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In the 19th century Collieston was a busy fishing village with an excellent natural harbour, to improve the safety for boats breakwaters were constructed.  This caused the harbour to fill with wonderful golden sand creating the idyllic sheltered beach of today.  While visiting, take time to pop in to the new community shop - Smugglers Cone for a cuppa or ice-cream - and help fundraise repairs to the harbour wall.


The harbour was the first safe harbour to the north of Aberdeen giving it importance in the 16th century Unfortunately, due to the small size large ships relocated to Peterhead and Fraserburgh. The village is known for the popular British delicacy, 'Collieston Speldings'; salted and sun-dried haddock and whiting.

In the past Collieston was an ideal location for smuggling, it has sea caves and small coves. Throughout the late 18th century it was estimated that 8000 gallons of spirits were illegally imported from overseas each month.

The remains of a Spanish warship, The Santa Caterina, can be seen just off St Catherine’s Dub. It was told that this ship sunk while trying to support the Earl of Errol’s rebellion by carrying arms for him.

Natural Space

The beach at Collieston marks and dramatic change in the landscape along the North Aberdeenshire Coastline. To the north there is a rocky cliff system, and to the south the impressive sand dune system of Forvie National Nature Reserve. The beach has a breakwater which makes it physically very calm and relaxing. 


The beach sits next to the small old fishing village of Collieston which still has a quaint charm. The village has very little newly developed housing in it which has made it keeps its appeal. This stretches for three miles along the shore to the mouth of the River Ythan near Newburgh. Collieston is only 18miles (29km) from Aberdeen heading towards Cruden Bay.

Getting There

When entering Collieston Village take the first left past the church to the car park.  Then follow the path heading South around the headland to the village harbour.  The beach is contained by the old harbour walls. Public Transport links to Collieston are limited, however, service number 264 from Ellon and 495 from Fyvie run occasionally. There is no national cycle route that goes through Collieston, however, the Forvie Sands to Collieston route is popular with cyclists and walkers.

Water Quality Information

This beach is a designated bathing water site. Further information about water quality at this site can be found on the SEPA website. Please observe local signage and only swim where it is safe to do so.

Contact Details

Aberdeenshire Council (Landscape Services)
Visit Website


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