran’s beaches offer opportunities for outdoor activities, such as swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, and snorkelling.
- Wildlife spotting: The waters around Arran are home to a variety of marine life, including seals, porpoises, dolphins, and minke whales.
- Relaxation: Most of Arran’s beaches are peaceful and quiet, making them a great place to relax and unwind. You can enjoy a picnic on the sand, read a book, or simply soak up the sun. (The last is not so common in Scotland)
Map of Isle of Arran Beaches
List of Beaches on the Isle of Arran
Kildonan Beach – Silver Sands Beach
Kildonan Beach, also known as Silver Sands, is an incredibly beautiful spot on the southern part of the island. This is the best sandy beach on Isle of Arran. Its golden sand and warm waters make it a perfect location for sunbathing and relaxing. Silver Sands has amazing views of Pladda Island and Ailsa Craig that can be enjoyed from its spacious beach area. The crystal clear water is inviting for swimming and allows you to catch glimpses of the awesome marine life beneath its surface.
You can also wild camp at Silver Sands beach.
What really sets Kildonan apart from other beaches on the island are its unrivalled beauty and tranquillity. The calming sound of gentle waves sets you at ease while walking along the shoreline, making it easy to forget your worries and just enjoy the moment. The wide sandy beach area also makes it ideal for some family fun, such as building sandcastles or having a game of volleyball with family or friends. In short, Kildonan Beach is undoubtedly one of the best spots to visit on the Isle of Arran.
Brodick Bay is the most easily accessible beach on Arran, its proximity to the main village makes it a great option when you are short on time. Its sandy expanse is popular with tourists and families alike, who often come just to enjoy a bit of sunshine. The southern part of the bay is populated with cafes, restaurants, and shops, so you can stock up for a day out in the sun or buy an ice cream if you’re feeling peckish.
Venture further north from the village, and you’ll enter another realm altogether. Here, the beach takes on a rural feel as hills loom behind and the views show off the island’s natural beauty. On an especially clear day, you can see Brodick Castle perched on a nearby headland, as well as Goatfell, the highest peak in Arran.
Lamlash Beach is really two beaches and they are hidden gems that stretch the length of Lamlash. The first beach is conveniently located right beside some houses and even stores. Look for parking beside or near the Old Pier Tearoom. This makes it ideal for anyone who isn’t up for journeying too far away in search of sand. Although tucked away near the heart of this small village, Lamlash Beach retains an isolated and special atmosphere that can be so hard to find these days.
The second beach is longer, quieter, and sandier. You can walk here if you have parked at the cafe above or drive and park at the Coast Discovery Centre, a great place to visit. This is a great beach mid-week but on nice warm days, locals flock here at the weekends.
Whiting Bay Beach
Whiting Bay Beach is a stunning, one mile long beach situated close to the village. It’s a great destination for all kinds of beach-goers, as it offers both sand and rock pools. It’s easily accessible but far from crowded so you can get some peace and quiet. This beach is particularly great for families with children who need more supervision, as the water is shallow and gentle.
You can explore its full length from north to south, with Kingscross Point being at the northern end of the beach. Here you can find some lovely large boulders along with plenty of scenic views that make for great photographs or places to picnic. It’s also possible to spot some wildlife in this area too so keep your eyes peeled while you’re there! All in all, Whiting Bay Beach is an ideal spot for a day out by the sea that won’t have you bumping elbows with other beachgoers.
If you are feeling energic, there are two worthwhile places to walk to:
- The Sailor Graves is at the far south of the beach
- At the northern end is the Kingscross Viking Fort and great views of the Holy Isle
Blackwaterfoot Beach is a remote and peaceful destination. It’s situated on the island’s west coast, and its sandy shores keep visitors secluded. Take a day here to soak up some summer sun while basking in solitude. The beach also offers plenty to do, take a wander around Drumadoon Point, an iron age fort that has been left behind, or hike along the cliffs until you reach King’s Caves, where unique rock carvings adorn their walls. Capture some incredible views of the ocean from both locations for an unforgettable holiday experience.
Not only does Blackwaterfoot Beach provide the perfect spot for a picturesque getaway, but it also allows for exploration and discovery along its coasts. From roaming down sand hills to forging memorizing memories in caves, Blackwaterfoot Beach is a must-have experience when travelling around Arran.
The small but picturesque Catacol Beach is a great spot if you are seeking peacefulness and seclusion. Located on the northwestern side of the island, this pebbly beach is not ideal for sunbathers since there is very little sand. However, it does provide a beautiful atmosphere for a picnic or romantic walk. The crystal clear water at Catacol really adds to its idyllic qualities, with its classic seaside views making it a wonderful spot to admire some of Arran’s natural beauty.
The nearby village of Catacol features 12 white-fronted houses overlooking the beach itself. This tranquil little village has it all: stunning scenery, fresh air and tranquillity – making it one of the most underrated spots on the Isle of Arran. It’s easy to see why so many visitors make it their top choice for a peaceful escape. Whether you’re looking for relaxation or romance, Catacol Beach could be just what you need. But, maybe not so great for the kids.
Pirnmill Beach is one of the most beloved natural attractions on the Isle of Arran. Situated south of Pirnmill, this stunning beach is the perfect place for a romantic picnic or a long pebbly stroll. Despite its undeniable beauty, Pirnmill Beach isn’t an ideal spot for anyone travelling with young children or pets because it’s situated right next to the main road leading through and south of the village. Therefore it can be quite busy due to people passing by in cars, trucks and buses.
