Our guide to the best beaches to explore near Orroland Holiday Cottages
Rocky coves and unspoilt beaches with breathtaking coastal walks: find out why the Solway Firth is known as 'the Scottish Riviera'
Family friendly, dog friendly and open all year round, these sandy beaches are perfect for taking your socks off and making footprints in the sand. This short film shows some of the coastline around Orroland Holiday Cottages. Produced by the Solway Firth Partnership.
Balcary Bay | 15 minute drive east of Orroland in Auchencairn
View looking towards Balcary Bay
Shells, pebbles & sugary sand
Views towards the Lake District hills
This beautiful bay looks out over the Solway towards Hestan Island and beyond to the hills of the Lake District. It is a very wide bay and good for launching kayaks when the tide is in (see the tide timetable link at the bottom of this page), since you can drive right up to the shore. This is a safe bay for dogs and children to explore and has lots of pebbles, shells and areas of soft sugary sand. Just behind the bay is Balcary Bay Hotel which offers dining to non-residents and has a few nice outdoor tables to enjoy lunch outside or fine dining in their restaurant after a coastal walk. Walking around this bay is particularly popular, you can park and walk up and around to Balcary Point, a fantastic coastal walk with two loop options for walking between 1 to 5 miles.
There are several fantastic coastal walks near our listed beaches : Useful guide for coastal walks is a handy guide with a map and directions.
Red Haven | 15 minute drive east of Orroland, just past Auchencairn (ssh..locals secret)
A peaceful hideaway & secluded beach
Off the beaten track through a field
Sugary soft sand between your toes!
If you fancy an adventure and want to get off the beaten track, Red Haven (or "Reid Ha'en" to locals) might be just what you're looking for. You can walk to this secluded beach from Auchencairn or park up by Old Torr Cottage at the end of the track signposted Red Haven (1/2 mile past Auchencairn). You'll have to walk through a field which usually has cows in (they can be rather inquisitive which can be intimidating), dogs must be on a lead. Once you arrive at the beach it has wonderful views towards Hestan Island and if you are up to climbing over the rocks to the right this is a great place to sit and reflect with panoramic views of Auchencairn Bay. Take a look at the Auchencairn walking guide for a map and directions, it takes around 50-60 minutes to walk to the bay from Auchencairn.
Rockcliffe Bay | 35 minutes east of Orroland, just past Kippford
Rockcliffe Bay, rocky coves & sugary sand
Sand as far as the eye can see at low tide
Stunning views out from the bay
Rockcliffe is a quiet beach area with pleasant surroundings managed by the National Trust for Scotland. When the tide is out there is sand reaching as far as the eye can see. There are two islands visible just off the bay; the most distant is Hestan Island with a lighthouse and closer in is Rough Island. When the tide is out, it is possible to walk to Rough Island (do take care with tide times and due to nesting sea birds the island should be avoided in May and June). There are also footpaths starting from this location for walking; one of the footpaths towards Kippford leads up past the site of Mote of Mark, once a historical hillfort. The walks offer stunning views of the bay and surrounding area. Rockcliffe has a toilet block and benches to accommodate vistors staying a few hours; ideal for a picnic. There are lots of pools for crab baiting amongst the rocks at the entrance to the shore, great fun for children and adults. Always popular is the icecream van usually parked up on hot summer days. If the tide is out the vast stretch of sand provides a wonderful space to explore. There are also more private areas of sand within the rocky coves for bathing.
Local attractions: The Jubilee Path is a 1-mile linear path between Rockcliffe and the seaside village of Kippford, which has an interesting gift shop and choice of pubs. The Anchor Inn is popular for bar meals and has a good atmosphere; the Mariner has a pub garden. Kippford Bay has millions of cockle shells and some curious little public artworks along the way. If you only wish to walk one way you may be able to time it right to take the bus service back to where you started.
Sandyhills Bay | 35 minutes east of Orroland, just past Colvend
View from the paths around the bay
The largest stretch of sand is Sandyhills
View from Pipers Cave| Sandyhills
A vast expanse of sand popular with holiday makers and locals in Dumfries and Galloway. The beach also has plenty to explore around the bay; the Pipers Cave is a short walk along the beach and there are footpaths leading to spectacular views along the coast. There is a beach shop (ice-creams, beach games, suncream, magazines) and toilet block. There is also a small leisure village nearby with a shop, swimming pool, cafe and play area plus local activities such as horse riding or golf can be arranged. The tide can come in fast so take care not to get stranded if you walk along the shore and if you like a bit of sea when you go to the beach check the tide times. There is a parking charge of £1.50.
