A guide to Lossiemouth on the Moray Coast

Written by Chris Thornton | 13th of August 2022
Updated: 29th of December 2022
Lossiemouth

Lossiemouth is a town in the northeast of Scotland, within Moray. Sometimes called the "Jewel of the Moray Firth" and "The Riviera of the North", it is one of the most beautiful coastal towns on the Moray coast. Lossiemouth has not one but two stunning beaches to the west and east, and with Moray Golf Club and the Marina, tourists flock here in their thousands over the summer months.

Lossiemouth has a special place in my heart; I lived here when I was 4-5 years old. My mum and I had a great time exploring Duffus Castle, the beaches, and backroads via bicycle. Above all, she instilled an interest in photography in me and always took photos of sunsets (nothing has changed there!).

I now live across the bay from Lossiemouth, sometimes looking over in envy as Lossie always seems to be basking in sunshine! I'm sure it has its own microclimate!

Lossiemouth ("Inbhir Losaidh" in Scottish Gaelic) gets its name from the River Lossie: "Mouth of the river Lossie". Lossie has a population of about 7000.

It's quite an interesting-looking town, built on the entirety of Coulard Hill; there are multiple levels of streets in a grid pattern. Looking over the esplanade and the East Beach from the elevated Prospect Terrace is one of the best views in Lossie.

Night photograph of the Lossiemouth Esplanade.
Lossiemouth Esplanade at night.

Lossiemouth Town Centre

The main esplanade in Lossiemouth is lovely and definitely geared up for tourists. When driving into the town centre the left side is packed with nice shops and restaurants, one of the most popular being Meile's Icecream.

On your right is the impressive vista of the River Lossie, Lossiemouth footbridge, East Beach and grassy sand dunes. Public toilets are available here.

Lossiemouth East Beach

From the esplanade, East Beach can be accessed via the new bridge. The East Beach is a stunning stretch of coastline, spanning 7 miles to Garmouth. The tall sand dunes here separate the beach from the River Lossie. The sea may looking inviting but the average water temperature is 5°C in winter and 15°C in summer, not the warmest!

East Beach at sunrise. Low tide Lossiemouth.
Lossiemouth East Beach sunrise.
 
Lossie East Beach and sand dunes. Moray Council.
The sand dunes of East Beach.

East Beach is ideal for watersports, particularly surfing. New Wave Surf School in Seatown offer surfing lessons, surfboard and wetsuit hire.

New Wave Surf School building.
New Wave Surf School HQ.
 
Watersports on East Beach.
Jet skis near East Beach.

River Lossie

Flowing between Lossiemouth and the East Beach, the River Lossie is a haven for wildlife, including birds such as the ringed plover, grey heron, oystercatcher, curlew, black-headed gull, and mallard but most impressively, osprey hunting fish.

River Lossie is also popular with paddleboarders staying at the nearby Lossiemouth Bay Caravan Park.

The new Lossiemouth footbridge

For the last 100 years, East Beach was accessed via a footbridge extending from Seatown to the dunes. Unfortunately, the bridge became unsuitable for public use in July 2019 after it degraded to the point it could not be saved. There was no longer any access to the East Beach for visitors to Lossie.

Thankfully a local group named "Lossiemouth Community Development Trust" stepped up and dedicated itself to raising funds for a replacement bridge to span the mouth of the river. Amazingly they successfully achieved their goal within three years, and a beautiful new bridge was built in 2022.

Please see my dedicated article on Lossiemouth Bridge here to read more about their success story.

The new Lossie footbridge at the east side.
The new Lossiemouth footbridge, built in 2022.

Lossiemouth West Beach

Covesea Lighthouse dominates the view here are you as you walk along this exquisite section of the coastline. Built in 1846, the lighthouse was manned until 1984, when automated systems took over. Touring the lighthouse and even staying the night at one of their cottages is possible.

Lossiemouth West Beach at sunset to the north west. Simply Lossie.
A sunset on Lossiemouth West beach.

Remnants of WW2 coastal defences can exist on West Beach, including tank traps and pill boxes. Aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth can frequently be seen from this beach.

RAF-Poseidon-P8 at RAF Lossiemouth.
RAF Poseidon P8 over West Beach.

West Beach is also a favourite place for photographers to see the Northern Lights / Aurora Borealis. While not as bright as some places in the arctic circle, it's still possible to see green dancing lights with shades of red with the naked eye.

Aurora Borealish seen from Lossiemouth West Beach.
Aurora Borealis photographed from the West Beach.

For disabled visitors to West Beach, a beach wheelchair is available free of charge from Ponderosa Cafe.

