Residents and visitors have voted on their top ten locations in Angus where you can enjoy being near the water. They made their selection from a huge variety of locations in this scenic, varied, and inspiring region of Scotland.
From idyllic beaches and spectacular cliffs to winding rivers and powerful waterfalls, there is something for everyone in Angus.
So, in no particular order, here are just some of the very best coast and water destinations in Angus, as voted for by the people who live here and those who love to visit.
1. Arbroath (Seaton) Cliffs
Walk the Cliff Top Trail in Arbroath and experience four miles of stunning cliff-side scenery with natural sea caves, secret coves, impressive blowholes, breathtaking cliffs, secluded beaches, and a variety of wildlife.
This family-friendly coastal walk explores the spectacular Seaton Cliffs. They extend north from Arbroath and have a wealth of unique red sandstone formations. The trail includes many geological treats, such as the ‘Deil’s Heid’, a stack with a very distinctive, menacing face.
The walk starts from a car park along the seafront at the north end of Arbroath. It will take you through Seaton Cliffs nature reserve – 1,850 acres of designated natural beauty where you can experience wonderful Scottish wildlife including seabird colonies, butterflies, and wildflowers. Visit between June and August to see the distinctive spotted burnet moth.
The Seaton Cliffs are also one of the best locations in Angus to spot bottlenose dolphins.
2. Arbroath Harbour and Bell Rock Lighthouse
Take a walk around a bustling, working harbour to see fishing boats land their catch or prepare for sea. You can enjoy locally caught fish from the many fish and chips shops while admiring the yachts in the marina and watching harbour life go by.
While you’re here, be sure to taste an authentic Arbroath Smokie from a local restaurant or buy one from a local fishmonger to take home. And you can discover more about this historic area at the Arbroath Harbour Visitor Centre which also includes a gallery, restaurant and gift shop.
Take a memorable boat trip along the coastline to see the spectacular Arbroath Cliffs and the Bell Rock Lighthouse. The Bell Rock Lighthouse is Britain’s oldest surviving rock lighthouse and still stands today, warning ships away from the jagged Bell Rock, 11 miles offshore. It was considered a major engineering feat in the early 19th century.
3. Lintrathen Loch and Backwater Dam
This beautiful inland loch is a reservoir that supplies water to Angus and Dundee. During the summer, Lintrathen Loch is home to breeding songbirds, and in winter you can see large numbers of wintering birds, including greylag geese.
Enjoy a pleasant walk along the circular trail that runs around the loch. You can also pick up one of Scotland’s great trails nearby, the long-distance Cateran Trail.
Nearby Backwater Reservoir, known locally as the Backwater Dam, also supplies water to Dundee and Angus. It offers an eight-mile walk around its perimeter. You can even drive over the dam for a unique experience.
On sunny days, why not take a picnic and enjoy spectacular views of the water from one of the many viewing areas around Backwater. And for delicious cakes and coffee, visit the Wee Bear Cafe. It’s the perfect place to stop to enjoy the view and some refreshments.
4. East Haven
Around one and a half miles to the east of Carnoustie, East Haven is one of the oldest fishing communities in Scotland, dating back to 1214, and a beautiful place to visit. It was awarded a Britain in Bloom Gold Award and Best Coastal Village 2018.
The village has a beautifully kept community garden with a boat as the focal point. You’ll see the boat before you pass under the bridge towards the beach. The public toilets have been transformed into a gallery by the local community with lovely paintings hanging on the walls. You’ll also find dog-friendly refreshment facilities here.
In the 1930s, young princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret, were often brought down from Glamis to play on East Haven’s unspoiled rural beach. A fabulous place to walk, this beautiful beach goes on for miles and offers spectacular views out to sea. The local residents take great pride in the beach and regularly carry out community beach cleans.
5. Forfar Loch
Forfar Loch sits within Forfar Country Park and offers fantastic walking opportunities in a relaxed, scenic setting. There is a beautiful walk around the loch that takes around an hour. This walk is especially great for kids as you can finish it with some playtime at the park.
Keep your eyes open for kingfishers, otters, beavers, foxes, roe deer, as well as the osprey that plunge into the loch, helping themselves to fish. You can take part in nature events run by the Countryside Rangers to learn more about the fascinating flora and fauna here.
Look towards the middle of the loch, and you can see a partly submerged glacial ridge called St Margaret’s Inch. This ridge was excavated in 1781, revealing evidence of a Crannog (a lake-dwelling). Finds from the excavation included silver ornaments, boar tusks, wolf teeth and deer antlers. Later digs unearthed 13th-century chess pieces.
