10 of the best places to stay on the Scottish coast

As cosy as they sound, Sea View Snugs hunker into the hillside in this bucolic corner of south-west Scotland. los 18 individually designed cabins – think smart beige boxes – are on a 1,000-acre estate in Gatehouse of Fleet. Most sleep two, a couple can accommodate four, some allow dogs, and five have hot tubs. All have a natural theme: the Ben is named after Ben John, the hill that forms the backdrop, the Shore has a coastal vibe. Gather is a rustic-chic, contemporary glass-fronted on-site restaurant, dishing up locally sourced bistro-style food and panoramic coastal views. On the doorstep is Cardoness Castle, a 15th-century tower house to clamber around, and a bucketful of sandy beaches from Carrick to Mossyard and Cardoness.
Sleeps 2-4, desde £120 a night, coolstays.com

Bed down in an off-grid Harvest Hut or a High Seas Hobbit (two pods decked out in nautical colours), part of the clutch of quirky accommodation on 200-acre Stonebriggs Farm near Fraserburgh on the Aberdeenshire coast. Or hike up the hill to the Coastal Carriage (pictured) with its gobsmacking sea views, a woodburner and board games. The hobbits are set in their own field with a firepit and an outdoor loo in a converted whisky barrel. Stonebriggs is a working cattle and sheep farm and offers trailer tours along with sheep shearing and lambing experiences in spring.

This is clifftop-walking and beachcombing territory. The nearest beach is New Aberdour, a couple of miles away with a mix of sand and shingle and limestone caves to explore, while at Cullykhan beach you can climb up to Fort Fiddes, an ancient Pictish site. A little further on is Pennan, the village made famous by cult film Local Hero, and nearby is RSPB Troup Head, the site of Scotland’s only mainland gannet colony, along with thousands of kittiwakes, guillemots and puffins.
Sleeps 2-4, from £60 a night for two, downonthefarm.net

The Dundonald, a 19th-century coaching inn in the coastal conservation village of Culross, reopened as a B&B this summer after a restoration by interior designer-owner Laura Wilson. The two light-flooded rooms, which give views over the rooftops to the Firth of Forth, are named Serfs and Kentigerns after two local saints. Wilson has also done up the adjoining cottage as a self-catering let sleeping six with a mid-century Scandi vibe.

Culross is one of the starting points of the Fife Pilgrim Way, a long-distance walking route that meanders cross-country to the medieval university town of St Andrews. For a saltier, sand-between-your-toes tramp, this is also a jumping-off point for the Fife Coastal Path. The perfectly preserved village, with its cobbled streets, white-harled buildings, abbey and ochre-coloured merchant’s house is a National Trust for Scotland site – and a filming location for the cult TV show Outlander.
Doubles £120 B&B, two-night cottage stay £400 for four/£500 for six including a breakfast hamper, thedundonald.com

Walkers, cyclists and kayakers, sailers and those arriving on public transport will always have a place to pitch their tent at car-free Carry Farm, a 66-acre coastal smallholding on the Ardlamont peninsula on the west coast. Only campers who embrace sustainable slow travel can camp here (to help protect the local environment), and those hardy souls can bed down beside the shore, cook over an open fire, scour the sky for the aurora borealis, and walk to the sound of oystercatchers, eider ducks and waves lapping on the pebbles.

The farm is also the base for Tighnabruaich Sailing School, the new Hayshed Gallery with textiles and ceramics made at the onsite studios, and a coffee shop, whose artisan beans are roasted just down the road by Argyll Coffee Roasters. There are also three wooden lodges sleeping four to six (some availability in September).
£10 a night single occupancy, £5 for each additional person, carryfarm.co.uk

Menos que 10 miles from the English border, these six new Scandi-chic apartments in a matching pair of modern villas rise above bright, beach hut-fringed and dune-backed Coldingham Bay on the south-east coast. Each is different in design, but all come with a balcony, terrace or wraparound roof terracewith sea views. Inside it’s cool, contemporary seaside living, while down on the shore it’s old-school bucket-and-spade territory with rock pools to scour for hermit crabs and an arc of soft sand for kite-flying and beach cricket.

