Yellowcraig (also known as Broadsands Bay) is a natural cove beach in East Lothian with spectacular views of the lighthouse on Fidra Island which was the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. The area forms part of the John Muir Way and is easily accessed from the coastal town of North Berwick. Discover everything you need to know about this stunning East Lothian beach with this visitor guide.

Yellowcraig Beach
Address:North Berwick,
Opening Hours:24/7
Admission Price:Free
Parking:Paid car park on-site.
Charging period:
1st April - 30 Sept: 8.00 am - 6.30 pm
1st Oct - 31st March: 8.00 am - 4.00 pm
Facilities:Toilets, temporary snack van, picnic area, play park


Craig Neil at Yellowcraig Beach

Yellowcraig Beach, located on the coastline of East Lothian, is a stunning nature reserve renowned for its golden sands, dune landscape, and spectacular views of Fidra Island. Ideal for tranquil walks, bird-watching, and picnics, it offers peace and tranquillity to visitors of all ages.

Yellowcraig (also known as Broadsands Bay) is a natural cove beach with scenic views of the 1885 lighthouse on Fidra Island that was the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous story, Treasure Island.

The beach is set in a picturesque part of the East Lothian coastline around a 10-minute drive from North Berwick. It’s a popular spot for family days out, and in summer you’ll find the site used by all ages enjoying the barbeque area and the network of paths that run through the nearby woodlands.

There’s a lot to do at Yellowcraig that goes far beyond just lounging on the beach. There are rock pools for children to explore and the island of Fidra can be seen just off Yellowcraig’s shore. This RSPB nature reserve is home to a huge variety of seabirds including the ever-popular puffin, so remember to take binoculars (link to my recommended optics) with you when you visit.

Yellowcraig is also a great place to visit if you’re a nature lover as this haven of woodland, beach, and grassland has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the diverse range of wildlife that lives in this rural part of East Lothian.

If you’re in the area looking for somewhere to spend a sunny afternoon with the kids, Yellowcraig is worth a visit to spot as many different types of birds, bugs, and creepy crawlies as you can find. Children will have a great time scrabbling about in the dunes and rockpools, and they can also (in summer) go for a swim in the shallow bay.

Yellowcraig Beach

The Highlights

1: The facilities at Yellowcraig are very good for an outdoor attraction. The car park is big, there’s usually an ice cream/snack van on the site, and the toilets are clean. There’s also a decent kids’ play park and there are designated BBQ areas.

2: The beach and surrounding grassland are beautiful. As it’s part of the John Muir Trail you can walk in either direction from Yellowcraig for many miles.

3: Yellowcraig is close enough to Dirleton Castle to combine a visit to both attractions in one day. Head to the A198 and follow the road towards North Berwick. The castle’s address is Dirleton, EH39 5ER.

Visiting Tips

1: The beach gets very busy at the weekend in the summer, but it’s much quieter if you head east towards the North Berwick golf club.

2: There’s another, much quieter beach a couple of miles west behind Archerfield Golf Course. Parking is tricky though, so you may prefer heading to the next beach along at Gullane which has a dedicated car park.

3: If you’d like to explore the Firth of Forth I recommend driving a few miles north to visit North Berwick and the Scottish Seabird Centre. The centre runs cruises around the formidable Bass Rock.

Yellowcraig Beach

Tourist Information

This beach area is popular with locals as it has some lovely walks that are part of The John Muir Way, the 45-mile footpath that was created in commemoration of the 19th-century conservationist John Muir. The section of the footpath at Yellowcraig rivals any other beach in southeast Scotland, especially as it’s so easy to get to from Edinburgh.

The car park has been revamped by the local authority and now includes information displays, a barbecue area, and a Treasure Island adventure play park. Toilets and showers are located at the car park and a wheelchair-accessible path provides a view over the beach for anyone with mobility issues.

If you take your four-legged friends there’s a dog walk a short distance from the beach where dog waste bins are provided, and the beach is also popular with horse riders. However, the dog walk is separate so there’s no potential for an unexpected dog/horse rampage. The dog owners are usually quite considerate at Yellowcraig and I’ve never seen any dog mess on the beach, so you can confidently let your kids run around without worrying about them stepping on anything unpleasant

If you end up wanting to take a break from the beach there are lots of footpaths that run through the nearby woodland where you might spot a mystery sculpture or two, and the quiet grasslands are the perfect place to cosy up on a beach towel away from the noise of families playing on the sand.