Lossiemouth Marina

In 1990, with the decline of the fishing industry, it was decided to convert the harbour into a marina to serve the growing leisure sailing and boating industry. It has been successful for over 30 years, and the beautiful Marina in Lossie offers 125 berths for £20 per night, each with water, electricity and free wifi within its west and east basins. Lossiemouth tide times can be found on the Lossiemouth Marina website.

Lossiemouth Marina
Lossiemouth Marina.

I once chartered a private trip on a catamaran from the marina, and off the coast of Lossie, I saw dolphinsseals up close, and a basking shark in the distance; it was a fantastic experience. Sea Angling is a popular activity from boats in the marina.

Bottlenose dolphins jumping near Lossiemouth.
Bottlenose dolphins are a common sight near Lossiemouth.

Lossie Fisheries and Community Museum

Overlooking the marina is a small museum dedicated to Lossie history. The museum has information on the fishing history and boat building in Lossie, including models. There is also a reconstruction of the study of Labour Prime Minister Ramsey Macdonald, who was from Lossie.

Moray Golf Club

In 1889, the old course at Moray Golf Club was designed by Old Tom Morris, who also frequently played the course and held many exhibition matches. The old and new courses are within a very picturesque setting, directly next to the town and West Beach.

Moray Firth Golf Club
The impressive Moray Golf Club near West Beach.

Windswept Brewing

Founded in 2012 by two ex-RAF pilots, Windswept produces some of the finest craft beers in Scotland. Tours and tastings are on offer at their brewery and an onsite shop. If you are interested in craft beer, this is the perfect place. The introductory tour costs £15 and lasts one hour, only available Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

Lossiemouth Caravan Sites

Lossiemouth is home to two caravan sites:

Silver Sands Holiday Park

Situated just off Lossie's West Beach, Silver Sands is aptly named. You can walk from the caravans and be directly on the beach in under two minutes.

Lossie Bay Caravan Park

This caravan park is nearer the centre of Lossiemouth, near the Seatown area. While not directly on the beach, it is placed on the River Lossie, which can be fantastic for paddleboarding. With the opening of the new bridge, East Beach is once again accessible for holidaymakers.

Please check out my guide to caravan holidays in Scotland.

Lossiemouth Bay Caravan Park. Paddle board Lossiemouth.
Paddleboarders on the River Lossie near Lossiemouth Bay Caravan Park.

RAF Lossiemouth

Since 1939, Lossiemouth has been home to an RAF base on the west side of the town. Today, RAF Lossiemouth is one of two quick reaction alert (QRA) stations responsible for protecting the northern UK airspace. RAF Coningsby is the southern QRA station.

Four Typhoon combat aircraft squadrons and one Poseidon MRA1 maritime patrol aircraft are based at RAF Lossiemouth and remain on high alert to intercept any unauthorised aircraft approaching the northern UK airspace. Russian bombers are often intercepted and escorted away!

Plane taking off from RAF Lossiemouth to the south west.
Aircraft taking off from RAF Lossiemouth.

My father was in the RAF and based in Lossiemouth and we lived directly on the south side of the airbase near where the Sea King helicopters were based.

RAF Kinloss (now repurposed as a base for the British army) is also based in Moray further to the west and, combined with RAF Lossiemouth, contributes £156.5 million per year to the Moray economy. 21% of local employment is linked to both bases.

If you're interested in aerospace history in Moray, a visit to Morayvia Aerospace Museum in Kinloss is well worth your time. They have many exhibits, including a Sea King helicopter and the last remaining Nimrod MR2 maritime patrol aircraft.

Sea King helicopter.
The Sea King helicopter at Morayvia Aerospace Museum.

A brief history of Lossiemouth

Here is a very short history of Lossiemouth:

There is evidence of settlements around the Lossiemouth area for over 1000 years. The sculptor's cave to the west has 3000 years of history within its murky depths. The Roman Empire never conquered the people of northern Scotland, but there is much evidence they visited the Moray Firth Coast as forts can be found at Thomshill, Elgin and Easter Galcantray, Cawdor.

Since 900AD, what has now become Lossiemouth was comprised of 4 smaller settlements:

  • Kinneddar (900)

  • Stotfield (1500s)

  • Seatown (1700s)

  • Branderburgh (1800s)

Kinneddar no longer exists in modern Lossiemouth, but the other villages still comprise buildings within the town.

From the 1700s to the 1900s, fishing was a major industry in Lossie, and many different types of fishing boats were operated from the harbours: Skaffies, Fifies, Zulus, Steam Drifters and Seine Netters.

