For those looking to escape the bustling city of Edinburgh for the beach, or who fancy a quiet weekend beside one of Scotland’s most picturesque coastlines, the harbour town of North Berwick is one of the best places to visit.
It is easily accessible from Edinburgh by train (just 40 minutes) and is located on the south side of the Firth of Forth where it meets the North Sea. This means it has a little bit of everything – sea air, beautiful beaches, and boat trips to see puffins. Perhaps most importantly though, it has all the ice cream and fish and chips you could ever need.
Here’s our tips on how to make the most of your time there:
Where to stay in North Berwick
There’s lots of great places to stay in this area, but if you fancy something extra special, The Barn at Williamstone Farm Steadings is a slice of interior design heaven. Despite so much to see and do around you, it’s a place that’s very hard to leave.
The Barn will sleep anywhere from 2-6 guests. From the front door you can easily reach the harbour, hike up Berwick Law hill to enjoy the views, or spend the day on the town’s beach. No detail is spared in this luxury accommodation – with the welcome pack providing you all the information you’ll need to enjoy the area (as well as try some delicious local food!).
What to do in North Berwick
A walk around the harbour town is a must. Whether it’s great coffee (Steam Punk is well worth hunting out), amazing pastries (Bostock Bakery) seafood (Lobster Shack) or a place for dinner (The Bonnie Badger) – you’ll easily spend a few hours wandering around this quaint harbour.
From the Scottish Seabird Centre, you can head over to Bass Rock, which is home to the largest population of gannets. There are so many in fact that for most of the year they turn the small island white. The Isle of May, another short boat ride from the harbour, is also worth visiting between April and August if you are fans of puffins. It’s by far the easiest place to see them from Edinburgh.
Of course, North Berwick is also a great place to head into Edinburgh too to explore the city before retreating back to the coast after a busy day.
Things to see near North Berwick
Once you’ve taken in the harbour, it’s time to visit some of the nearby sites.
The ruins of Tantallon Castle, one of the last castles to be built in Scotland, sit on the edge of the cliffs looking out to Bass Rock. While you can walk around the ruins, the view from Seacliff Beach a little further along the coastline helps you image how impressive the castle might once have looked. The beach itself is also a great spot to appreciate Bass Rock, try some paddle boarding, or just enjoy a picnic on the sand.
If you are looking for other great beaches, this area is full of them – YellowCraig beach is another of our favourites and it’s easy to get to from The Barn!
When to visit North Berwick
One of the great things about North Berwick is you can visit any time of year. With lots of sunshine all year round, it’s a safe bet whenever you choose to visit.
For more staycation inspiration, visit our Guides page.
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