A guide to Gullane Beach in East Lothian

Written by Chris Thornton | 18th of April 2023
Gullane Beach, East Lothian.

Gullane Beach is a picturesque seaside destination located in East Lothian, Scotland. This stunning beach is a popular spot for locals and tourists, offering breathtaking views of the Firth of Forth and the surrounding coastline. Soak up the sun, dip in the refreshing waters, or enjoy a leisurely stroll along the shore; Gullane Beach has something for everyone.

With its soft golden sands and clear blue waters, Gullane Beach is ideal for a day trip or a weekend getaway. The beach is easily accessible by car or public transport, and plenty of amenities are nearby, including cafes, restaurants, and shops. Visitors can also explore the charming Gullane village, home to various historic buildings, quaint shops, and traditional pubs.

Whether you're a nature lover, a history buff, or simply looking for a relaxing day out, Gullane Beach is a must-visit destination in Scotland. With its stunning scenery, rich cultural heritage, and welcoming community, it's no wonder this beach is one of the most popular attractions in the area.

Location and Access

Gullane Beach is located in the charming village of Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland. The beach is situated on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth, just 20 miles east of Edinburgh. Gullane is a popular tourist destination known for its stunning beaches, world-renowned golf courses, and scenic countryside.

How to get to Gullane Beach

Getting to Gullane Beach is easy, with a variety of transportation options available. Visitors can take the train to nearby North Berwick, a short bus or taxi ride away from Gullane. Alternatively, those travelling by car can take the A1 or A198 roads to reach the village.

West end to Gullane Point
The bay is lovely at all times of year, but best in Summer. Image Neil H.

Gullane Bents Car Park

Once in Gullane, visitors can access the beach via a short walk from the village centre. A good sized car park is available for those travelling by car, but it can get busy during peak season. Therefore, it is recommended to arrive early to secure a spot.

Overall, Gullane Beach is a picturesque destination that is easily accessible by a variety of transportation options. Whether travelling by train, car, or bus, visitors will find it easy to reach this beautiful beach and enjoy all it offers.

Address: Marine Terrace, Gullane, EH31 2AZ.
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Google maps link

The beach and car park are open every day of the year but at peak times there is a charge of £2.50 for a car space.

  • 1st April - 30 September: 8.00 am - 6.30 pm.

  • 1st October - 31st March: 8.00 am - 4.00 pm.

It's possible to receive a fine of £60 if you do not pay for your space. The car park and beach are adminstered by East Lothian Council.

Car park at Gullane Beach at high tide. Sandy loan. Aerial view. Car parking.
Gullane Beach car park as seen from the air.

Beach Features

Gullane Beach is a beautiful stretch of coastline in East Lothian, Scotland. The beach is a popular destination for locals and tourists, offering a range of features that make it an ideal spot for a day out or a weekend away.

One of the most notable features of Gullane Beach is its long stretch of golden sand. The beach is over three miles long, providing plenty of space for visitors to spread out and enjoy the stunning views of the North Sea. The sand is soft and clean, perfect for building sandcastles, exploring rock pools, sunbathing, or taking a leisurely stroll along the shore.

In addition to the sand, Gullane Beach is also home to a range of rock formations and cliffs. These features provide a stunning backdrop to the beach, allowing visitors to explore the area and discover hidden coves and caves.

For those who enjoy water sports, Gullane Beach is an excellent destination. The beach offers great conditions for surfing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing, with plenty of space to launch and land your equipment. The waves at Gullane Beach are generally small to medium-sized, making it an excellent spot for beginners or those looking to improve their skills.

Gullane Bay at low tide. Aberlady Bay Nature Reserve.
The beach at low tide. Image Christine Rondeau.

Finally, Gullane Beach is also home to a range of amenities, including public toilets, a car park, and several cafes and restaurants. These facilities make it easy for visitors to spend the whole day at the beach without worrying about packing a picnic or finding somewhere to eat.

Gullane Super Fry on the main street of Gullane is highly recommended for Fish and Chips. A Co-op mini store exists next more if you need to purchase anything else.

Activities and Amenities

Gullane Beach is a popular destination for tourists and locals, with plenty of activities and amenities. Here are some of the highlights:

Water Sports

With its clear waters and gentle waves, Gullane Beach is the perfect spot for water sports. Visitors can enjoy swimming, surfing, windsurfing, and paddleboarding. Equipment rental is available on the beach, so you don't have to bring your own gear.

Waves are small to medium in size, so they are ideal for beginners.

Walking and Hiking

The beach is surrounded by beautiful countryside, making it an ideal location for walking and hiking. The John Muir Way, a long-distance walking path, passes through Gullane Beach and offers stunning views of the coastline and surrounding countryside.

Some distance following the beach north east you will come to the lovely Yellowcraig Beach which has play parks and more public toilets.

Beach Amenities

Gullane Beach has a range of amenities to make your visit comfortable and enjoyable. These include:

  • A recently refurbished toilet and shower block.

  • Changing rooms.

  • Cafes and restaurants.

  • Beach equipment rental.

  • A small car park at the cost of £2.50 per day.

  • Bike locking points.


Gullane Beach is also known for its world-class golf courses. The Gullane Golf Club, founded in 1882, is one of Scotland's oldest and most prestigious golf clubs. The club has three courses, each with its unique challenges and stunning views of the beach and surrounding countryside.

