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From the harbour to Auchmithie 5 miles away runs the clifftop path, part of it forming the Seaton Clifftop Wildlife Reserve. Pink and red sandstone cliffs stretch endlessly (or at least appear so!) into the distance, eroded into a series of inlets, caves and arches. Occasional breaks in the cliffs also allow you to descend to sea level. At all times you are accompanied by the screeching of the thousands of sea-birds (including puffins in the right season) that nest here.
There are certainly more impressive coastal paths, but combined with the Abbey, Arbroath is certainly an enjoyable day's visit.
Updated Feb 15, 2012
Harbours are always interesting to visit, as boats of various types will be moored there. In Arbroath what is interesting is the buildings beside the harbour; not bleak grey buildings such as can be found in Aberdeen but attractively built out of sandstone, I think.
Somewhere it should be possible to have a meal of the local speciality, Arbroath smokies [smoked haddock].
Photo courtesy of Arbroath tourist page
Updated Dec 19, 2009
Away from the Abbey, the pedestrianised high street and the sea, the main focus to the town is the harbour. Here you will find 2-3 pubs which serve food as well as a small lighthouse museum. It's a working fishing harbour and is a pleasant spot to while away time.
Written Jan 31, 2008
These rose-pink sandstone ruins were once described by Dr Johnson as 'fragments of magnificence'.
King William I of Scotland founded the monastery in 1178 for the Tironesian monks as well as bestowing considerable land and money - right from the outset, Arbroath was a powerful abbey. Completed in 13th century, for 200 years, Arbroath Abbey was one of the most important Scottish abbeys, reaching its zenith in April 1320 with the 'Letter of Arbroath', written to the Pope and signed by the great and good of 14th Scotland. The letter called upon the Pope to pressure Edward II of England to recognise Robert the Bruce as the legitimate heir to the Scottish throne and to lift the papal excommunication of Robert. No big deal, but this was regarded as the most important document in Scottish history as, throughout the letter, there is the indication that the Scottish king could only be king at the will of the people - a completely different view to the norm of the time.
1320 certainly proved to be its highpoint (although the letter failed) - it was moreorless downhill from here on in as far as importance was concerned, although its lands and wealth made it an attractive option to the politically minded. The lands slowly dwindled due to over-generous corrupt Abbots but as the monks died or moved on, so did the state of the buildings. By the late 18th century, the Abbey was in the ruinous state it is in today, with much of the original the source material for the town of Arbroath.
What's left is still impressive - towering transept walls, intricate carvings, the gatehouse, the Abbot's House. There is also an excellent display in the new Visitors Centre.
April to September: 9.30am to 5.30pm every day.
October to March: 9.30am to 4.30pm every day.
Admission: Adult £4.50, Child £2.25, Concession £3.50.
Updated Jan 31, 2008
Address: Central Arbroath
Small, traditional pub overlooking the harbour in Arbroath. Friendly and welcoming, extensive menu (also have a separate restaurant room) but the real experience is to taste the Arbroath Smokie - line-caught haddock which is then smoked over oak-chippings. Wash it down with one of the local beers - simple and good (as long as you like the idea of smoked fish). And with the boats outside, you know its fresh!!
Favorite Dish: Arbroath Smokie
Updated Jan 31, 2008
Address: Arbroath Port
The only time I have been through Arbroath since joining Vt was in 2009 when visiting Aberdeen. I took the morning train from Waverley station which took a couple of hours to reach Aberdeen.From the train I managed to get some long shots of Arbroath. Unfortunately it looks a grey town on the grey North Sea.
The train journey is comfortable and convenient whether from Aberdeen of Edinburgh, and would make a good day trip.
Written Dec 18, 2009