The initial harbour in Lossiemouth was built in 1764, and the new harbour in 1839 by the newly formed Elgin and Lossiemouth Harbour company.

The first railway north of Aberdeen was built from Lossie to Elgin in 1852 - part of the Morayshire Railway. Lossie was first to receive its section as the steam trains were delivered via sea.

During the early 1900s, Lossiemouth became a major fishing port and was the third largest white fish landing port in Scotland. Overfishing and the UK joining the EEC (European Economic Community) in 1973 was the death knell for Lossie's fishing industry, leading to the wise decision to convert the harbour to a marina and leisure facility in 1990.

Lossiemouth sunrise
Sunrise in Lossie, showing East Beach, the old footbridge and River Lossie.

Events in Lossiemouth

Seafest Lossiemouth

Seafest is an annual summer event in Lossiemouth, celebrating Lossie's fishing heritage with a series of sports, treasure hunts, social events and arts & crafts. Many smaller events run with Seafest, including yoga, lighthouse tours, summer fayres, beer tasting and sailing, surf rescue and SUP taster sessions.

Run by volunteers, Seafest is a highlight in the summer months.

seafestlossie.org.uk

The Lossiemouth Raft Race

This annual event is usually held at the end of July and is a very popular day out and fundraising event. Teams construct a homemade raft, and some dress up in fancy dress, then race from the old Lossiemouth footbridge to a finish line.

Lossiemouth Raft Race raised funds for the following charities in 2022:

  • The Ladybird Group

  • Moray Fresh Start

  • MFR Cash For Kids

  • The RAF100 Appeal

The raft race is an enjoyable day out for the whole family and a community-building event with RAF station personnel and the locals.

Lossiemouth Raft Race
On the starting line at Lossiemouth Raft Race.
 
Lossiemouth Raft Race boat and fancy dress.
One of the home made rafts and fancy dress.

Is Lossiemouth a nice place to live?

Yes - Lossiemouth is a lovely place to live for a multitude of reasons:

  • Walks along the beautiful beaches are always an option.

  • There are excellent schools, including a brand new high school with many great facilities including a 7000 book library and a swimming pool.

  • Jobs are available in tourism, the RAF station and the many businesses in Lossiemouth.

  • It's possible to see the Aurora Borealis / Northern Lights regularly through the winter months.

  • Close links to Elgin nearby, with large supermarkets and fast food chains associated with larger settlements, including McDonald's, KFC, Costa and Starbucks.

  • A great sense of community - for example, locals banded together to keep the public toilets open and even take turns to clean them!

The only downside might be the roar of aircraft engines, but I don't remember it being too bad when I lived in Lossiemouth.

Lossiemouth esplanade and defunct footbridge.
Lossie as seen from East Beach dunes. Note the decommissioned footbridge.

Where are the best places to eat in Lossiemouth?

Here are a few of my favourite places to eat in Lossie:

  1. The Harbour Lights - Located at the marina/harbour, it has great food, including all-day breakfasts, soups, and sandwiches. There are a lot of fish dishes on the menu, showcasing the best of the Moray Firth, but there are still many options for non-fish lovers and vegans.

  2. Twenty Nineteen Coffee - located a short distance out of Lossiemouth to the west is Twenty Nineteen Coffee. My kids love it here and always order the kid's platter. This restaurant is ideally suited when staying at Silver Sands caravan park.

  3. Lossie Restaurant - In the mood for a curry? Then the Bangladeshi "Lossie Restaurant" has you covered.

  4. Meile's of Lossie - The best place to get ice cream in Lossiemouth; we always go here and now; with the new Lossie footbridge, you have the perfect place to eat it along East Beach.

  5. The Lossie Chip Shop - A stay at Lossie wouldn't be complete without a visit to Lossie Chip Shop, some of the best fish n chips in Moray.

  6. Golf View Hotel - If you're looking for a nice sit-down meal at reasonable prices, check out Golf View Hotel. Panoramic views over the golf course and West Beach make this a lovely place to eat.

Kids platter at Twenty Nineteen Coffee.
My daughter Olivia about to destroy the kids platter at Twenty Nineteen Coffee.

The above are my favourites, but you really are spoilt for choice in Lossie:

  • The Seafood and Grill Restaurant

  • The Galley

  • Rock House Hotel

  • Guidi's

  • Firth Hotel and Restaurant

  • The Steamboat

  • Pino Pizza

  • Ashers Bakery

  • Stotfield Hotel

  • Coulard Inn

Things to do near Lossiemouth

There are so many things to see and do in the Lossiemouth area if you are up on holiday or just a local looking to explore; here are my favourites:

Duffus Castle

This is my favourite castle in Scotland, mainly because I lived nearby as a child. Built upon a solitary man-made hill, part of the castle has broken off and slipped partially down the mound. It looks the part and is a great way to spend an hour exploring or having a picnic. A dedicated refreshment stand is also there now if you fancy a coffee. Entry is free. Read more on Duffus Castle and castles in Moray.

