Exploring East Lothian

It’s only a 40-minute drive from Edinburgh but it feels a million miles. We took a wander down to this area of award-winning beaches and stunning coastline and spent a few days soaking up all East Lothian has to offer.

There are a number of good touring sites down the coast – Tantallon being of them which offers you stunning views over the Forth and towards the Bass Rock.

Most people know East Lothian for hosting the golf at Muirfield or for the puffins on the Bass Rock by North Berwick. However, there are also lots of small villages dotted about which are worth having wander through.

We stopped into Athelstaneford, a small village established in the 18th century and known for its agriculture and weaving. However, did you know that’s it’s also the home to the Flag Heritage Centre as it’s the birthplace of the Saltire? We didn’t know either – every day is a school day! Not far from the village is the National Museum of Flight which is where Scotland’s Concorde lives – well worth a visit – even to say that you’ve been on Concorde!

There are many coastal walks to enjoy but if you fancy something different, visit www.wintonhouse.co.uk . There are a variety of walks suitable for all ages throughout this estate that is steeped in history. Winton House is located in Pencaitland so you can head into the village pub for some good food after your walk.

Just outside Pencaitland is Glenkinchie Distillery. Open all year round, it welcomes thousands of visitors every year. You can easily spend a half day wandering round the exhibition. And the non-driver can always enjoy a few samples.

Further down the coast is the town of Dunbar. Renowned for its famous Bridge to Nowhere. Situated on Belhaven Beach, the bridge becomes entirely isolated when the tide is in. When it’s low tide you can cross the bridge to access the other part of the beach. It’s an insta-worthy photo and definitely worth a visit. Dunbar has a high sunshine record which means lots of time can be spent guddling about on the beach or visit East Links Family Park if you want to wear out the wee ones.

Alternatively jump on a bike and explore the John Muir Way, a long-distance walking and cycling route between Helensburgh and Dunbar. Talking of John Muir, you’ll also find the DunBear – a sculpture created in tribute to conservationist John Muir and his ties with the town. There’s a museum dedicated to the man himself where you can find out all about his life as an explorer and naturalist. For more information visit jmbt.org.uk)

If you fancy a bit of water fun then head to Foxlake where you can try wakeboarding, ringos or take part in the obstacle rope course over the water. Beware – we can testify that it’s pretty chilly in the winter!

North Berwick was a firm favourite of ours for food and a wee wander round the shops. It has great mix of independent shops, (especially Sugar Mountain for their amazing ice cream) and restaurants. Visit Drift for coffee, cake and stunning views, The Rockateer for their amazing fish platter or The Puffin for a more special meal.

The Scottish Seabird Centre based at The Harbour in North Berwick is a fantastic attraction celebrating Scottish wildlife and offering boat trips out to the Bass Rock and Forth islands.

If wildlife, flora and fauna are more your thing, then East Lothian is a great place to find it all.  Aside from housing the largest gannet colony in the world, you can spot puffins, terms and come the autumn, pink-footed geese arrive from Iceland.  Primroses, blackthorn and bluebells bring beautiful colours to the countryside in Spring while later in the season you may be lucky enough to find bloody cranesbill, cowslip and clustered bellflower.

We only covered a few of the areas there are to discover. Whether it’s beaches or heritage, watersports or wildlife, food and drink, this stretch of coastline has something for everyone.

Other recommended campsites include;