A trip to the seaside is always fun, but the Scottish weather can turn cold quickly – so it’s great to escape into a cosy cafe to avoid the wind. There are a great selection of seaside cafes all around the country to choose from, ranging from gourmet to traditional greasy spoons. Here's 15 of our favourites.
1. Inversnecky Cafe, Aberdeen
Sea Beach, 7-8 Esplanade, Aberdeen
Open every day 9am-5pm
01224 596531, www.facebook.com/Invesnecky
In recent years this cafe has become well known for the witty jokes on its sandwich boards, but among locals it is best known for its excellent food. Their fried breakfasts are both flavoursome and filling, with the bacon and egg roll a particular standout. They also serve a great fish and chips (as you might expect at the seaside) and boast a traditional, welcoming interior.
2. The Little Bay Cafe, Oban
9 Stafford St, Oban, Argyll and Bute
Open every day, 8am-5pm
01631 569583, www.explore-oban.com
Thanks to its cheery yellow paint job, this small cafe stands out from the others along the Oban seafront. As well as a selection of soups, cakes and cooked breakfast options, the cafe is licensed. There is the option of sitting outside to enjoy the fresh air, or at the cosy seats indoors – but the hospitality is just as good either way.
3. The Beach House, Portobello
57 Bath St, Portobello Promenade, Edinburgh
Open every day 8.45am-6pm
0131 657 2636, www.thebeachhousecafe.co.uk/
On Portobello’s famous promenade, The Beach House lives up to its name by being within touching distance of the sand. They make their own cakes, pastries and bread, and source many of their products (including ice cream) from within the local area. And after recently being granted a licence, they now provide a Edinburgh Seaside gin and tonic – which is the perfect accompaniment to relaxing and taking in the view.
4. The Mission Cafe, Mallaig
Station Rd, Mallaig, Lochaber
Open Monday- Saturday, 7am-5pm and Sunday 8am-4pm
01687 460105, www.facebook.com/The-Mission-Cafe-656578711023267/
Cheesecake fans, this is for you. There are new flavours on offer at The Mission every week: with cherry bakewell, mango and nutella just some of those produced in the past. And if that wasn’t enough, the scenic surroundings make a trip to Mallaig well worth the effort. If you can’t bear to tear yourself away from the scenery, then The Mission also does food to take away.
5. Sands, Aberdour
Beach front, Hawkcraig Road, Aberdour, Fife
Open every day 10am-5pm
01383 861473, www.facebook.com/Sands-A-Place-By-The-Sea-188201457968564
You can’t really get more seaside cafe than this, with a lovely outside seating area sat right on top of the Silver Sands beach. For a small place there is an extensive menu: with homemade chilli, burgers and pies as well as sandwiches and paninis. Happily, the staff are helpful and friendly and will accommodate any customers who need extra assistance.
6. Ebba’s Bistro, St Abbs
The Ebba Centre, Brierylaw, St Abbs, Berwickshire
Open every day 10am-4pm
Housed within the community-trust owned Ebba Centre in the fishing village of St Abbs, this bistro boasts great views of the harbour and sea. The food doesn’t disappoint either, with excellent soups (the Cullen Skink in particular), burgers and even mussels. The cakes are tasty too.
7. The Caledonian Cafe, Skye
1 Wentworth St, Portree, Skye
Open every day 9am-4pm
01478 612553, www.caledoniancafe.co.uk/
One of the more affordable eateries in Portree, the Caledonian Cafe offers a varied and appetising menu, with gluten free options available. The standout on the menu is the steak and kidney pie (flavoured with local ale) but they also do a delicious cooked breakfast that doesn’t scrimp on the portions. They are licensed too, so you can enjoy a cold pint alongside your hot lunch.
8. Buckley’s, Prestwick
59 Main St, Prestwick, Ayrshire
Open Monday-Saturday, 8.30pm-5.30pm and Sunday 10am-4pm
01292 737787, www.buckleysprestwick.com
One of the more gourmet cafes on this list, Buckley’s have modernised the traditional seaside cafe into something a bit more high-end. Their menu offers options such as chargrilled asparagus and avocado on toasted sourdough – alongside classic favourites like haddock and chips. They also have a full gluten-free menu to cater to those with intolerances and allergies, as well as take-away lunches and salad boxes.