Local attractions: Barend Equestrian Centre offers treks and lessons for all abilities. There is an 18-hole golf course at Colvend a few miles away. The RSPB Nature Reserve and visitor centre at Mersehead is a short drive away (open all year). Bainloch Deer Park offers tours along the deer trail where you can expect to see Red Deer, Fallow, Roe and Sika Deer.
The Dhoon near Kirkcudbright | 25 minutes west of Orroland
Low tide shows the shipwreck remains
The Dhoon is a popular sheltered bay
Stunning views and lots of sand
The Dhoon is a sheltered sandy bay a few miles beyond Kirkcudbright, on the road to Borgue. This is popular during the summer for paddling and has a large grass covered parking and picnic area above the beach as well as a toilet block and information board about the tide. The grassy field provides an area for all sorts of games; so children take a ball! You can barbecue here too and Kirkcudbright is handy to pick up supplies. At low tide a wreck of the ‘Monreith’ ship can be visited, although the sand is quite soggy that far out.
Local attractions: Kirkcudbright is just a few minutes' drive away and has many independent shops, eateries, harbour and galleries. If you carry on past the Dhoon you reach Brighouse Bay and Borgue (Carrick Bay).
Brighouse Bay near Borgue | 30 minutes west of Orroland, via Kirkcudbright
Brighouse Bay is a wide shallow bay
Sail boats out in the distance
Ideal bay for families & sand castles
This shallow and wide bay is a favourite for families, there is lots of sand during low tide ideal for castle making and plenty of space to play. The bay has a car park with a toilet block and is near the caravan site which has a shop open all year round selling buckets and spades as well as picnic supplies. A variety of circular walks start from the car park take you through woodland or farmland to a dramatic rugged coastline. NB: the coast line walk is not suitable for young children.
Local attractions: There is a swimming pool, shop, children's play area and golf course at Brighouse Bay which are all open to the public throught the year.
Carrick Bay near Borgue village | 40 minutes west of Orroland
Carrick is a small bay popular with locals
Soft sand and plenty of it at low tide
Family fun in the sand for all ages
This unique secluded beach provides a romantic hideaway. Carrick has a small sandy beach with lots of large pebbles, then a little further down the track there is a large sandy bay surrounded by some beach houses. Depending on the tide you can walk out to the small island just in front of the shore but do take care the sand is deep near the island. There are also lots of rock pools ideal for crab baiting and exploration around the coast. There are no facilities at this beach and it is quite secluded, down a narrow track but this hidden gem is certainly worth a visit.
Local Attractions: Cream O' Galloway ice cream farm and adventure play area is just a few miles away and the village of Gatehouse of Fleet is around 5 miles away. You can buy ice creams and access the loos at Cream o'Galloway without having to pay the entrance fee for the visitor experience.
Mossyard beach past Gatehouse of Fleet | 40 minutes west of Orroland
Mossyard has rocky coves & sandy bays
Three secluded bays to explore here
Relax and enjoy the sounds of the sea
Mossyard is signposted from the main road near Laggan Outdoor Activity Centre, around 5 miles from Gatehouse of Fleet. There are three beautiful sandy beaches on this stretch of coast and an honesty box for the car park (£2 per car). The first smaller beach is nearest to the car park and easy to access. For the larger beach follow the wooden sign for '300m beach walk', when the tide is out you can easily walk between the bays, this is a very peaceful and scenic place to visit, highly recommended!
Local Attractions: Laggan Outdoor Activity Centre has many adventure activities, including one of Europe's longest zip wires and segway tours overlooking the coast. They also have a new café and are only a few minutes drive from the beach at Mossyard. NB: you must book activities in advance.
Timetable for tide times
Our local beaches are family friendly, dog friendly & accessible throughout the year; providing space and freedom to explore. It is essential to know the tide times, especially if you wish to paddle or walk out towards an Island off the coast. 'Dumfries and Galloway Whats Going on?' have a good link to local tides: tide timetable. Select 'Kirkcudbright' for beaches to the west of Orroland and 'Hestan' for beaches to the east of Orroland. Please help keep these beaches beautiful and don't leave anything behind - Thank you and enjoy!
Sandy beach guide and coastal walks in South West Scotland | Self catering holiday cottages | Large holiday home Scotland