North Berwick Travel Guide

Explore North Berwick, a charming coastal town in The Lothians, with our comprehensive travel guide. From culture and nature to food and lodging, we've got you covered!

Introduction to North Berwick

Nestled in the picturesque coastal landscape of The Lothians, North Berwick is a charming town that boasts of sandy beaches, rugged cliffs, wildlife reserves, and historic landmarks. It’s a popular destination among locals and tourists alike who are drawn to its tranquil ambiance, outdoor adventures, and scenic beauty.

List of Places to Visit in North Berwick

Whether you are a culture enthusiast, nature lover, or adventure seeker, North Berwick has plenty to offer. Here are some of the must-visit attractions in the town:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Scottish Seabird Centre: Explore Scotland’s diverse seabird population, marine life, and history through interactive exhibits, cameras, and telescopes.
  • Tantallon Castle: Discover the majestic medieval ruins of Tantallon Castle, perched on a cliff overlooking the sea.
  • North Berwick Harbour: Stroll along the bustling harbor, watch the boats come and go, and snap a photo of the scenic views.

Natural Attractions of North Berwick: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • North Berwick Law: Hike to the top of the 613-foot hill for panoramic views of the town and its surroundings.
  • Bass Rock: Take a boat tour to the Bass Rock, a volcanic island that’s home to the world’s largest colony of northern gannets.
  • Yellowcraig Beach: Sunbathe, swim, or take a walk on the golden sands of Yellowcraig Beach, which also offers views of the 1885-built lighthouse.

Hiking/Biking Routes of North Berwick

Experience the great outdoors of North Berwick by choosing from a variety of hiking and biking trails, including:

  • John Muir Way: A 134-mile trail that passes through North Berwick and offers stunning views of the coast.
  • Aberlady Bay Nature Reserve: A four-mile circular trail that covers dunes, salt marshes, and grasslands, and is ideal for birdwatching.
  • North Berwick Law: A steep, but rewarding, hike to the top of the hill that offers stunning views of the sea, town, and the countryside.

Best Things to Do in North Berwick: Activities and Tours

From golfing to wildlife spotting, North Berwick has plenty of activities to keep you entertained. Some of the top things to do in the town include:

  • Golfing: Visit one of the town’s three golf courses, including the world-renowned Muirfield Golf Course.
  • Wildlife Tours: Take a boat tour and spot marine life, seabirds, and seals in their natural habitat.
  • Shopping: Explore the town’s independent boutiques, gift shops, and art galleries for a unique shopping experience.

Week-Long Itinerary for North Berwick

If you plan to spend a week in North Berwick, here’s a suggested itinerary that covers the town’s top attractions:

Day Activity
1 Visit the Scottish Seabird Centre and North Berwick Harbour
2 Hike to the North Berwick Law
3 Take a boat tour to Bass Rock and visit Tantallon Castle
4 Spend a day at Yellowcraig Beach
5 Play golf at Muirfield Golf Course or take a wildlife tour
6 Explore the town’s shops and art galleries
7 Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the beach or harbor

Food and Drink Scene of North Berwick

North Berwick’s food and drink scene is a delightful mix of traditional Scottish cuisine, seafood, and modern gastronomy. Here’s a list of must-try dishes and local beverages:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Cullen Skink: A thick soup made with smoked haddock, potatoes, onions, and cream, served with crusty bread.
  • Haggis: Scotland’s national dish made with sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs, served with mashed potatoes, neeps, and gravy.
  • Scottish Salmon: A locally sourced and sustainably caught salmon that’s grilled, smoked, or served raw as sushi.

Local Beverages

  • Whisky: Scotland’s prized export, whisky, can be sampled at local bars, pubs, and distilleries, such as The Nether Abbey Hotel and Glenkinchie Distillery.
  • Ale: North Berwick has its own brewery, The Law Brewery, which produces a range of ales and lagers that are available at local pubs and restaurants.
  • Gin: Pickering’s Gin, a small-batch gin made with locally sourced botanicals, is distilled in North Berwick and can be tasted at their distillery or local bars.

Where to Stay in North Berwick: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

North Berwick offers a variety of accommodation options for all budgets and preferences, including:

  • Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa: A luxury hotel that’s situated on the beach and offers stunning views, a spa, and a renowned restaurant.
  • The Folly: A stylish guesthouse that’s located in the heart of the town and offers comfortable and modern rooms.
  • Tantallon Caravan & Camping Park: A family-friendly camping site that’s located near the beach and offers a range of camping options.

What to Buy in North Berwick: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

North Berwick has a delightful selection of souvenirs and local products that make for perfect gifts or reminders of your trip. Here are some ideas:

  • Scottish Tartan: Pick up a scarf, shawl, or a kilt made with Scottish tartan, a symbol of the country’s heritage and culture.
  • Seashells and Pebbles: Collect your own seashells and pebbles from the town’s beaches or buy them at local gift shops as a reminder of the town’s coastal charm.
  • Local Produce: North Berwick has a thriving agricultural scene that produces fresh and organic fruits, vegetables, and meats, which can be sampled and bought at local farmers’ markets.

