The Forth Estuary is your “go-to” website for all information regarding the Firth of Forth and its harbours, islands, activities and history. Our aim is to provide visitors with information on the area, including; attractions and activities, restaurants, hotels and historical landmarks.

Our wish is for visitors to both the Fife and Edinburgh sides of the River Forth to fully utilise the fantastic tourist amenities on offer. To achieve this goal we provide advice on what should be seen and visited in the estuary.


The Firth of Forth, commonly known as the Forth Estuary, stretches from Stirling to the Isle of May  and is approximately 96km long. From Alloa the river widens out considerably and is bridged at two places by no fewer than five bridges. At Kincardine it is bridged by the Kincardine and Clackmannanshire Bridges, whilst at North Queensferry it is crossed by the Forth Rail Bridge, Forth Road Bridge and the new Queensferry Crossing.

The estuary is particularly interesting for its great variety of historical landmarks, islands, and wildlife, particularly as it has the only offshore islands of the East Coast. These include: Inchcolm Island which is famous for its 12th Century Abbey; and the Isle of May which is an important nature reserve for seabirds, particularly the puffin.

The Firth of Forth has always been a vital part of life for the inhabitants on both sides of its banks, with industries such as salt and fishing thriving for generations. See our “History” section to read more about the background of this essential river.


The Forth Estuary has a rich history as a successful and thriving commercial river.  Historically it would have been busy with fishing vessels, and the transportation of coal and lime down the river.  Today there are still a few boats fishing for crabs, lobsters and prawns but the main commercial traffic comes from tankers visiting the various ports on the Forth. These tankers export oil from Hound Point, LPG & ethylene from Braefoot Bay Terminal, and various chemical and oil derivatives that go to and from Grangemouth Refinery.

Rosyth Dockyard also plays an important part in the commercial traffic of the Forth Estuary with frequent cargo ships delivering to its docks, and the activity involved in building the new Royal Navy Aircraft Carriers. In addition to the Dockyard, there are other ports that are busy with commercial activity; such as, Inverkeithing, Leith and Methil.

As well as the commercial ships that come in to the Forth, it is an extremely popular river for recreational use. Whilst in the past locals and visitors may have enjoyed the river on one of the coastal steamers or the Forth ferry, today the river is popular with smaller boats such as yachts and kayaks. Cruise ships are also a common sight in the Forth Estuary as they come in to port at Leith or Newhaven, or anchor at Hound Point.


Edinburgh Boat Charters
South Queensferry
EH30 9SQ

Tel: 0131 554 9401
Mob: 07921399595

Email: elliet@forthestuary.com