When my boyfriend asks if I want to take a day trip to North Berwick, I’m not sure where he means. The northern part of Berwick-upon-Tweed? Somewhere north of Berwick-upon-Tweed? So I look at a map and discover a seaside town on the Firth of Forth 25 miles from Edinburgh. And I feel like an idiot. But not for long, because I agree to go to North Berwick to see what I’m missing.

Day Trip to North Berwick

Day Trip to North Berwick

North Berwick is an easy day trip from Edinburgh, what with it taking just a half hour to travel there by train.

North Berwick, Scotland

And given the famous Edinburgh Festival and Fringe are on this month, it’s a great place to escape when the crowds in Auld Reekie start to overwhelm.

Lighthouse, North Berwick

Not only that, but it’s also the perfect antidote to urban life. With an abundance of beaches and lots of seaside charm, North Berwick is just the place to spend a day in the Scottish sun (yes, Scottish sun is really a thing).

Beach, North Berwick

Berwick Law

Now that I’m here, I want to get my bearings. There’s no better place to do it than at the top of Berwick Law. Which is another place with a name that throws me off. When boyfriend suggests we start our day trip to North Berwick there, I think he’s taking me to some kind of court of justice. Weird, but ok.

Berwick Law

As it turns out, Berwick Law is a giant mound on the edge of town (“law” being Scots for “hill”). So that makes sense.

View from Berwick Law

We arrive just before eight o’clock in the morning, starting our day early because we are masochistic to get ahead of the summer heat (really). The trail is shorter than I imagined and not as steep, so we get to the top in no time. The views of North Berwick, the Firth of Forth, and the surrounding farmland are stunning.

Bass Rock from Berwick Law

North Berwick Cafes and Restaurants

Having gotten the lay of the land, we descend the hill and go in search of coffee and breakfast in North Berwick. We find both at Steampunk Coffee, a cool cafe set over two floors of exposed beams with antique furniture softening the industrial vibe.

Steampunk Coffee, North Berwick

The cappuccinos and savory breakfast muffins go down a treat, and we finish the meal wishing they’d open a branch in London.

Steampunk Coffee, North Berwick

North Berwick Shops

Refueled, we start exploring North Berwick. The streets are full of shops selling everything from antiques to home goods, and we spend the morning ducking our heads into lots of little places on the high street.

Antiques, North Berwick

North Berwick Waterfront

When we’re done, we make our way to the waterfront. By this time the beaches are full of families and the harbor is bobbing with every color of boat.

Beach, North Berwick

We wander along the ruins of a medieval church and the Scottish Seabird Centre on Kirk Ness, then pass the departure point for boat trips from North Berwick—they go to nearby islands like Bass Rock, Craigleith, and the Isle of May in search of puffins and other sea life.

Post Box, North Berwick

We walk past a golf course—this being Scotland, we’re never far from one—and back up the rocks along the marina. When we get hungry for lunch, we pop over to the harbor’s Lobster Shack and eat our fish and chips overlooking the boats. The fish is delicious, the chips a bit soft for my taste.

Lobster Shack, North Berwick

North Berwick Walks

After lunch we stave off impending food coma with a long walk east along Milsey Bay and the rocky beaches that border the Glen Golf Course. The scenery is breathtaking, and the views of Bass Rock ever improving as we make our way along the shore.

Bass Rock, North Berwick

When it’s time to turn back, we leave the sea and the views and head inland to travel home.

House, North Berwick

As we do, I realize that our sunny day out in North Berwick has been so bright I got sunburned (really, I look like Rudolph). Perhaps it’s the town’s way of chastising me for not having heard of it before, or its way of leaving a physical mark to match the one left on my memory. Either way, it’s worth it.

Houses, North Berwick

Have you traveled to this part of Scotland? What would you do on a day trip to North Berwick (besides wear sunscreen)?

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Day Trip to North Berwick

18 Comments on Lady’s Day Trip to North Berwick

  1. There are some great little boutique shops in North Berwick, many with seaside themed gifts. We always end up finding something we can’t live without!

  2. What a lovely place! I studied in Edinburgh but, you know how University is… I didn’t travel around that much. I was focused on living Edinburgh to the max and getting nice grades. I’ve been trying to go back for a while and get to know Scotland but somehow it never happens!

  3. Very few able to capture the ‘essence’ or in my preferred word ‘soul’ of a place, like you do. The pictures are superb and can easily connect one even if he/she is a stranger to the culture and the lifestyles of the people there. Splendid!

  4. Lovely photos! North Berwick is kind of like my ‘home town’, given that I spent the first nine years of my life there before moving to London. I would also recommend a wee trip around the Bass Rock or Fidra which is another island, this one laying out towards the west of the town. You can find out about boats going out there via the Seabird Centre or even on the day itself if you’re in town. Be aware though that boat trips are often called off if the sea gets too choppy!

  5. I passed by Berwick (maybe not North Berwick though) by train when traveling from London to Edinburgh and though it was beautiful – glad to know it is! I’ll have to visit if I end up in Scotland again.

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