If you’re looking to spend a little bit of time by the sea, then Cramond Island makes the perfect day trip from the city of Edinburgh in Scotland. Home to oodles of history, plenty of beautiful scenery, and of course, the sound of crashing waves, this hidden gem close to Edinburgh makes for the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the busy city life…
Much of my stay in Edinburgh was, quite literally, overshadowed by grey skies and streams of rain. Of course, the city is always beautiful… but a little sunshine is always appreciated! So that’s why when I woke up one morning to find bright blue skies, I just knew I had to take a day trip from Edinburgh to Cramond Island on the coastline.
How to take a Cramond Island Day Trip from Edinburgh
Tucked away in a little-known area of Edinburgh, the village of Cramond lies sleepily by the sea. Complete with a tidal island and once inhabited by the Romans, you can’t go wrong by taking the number 41 bus from the city centre and spending a couple of hours exploring the area, making Cramond one of the best day trips from Edinburgh.
After all, the place is packed with history and few tourists. In fact, one of the most important Roman statues ever found in the UK was discovered, quite by accident, by a fisherman in the local harbour. The so-called ‘Cramond Lioness’ was discovered in 1997 and depicts a prisoner being killed by a lioness. It is thought to have been used for a Roman tomb and is associated with the nearby Cramond Roman Fort.
In the village itself, there’s a small café by the waterfront, as well as a quaint pub in the village centre, where I’m told the food is excellent! In my rush to catch the bus, I’d forgotten to pack a picnic for lunch. As such, the ice cream truck near the water was most definitely a welcome sight! Munching on my refreshing ice cream and waffle cone, I made my way across to the island itself…
Highlights of Cramond Island
At high tide, the tidal island is cut off from the rest of the world by the sea. It is one of just under fifty such islands in the UK. Other notable examples include Saint Michael’s Mount in Cornwall and Bigbury-on-Sea in Devon. In total, there are 43 tidal islands and Cramond is one of the lesser-known of these.
At low tide and a few precious hours each side of it, you can reach Cramond by foot. Around a kilometre and a half walk from the mainland, the journey is pleasant and the path littered with seashells. A fairly flat pathway, the approach to the island is lined with anti-submarine pylons which were erected at some point during the Second World War.
Known as Eilean Chathair Amain in Gaelic, the island covers just 19 acres, making it easy to explore the area in the span of a few hours. All over the island mankind has left its mark. A slab of concrete here, the remains of a WWII military bunker there, it’s thought that the island may have been inhabited as early as prehistoric times.
Once on the island, the views over the surrounding bay are breathtaking. Rising to a height of 68 foot above sea level, many of the surrounding towns and islands are visible. The island is the perfect place to walk around, have a picnic or simply enjoy a good book. It’s also possible to see many of the abandoned buildings around the island, which are now covered in lots of graffiti.
Tips for a visit to Cramond Island
The village of Cramond, on the fringes of Edinburgh, is served by the number 41 bus. Buses are approximately every 20-30 minutes during the week and cost £1.70 for a single ticket. Alternatively, you can purchase a day ticket which includes unlimited rides for £4 and allows you to stop off at other Edinburgh attractions if you so wish.
The journey from the city centre takes approximately 50 minutes to an hour, depending on city traffic and the time of day you travel. If you want to visit the tidal island, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to reach the island for low tide. My bus was delayed by around 30 minutes and I became pretty worried I’d end up missing my chance to actually get to the island!
As the only way to reach Cramond is by foot, make sure you check the tidal times so that you don’t get trapped on the island. This happens more than you might think as the water comes in quickly and the footpath is rapidly submerged in seawater. A noticeboard lies at the end of the walkway to the island on the mainland, listing tidal times for that day.