The Isle of Arran off the west coast of Scotland is renowned for its beauty and a big part of that is down to the beaches on Arran.
If you’ve not visited Scotland much you may be surprised to learn that Scotland has some incredible beaches with crystal-clear water and golden sand.
Some of the best things to do on Arran include visiting the beaches and a dip in the sea is perfect after a long hike up Goatfell on Arran!
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Best beaches on Arran
With many beautiful beaches on Arran, knowing where to go can be hard. That’s why I’ve put together this Arran beaches map so you can see where they are and use it to plan your trip to Arran.
Arran beaches map
Click on the image below to open up an interactive Isle of Arran beaches map. This Arran map also includes the best things to do on Arran as well as where to eat on Arran.
1. Silver Sands Beach Arran / Kildonan Beach
Silver Sands beach is on the southeast of the island and is also known as Kildonan Beach Arran as Kildonan is the closest village to the beach.
From Silver Sands on Arran, you’ll get great views of Ailsa Craig and Pladda Island.
The water here is super clear and it’s a great place for a swim in the summer (or the winter if you like a cold plunge!).
Nearby to Silver Sands are Whiting Bay, the Giant’s Graves and Glenashdale Waterfalls, and Eas or Waterfall; some of the best things to do on Arran!
A top tip is to visit the smaller beach area near the village hall in Kildonan. This beach is well-loved by locals but flies under the radar of visitors to Arran.
2. Brodick Bay
Brodick Bay is the closest beach to the Arran ferry terminal. It’s sandy, large and has a gold course that backs right onto it if you’re into golf.
The southern end of Brodick Bay tends to be a bit busier but the further north you go, the quieter it gets.
We even saw a seal in the bay as we walked back across Brodick Beach after hiking Goatfell.
In the summer there’s often a food truck by the beach that serves fresh seafood.
Brodick Bay is also dog friendly so it’s the perfect place for your dog to run around!
3. Lamlash Beach
Lamlash Beach to the south of Lamlash is another beautiful beach on Arran.
If you don’t want to go too far from civilization, then Lamlash Beach is a great option as you’re still pretty close to shops and homes. It’s also pretty easy to get to from the Arran ferry terminal in Brodick.
It’s not the widest beach on Arran, but it is a pretty spot and it’s got some benches making it great for a picnic.
From Lamlash beach you get great views of the Holy Isle (home to one of Scotland’s prettiest landscapes) too.
4. Dougarie Beach
Dougarie Beach is a very long, but narrow beach on Arran. It’s on the western side of Arran and is pretty isolated.
There are quite often a lot of seals around here and the sunsets are spectacular since it’s on the west coast!
Not far from Dougarie Beach are the Machrie Moor Standing Stones which are one of the top attractions on Arran.
I had a great swim here – the water was SO clear!
5. Whiting Bay Beach
Whiting Bay is the name of the village just north of Whiting Bay Beach and some would argue it’s the best beach on the entire island.
Whiting Bay Beach on Arran has the best of both worlds since there’s both sand and rocks. It’s about 1.6 km long and its one of the beaches on Arran that doesn’t get too busy either.
The water here is quite shallow so it’s ideal if you’re visiting Arran with kids as they can paddle pretty safely in the sea.
Walking all the way to the far north of Whiting Bay Beach to Kingscross Point gets you an incredible view of the Holy Isle. Interestingly, you’re actually as close as you can get to Holy Isle at this point!
6. Cleat’s Shore
Arran has its own nudist beach and it’s actually the only official nudist beach in the whole of Scotland!
Cleat’s Shore is a remote beach on Arran and was described in the naturist bible – Bare Britain – as being perhaps the least visited nudist beach in the world!
The beach is close to Lagg Distillery on Arran and you get great views all the way down to Kintyre.
7. Blackwaterfoot Beach
Blackwaterfroot Beach is in the South West of Arran and close to the King’s Cave walk.
If you’re planning to visit the Machrie Moor Stone Circle or King’s Cave then stopping off at Blackwaterfoot Beach before or after should be a must!
Blackwaterfoot Beach is sandy and typically less crowded than other beaches on Arran due to its location.
8. Catacol Beach
Catacol Beach is another of Arran’s beautiful beaches on the western coast.
It’s not a sandy beach but it’s typically very quiet, has some of the clearest water of all the beaches on Arran, and it’s a great spot for a beach walk.
If like me, you like admiring houses in beautiful locations, then you’ll love the houses here! There are 12 white-coloured houses that look onto the beach which are locally known as the Twelve Apostles.
9. Lochranza Beach
There’s a lovely little beach just outside of Lochranza.
Head north out of the village and you’ll reach a rocky shoreline with incredible views, a little bit of sand, and very few people.
Nearby there’s also Lochranza Castle for before or after your beach trip.
10. Pirnmill Beach
Pirnmill Beach is another great beach on Arran. It’s just south of Catacol and is pretty similar to Catacol Beach.
A nice walk would be to walk between the two beaches and finish it up with dinner at The Lighthouse.
11. Sannox Bay Beach
Another of the best beaches on Arran is Sannox Bay. Sannos Bay is just north of Brodick and so it’s easy to get to from Brodick.
The beach at Sannox Bay is sandy and perfect for a gentle walk or chilling out with a picnic and a good adventure book.
If you need to warm up, head over to Fran’s Tea Room which does classic Scottish comfort food with generous portions.
12. Coire-Fhionn Lochan
Okay, technically not a beach in Arran in terms of being by the sea, Coire-Fhionn Lochan still has a little beach by it and it’s a gorgeous place for swimming on Arran.
You’ll get beautiful mountain views and the water of the loch is super clear!