Flip-flop down to the water for a morning swim – there’s a lifeguard on duty during the summer – and the beach cafe, or sign up for surfing or bodyboarding lessons at the St Vedas Surf Shop. The bay is part of the Berwickshire marine reserve, and a hike over the headland along the Berwickshire Coastal Path takes you to the pretty fishing village of St Abbs or, in the other direction, along the cliffs to the ancient port of Eyemouth.
Sleeps 4, seven nights from £995, crabtreeandcrabtree.com

Scattered through woodland on a clifftop farm above a beach, these eight handbuilt yurts are on Scotland’s sunnier (relatively midge-free) north-east side. They’re off-grid and cosy with a woodburner, solar-powered lights and compost toilets, while down at the Hub there are showers, toilets and wheelbarrows to cart your luggage. The coastal smallholding is also home to a flock of Hebridean sheep, pigs, Highland cows and hens, while a third of the property is a protected coastal Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

As well as woodland walks there’s a cliff path down to a secluded beach where you can scour the water for bottlenose dolphins and otters. Tides allowing, the village of Rosemarkie is an hour’s walk along the sand and has a family-friendly beach, beach cafe and pub. Nearby, the old lighthouse at Chanonry Point is one of the best places on land to spot the Moray Firth dolphins.
Sleeps 2-5, a three-night stay for two in July costs from £294, a seven-night stay for two from £370 in September, blackisleyurts.co.uk

It took three years to restore Newhall Mains’ derelict 18th-century farm buildings and turn the handsome stone quadrangle into a cluster of five cottages and four well-appointed yet still wallet-friendly suites on the Black Isle – the east coast peninsula just north of Inverness that’s a patchwork of green fields and woodland. Part of a family-run estate (its rugs were spun using wool from the farm’s Jacob sheep), it also houses a large firepit, Argentinian asado cookery classes and a Japanese-inspired whisky bar.

The site overlooks Cromarty Firth and is just off the Costa norte 500 driving route. On the doorstep there’s the pretty village of Cromarty to explore, with its whitewashed merchant’s houses, harbour and RIB rides into Cromarty Firth to view the resident pod of bottlenose dolphins.
Suites from £95 (breakfast £15 extra), cottages (sleep two to six) from £250 a night, newhall-mains.com

This vintage-chic B&B in Nairn, on the north-east coast, has two large rooms in a Victorian villa: Forres, in a palette of soothing greens, and Nairn, dramatic indigo and burnt orange, with views out over the Moray Firth. The town itself has an arty vibe, con un small theatre and an arts and literature festival each September.

Nairn is one of the sunniest and driest spots in Scotland – it was nicknamed “the Brighton of the north” in Victorian times – and has three sandy beaches. Central Beach, with its promenade, is popular with families. East Beach, on the other side of the River Nairn and harbour, is backed by dunes and Culbin Forest, with its walking trails and RSPB reserve. Nairn’s “secret beach”, Whiteness, to the west, is often deserted. If the sun doesn’t shine, there are also plenty of historic sites to visit such as Cawdor Castle, Fort George and the Neolithic burial chambers at Clava Cairns.
Doubles from £45 B&B (low season) or £85 (May to September ), densonvilla.co.uk

On the shore of Loch Fyne and one of Scotland’s most exciting destination restaurants, Inver is well off the beaten track – 1½ hours from Glasgow, 2½ from Edinburgh – but it’s universally agreed that it’s worth the journey for Pam Brunton’s modern Scottish tasting menus. sin embargo, you don’t have to make the long schlep back now there’s accommodation next to the waterfront crofter’s cottage that houses the restaurant.

The four bothies (tin-roofed, with mid-century furniture) are not a budget option, but during lockdown they were busy and Inver has now added a couple of smart shepherd’s huts for a more affordable option. (A restaurant reservation comes as standard with each booking.) The wild and relatively undiscovered Cowal peninsula is threaded with miles of walking trails to explore, while a short walk across the bay from the restaurant brings you to the ruins of Castle Lachlan, a fortress dating back to the 13th century.
Sleep 2, £155 B&B, inverrestaurant.co.uk

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