Beaches in South West Scotland

With mile upon mile of coastline, it is no surprise that South West Scotland has many beaches worth visiting.

Our beaches are normally very quiet and peaceful and a walk along the cliffs often leads to the discovery of a hidden cove ideal for exploring rock pools or for just chilling out.

Here is a selection of just a few of the many beaches in our area:-

Rhins of Galloway

Sandhead Beach on the sheltered Luce Bay side of the Rhins of Galloway is one of our largest beaches with miles of sand. Apart from bathing, this level beach with its firm sands is popular for walking and, more recently, Blokarting! The village of Sandhead has a cafe and a hotel and there are car parks adjacent to the beach.

Portpatrick has a small sandy beach in the harbour area and the surrounding rocks and raised promenade keep it fairly sheltered. The sand is only exposed when the tide is part way out. There is a good choice of cafes and pubs close to hand for refreshments.

Killantringan Beach near Portpatrick  Killlantringan, with its magnificent lighthouse can be reached either by walking along the Southern Upland Way from Portpatrick for about an hour, or by road where there is a car park above the beach from which it is a fairly steep descent to the sands. This is another long, level beach with firm sands and magnificent rocky pools and rock outcrops to explore. Care advised if swimming here due to currents.

Lady Bay – North Rhins Situated near the top of the Rhins Peninsula. near where Loch Ryan enters the Irish Sea, Lady Bay is a hidden gem. A small sandy beach down a narrow,unsealed road the journey there is a bit of an adventure in itself. The views from the bay and the approach to the bay are excellent as the loch is fairly narrow at this point and you can see beyond Loch Ryan to the Mull of Kintyre.

Ardwell Bay Although the village of Ardwell is on the Luce Bay side of the South Rhins, just a few miles south of Sandhead, Ardwell Bay is on the other side of the south Rhins – on the Irish Sea coast. The beach is at the end of a narrow road with uneven surfaces but there are good parking facilities at the end of the road and the sandy beach is another one made for exploring. To the south of the carpark a path leads over rocks to the ruins of an Iron Age Broch – Doon Castle!

Port Logan towards the south of the peninsula – just before the Mull of Galloway is another village with miles of sandy beach stretching from the picturesque harbour, popular with small boat owners and with its iconic light-tower designed by Thomas Telford to the Logan Fish Pond. Logan Fish Pond is open to the public and well worth a visit. Logan Botanic Gardens are also nearby.


Machars of Galloway

Monreith Beach  Probably one of the best and most popular beaches on the Machars, Monreith has plentiful sand and, being in Luce Bay, it tends to be fairly sheltered. Parking is available adjacent to the golf course. Look out for the otter statue – a memorial to Gavin Maxwell, author of A Ring of Bright Water. While visiting Monreith Beach. check out Kirkmaiden Church with its unusual gravestones set behind the beach up a narrow path just west of the road from the Golf Course.


South Ayrshire.  

Ballantrae Beach , about halfway between Stranraer and Girvan is a mixture of sand and shingle. The area to the south of the beach has been designated by Scottish Natural Heritage as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The area is noted for its shingle beach which provides a habitat for a wide range of coastal plants. The site is home to a breeding colony of seabirds.

Lendalfoot Beach is beside the main Portpatrick to Ayr Road a few miles north of Ballantrae. It has a mix of sand and shingle and the drive around this stretch of the road is exceptionally scenic as the road hugs the coastline, reminiscent of parts of New Zealand. A large colony of seals can often be seen on rocks close to the shore just south of Lendalfoot and they can be viewed from the picnic area beside the Varyag Monument. There are a number of small secluded beaches near the roadside between Lendalfoot and Girvan.

About halfway between Ballantrae and Lendalfoot is Sawney Bean`s Cave. It is difficult to access as you have to park at the top of the hill a few miles south of Ballantrae and scramble down a winding path from the north end of the carpark.

Girvan has a sandy beach which stretches for about a mile and a half southwards from Girvan harbour and there are several places in the town for food etc.