Other nearby Golf courses include:

  • Archerfield Links

  • Craigielaw Golf Course

  • Dunbar Golf Club

  • Glen Golf Club

  • Luffness New Golf Club

  • The Renaissance Club

Gullane Beavers. A friendly beach.
Gullane Beavers scout group on a beach clean. Image Scottish Government.

Local Attractions

Gullane Beach is not just a beautiful stretch of sand, but it is also surrounded by many attractions that are worth visiting. Here are a few local attractions that you can visit during your trip to Gullane Beach:

  • Gullane Golf Course: This golf course is one of the best in Scotland and is just a few minutes from the beach. It offers stunning views of the Firth of Forth and is a must-visit for golf enthusiasts.

  • John Muir Way: This scenic trail runs along the coast and offers breathtaking views of the sea and the surrounding hills. It is perfect for a leisurely walk or a bike ride.

  • Dirleton Castle: This castle is located just a few miles from Gullane Beach and is a great place to explore Scottish history. It was built in the 13th century and has been well-preserved over the years.

  • Archerfield Walled Garden: Located at Archerfield Estate, Dirleton this walled garden is just an 8-minute drive away from the beach. The 18th-century enclosed garden features a diverse array of flora, including wildflowers, roses, a thriving kitchen garden, and bountiful vegetable plots.

    Adjacent to the garden, you'll find Archerfield Wood, which boasts a whimsical fairy trail and a delightful play park for children. The estate also offers a contemporary shop selling locally sourced produce and a charming garden café where you can relax and enjoy refreshments.

  • The Scottish Seabird Centre: The Scottish Seabird Centre is an award-winning conservation and education centre located in North Berwick, a short distance by car east of Gullane. It is a unique attraction that allows visitors to see live seabirds and marine life up close through interactive exhibits, telescopes, and live camera feeds from the nearby islands.

Bass Rock

If you are interested in wildlife, then you can visit Bass Rock, which is a small island located in the Firth of Forth. It is home to a large colony of gannets and other seabirds. You can take a boat tour from North Berwick to visit the island.

Tantallon Castle battlements are a brilliant place to look out to sea and view the impressive Bass Rock.

Tips for Visitors to Gullane Bay

Visiting Gullane Beach can be a wonderful experience, but there are some things you should keep in mind to make the most of your trip. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Check the weather forecast before you go. Gullane Beach is a beautiful place on a sunny day, but it can be less enjoyable in lousy weather.

  • Bring appropriate clothing and footwear. The beach can be windy and chilly, even in the summer, so bringing layers and a windproof jacket is a good idea. Comfortable shoes are also necessary if you plan to explore the surrounding area.

  • Be respectful of the environment. Gullane Beach is a protected area, so it's essential to take care not to damage the sand dunes or disturb any wildlife.

  • Stay safe in the water. While the beach is a great place to swim, it's important to be aware of the tides and currents.

  • Take advantage of the facilities. Gullane Beach has public toilets, a cafe, and a car park, so make use of these amenities to ensure a comfortable visit.

Gullane Beach is beautiful in fine weather.
A lovely place for a walk (when the weather's good!). Image by Pascal.

FAQs on Gullane Beach

Here are a few frequently asked questions about Gullane Beach.

Can you swim at Gullane Beach?

Yes, the beach is excellent for swimming. The water quality is frequently tested by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and is rated as excellent. The short walk from the car park to the beach makes it easy to have a quick swim and then escape back to the warmth of your car! The water will be very cold at all times of the year.

Where is Gullane Beach?

The beach is in East Lothian in east Scotland, just a short distance west of North Berwick and around 20 miles east of central Edinburgh.

Is Gullane Beach busy?

It can be busy depending on the time of year and the weather. It will likely be much busier if it's a scorching hot sunny day in June. It is a wide sandy bay so finding a space shouldn't be a problem.

Is Gullane Beach clean?

Over the years, the beach has gained a bit of a reputation for dog mess, but recent efforts to keep the beach clean have been quite successful.

Are dogs allowed on Gullane Bay?

Yes, dogs are allowed all year round on the beach.

Is the beach suitable for disabled visitors?

A wheelchair-accessible viewing platform is available, which includes four picnic tables with great views across Gullane Bay. Accessible toilets are available near the viewing platform.

Key information on Gullane Beach

  • Found in East Lothian between Aberlady and North Berwick.

  • Car park available at the cost of £2.50 per day.

  • Excellent facilities are available, including toilets, showers and changing rooms.

  • A disabled viewing area gives a fantastic view of Gullane Bay.

  • Watersports are available at the beach, including equipment hire.

  • Many golfing opportunities are available nearby.

  • Gullane Village, next to the beach, has many great shops and places to eat.

Gullane sand dunes.
High sand dunes at Gullane Bay. Image VWF Photography.


Gullane Beach is a stunning destination in Scotland that offers visitors a unique and memorable experience. The beach is known for its pristine sands, crystal-clear waters, grassy sand dunes and breathtaking views of the Firth of Forth.

Aside from the beach's natural beauty, a variety of activities and amenities are available to visitors, from beachside cafes and restaurants to nearby golf courses and hiking trails.

Overall, Gullane Beach is a must-see destination for anyone visiting east Scotland. Its stunning natural beauty, a wide range of activities and amenities, and welcoming local community make for a perfect Scottish Beach holiday.

All information was correct at the time of writing, please check things like entry costs and opening times before you arrive.

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