The village of Dirleton is just a short distance away which has a good selection of pubs and restaurants and the village also boasts Dirleton Castle which is managed by Historic Environment Scotland.

Gullane Beach

Things to Do

Explore Yellowcraig Beach: The golden sands of Yellowcraig Beach is the perfect place to unwind. Ideal for families, you can enjoy a picnic, build sandcastles, or just soak up the sun. The clear waters invite you for a refreshing dip and you’ll have amazing views of Fidra Island (the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Treasure Island’).

Walking and Cycling Trails: Yellowcraig is known for its extensive network of walking and cycling trails. Meandering through woodlands, dunes, and grassland, these trails are a nature lover’s paradise. Whether you’re an enthusiastic hiker or a leisurely walker, the trails around Yellowcraig are definitely worth exploring.

Birdwatching: Yellowcraig is a haven for birdwatchers thanks to a variety of species from common seagulls to puffins. Binoculars in hand, explore the area’s birdwatching hotspots and enjoy the scenery of one of Scotland’s prettiest coastal locations.

Barbecue and Picnic at Yellowcraig: The designated barbecue and picnic areas at Yellowcraig make it a perfect location for a family day out. The area near the car park is well-maintained and equipped with facilities including public toilets and a children’s play park.

See Yellowcraig Lighthouse: The iconic Yellowcraig Lighthouse is a must-see. Although it’s not open to the public, it’s a great location for photographers, especially at sunset or sunrise when the lighthouse and Fidra Island create a stunning scene.

Yellowcraig East Lothian

Things to Do Nearby

Dirleton Castle. Dirleton, North Berwick EH39 5ER. 5-minute drive.
A medieval fortress that is largely intact and has several interesting features like one of Scotland’s best-preserved dovecots, surprisingly big storage vaults and the world’s longest herbaceous border.

The Scottish Seabird Centre. The Harbour, North Berwick EH39 4SS. 11-minute drive.
An environmental visitor centre that aims to educate and entertain visitors with displays and exhibitions about Scotland’s coastal marine wildlife. The centre features a viewing platform that overlooks the Bass Rock and it is the departure point for pleasure cruises around the rock.

North Berwick Law. North Berwick EH39 5NX. 11-minute drive.
A large volcanic plug that rises 187 metres above the coastal town of North Berwick. Berwick Law has well-trodden paths that allow relatively easy access to the whalebone sculpture at the top. The summit is famed for the stunning views across East Lothian and the Firth of Forth.

Archerfield Walled Garden. Archerfield Estate, Dirleton EH39 5HQ. 8-minute drive.
An 18th-century walled garden that encompasses wildflowers, roses, a kitchen garden and vegetable gardens. Nearby Archerfield Wood has a fairy trail and a play park. There is a modern shop on-site that sells local produce and includes a garden café.

Gullane Beach. Marine Terrace, Gullane EH31 2AZ. 11-minute drive.
A large beach to the northeast of Aberlady Bay Local Nature Reserve. The beach has paths through the sand dunes that link it to nearby Yellowcraig beach. There is a car park on-site. Gullane village includes a selection of pubs and restaurants.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you swim at Yellowcraig Beach?

Yes, you can swim at Yellowcraig Beach. However, like all beaches, it’s important to be aware of the conditions and currents. There are no lifeguards at this beach, so swimming is at your own risk.

Is Yellowcraig Beach busy?

Yellowcraig Beach is usually not considered busy, except at the weekend in the peak summer season (June to August).

Is Yellowcraig Beach dog-friendly?

Yellowcraig Beach is dog friendly, although as children and other dogs use the beach it is recommended to keep pets on a leash. There is a dog walk located away from the beach that has dog bins.

Are there toilets at Yellowcraig Beach?

Yellowcraig has public toilets in the car park which is located a 2-3 minute walk from the beach. The car park includes a temporary snack van and a children’s play park.

Craig Neil

Craig Neil is the author, photographer, admin, and pretty much everything else behind Out About Scotland. He lives near Edinburgh and spends his free time exploring Scotland and writing about his experiences. Follow him on Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube.