The Arbroath Smokie Trail

The Arbroath Smokie is haddock, smoked over hardwood, using a specific process, in and around the small fishing town of Arbroath in Angus.

The Smokie has a protected status under European law (PGI Status), which means that it can only be called an Arbroath Smokie if it is produced in the traditional specified manner and within a five mile radius of the town.

The Arbroath Smokie is a truly regional Scottish delicacy, which has achieved worldwide recognition with chefs and visitors, throughout the world, for its unique flavour and quality of taste.

Follow the Arbroath Smokie Trail to learn about its history. While in Arbroath, you can enjoy the taste of a smokie in many of the cafes and restaurants or visit one of the local fishmongers and pick up a pair of smokies to take home.

Why not try out one of our fantastic Arbroath Smokie recipes – there are some great ideas to choose from, including risotto, fishcakes and quiche.

Follow the Arbroath Smokie Trail

The Arbroath Smokie Trail takes you on a sensory trail which showcases five key destinations for you to explore between Arbroath and Auchmithie that tell the story of the world-famous Arbroath Smokie.

This trail boasts some magnificent views of the Angus Coastline and introduces you to some of the best places to enjoy the smokie!

  • Follow the Arbroath Smokie Trail

    • 1. Signal Tower
    • 2. Harbour
    • 3. Fit o' the Toon
    • 4. Cliffs
    • 5. Auchmithie

    Stop 1: Arbroath Signal Tower Museum

    Just a stone’s throw away from the town’s picturesque harbour, you can discover the fascinating story of the Bell Rock Lighthouse designed by the famous engineer, Robert Stevenson as well as an insight into Arbroath’s fishing, maritime and industrial past.

    The Signal Tower was constructed in 1813 as a base of operations for the Bell Rock Lighthouse. The red copper ball mechanism on top of the tower was used to signal across to the lighthouse to ensure that the keepers were safe and well.

    What can you see?

    Arbroath Signal Tower Museum showcases how the lighthouse was constructed over 200 years ago, creating a marvel of engineering that still stands today as the oldest sea-washed lighthouse in the world. As well as this, the displays bring to life the experiences of the lighthouse keepers on board the Bell Rock and their families living at the Signal Tower shore station.

    Explore the cottages that the fishing families lived in, which now house exhibitions on Arbroath’s different industries with audio visual elements, games and quizzes.

    Explore Gallery 5 of the main museum building and the maritime cottage in the courtyard to find out what makes a smokie a smokie, the reason fishermen didn’t whistle on boats and why Auchmithie fisherwomen had to have strong backs.

    Stop 2: Arbroath Harbour

    The industry Arbroath is most known for is fishing, with the first harbour opening in 1394. At its peak in the 1900’s, Arbroath was a bustling fishing port but due to a decline in the industry it is mainly used nowadays as a marina by locals and visitors. Arbroath is one of the main fishing ports for landing shellfish such as lobsters, prawns and scallops.

    Arbroath is famous for its smokies which are haddock hung in pairs and smoked in a barrel containing a hardwood fire and covered with a lid to create an authentic and delicious smoked taste. This traditional process fills the harbour with a beautiful aroma which is guaranteed to awaken your taste buds as you enjoy a stroll around the harbour.

    What can you see?

    Enjoy a light stroll around the harbour – the quayside is decorated with collections of colourful nets, creels and lobster pots. Watch the small fishing boats head off in search of lobsters, prawns and crabs and on their return unloading fresh shellfish for us to enjoy!

    While you’re here, you must try a delicious and famous traditional Smokie Supper whilst taking in the panoramic views of the Harbour. There are a number of local restaurants and public houses which feature the Smokie on their menu.

    If the weather isn’t so good you can cosy up in a café with a cup of coffee and watch the waves crash against the sea wall.

