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Map of places to visit in East Lothian
- Yellowcraig beach
- North Berwick Law
- Hailes Castle
- Dirleton Castle
- The National Museum of Flight
- Tantallon Castle
- John Muir Country Park (behind #A)
- The Scottish Seabird Centre
- Bass Rock
- East Links Family Park
The best places to visit in East Lothian
The following list includes some of my favourite places to visit in East Lothian and I can safely say they all offer a good day out. I’ve tried to include a mix of paid and free attractions as well as a bit of history, countryside, and a few of the more ‘standard’ tourist attractions as well.
To be honest, this list is really just scratching the tip of the iceberg so I’ll be updating it as I get to visit more places around the county, but for now I hope it’ll give you a good taste of what East Lothian has to offer. Happy exploring!
East Links Family Park
Address: Dunbar, East Lothian, EH42 1XF
Website: East Links Family Park
Contact details: Telephone 01368 863 607
This popular farm-themed attraction near Dunbar is set on 20-acres of land that includes a whole host of activities and things to do for children and their parents.
The great thing about East Links Family Park is that once they’re through the doors you can let your kids zoom off and run wild without having to worry about them, because this attraction is absolutely chock-a-block full of fun – and safe – things to do.
There’s a brilliant fort where you can race to the top on a spiders web of nets before battering each other with foam balls. There’s a pedal-power race track where you can zoom to the finish line on single-seat go-karts. There’s a giant bouncy trampoline where you can perform all manner of mid-air stunts, and there’s a selection of slides, swings and roundabouts to bomb about on.
Who says playtime is just for kids?
Other highlights include a series of enclosures with herds of deer, llama and various farm animals, and another kart track which cuts right through the enclosures so you can stop to feed them as you make your way around.
There’s even a train ride that puffs its way along the perimeter of the park and there’s a water park so you can soak each other to your hearts content.
All-in-all this is a great family day out whether you’re a little kid, or maybe just a big one like me.
You can read all about this attraction in my Complete Guide to East Links Family Park.
The Scottish Seabird Centre and Bass Rock
Address: Scottish Seabird Centre, North Berwick, EH39 4SS
Website: The Scottish Seabird Centre
Contact details: Telephone: 01620 890202
If you take my earlier advice and head to North Berwick you should try to make a point of visiting the seabird centre located near the harbour.
The attraction aims to both entertain and educate people about Scotland’s marine birdlife and it does a great job of making conservation both interesting and fun – something I imagine must have been incredibly difficult to achieve.
The bulk of the seabird centre is located downstairs where you’ll find information displays that tell you all about Scotland’s coastlines and the wildlife that live in them, as well as aquariums full of living specimens collected from the sea.
Upstairs you’ll find a really good café – top tip: get a seat by the window or sit outside in summer for great views of the beach – and a decent gift shop. You’ll also be able to try some mega-powerful binoculars to look across the water at the enormous Bass Rock.
The world’s biggest colony of gannets live on the rock and watching them take flight as they go on the hunt for their next meal is a real spectacle. But even better than that is the boat trip that’ll take you right up to the rock to see these curious (and noisy) birds up close.
You can read all about this attraction with my Complete Guide to The Bass Rock.
John Muir Country Park
Address: John Muir Country Park, Dunbar, East Lothian, EH42 1XF
Website: East Lothian .gov
Contact details: Telephone: +44 (1620) 827421
The John Muir Country Park can be found right next door to East Links Family Park, so if you ever come to visit this area near Dunbar you might as well take the time to explore this absolutely beautiful nature reserve. Believe me, once you get there you’ll be glad you made the journey.
The park borders Belhaven Bay and it’s glorious expanse of golden sand at one end and extends past the River Tyne at the other, while a diverse array of wildlife habitats runs through the park towards East Links golf course and beyond.
Once you start exploring I guarantee you’ll be surprised at how peaceful this place is, with sweeping sand dunes running alongside wide expanses of mud flats that border a thick forest of pine trees.
It really is a nature-lovers paradise and I reckon John Muir would be proud to see that such a beautifully-maintained park exists so close to his hometown of Dunbar.
This is a great place for walks and there are trails running right through it but if you just want to sit on the beach you’ll find it’s only a short walk from the on-site car park.
There are toilets and BBQ facilities next to the parking area too, and if you want to have a family day out in the summer I can’t think of a better place in East Lothian to visit.
You can read all about this attraction in my Complete Guide to The John Muir Country Park.
Address: Tantallon Castle, Near North Berwick, East Lothian, EH39 5PN
Website: Historic Environment Scotland
Contact details: Telephone: 01620 892 727
Tantallon Castle is one of my favourite historic sites in East Lothian, not only because it’s a fascinating place but also because it’s set in one of the nicest stretches of coastline in the county.
The castle is located close to North Berwick and North Berwick Law so it can be easily combined with a visit to either of those recommended East Lothian highlights, and it also overlooks Seacliffe beach which is the best beach I’ve found so far in Scotland for guddling about in rockpools.
The castle is maintained by Historic Environment Scotland so there are plenty of information boards dotted about if you want to learn about it’s history, and they’ve restored part of the castle walls and towers so you can climb to the top and get amazing views across the East Lothian countryside.
This sandstone fortress features the last fortified curtain wall to be built in Scotland, and with the cliffs of Oxroad Bay bordering the side facing the Firth of Forth it must have been almost impregnable back in the day.
Unfortunately it was left to fall into ruin during the 1650 civil war and wasn’t taken into state care till 1924, but at least it’s now a cared-for attraction that’s open to explore by interested tourists.
You can read all about this attraction in my Complete Guide to Tantallon Castle.
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The National Museum of Flight
Address: East Fortune Airfield, East Lothian, EH39 5LF
Website: The National Museum of Flight
Contact details: Telephone: 0300 123 6789
East Linton might not seem a likely candidate for the location of a national museum, but the restored WWII airfield just outside the village has been faithfully restored so that it now contains one of the finest collections of aircraft in Europe.
This is one of those Scottish attractions that offers something of interest to all ages, whether they’re a middle-aged mum and dad, a pensioner, teenager, or a young child.
The organisers of the collection have gone to great lengths to make the museum as educational as it is fun and you’ll find display boards alongside each aircraft that tell you all about their history and the role they played in Britain’s skies.
The aircraft are split into three main parts, with two enormous hangars housing rare and exotic examples of both military and civilian aircraft and a number of larger planes outside that can be clambered aboard and walked around.
For me, the best aircraft on display is the museum’s very own Concorde, and it was always an ambition of mine to take a look inside one and thankfully you can at The National Museum of Flight, so hats off to The National Museums of Scotland for making this important part of Britain’s aviation history so accessible.
The museum also has a decent enough café so you can grab a bite to eat while you’re there and the gift shop is one of the best I’ve seen at an attraction like this. A visit is highly recommended in my opinion.
You can read all about this attraction in my Complete Guide to The National Museum of Flight.
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