How to Spend an Hour (or more) in St Abbs

This post is based on a visit in July 2021 when Scotland was still living under some restrictions. 

How to Spend an Hour (or more) in St Abbs

St Abbs is somewhere I have wanted to visit for ages and it seemed like the ideal spot to stop off and stretch our legs en-route to the Central Lowlands this summer. 

80 miles North of Newcastle (it should take around 1 hour 45 minutes in the car), St Abbs is a short detour from the A1 and ideal as a stop off when driving North or as a place to spend a few hours if you are staying in Berwick. 

St Abbs is a small fishing village with crystal clear waters and is a popular spot for Scuba Diving. More recently, the village is famous for being a film location in Avengers | Endgame. It is the location of 'New Asgard', a town settled by surviving Asgardians and led by Thor. You can walk past Thor's house but I will come to that soon. The link with Avengers meant that our trip was well received by our tweens and teens. St Abbs has also featured in a Harry Styles video. Who knew? 


We parked down by the harbour but parking was limited to around 30 spaces (£1 an hour - bring cash). We did manage to find a spot though (use postcode TD14 5PW and follow the parking signs). Alternatively, there is free customer parking at Ebba Centre and Old School Cafe at the top of the hill where we stopped for lunch (see here for details). 

St Abbs is accessible by public transport and has a bus stop. Check out Border Buses 235 service timetable here. 

One thing that really stands out about St Abbs is just how clear the water is here. It is a brilliant spot to explore the rock pools and we spotted hundreds of jellyfish in the sea as we walked around the harbour. You can book onto a diving / snorkelling / swimming / sightseeing boat trip with St Abbs Charters here. 


The harbour is just beside St Abbs Nature Reserve where you can spot various seabirds, seal pups, dolphins and even minke whales if you are lucky (see here for details). 



A walk around the harbour is lovely but keep an eye on little ones as you are obviously close to open water. You can also spot the lifeboat station which is independently managed (there are gifts on sale in the shops in the village to raise funds to support the station). 




We found Thor's house! It is easy to spot right by the harbour and the perfect spot for a quick selfie. 



For lunch, there aren't too many options. Ebbcarrs by the harbour looked lovely but was closed on the day of our visit. We also passed The Old Smiddy during our drive into St Abbs which looked nice. 

We ended up at the Old School Cafe which overlooks the harbour and was really nice. Expect reasonably priced kids meals, sandwiches, homemade pies and cakes.There is indoor and outdoor seating, WCs (including disabled and baby change) alongside a mini art gallery and second hand bookstore. The Old School Cafe is a charity and all profits go back into the community. We were starving and I didn't take any food pics other than this coconut and lemon tray bake but I remember Steve's breakfast quiche being epic! 



Just across from the cafe and also overlooking the harbour is the St Abbs Visitor Centre. It is free to visit, just pop in. It was actually better than I expected with lots of local information about the history of the area and a guide to what you can see now alongside interactive activities and a nice gift shop. They also have a fish tank which recreates the rockpools and sea life found in the harbour. 


There are a couple of activities to try in the centre - you can pin your location on the pinboard and take a look at where other visitors have travelled from, design your own postcard and leave a note for the visitor wall or look out to sea using the equipment provided. 




A lot of people recommend the walk along the coast from St Abbs to Coldingham Bay which is very scenic, along a well worn coastal path and should take around 20 minutes each way. Coldingham Bay is a lovely sandy beach popular with surfers. 


Back down by the harbour and there are public toilets (30p charge) and I spotted this little blue hut with a sign to say that they sold fresh crabs and lobsters fresh from the boat so if you time it right, you might get lucky. 


You can also book onto a Riptide Boat Trip from the harbour which look like lots of fun. 


Our little stop off at St Abbs was fantastic and it is a lovely place to spend an hour or so and stop for lunch to break up a journey. I actually think it is worth a day trip in itself too - you can take a boat trip, visit the visitors centre, walk to Coldingham Bay (and beyond) and more. 

There did used to be a 'twinned with Asgard' sign overlooking the harbour outside of the visitor centre but this had been removed on the day of our visit. I think this was due to Covid and people gathering so hopefully it will be back soon. There is another sign like this which you pass as you drive into St Abbs which you can walk to once you have parked up. 

If you are looking for other places to stop off when travelling North, check out the following posts: 



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Please follow social distancing rules & Government guidelines , respect the local area, leave no trace, take litter home, park responsibly and if somewhere is busy on arrival, please consider leaving and returning at a later date. 

Remember face coverings are required for indoor attractions / shops for those aged 11+ (usual exemptions apply)  

Check for local lockdowns / travel restrictions before visiting anywhere. 

Always check updated opening hours / protocols with venues direct before setting off as things may have changed after this post was published. 



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1 comment

  1. Super helpful as we are planning stopping off here on our way home!

    ReplyDelete

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