North Berwick, Scotland,
Just a 40-minute drive from Edinburgh,
this lesser-known Scottish town in East Lothian has been kept under
wraps by locals for centuries. It’s framed by wide sandy beaches
(we like looking out to Bass Rock from Milsey Bay) and home to a
growing restaurant scene that’s fast becoming as attractive to UK
staycationers as its seabird colony is to twitchers.
You’ll no doubt be equally in awe of the colourful ceramics,
reupholstered furnishings and modern artworks in the town’s cluster
of boutiques. Grab a reusable bag and head to one of the two
branches of Time and Tide for coastal chic minus the kitsch or
Whynot?, a collection of indie retailers.
Spend your days cramming cake and coffee from the cafés,
sun-soaking on the beach or discovering the surrounding dramatic
Perched on a cliff just outside of the town lies Tantallon
Castle, which was built by Earl of Douglas in the 14th century and
would go on to be besieged by King James IV, James V and Oliver
Cromwell over the next three. If you’re worried about getting lost
in its dungeons as you wander around, head to nearby Seacliff at
sunset instead – the views back to the ruins are stunning.
Where to stay
Check in to The Bonnie Badger in Gullane. With Leith’s
Michelin-starred Tom Kitchin at the helm, this is a place where
Scottish tradition is updated with a little contemporary pizzazz –
the fireplaces in the bedrooms get a big yes from us. Needless to
say, the seasonal menu is pretty impressive too.
Where to go for dinner
It wouldn’t be a seaside staycation without a meal overlooking
the coast. For this reason book a table at Herringbone. The menu has all manner of vegan dishes,
steak and the like, but we recommend going for seafood. East
Lothian chowder, anyone?
And for a drink…
Your morning cup o’ Joe from Steampunk Coffee Roasters is best
followed up with a croissant from Bostock Bakery (René Redzepi is a
Who to take with you
Take an epicurean. They’ll appreciate working up an appetite on
a coastal walk before tucking into North Berwick’s culinary
When to go
To see the beaches at their best, visit between June and
Essentials to pack
North Berwick is prone to high winds; we recommend wrapping up
in The Chelsea Long trench coat by Burberry.
How to get there
Regular trains from Edinburgh Waverley station take around 30
minutes – the journey is just over 40 by car.