St. Abb’s Head Nature Reserve

St Abb's Head Nature Reserve

Known for dramatic cliffs, breathtaking coastline, and amazing wildlife, St. Abb’s Head Nature Reserve is a stunning piece of the country that anyone who’s visiting the East Coast of Scotland should absolutely make a point to come and see.

This complete guide to St. Abb’s Head National Nature Reserve will be chatting about everything you need to know about the nature reserve, the top things to do while you’re there, and discussing accommodation options and events you can look forward to.

About the St. Abb’s Head Nature Reserve

The coastal haven of St Abb’s Head is managed by the National Trust for Scotland and free for visitors to come and explore at leisure – and there’s certainly a lot to do while you’re here!

The nature reserve has a trail that spans a 6.25-kilometre distance, with mild elevations throughout that give travellers stunning views over the coastline of Scotland. The nature reserve is only an hour’s drive out of Edinburgh, Scotland. Car park is just off the main road and does charge for parking if you’re not a member.

If you’re planning to add this cliff-top nature reserve to your bucket list when you visit Scotland, we recommend setting aside two hours to experience the fresh sea air and stunning views, but you can easily spend hours exploring the area.

Things to do at St. Abb’s Head National Nature Reserve

There’s so much to do at this National Nature Reserve; you’re really spoilt for choice! Here are our recommendations for the top things to do while at St. Abb’s Head National Nature Reserve:

Visit the St. Abb’s Head Nature Centre

St Abb's Head Nature Centre

A few hundred metres from St. Abb’s is the St. Abb’s Visitor Centre, which helps inform travellers of what they can expect in terms of seabirds and other wildlife, as well as what to look out for in the surrounding waters.

That’s not all, though, as the visitor centre dives deep into the rich history of St. Abbs as a town and the historical moments that led to it being a town nestled between the high cliffs of the Scottish coastline. It’s the natural jumping-off point for anybody beginning their day of sightseeing.

Walk along the dramatic cliffs of St. Abb’s Head

Dramatic Cliffs

St. Abb’s Head is famed for having rugged coastal scenery aplenty, which grants visitors stunning views of the Scottish coastline and the North Sea. Walking along the cliff edge is one of the most dream-like experiences you can have on a nature walk – you won’t be blamed for trying to pinch yourself awake!

The cliffs are more than beautiful, though, and those who are fans of geology will be amazed to learn that the headland of St Abb’s Head is made from lava!

Explore Mire Loch

Mire Loch

The brilliant coastline isn’t all the St. Abb’s Head Nature Reserve has to offer, head inland and you’ll be treated to the serene Mire Loch – a man-made loch that is perfect for bird enthusiasts.

As you explore the length of this beautiful loch and its crystal clear waters, keep an eye out for herons, kittiwakes, mute swans, and many more bird species that you can’t find anywhere else in the world! The loch makes for a fantastic picnic location, too, as it’s away from the windy coast and lets you eat your food undisturbed – just save some for the birds!

Mire Loch sits both in the St. Abb’s Head National Nature Reserve and is also a part of the Berwickshire Coastal Path, making it ideal for walking.

See the seabird colonies of the nature reserve

Seabird Colonies

We can’t talk about things to do without mentioning the many feathered residents that call this nature reserve park their home! Sometimes affectionately referred to as seabird city, the seabird colonies take up a majority of the cliff faces during the busy breeding season.

Everything from guillemots, herring gulls, northern gannets, and plenty of other notable seabird colonies flock to the St. Abb’s Head for their breeding season. You’ll likely hear these wild birds before you see them, especially if you come in the Spring and Summer months!

Enjoy the wildflowers of St Abb’s Head


The grassland of St. Abb’s Head is another major attraction that those visiting should make time for, especially if you’re visiting from July to late August. During the brilliant summer months, the grassland comes alive with beautiful wildflowers.

As the wildflowers spread from the cliff’s edge into the hills, visitors can see stunning flowers like rock rose, sea pinks, wild thyme, purple milk vetch, and many more. Butterflies can be seen flitting from one to the other. A feeling of serenity is prevalent throughout the area, and you can spend summer months watching the clouds roll by for hours.


St. Abbs Head National Nature Reserve is home to a number of events throughout the year and is a prominent location for photographers. Volunteers are also encouraged to join and help with the conservation efforts of the St Abb’s Head National Reserve.


There are ample accommodation options that guests can choose from when visiting St. Abb’s Head. Thankfully, the town of St Abbs is a short stone’s throw away and has plenty of bed and breakfasts, self-catering homes, and taverns to book. Berwick upon Tweed is also a wonderful village to discover, with a wealth of amenities like a coffee shop and a grocery store.

Edinburgh is an hour’s drive away, making it the premier choice for accommodation if you don’t mind the drive.

Thinking Of Booking A Trip? Check Out Our Top Accommodation Options In North Berwick

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