Similar in many ways to Catacol Beach, Pirnmill Beach really stands out due to its incredible views. Once here, you won’t want to leave! As such, I’d like to recommend another popular local attraction: The Lighthouse Restaurant at the southern end of the village. They serve up some truly delicious meals that are sure to please even the pickiest eaters.
Cleat’s Shore Nudist Beach
Cleat’s Shore is Scotland’s only officially-designated nudist beach, which is definitely not for the faint of heart. Located in a remote area and seldom visited, it was described by author Guy Inwood in his book Bare Britain as “probably the least-visited nudist beach in the known universe.” It can be accessed by driving down a small road near Lagg Distillery, at the southern end of the Island.
In addition to its daring visitors, being the only nudist beach on the Isle of Arran, Cleat’s Shore is an incredibly scenic spot. Its sandy shoreline stretches a fair distance in both directions. While this isn’t every traveller’s cup of tea, those brave enough to try it will have plenty of space and privacy to enjoy their outing.
Sannox Bay Beach
Sannox beach is one of the best beaches on Arran. It’s easily accessible and directly north of Brodick, so you can go here for a lazy day or weekend getaway with no trouble. The beach is made up of a soft strip of sand and it’s perfect for soaking up some sun or swimming in the ocean if you feel up to it. There are also plenty of coastal walks around Arran that offer stunning waterfront views, with one of my favourites being the route between Sannox Bay and Lochranza.
After enjoying a leisurely day at Sannox Bay, be sure to check out Fran’s Tea Room nearby – a basic but welcoming restaurant serving up classic Scottish delights like fish and chips and soups. Whether you’re here for an afternoon or planning on staying longer, visiting Sannox Bay is sure to make your trip special.
Dougarie Beach is one of the most underrated and secluded beaches on the Isle of Arran. It is a narrow strip of sand located on the western shore and is quite long. Dougarie Beach offers a peaceful environment perfect for a romantic stroll or even walking your dog. You can often see large seals basking around the shoreline, making it an ideal sunset spot to take some stunning pictures. The beach is between the A841 and the sea so maybe not so quiet.
Nearby Dougarie Beach lies Machrie Moor Standing Stones – an ancient neolithic site with many big stone circles arranged in strange shapes and patterns. The site has been likened to Stonehenge. If you’re looking for a beach escape away from all of the hustle and bustle, then Dougarie Beach would be a good choice.
Coire-Fhionn Lochan is a unique and beautiful beach located in the northern part of Arran. This small freshwater loch is far from the coast, but it is so popular as there are two small beaches. Wild swimmers flock here to enjoy the clear and inviting water, as well as picnickers who settle around the shores. The beach itself is made up of sand, although it can be rocky, so you may want to wear shoes when exploring.
The views around Coire-Fhionn Lochan are simply stunning! It’s a great spot for those wishing to combine beach activities with mountain scenery at the same time. From within the loch itself, you can admire wonderful coastal views that stretch out all across Arran’s north coast. On a sunny day, you can soak in the full splendour of this magical loch and its surrounding countryside. It is a good place if you are learning paddleboarding and you have your own board.
Nestled away on the western side of Arran. If you want to access the village Thundergay, you need to walk, as only local traffic is allowed.
There are several large rocks spread across the beach which makes for a perfect place to do some exploring or look out over the sea in dreamlike serenity. It is a good place to stop for a picnic or a short walk.
Machrie Beach is an undeniably special spot located on the west coast of the island. Despite being mostly made up of gravel, this beach still manages to offer a wealth of beauty and opportunity for exploration. Visitors can expect sweeping views in every direction.
The beach itself has a wide variety of shore life that changes throughout the year. Gulls, oystercatchers and even the occasional bottlenose dolphin may all be seen or heard here, providing an unforgettable experience for those strolling along its shoreline. While much of the immediate landscape does consist of gravel and stones, Machrie Beach is also framed by rolling hills and heather creating breathtaking views no matter what time or day you choose to visit.
This beach is quieter than most others as it is further from the road. There is a car park at Machrie Moor Parking Area and then there is a path to the beach. The car park closes at 9.30 pm.
Lochranza Beach is a beautiful place to spend a sunny day. In fact there is more than one beach here. There is a small beach beside Lochranza Castle in the village. But, if you continue through the village another beach opens on your right, assuming you are driving north. The shoreline consists of a mixture of rock and sand and fairly shallow water. There is parking at the public toilets just after the village.
Whether stealing some time away from a hectic schedule or planning ahead for an afternoon of tranquility, delighted beach-goers will not go home disappointed from this destination.
For more cool beaches, read our ultimate guide to beach wild camping in Scotland.
How to Get Around Arran
Getting around Arran can be made much easier by taking advantage of the reliable bus service the island provides. It covers most of the main sites, such as Brodick, Blackwaterfoot and Shiskine, so there’s no need to take your car on the ferry. There are a few tickets you can purchase for bus travel; this includes an Arran Three-Day Rover Ticket if you’re just visiting for a short stay, or Arran Megarider if you plan to stay on Arran for a while.
The three main routes that cover the island are 324, 323 and 322, with most coinciding with ferry times from Brodick. However, these buses also provide access to some of Arran’s beaches should you want to explore them without having to drive your own car or hire transport privately. Ultimately, using public transport paired with some careful planning makes getting around this vibrant Scottish isle much simpler and more cost-effective!
I love hiking, backpacking, and camping. From the Camino de Santiago to the West Highland Way in Scotland or simply a great day hike on the weekend. Hiking refreshes me, my mind, and keeps my body reasonably fit. So far I have walked three Camino routes and many other long distance hikes in the UK, Canada, and around the rest of Europe. One of the best was my hike up Ben Nevis.