Waterside campsites in St. Abb's Head National Nature Reserve with surfing

Set on stunning coastal headland, St Abb’s boasts dramatic cliffs, colorful wildflowers and thousands of seabirds.

97% (32 reviews)
97% (32 reviews)

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Waterside campsites in St. Abb's Head National Nature Reserve with surfing guide


Just outside the pretty coastal fishing village of St Abbs, the rocky promontory of St Abb’s Head is home to a national nature reserve cared for by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS). From the cliff tops you can get close-up views of thousands of nesting seabirds—including guillemots, razorbills and kittiwakes—during the summer months. Colorful wildflowers, such as sea pinks, rock rose and wild thyme, carpet the grassland behind the cliffs. Three trails allow you to thoroughly explore the coastal path, lighthouse and inland Mire Loch, home to swans, damselflies and butterflies. There is no camping in the reserve, but the Shepherd’s Rest Campsite is just 20 minutes down the coast.

When to go

The reserve is open every day, all year-round. For birdwatching, the best time to visit is definitely spring and summer. As well as experiencing the richest birdlife, this time of years is also your best bet for good weather and daylight hours are long. In the fall you may spot rare birds and geese flying overhead, while winter has the appeal of seal pups lying on the beach.

Know before you go

  • Despite its wild “edge of the world” feel, the reserve is easily accessible, lying just off the A1 road.
  • The reserve has an accessible path that people of all abilities can follow.
  • Take care by keeping back from the cliff edge and always follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
  • The NTS runs a Nature Centre, which has information about the reserve’s natural and cultural history.
  • The Old Smiddy Coffee Shop is next to the Nature Center and there are picnic tables outside.

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