The busy city centre of Glasgow may not be a coastal region per se, but close to the city lay some glorious beaches to explore and truly enjoy the beauty of the Scottish coastlines.
With palm trees lining the cove of Largs Beach, it would be difficult to imagine that you are lounging on a Scottish beach only one-hour drive from Glasgow. Teeming with life stretching right down to the shoreline, Largs Beach boasts historical architecture and sights, making it a festive location to enjoy with friends and family.
You will be greeted by the giant brass statue of ‘Magnus’, the Viking soldier standing on the beachfront – himself quite the tourist attraction. Largs holds a Viking festival annually with fireworks and plenty of Viking-inspired activities. With 34 restaurants and a host of other activities and sights, Largs Beach is heaving with activity and history, whilst still maintaining its beauty and natural splendour.
Helensburgh Beach is well-known for being one of the most stunning beaches on the West coast of Scotland. Clean, well-maintained with sparkling waters and sandy shores, it’s a fantastic way to unwind in the sun and spend the day with the family.
A large promenade pours out into the ocean and allows for glorious strolls at sunset. Just 45 minutes from Glasgow city, the beach village boasts a bunch of fun sights to check out such as the famous Hill House or the Scottish Submarine Centre. Take a stroll down the Helensburgh Esplanade and explore antique shops, great restaurants and historical sites, all without losing view of the ocean.
Expansive and vast, the gorgeous sands of Irvine Beach are a mere 40-minute drive from Glasgow city centre and offer a relaxing day out for the whole family – including dogs. Known for regular seal sightings and for being a more remote beach, the dunes of Irvine Beach will provide great respite from the wind while you relax on the warm sands.
Both a pebble and a sand beach at different parts, Irvine has a full array of amenities to make your day trip convenient including changing areas, toilets and ample parking. With an impressive choice of restaurants and cafés, Irvine Beach makes for a wonderful lunch trip with a loved one.
Ayr Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Scotland, and is close enough to Glasgow for a day trip. With a volcanic outcrop and vast white sands, you can see puffin bird nesting spots, enjoy traditional food such as fish and chips at one of the many kiosks and relax in one of the most beautiful Scottish beaches in the West.
Popular with boating and picnicking, when the weather is clear at Ayr Beach, you’ll be able to see all the way to the Irish coastlines across the waters. Bring your binoculars for a spectacular day out and enjoy those long walks on the beach that guarantee great sightings.
With beautiful grasslands surrounding the shores, Seamill is a picturesque beach that offers great picnic spots for lovers of a quieter day out. A peaceful and serene beach, Seamill is known for heaving ‘healing waters’ and has long been used as a place to come and recharge the spirit. The upmarket Seamill Hydro hotel and spa offer a relaxing, romantic getaway for couples.
The seafront coastal path offers all amenities needed for a long stroll as you watch seals frolicking in the waves. Just a 50-minute drive from Glasgow, this dog-friendly beach offers expansive views, well-established fine dining as well as snack-friendly smaller kiosks. If you’re staying for a few days, visit the West Kilbride Golf Club and get a few rounds in on the lush greens or book into one of the many boutique Air B’nB spots that offer sea views.
The closest sand beach to Glasgow, Lunderston Bay is a great day trip for families who don’t want to spend too long traveling to see the seaside. With gorgeous rock pools, this beach is perfect for sunbathing and long walks, or simply enjoying being out in nature. Lined with giant trees, the beach is secluded enough to feel private, but close enough to amenities that will make your stay comfortable, such as toilets, restaurants and kiosks.
For a good meal, pop into the Cardwell Garden Restaurant directly across from the beach or better yet, take your own picnic basket and enjoy the grasslands or seating areas provided. With kiddies play areas and bird-watching available, the whole family will be entertained while you unwind.
The smallest beach at only 300 metres long, Pencil Beach is a firm favourite with waders and paddlers, as these mild-temperature waters are so shallow they make for great swimming lessons. Family-friendly and relaxing, Pencil Beach is located close to Largs Beach and roughly an hour’s drive from the city of Glasgow.
Pay a quick visit to the Pencil Monument in commemoration of the Battle of Largs in 1263 or just enjoy the varied landscape, boasting pebble, rock and sand all on one beach. When the weather is clear, enjoy views as far as Little and Great Cumbrae Islands and when entertainment is needed, pop down to Largs Beach down the drag and enjoy and enjoy some of the awesome Viking displays, children’s play areas and restaurants.
WEMYSS BAY BEACH
If you’re looking for something different in your beach landscape, the rocky terrain of the Wemyss Bay Beach holds all the nature wild beauty and splendour you could ask for. A 50-minute drive from the city of Glasgow, this quiet, unspoiled beach is a gem.
Catch a boat around the bay or watch the incoming ferries as they approach the Isle of Bute in the distance. A rugged charm with traditional heritage at its core, at Wemyss Bay you can visit the War Memorial site, grab a bite to each at the Station Café and take a boat trip across to Bute. If you just want to stroll or sunbathe, there are spots where you can relax in the sun.
Beach excursions near Glasgow are a great way to get out and see nature at her finest. Grab the family and load into a minivan or 4×4, or take a loved one on an exciting trip through winding coastal roads in a convertible. Breathe in that sea air with SIXT Glasgow for convenient car hire.