It’s a bit of a hike to get to this swimming spot on Arran (about an hour each way) and it’s steep in places, but well worth it when you arrive at Coire-Fhionn Lochan!
How to get to Arran
To get to the Isle of Arran you’ll need to take the ferry. There are two ferries to Arran, one between Ardrossan and Brodick and another between Claonaig and Lochranza.
Both ferries take vehicles and it’s best to pre-book, especially if you’re travelling in summer.
Alternatively, you can go on the ferry as a foot passenger which is cheaper and there’s a decent bus service on Arran for you to get around the island.
I’ve included links to the ferry times from Ardrossan to Arran and Claonig to Lochranza below too. Lochranza is home to some of the best beaches on Arran too, so it doesn’t matter which port you end up at!
Ferries to Arrain: Ardrossan to Brodick
The main ferry to Isle of Arran, one of the CalMac ferries, travels between Ardrossan and Brodick.
This Ardrossan to Arran ferry is the one we took as foot passengers. It takes just under an hour to go from Ardrossan to Brodick on Arran.
On the ferry from Ardrossan to Arran, car spaces pretty much always sell out during peak times such as during summer and at weekends.
If you’re a foot passenger you don’t need to pre-book.
Getting to Ardrossan from central Glasgow is pretty easy and so you can do the whole trip from Glasgow to Arran car-free! The journey from Glasgow Central Station to Ardrossan takes about 40 minutes and costs around £9. You can get it for even less if you book in advance or have a rail card!
Ferry timetables to Arran from Ardrossan can be viewed here.
Ferry to Arran: Claonaig to Lochranza
The Claonaig to Lochranza ferry is smaller than the Ardrossan ferry and takes only 30 minutes. There’s no pre-booking and it works on a first-come, first-served basis so if you’re travelling over summer or weekends you should arrive early or be prepared to wait.
Claonaig is further away from Glasgow and not accessible by public transport so you’ll need a car for this one!
You can see ferry times to Arran here
Getting around Arran
There’s a good bus service that goes around Arran to the main sites and is near enough to the main trailheads. This means that most people don’t need to take their car on the ferry which is great since you’ll save money as a car passenger!
You can get an Arran Three-Day Rover Ticket, or Arran Megarider for one week of travel if you’re staying on Arran for a while and plan to travel by bus.
You can get to many of the beaches on Arran by bus if you’re without a car.
There are just three main bus routes here are three main routes: 324, 323, and 322. Most of the routes coincide with ferry times from Brodick.
Bus timetables in Arran are available on the website.
Where to stay on Arran
If you’re planning on staying on Arran for a night or longer, here are some of the best options for accommodation in Arran.
Camping in Isle of Arran
Thanks to Scotland’s rule of ‘Right to Roam’ you can camp anywhere on Arran as long as you act responsibly.
There are also some other places to camp on Arran.
Scotland’s Right to Roam – Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
In Scotland, you can go on to most land to enjoy the outdoors – as long as you behave responsibly, care for the environment and respect the interests of others. You can learn more about the Scotland Outdoor Access Code, and what it means for your activities here.
If wild camping isn’t quite your thing, you can also camp amongst the deer at Lochranza campsite.
The Lochranza campsite is just across from the distillery on Arran and offers glamping from £35 a night, plus £2 a night per car. You get a wooden camping pod with electricity, lighting and heating but you still need to bring your sleeping gear.
You can also park your campervan here from £18 a night, or camp here in a tent from £10 a night with an additional £2 per car.
Hotels on Arran
Kinloch Hotel on Arran: The Kinloch Hotel has a pool, restaurant, and leisure centre and offers a great breakfast for all overnight guests.
Auchrannie Resort: For a luxurious stay on Arran, stay at the Auchrannie Resort which has hotel rooms and luxury lodges as well as three restaurants and a spa.
The Douglas Hotel: The Douglas Hotel, Arran is in Brodick Bay has stunning sea views from many rooms. There’s an on-site restaurant and bar and you’re just a short walk from the ferry so it’s perfect if you’re visiting Arran car-free!
FAQs about the best beaches Arran has to offer
How big is Arran in miles?
The island of Arran is nearly 20 miles long and 10 miles wide. It has a circumference of 55 miles. We drove around the perimeter of Arran in one day, stopping off at lots of places along the way.
How long is the ferry from Ardrossan to Arran?
The ferry from Ardrossan to Arran (Brodick) takes about 55 minutes
How many people live on Arran?
Around 4,600 people live on the Isle of Arran in Scotland.
Final thoughts on the best beaches Arran has to offer
With so many options it can be tough to pick the best beach on Arran in Scotland. From the beautiful Silver Sands Beah to Blacwaterfoot Beach and the golf course that looks out onto it, it’s hard to narrow things down to just one
However, if I had to choose, then my pick for the best beaches Isle of Arran has to offer is those on the northwestern coast. Here I found the water to be super clear, and the view was great too. I couldn’t resist a swim, going in and out multiple times!
If you’re looking for more places to visit in Scotland as beautiful as these beaches in Arran, be sure to check out this guide to Milport things to do, the best things to do in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs national park, and this guide to the Isle of Bute or these places to see on the Isle of Skye.
Last Updated on August 21, 2023 by Hannah
Hannah started That Adventurer after graduating back in 2013 and has documented all of her adventures since then. From backpacking South America to city breaks in Europe, a 3 month road trip across the USA in a self-converted van and 6 years living in Canada, you’ll find posts on all of this.
Hannah specialises in active travel and on That Adventurer you’ll find hiking, walking, biking, skiing and all sorts of active travel guides to allow you to see a destination in an adventurous way.