9. Seabird Cafe, North Berwick
Scottish Seabird Centre, The Harbour, North Berwick
Open every day, 10am-6pm
01620 890202, www.seabird.org/visit/cafe
With a seaside sun deck, this East Lothian cafe certainly has good views covered: with an outlook overlooking the Firth of Forth and Bass Rock (where you may be able to spot Northern gannets). The food is freshly-prepared and locally sourced, and there are plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options. And as an added bonus, if you bring your own coffee cup you get a 50p discount, in a bid to try and reduce plastic waste in the ocean.
10. Weavers Cafe, Tongue
Woodend, Rhitongue, Tongue, Sutherland
Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10am- 4pm, and Sunday- Monday 10.30am- 4pm
01847 611332, www.visitscotland.com
Weavers is set in a lovely spot overlooking the Kyle of Tongue, with outside seating on the deck to enjoy the sea air (as well as a cosy interior when it gets chilly). The soups and sandwiches are tasty, but Weavers is especially celebrated for their delicious homemade scones. But beware: you may struggle to restrain yourself to having just one. Or two. Or three…
11. Cafe Ca’Dora, Tarbert
Harbour St, Tarbert, Argyll and Bute
Open every day, 8am-9pm
01880 820258, https://www.facebook.com/cafecadora/
With great views of Tarbet’s postcard harbour, Ca’Dora has the atmosphere you would expect from a seaside cafe. Given they are so close to the sea it’s no surprise that there’s plenty of great seafood: the fresh prawns being a highlight. There is also pasta, pies and pizza, with a recently-added gluten free pizza option.
12. The Harbour Lights, Lossiemouth
5 Pitgaveny Quay, Lossiemouth, Moray
Open every day 8.30am-4pm
01343 814622, www.theharbour-lights.co.uk/
If the weather is good in Lossiemouth, there are few nicer places to be than enjoying the harbour views from this cafe’s outdoor seats. A range of soups and sandwiches are available, or you can plump for a main meal (with the fish platter coming highly recommended). They aim to use local ingredients as much as possible, and have a handy list of suppliers at the bottom of the menu so you know exactly where your food is coming from.
13. Cool Gourmet, Stonehaven
23 High St, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire
Open Monday-Saturday, 9.30am-4.30pm, and Sunday 10.30am-4.30pm
01569 767679, www.coolgourmet.wixsite.com/cool-gourmet
Dog owners look no further: your four-legged friend will get a warm welcome here with a bowl of water and dog biscuits provided as standard. Pets aside, the cakes are inventive and flavoursome (with the carrot cake a particular hit) and the homemade quiches and sandwiches are excellent. They are well-deserving of their Eatery of the Year prize in the Scottish Independent Retail Awards.
14. The Port Pantry, Portpatrick
24 Main Street, Portpatrick, Dumfries and Galloway
Open every day 9.30am-4.30pm
01776 810655, www.visitscotland.com
This cafe, on the harbour of Portpatrick, is loved by locals for its big cooked breakfasts. They also have an impressively large range of main meals to choose from, with the inventive Big Al’s Specials changing every weekend. Expect anything from beef tongue risotto to seafood linguini, and a lot else in between.
15. Delights, Stornoway
18 North Beach, Stornoway, Lewis
Open Monday- Saturday, 9am-6pm
01851 701472, www.facebook.com/Delights18/?rf=141972819195320
Offering some of the best-quality coffee on Lewis, Delights is popular with locals and visitors. There are lots of home-baked cakes (with dairy and gluten-free options), which can also be bought to take away from their deli shop. The deli has chutneys, jams and cheeses aplenty, and is a great place to buy gifts. Or, if you don’t fancy being generous, buy some treats for yourself and head along to the harbour to enjoy them while taking in the view.