Bona Lighthouse, Loch Ness, Highlands © Natural Retreats


Short coastal holidays in Scotland

When it comes to places to stay, Scotland has some fantastic options; but there really is something extra special about a holiday by the sea.

If it's a coastal break or a stay in a hotel in Scotland near the beach that you fancy, you'll find wonderful self-catering cottages on seafronts, near beaches and shorelines. Or you can stay at the edge of an inland loch or sea loch, by a canal, and should you actually fancy staying on the water, there are great choices when it comes to boating and sailing holidays too. If you're up for a luxury coastal retreat, you can find those special spots too.

Scotland is the perfect place for lovely seaside breaks in the UK. Here are just a few ideas and accommodation suggestions for amazing sea view holidays on, or by, the water.

  • Rural island escapes

    Surrounded by water, islands are ideal places to stay if you're looking for seaview escapes, particularly for those who just love gazing off into the horizon. For exclusive island experiences, the west Highlands has some lovely options. Consider booking a cottage on Eilean Shona, an idyllic natural haven 2.5 miles long by 1.5 miles wide, lying close to the Ardnamurchan Peninsula. Off Skye lies the Isle of Rona, home to three shoreside cottages. From Rona, you can enjoy incredible coastal escapes of Skye's Old Man of Storr and the Trotternish Ridge.

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    Isle of Rona, Highlands © Bill Cowie/
  • Harbour-side fishermen's cottages

    Scotland is blessed with an expansive coastline, with pretty seaside villages to be found in a number of coastal regions - ideal for a family easide break in the UK. In Fife, the charming Eask Neuk has a chain of former fishing communities which is where you'll find Crail. Here, you could book a holiday at 21 Shoregate, which dates from the 1700s and is just a stone's throw from the harbour. In Aberdeenshire, the utterly gorgeous villages of Pennan and Crovie are home to self-catering properties like Rockpool Cottage and Crovie Cottage, which make for a great beach stay in Scotland. In the south of the country you could have a peaceful stay in the Old Fisherman's Cottage at Ballantrae in Ayrshire.

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    Pennan, Aberdeenshire
  • Lighthouse keepers' cottages

    For the ultimate quirky break by the water, book a sea view holiday in a Scottish lighthouse. These historic buildings are set in some majestic coastal locations. Stay on Scotland's most southerly point at the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse Holiday Cottages, near Stranraer in Dumfriesshire. Or, in the far north, Bressay Lighthouse Cottages on Shetland have splendid uninterrupted views out over the sea and towards Lerwick Harbour. For a lighthouse by the beach, consider Halliman Skerry at Covesea Lighthouse, near Lossiemouth in Moray.

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    Covesea Lighthouse, Lossiemouth, Moray
  • Lochside retreats

    Could there be anything more pleasant than waking up to the sound of water gently lapping against the shoreline? Scotland's stunning lochs are perfect locations for short coastal breaks to get away from it all. In the Highlands, stay in Ullapool and enjoy views of Loch Broom at the likes of the contemporary Sealoch House or in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, bring all your family and friends to the large Stronachlachar Lodge on the shore of Loch Katrine. You'll find peace and tranquillity in Orkney Mainland during a stay on a working croft at Lenahowe Lodges, which overlook Harray Loch.

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    Sealoch House, Loch Broom, Highlands
  • Luxury castles by water

    Staying in a Scottish castle will always be an experience to remember, but it's even more magical when your short break on the coast has views of sparkling waters. In Perthshire, you could enjoy a coastal getaway with a stay at the newly renovated Fonab Castle Hotel & Spa situated by Loch Faskally, or enjoy a break at Ardanaiseig Hotel on Loch Awe in Argyll. Not far from Fort William is the majestic Inverlochy Castle Hotel. Steeped in history, it's perfect for those seeking a lavish, no-expense-spared getaway.

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    Inverlochy Castle Hotel, Fort William © Inverlochy Hotel Group
  • Cottages by canals

    Set against splendid scenery, canalside cottages are perfect places for relaxing coastal holidays where you can watch leisure boats sail by at a gentle pace. Overlooking Loch Ness on the banks of the Caledonian Canal are Bona Lighthouse and Bona Stables, two properties which share a breathtaking location and have lovely period features. On the Crinan Canal, you could stay at the gorgeous Seaview Cottage, a restored lock-keeper's cottage from the early 19th century, for an unforgettable coastal stay in the UK.

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    Seaview Cottage, Crinan Canal, Argyll © Natural Retreats
  • Boating holidays

    Prepare to set sail for a holiday by the sea in Scotland. The waterways and coastlines are not just great places for days out - holiday boats and barges make fantastic accommodation choices for anyone who fancies a bit of slow adventure. Your options include a trip on a historic Clyde puffer on the Crinan Canal in Argyll, or explore the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness on a chartered boat or a book a cruise on a barge. Fancy discovering the delights of a narrowboat holiday? Then hire a traditional narrowboat and journey along the Forth & Clyde and Union canals at a leisurely pace.

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    Ros Crana Holiday Barge, Caledonian Canal, Highlands

Find Accommodation for your Holiday by the Sea

We hope you're well and truly inspired for your short coastal break in Scotland.  Whether you're planning to book a cottage with a sea view for your holiday, looking for a luxury coastal retreat, or fancy a hotel with a sea view in Scotland, there are plenty of accommodation options to choose from! That's why we think Scotland is the best beach holiday destination in the UK.