Heading east from Edinburgh you come first to the marvellous beaches at Portobello and Musselburgh, the first of many along this coastline. Just a little further and you reach the world famous links golf courses, including Muirfield itself, at Luffness, Gullane and Dirleton.
In contrast, East Lothian is a region of rich farmland, long sandy beaches (such as Yellowcraigs near North Berwick), famous golf courses (such as Muirfield at Gullane) and seaside towns. Haddington is an attractive market town and the nearby 14th century Lennoxlove House contains the death mask of Mary Queen of Scots. The picturesque village of Gifford, a couple of miles south of Haddington, is a convenient base for walkers and it has a choice of good restaurants. To the north-east of Haddington at East Fortune is the Museum of Flight where Concorde is one of the most popular exhibits.
East Lothian Self Catering Cottages
Exploring the Area
North Berwick is an attractive seaside town that flourished in Victorian times as a seaside resort and harbour. A steep climb up the 184 metre Berwick Law (a volcanic plug) provides fine views to Bass Rock and its gannet colony. You can take boat trips out to the Bass Rock, one of the most famous seabird sanctuaries in the world. You can also see them on live video from the Scottish Seabird Centre in the town. The ruins of the 13th century Dirleton Castle lie a few miles west of North Berwick but Tantallon Castle, destroyed by Cromwell in 1651, occupies a more dramatic position on the cliff tops 3 miles east of North Berwick.
The port and resort of Dunbar lies about 12 miles east of North Berwick and is famous as being the birthplace of the explorer and conservationist John Muir (1838 to 1914) who founded the concept of the US national parks (his life and work is exhibited in the John Muir House). There is a 2 mile walk from the ruins of Dunbar Castle at the harbour to the John Muir Country Park at Belhaven Bay (Belhaven ales being first brewed by monks at Dunbar and is continued to this day). Inland, the coastal plain rises into the foothills of the Lammermuir Hills, offering miles of lovely moorland walking.
West Lothian extends from a few miles west of the city to Bathgate in the west and Bo'ness and South Queensferry on the Firth of Forth in the north. The main attractions include the Scottish Railway Exhibition and the Union Canal at Bo'ness and the ruins of the 15th century royal Linlithgow Palace in a magnificent setting on the banks of Linlithgow Loch.
At South Queensferry, there are panoramic views past the Forth road and railway bridges to Fife and the distant mountains, and you can take a boat trip to the ruins of Inchcolm Abbey founded by Augustinian priors in 1123 on the island of Inchcolm. Nearby is the stately home and extensive grounds of Hopetoun House, originally built in the 18th century and later extended by William Adam.