Golden beaches, seabirds and plenty of sunshine make East Lothian an attractive getaway.
Said to be Scotland’s sunniest region, East Lothian makes a great year-round destination, whether daytripping from Edinburgh or spending a few nights. The East Lothian coastline runs from just outside Edinburgh all the way to Dunbar and is home to some beautiful beaches such as those at Gullane and Yellowcraig; steep cliffs, and several golf courses. The region is the departure or arrival point for long-distance walkers journeying along the John Muir Way and it’s also a draw for windsurfers and birdwatchers. Campers will find plenty of options, too, from parking next to a beach to pitching a tent in a woodland clearing.
A string of lovely beaches line the coast east of Edinburgh, from the always-popular Portobello to less-visited Gullane, which is a good spot for windsurfing. Between Musselburgh and Gullane are ideal sites for families, some with heated indoor swimming pools. Expect views over the Firth of Forth, hardstanding pitches, and static caravans for hire.
The charming small town of North Berwick is a departure point for boat trips to the Isle of May puffin colony and to the gannet colony on the Bass Rock. It’s also home to the Scottish Seabird Centre. A brisk walk to the summit of the Berwick Law affords some great views of the East Lothian coastline and the offshore islands of Fidra and Bass Rock. Close to the beach, camping spots offer electric and non-electric grass sites, hardstanding pitches, and glamping pods.
Farther east around the North Sea coast, the town of Dunbar is known for its sunny weather, its ruined castle, which once sheltered the runaway Mary, Queen of Scots, and as the birthplace of the conservationist John Muir. The John Muir Way, a coast-to-coast walking and cycling route, runs 134 miles (216 kilometers) from here to Helensburgh and the area is also home to John Muir Country Park, which is home to abundant flora and birds including kittiwakes, eider ducks and ringed plovers.
Set among the rolling Garleton Hills on the banks of the River Tyne, Haddington is the main town in East Lothian and home to some attractive architecture and historic sites, including the stately home Lenoxlove House. Seven miles south of Haddington, on the edge of the Lammermuir Hills, Blinkbonny Wood is a no-frills campsite that offers a taste of wild camping. The site has tent pitches in two small clearings in the woods.