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
North Berwick is an easy day trip from Edinburgh, what with it taking just a half hour to travel there by train.
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.
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).
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.
As it turns out, Berwick Law is a giant mound on the edge of town (“law” being Scots for “hill”). So that makes sense.
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.
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.
The cappuccinos and savory breakfast muffins go down a treat, and we finish the meal wishing they’d open a branch in London.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When it’s time to turn back, we leave the sea and the views and head inland to travel home.
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.
Have you traveled to this part of Scotland? What would you do on a day trip to North Berwick (besides wear sunscreen)?