    Stop 3: Fit o’ the Toon

    The Fit o’ the Toon is the old part of the town where fisher families use to live and work. In this area of the town, the Brothock Burn meets the sea. If you look over the sea wall at high tide, you’ll understand why this area is called ‘Danger Point’. Here the sea comes racing up the Brothock Burn into the town. Look more closely and you’ll see big slab steps going down into the sea from the jetty wall and it’s where the Arbroath fisherwomen did their washing using hot water from the mills in the town before hanging it to dry on the lines on Old Shore Head Green.

    The fishing families lived in the traditional cottages in the Fit O the Toon. Danger Point at Old Shore Head use to be the original Harbour area before they built the main harbour. This was where fisher men and women landed the boats.

    What can you see?

    There are local fisheries surrounding the Fit o’ the Toon selling a selection of fresh fish, seafood and local produce. This is an ideal opportunity to pick up some famous Arbroath Smokies to enjoy!

    Walking around you’ll smell the authentic aroma from the Smoke Houses. Step back in time and enjoy a drink in one of the local maritime pubs, where fisherman would have enjoyed a jar drink after a long day at sea.

    Take a seat on the Community Chatty Bench, hand crafted by locals from iconic Arbroath red sandstone, look for the sculptures on the bench and you’ll see the beautiful Angus coast.

    Stop 4: Arbroath Cliffs

    The Arbroath Cliffs boast some of the most breath-taking views of the Angus coastline, their distinctive Red Sandstone formations can be seen for miles and are recognised as a geological site of interest globally.

    The 4-mile coastal path from Arbroath to Auchmithie is one of Scotland’s hidden gems. Beautiful cliffs, stunning rock formations, breath-taking caves, birds, dolphins and secluded beaches make this Angus’ top adventurous activity. Halfway to Auchmithie you’ll find Carlingheugh Bay, a sandy beach with some unique rock formations and caves to explore.

    What can you see?

    A gentle stroll along the cliffs is a perfect way to walk off the Smokie of course!  The trail offers a scenic walk to nearby Auchmithie, the birthplace of the Smokie. The Arbroath Cliff Trail features 26 key points of interest so is well worth doing if you have time.

    Take to the water with a guided sea kayaking tour. Discover the sea caves too – each one has a unique name and its very own story to tell.

    Keep an eye out for marine life too. Dolphins are regularly spotted in the sea near the cliffs and this is a popular area for wildlife – so get your camera ready!

    Stop 5: Auchmithie

    Auchmithie is first mentioned in parish records in the 13th century and would have been part of Abbott of Aberbrothock lands tied to the Abbey.

    Auchmithie with its natural harbour has supported a fishing industry long before Arbroath was seen as the main place for the fishing fleet. It is said that ships and raiders from Scandinavia, the Norsemen, often came to its shores and indeed settled here –the names Spink and Swankie may hark back to that time. These settlers may well have brought their own ways of preserving their catch –including smoking the haddock over a whisky barrel; a method still used in Scandinavia today.

    Whatever the real story –the one thing history is sure of is that this method of smoking the fish originated in Auchmithie.

    What can you see?

    The biggest attraction here is the enduring wild beauty, the shore, cliffs, caves, and the small village huddled on top of those cliffs.

    The pebble beach and cliffs are not only attractive but of great scientific interest to those interested in the geology and the natural history of our world. Look out to sea to spot the dolphins which regularly play on waters off the shore and colourful puffins which nest on the cliffs.

    Auchmithie stories are brought to life by the Heritage Arts Auchmithie Residents once a year at the now famous Haar festival.

    And finally, you can’t leave Auchmithie without a visit to the famous But ‘n’ Ben restaurant. Their Smokie Pancake is world renowned and food critics come just to sample this.

Arbroath Smokie Trail Map

Find out more about the Arbroath Smokie

Arbroath Smokie

Enjoy the taste of a smokie in many of the cafes and restaurants.

Arbroath Smokie

Find out how an Arbroath Smokie is traditionally made.

Smokies at Auchmithie

Learn about the history of the Arbroath Smokie and its fascinating story.

The Arbroath Smokie Trail is brought to you by Appetite for Angus in partnership with Visit Angus, Angus Tourism Cooperative, ANGUSalive and a collective of local community groups.