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North Berwick

  • Book at the Seabird Centre for boat trips to the Bass Rock, Fidra and other islands.
  • Scottish Seabird Centre - Visitor centre about seabirds found on Bass Rock and elsewhere.
  • North Berwick Law - A 613-foot (187 m) volcanic hill which rises above the town, with a Napoleonic era signal station. The whale's jawbone "arch" at the summit collapsed in June 2005, and was eventually replaced by a fibreglass replica in June 2008.
  • Lodge Grounds in the centre of town is a tranquil park with gardens, walks and play areas.
  • Beaches - One of North Berwick's main attractions, the beaches have golden sands and rocks, and a tide-filled boating pond on the East Sands. Just to the east of the town is Seacliff, a private and largely unspoilt beach and estate, and there is a spectacular walk to Yellowcraig to the west of the town, starting beside the first tee of the West Links golf course.

Details of these attractions and many more are available from the Information Centre at the Library in School Road.

For disabled visitors, North Berwick Beach Wheelchairs lend specially adapted wheelchairs which allow visitors of all ages to go on the beach. The service has been provided by local volunteers since July 2015, and has expanded to Portobello and Seton Sands. There is no charge for wheelchairs, although a donation would be appreciated, and such is the demand that wheelchairs must be booked. For more details see their website.


North Berwick became a fashionable holiday resort in the 19th century because of its two sandy bays, the East (or Milsey) Bay and the West Bay, and continues to attract holiday makers to this day.

The name North Berwick means North 'barley farmstead'. Bere in Old English means 'barley' and wic in Old English is 'farmstead'. The word North was applied to distinguish this Berwick from Berwick-upon-Tweed, which throughout the Middle Ages the Scots called South Berwick.

North Berwick Harbour was built in the 12th century, and for 500 years there was a ferry crossing to Earlsferry, near Elie in Fife. This was popular with pilgrims to St Andrews. This ferry was recently reinstated; during the summer a boat travels between North Berwick and Anstruther in Fife, in homage to the original ferry. Excavations have shown there was activity at the harbour area from as early as the 8th century, while the "Auld Kirk Green" at the harbour was used for gatherings by the accused in the North Berwick Witch Trials.

For the Youngsters

East Links Park at nearby Dunbar provides fun for the all the family.

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With a petting zoo, minature train, fort with a climbing web and gigantic slide, soft play areas, trampolines and various "ride on" toys, the youngsters are guaranteed to have hours of fun... and many of the older folk have been seen on some of the toys too!

Sailing

The East Lothian Yacht Club hosts many national and international sailing events.

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Walking

The John Muir Way, stretches 134 miles or 215 km across Scotland's heartland, running between Helensburgh in the west through to Dunbar on the east coast and passes close to the house.

Circular Walks around North Berwick is a recent publication available from the Information Centre in the library, the Seabird Centre and local bookshops. As it name implies, it describes 7 walks in and around North Berwick varying from 2 to 8 miles.

Tennis

Tennis courts are located on Coo's Green to the east of the centre of the town alongside the putting green and Lodge Grounds. In the summer there is a cafe open beside the courts.

 

Golf

There are two golf courses in the town, the West Links and the Glen, or East Links, and numerous others in the surrounding area.

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East Lothian is one of the best regions for golf in Scotland, with 22 courses offering choice to golfers of all standards and tastes. Dunbar, North Berwick, Musselburgh and Gullane have been used as venues for Open qualifying competitions, and The Open Championship course at Muirfield is one of the world's oldest and most admired.

There are also two 18-hole putting greens and a Golfing Heritage Trail to follow through the town.

 

Swimming

There is a swimming pool at the sports centre in the town and for the more adventurous, Dunbar offers a pool with a flume and wave machine.

Of course, for the really adventurous, there is always the beach!

Beach Cricket

 

National Museum of Flight

The National Museum of Flight is at East Linton, about three miles from North Berwick. Click on concorde for a film about the exhibit.

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Historic Sites

There are two castles close to North Berwick, both in the care of Historic Environment Scotland, and a number of other sites of historical and cultural interest, including a whisky distillery!

Tantallon CastleTantallon Castle, a mostly ruined 14th-century fortress is a formidable stronghold set atop cliffs on the Firth of Forth.

The Castle was the seat of the Douglas Earls of Angus, one of the most powerful baronial families in Scotland, and has served as a noble fortification for more than three centuries and endured three sieges.

This photo is taken from Seacliff a secluded beach to the east of North Berwick off the road to Tyningham. There is a nominal charge for access and limited parking, so the beach never gets crowded and its position in the lee of a wooded bank shelters it from the prevailing west wind.

Set in the rock is a smugglers harbour which is still in use by local fisherman, though not for smuggling!

 

Dirleton Castle

 

For 400 years, Dirleton Castle stood as a magnificent fortress–residence for three successive noble families. It was badly damaged during Cromwell’s siege of 1650, but its fortunes revived in the 1660s when the Nisbet family built a new mansion close to the picturesque ruins.

They also resuscitated the splendid gardens, which now include the world’s longest herbaceous border.

Other local sites include Newhailes. a dignified 17th century house near Musselburgh, John Muir's birthplace in Dunbar and Prestongrange Museum at Prestonpans.

 

 

The Glenkinchie whisky distillery is located at Pencaitland, and the Bellhaven brewery, home of Bellhaven Best, is in Dunbar.