Duffus Castle
Duffus Castle is a must visit while staying in Lossiemouth.

Spynie Palace

Just south of Lossiemouth is another great ruin, Spynie Palace, the old bishop's residence. This is a very impressive ruin with multiple areas to explore. Entry is £7 per adult and £4 per child.

Loch Spynie exists a short distance to the northeast, an important wildlife habitat and haven for many bird species.

Spynie Palace.
The impressive ruin of Spynie Palace.

Sculptors Cave

One for the more adventurous, this cave is along the coast some distance from Lossiemouth West Beach and inaccessible at high tide. The cave is about 20m deep and 13.5m wide and has evidence of Bronze Age and Iron Age activity. Pictish carvings are the most interesting feature that can be seen near the entrance.

Elgin Cathedral

A spectacular ruin exists in central Elgin of a huge ruined cathedral. There is a great deal to see here, including an impressive octagonal ceiling and interior museum exhibits within the cathedral towers. Entry is £9.50 for adults or £5.50 for kids.

Elgin Cathedral.
The impressive ruin of Elgin Cathedral.

Golfing near Lossiemouth

In addition to Moray Golf Club in Lossie itself, there are many nearby golf clubs/courses to choose from:

  • Elgin Golf Club

  • Maverston Golf Course

  • Kinloss Country Golf Course

  • Hopeman Golf Club

  • Buckpool and Strathlene in Buckie

  • Cullen Links Golf Club

Check here for more ideas for the best things to do in Moray.

Strathlene Golf Club.
Strathlene Golf Course.

Are public toilets available in Lossiemouth?

Yes, there are public toilets on the esplanade. It's a free-standing building; see the picture below.

Public toilets in Lossiemouth.
Lossiemouth Public toilets.

Is it named Lossiemouth or Lossie?

Lossiemouth is often shortened to Lossie, just as a shortened, more affectionate version, but Lossiemouth is the proper name for the town, but no one will bat an eyelid if you call it Lossie. Pick the one you like!

How to get to Lossiemouth?

Lossie is easily accessible via a 15-minute drive from Elgin (A941), but is also accessible via coastal routes via Hopeman and Burghead (B9040). There is also a shortcut road along the B9103 from Lhanbrydge if coming from the east.

A regular bus service runs between Elgin and Lossie, and there is a dedicated cycle path too!

Where are the best places to stay in Lossiemouth?

It all depends on what you like about accommodation, but the caravan parks, along with Firth Hotel, would be high on my list. Norland B&B is excellent.

Scotland Lossiemouth West Beach.
Lossie West Beach.

Are there other golden sandy beaches in Moray?

Moray is home to many beautiful beaches; please see my dedicated guide to beaches in Moray for more information. Cullen, in particular, has a spectacular beach!

Conclusion

Lossiemouth deserves its title as Jewel of the Moray Firth; beaches, fine restaurants, ancient history and wildlife make Lossiemouth a genuinely fantastic place for a holiday in Moray and on the north east coast of Scotland.

Many of the images used here are by the fantastic photographer, Alan Butterfield.

Claim Your Free 6 Day Travel Itinerary:

Simply enter your email and we'll send it your way!

Free Scotland travel itinerary

Hi, please leave a comment below, or why not start a discussion on the forum?

Comments:


Alanandchristineknott@hotmail.co.uk
23rd of August 2022 @ 19:47:57

Wonderful place to keep coming back to

Margaret
22nd of August 2022 @ 15:20:34

Very interesting I grew up in Lossiemouth left many years ago cos I married a navy man when it was RNAS FULMAR but you have covered everything 😉

Eleanor Ferguson
17th of August 2022 @ 22:09:53

I lived here from 1952 when I was born, till 63. It was a great childhood with the beach and the woods. I love reading about it and reminiscing. I didn't ever see dolphins or even know that there were any. I could see the lighthouse from my bedroom and was quite hypnotized by the light going round. The weather was great and I was very brown with playing outside all the time. We didn't have sunscreen in those days! I'm looking forward to maybe visiting again.

Sarah Hoyle
15th of August 2022 @ 18:44:46

I am a Lossie Quine living in England. Want to pay a visit and see everything again.