Spend a day in East Lothian

From castles to coastal walks, East Lothian is full of attractions, and just a stone’s throw from central Edinburgh. Take your pick of things to see and do from our top recommendations.

Travel options

Lothian Buses have regular services running from Edinburgh to East Lothian. The region also has a reliable rail network (the main stations are Musselburgh, Wallyford, Prestonpans, Longniddry, Drem, North Berwick and Dunbar). For timetables, tickets and further details see East Lothian by Rail.

A morning at the castle


No, we’re not talking about Edinburgh Castle. There are several castles to visit in and around Edinburgh, and the 12th-century Dirleton Castle is one of them. Set in famously beautiful gardens and steeped in history, it’s the perfect attraction to explore at your own pace. 

The village of Dirleton itself is also worth a stroll around. This idyllic spot is known as one of Scotland’s most picturesque villages.

Travel tip: Dirleton Castle has been undergoing conservation work, so be sure to check their website for current access and opening hours. 

Head for the sea

North Berwick Beach

Hop back in your car or on the 124 bus to North Berwick. Or, if you’re feeling active, a walk on The John Muir Way should take you less than an hour, with plenty of stunning scenery along the way.

Once in North Berwick, pay a visit to The Scottish Seabird Centre. This five-star attraction features lots of interactive exhibitions on local wildlife and Scotland’s marine environment. There are even live feeds so you can watch the birds on local islands, including the Bass Rock, one of the 12 wildlife wonders of the world.

Right next to the centre is the harbour. From here, you can take the boat out to Bass Rock. It’s most famous for its gannets, but also plays host to the ruins of an ancient castle and chapel.

An alternative option: Don’t fancy the boat ride? Take a wander around North Berwick’s picture perfect streets instead. You’ll find several gift shops, boutiques and cafés to weave in and out of.

Lobster for lunch

Lobster-Shack - Visit-East-Lothian

It wouldn’t be a visit to North Berwick without a stop-off at local favourite, the Lobster Shack. Tuck into high quality seafood with gorgeous views of the harbour.

Discover Gullane

Drinks-outside-Old-Clubhouse - Visit-East-Lothian-EM

On your way back to Edinburgh on the 124 bus route lies the town of Gullane. Explore the spectacular beaches, or visit Gullane Golf Club, where golf has been played for over 350 years. 

As your day in East Lothian comes to a close, settle in for some classic Scottish hospitality at The Old Clubhouse. As its name suggests, this historic pub was originally built as a clubhouse for the first members of Gullane Golf Club, back in 1890.

Ready for bed? The bus from Gullane to Edinburgh takes around an hour.

Plan your trip to East Lothian

For more information on planning a trip to East Lothian go to Visit East Lothian. Follow and tag them on Facebook @visiteastlothian, Twitter @goeastlothian and Instagram goeastlothian #VisitEastLothian