6. Loch Lee
Loch Lee lies at the head of Glen Esk, surrounded by mountains. It offers a range of enjoyable walking opportunities with unforgettable views.
For an easy but enjoyable walk, there is an excellent path along the side of the loch. You can take a picnic and relax on the banks while enjoying the spectacular views. For more of a challenge, try the Loch Lee Waterfall circuit, a 15.8km loop featuring beautiful flowers like wild primrose. This trail is perfect for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching.
The walk to Loch Lee and beyond is one of Scotland’s prime places to spot an adder – Scotland’s only snake. You’ll find them basking in the sun at the foot of dykes. And you can often see palmate newts and tadpoles in the ditches along the pathway in late spring and early summer.
Look out for golden eagles and ospreys passing overhead and listen for peregrine falcons calling from the crags.
7. Lunan Bay
This stunning location offers one of the best beaches in Angus and was once voted Scotland’s most scenic. It’s popular with walkers, families, horse riders and surfers, offering something for everyone.
Lunan Bay beach is large and offers lots to see and explore, including a river, impressive sand dunes, wildflowers, rock pools and even a cave. After a storm, the sands sometimes yield agates and gemstones that glimmer in the sunlight .
Enjoy a memorable coastal walk with spectacular views over the bay, giving you the chance to spot some of the sea birds that feed in the estuary. Winter is a great time to see long-tailed duck among many other fascinating species. The elevated spots along the bay also provide a great place to look out for marine mammals like dolphins and seals.
This secluded haven on the dramatic Angus coastline makes for a memorable visit.
8. Reekie Linn
Reekie Linn is a pair of joined waterfalls on the River Isla just north of Alyth at Bridge of Craigisla. The river flows south from the Cairngorms Mountains through Glen Isla before merging with the River Tay south of Dunkeld.
A short, pleasant woodland walk starts at the car park and offers views across the river and farmland. The roar of water grows louder as you approach the waterfall. And then you can look down from between the trees to see a torrent of water cascading from the huge 24m drop sending a mist of spray up into the air.
At the base of the waterfall, you’ll see a dark cave called Black Dub. Legend has it that an outlaw once hid until the devil appeared before him in the form of a giant black dog. The outlaw was so scared that he turned himself in the next day.
Reekie Linn is a truly unique and spectacular location.
9. Scurdie Ness Lighthouse
Scurdie Ness is a headland on the south side of the River South Esk, sitting proudly at the southern end of Montrose Bay. The word Scurdie is a local word for the volcanic rock found there, and Ness means headland. Locals and visitors spend hours searching this rocky shoreline for it’s famous semi-precious agates that originate from the volcanic outcrops above.
The road to the lighthouse is a fantastic walk offering elevated views over the estuary. Sightings of seals and bottlenose dolphins are not unusual here. Whales are sometimes seen in the area too; you may even be fortunate enough to enjoy a rare sighting of a humpback whale.
Scurdie Ness Lighthouse was built by David Stevenson and Thomas Stevenson and was lit for the first time on Tuesday 1 March 1870. You can follow the route beyond the lighthouse towards Usan, Boddin Point and finally Lunan Bay on foot and by bike. A fantastic way to explore north Angus for a few hours.
10. Montrose Beach
Montrose Beach sits within Montrose Bay, stretching for three miles from Montrose to the North Esk River, with impressive views south to Scurdie Ness Lighthouse.
This inviting and spacious golden beach is perfect for nature lovers and families. It is easily accessible from the town of Montrose by foot and by bike. Families will also love the modern, purpose-built Montrose Seafront Splash play area located next to it.
Enjoy the circular walk that heads along the length of this vast beach before returning via an inland route. Starting at the car park near the play area, the walk follows the beach northwards for over 4km until it reaches the River North Esk estuary with St Cyrus beach and National Nature Reserve sitting to the North.
The walk then takes you inland alongside the banks of the River North Esk, past a traditional fishing bothy and houses, through impressive beech woodland, and underneath the magnificent North Water viaduct. The North Coast Cycle route can be joined here. This takes you on a pleasant walk south to Montrose through lovely coastal heath.
Hear from our Insider, Cameron Smith, as he shares his Insider’s Guide to the Coast & Waters in Angus.
More days out in Angus
There is so much to see and do here in Angus. Take a look at the variety of places to visit, plus our other Insider’s Guides.
Insider’s Guide to Places to Eat
Insider’s Guide to Nature and Wildlife
Insider’s Guide to Food and Drink
Insider’s Guide to Family Days Out
Insider’s Guide to Cycling Routes
Insider’s Guide to Beauty Spots
Insider’s Guide to Walking Routes
Insider’s Guide to Visitor Attractions
Insider’s Guide to Hidden Gems