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North Berwick
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12 brilliant things to do in North Berwick

Fancy an escape from Edinburgh city centre? Head along the coast for picturesque beaches, cosy pubs and seabirds galore

Arusa Qureshi
Written by
Emma Vince
&
Arusa Qureshi
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Around 30 minutes from the centre of Edinburgh, North Berwick has long been a popular getaway for the city’s residents. But in recent years, the seaside town has garnered attention from much further afield – and with beauty, fun and adventure all within easy reach, what’s not to love? Get your fix of wildlife and outdoorsy exploration, chill out on one of the picutre-postcard beaches or head to a swanky new restaurant or café for a bite. Here are the best things to do in North Berwick right now.

RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in Glasgow, Royal Deeside and Oban

Best things to do in North Berwick

First up
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First up

Get your caffeine fix at industrial-chic Steampunk Coffee. Tuck into veggie snacks or grab a flat white to go and follow the aroma of freshly baked bread down the high street to Bostock Bakery, where you can scoff warm made-that-morning pastries.

Soak up the vibes
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Soak up the vibes

Both of North Berwick’s beaches feel blissfully uncrowded, even on sunny days when there are plenty of families and dog-walkers around. With views of Bass Rock, the wide swathe of sand along Milsey Bay is dotted with rockpools. Sit on the wall and dog-watch with an ice cream in hand.

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Stop for lunch
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Stop for lunch

All that salt-laced sea air making your stomach rumble? The freshest catches land straight from the nippy waters of the Firth and on to the plates of local restaurants, like Lobster Shack, which serves ethically caught shellfish, and North Berwick Fry, a local institution known for its ace fish and chips. For something extra-special, head to minimalist coffeehouse Drift, which has a spectacular clifftop view. Their daily brunch and light lunch menu focuses on fresh, seasonal Scottish produce.

Get back to nature
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Get back to nature

Similar to Edinburgh’s Arthur’s Seat, North Berwick Law pokes up behind the town like a pointy hat. This grass-covered conical hill has volcanic origins and is the tallest spot around. Hike the heart-pumping, zig-zagging path to the top, where you’ll be rewarded with pano-worthy views framed by a giant fibreglass replica of a whale’s jawbone. Because, why not?

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Go on an adventure
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Go on an adventure

Drive ten minutes east and you’ll find Tantallon Castle perched on the edge of the cliff. Roam the battlements and descend to the dungeons. Go further along the coast to Seacliff for views looking back at the ruined fortress. Also ten minutes from North Berwick is Archerfield Walled Garden, an excellent place for the whole family to relax, unwind and recharge. Walk around the beautiful grounds and you’ll come across the utterly delightful eighteenth-century walled garden, a magical fairy trail for the little ones, a food market with essentials and artisan favourites, and a well-stocked garden shop.

If you only do one thing
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If you only do one thing

Learn about puffins, razorbills and more at the Scottish Seabird Centre before taking a boat to see Bass Rock’s inhabitants up close. At the end of winter, so many birds flock to the volcanic island – home to the largest colony of northern gannets in the world – that they turn it completely white.

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Stop in nearby Gullane at the Bonnie Badger, an ivy-clad country bolthole on the outside, with a modern Scottish-meets-Scandi interior. It’s owned by chef Tom Kitchin, a man who’s no stranger to a Michelin star, so no surprise that the food dished up in the converted-stables restaurant is the highlight of a stay here. The menu evolves with the seasons, and a map in the lobby shows how just how local their produce is. Walk off dinner (and breakfast and afternoon tea) along Gullane Bay, a quiet smile of sand near the hotel. Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland. From £175 a night. 

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