Local Culture and Customs of North Berwick

Scotland has a rich and distinct culture that’s reflected in its language, music, literature, and traditions. North Berwick, in particular, is known for its fishing heritage, its links to John Muir, and its vibrant arts scene. Here are some customs and etiquettes to keep in mind when visiting North Berwick:

  • Greetings: Scots are known to be friendly and hospitable people, so don’t be surprised if you’re greeted with a smile and a “hiya” (hello).
  • Respect: Scots value politeness and respect, so be mindful of others’ personal space, time, and opinions.
  • Tipping: Tipping is not compulsory in Scotland, but it’s customary to round up the bill or leave a small gratuity for good service.

Best Time to Visit North Berwick

North Berwick can be visited year-round, as the town offers different activities and attractions for each season. However, the best time to visit the town is during the summer months (June-August), when the weather is mild and sunny, and the town hosts various festivals and events.

Do’s and Don’ts of North Berwick

To make the most of your visit to North Berwick, here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:


  • Take a boat tour: North Berwick’s coast is best explored by boat, so don’t miss the chance to take a wildlife tour or a fishing trip.
  • Try local food and drinks: Scottish cuisine and beverages are one of a kind, so make sure to sample them at local restaurants, pubs, and distilleries.
  • Respect nature and wildlife: North Berwick is home to a diverse range of seabirds, seals, and marine life, so respect their habitat and follow responsible tourism practices.


  • Litter: Keep North Berwick’s beaches and nature reserves clean and tidy by disposing of your waste properly.
  • Disturb wildlife: Avoid disturbing or feeding wildlife, and keep a safe distance from them to avoid causing harm or stress.
  • Ignore the weather: Scotland is known for its changeable weather, so be prepared for rain, wind, or sudden changes in temperature.

Safety and Health

North Berwick is a relatively safe and healthy destination, but it’s always advisable to take precautions and check any travel advisories or alerts. Here’s some information about safety and health in North Berwick:

Safety in North Berwick

  • Crime: North Berwick has low crime rates, but travelers should still be cautious and avoid leaving belongings unattended or walking alone at night.
  • Weather: North Berwick’s coastal location makes it prone to strong winds, high waves, and sudden changes in weather, so check the weather forecast and follow any alerts or warnings.

Health in North Berwick

  • COVID-19: North Berwick, like the rest of the UK, has been affected by the pandemic, so make sure to follow the latest regulations, guidelines, and travel restrictions.
  • Health Services: North Berwick has a local GP surgery, pharmacy, and hospital, but ensure you have travel and health insurance before arriving.

Getting to North Berwick: Transportation Options and Logistics

North Berwick is located approximately 25 miles east of Edinburgh, and is accessible by various modes of transport. Here’s some information about transportation options and logistics:

Airports Near North Berwick

  • Edinburgh Airport: The closest major airport to North Berwick, approximately 30 minutes away by car or train.
  • Glasgow Airport: Located approximately 75 miles west of North Berwick, and can be reached by car, bus, or train.

Bus Stations Near North Berwick

  • North Berwick Bus Station: Located in the town center, and offers local and regional bus services.
  • Edinburgh Bus Station: Located in the city center, and offers national and international bus services.

Other Options

  • Train: North Berwick has its own train station, which offers regular services to Edinburgh and other parts of Scotland.
  • Car: North Berwick is easily accessible by car, with plenty of parking options available in the town center.

How to Get Around in North Berwick

North Berwick is a relatively small town, and can be explored on foot or by bike. However, if you need to travel further, here are some transportation options:

  • Bus: The town has a local bus service that connects to nearby villages and towns.
  • Taxi: Taxis can be found at the North Berwick Station taxi rank, or can be pre-booked through local taxi companies.
  • Car: Car rental services are available in North Berwick, Edinburgh, and Glasgow.

Where to Go Next from North Berwick: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

North Berwick is ideally located for exploring the nearby attractions and destinations, including:

  • Edinburgh: Scotland’s capital city, located approximately 30 minutes away by train or car.
  • East Lothian: A region known for its historic castles, beaches, and golf courses, located south of North Berwick.
  • Scottish Borders: A diverse region that offers scenic views, market towns, and outdoor adventures, located southeast of North Berwick.


North Berwick, with its scenic landscapes, cultural heritage, and outdoor adventures, is a destination worth exploring. Whether it’s a day trip or a week-long excursion, the town offers something for everyone. We hope our comprehensive travel guide will help you plan your trip and make the most of your visit to this charming Scottish town.