Scottish Road Trips
The East Coast of Scotland
Driving from Edinburgh to Berwick-upon-Tweed along the east coast of Scotland is an unforgettable experience. You can expect to be captivated by gorgeous coastal views, quaint fishing villages and rolling hills as you make your way towards England’s border. You’ll start with the iconic city of Edinburgh, before heading through the vast countryside of the Scottish Borders. Along the way, you can explore some of Scotland’s most stunning beaches and admire awe-inspiring landscapes in places like Dunbar and Eyemouth. The breathtakingly beautiful town of Berwick upon Tweed awaits at the end of your journey, where you can enjoy a mix of English and Scottish culture.
1. The Royal Yacht Britannia
The Royal Yacht Britannia is a British royal ship that served as the official traveling residence of the British Monarchy between 1954 and 1997
In command was the legendary Captain Peter Aisher, who captained the vessel on its many voyages around the world. During its 43 years of service, Britannia carried members of the Royal Family on over 900 official visits in over 1,000 ports across 135 countries.
Onboard features include a lavish suite for Queen Elizabeth and her family, private accommodation for their attendants, an onboard cinema and even grand ballrooms. Today, visitors can explore this magnificent yacht in Edinburgh’s Port of Leith, where it has been converted into an amazing museum showcasing its illustrious history. Walk through the engine room and see the shining brass pipes which powered the ship for over 1 million miles, before stopping for lunch at one of the many cafes and restaurants which line the shore.
2. Portobello Beach
Portobello Beach is one of Scotland’s most popular beaches, located on the east coast of Edinburgh. The beach stretches for two miles and overlooks the Firth of Forth, offering stunning views across the east coast of Scotland. It is a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing. The beach also hosts several events throughout the year, such as music festivals and art shows. Visitors to Portobello Beach can find plenty of amenities including showers, changing rooms, cafes and restaurants offering traditional Scottish fare. It can get very busy on even mildly sunny days so please be aware of that.
3. Prestongrange Museum
Prestongrange Museum is an award-winning museum in Prestonpans, on the east coast of Scotland. It is home to a wide variety of historical buildings, and has recreated a traditional Scottish village which is surrounded by many interesting attractions. The museum’s highlights include a mining exhibit, blacksmith shop, pottery workshop, and nature trails. Visitors can explore the fully functional textile mill and bakery as well as visit the local interpretation centre for more information about the area’s rich history. There is also an onsite cafe serving up delicious treats to fuel your day of exploring!
4. Gullane Beach
Gullane is a charming coastal town in East Lothian, Scotland. The town’s most notable feature is the stunning Gullane Beach, which stretches three miles along the Firth of Forth and is one of the most popular beaches on the east coast of Scotland. Aside from its beautiful beach, Gullane also boasts plenty of attractions and activities. Visitors can explore a range of historic buildings such as Lennoxlove House and St Marthas Chapel, or enjoy outdoor pursuits like golfing, hiking and bird watching at nearby nature reserves. In addition, there are numerous shops and restaurants to sample local delicacies and unique products.
5. Dirleton Castle & Gardens
Dirleton Castle and Gardens is a historic castle and garden located in East Lothian, on the east coast of Scotland. Originally built in the 13th century, the castle was once occupied by the powerful de Vaux family until it was abandoned in 1650. Today, Dirleton Castle and Gardens is maintained by Historic Scotland and open to the public. The grounds provide stunning views of the Firth of Forth, while visitors can also explore a range of majestic gardens complete with terraces, rockeries and fountains. Inside the castle walls lies a range of impressive structures, including an ancient dovecote, kitchens and an underground dungeon. In addition to its history, Dirleton Castle and Gardens offers visitors plenty of other activities such as picnics on its sweeping lawns or outdoor concerts during special events.
6. North Berwick
North Berwick is a picturesque town located in East Lothian. The town has a bustling high street which lots of fantastic little boutque shops and cafes. You feel the history around every corner fo the town and there are a number of great things to do in the area including:
- Gannet Cruises – Enjoy a scenic boat tour around North Berwick’s coastline
- John Muir Country Park – Discover a variety of wildlife habitats while exploring this stunning park
- Yellowcraig Beach – Unwind and relax on this sandy beach with stunning views
- The Maltings Theatre – Experience performing arts with shows ranging from drama to comedy
- North Berwick Harbour – Admire traditional boats along this historic harbour front
There is also a lovely area of parkland just behind the town with a large kids playpark, while just a few miles further back you will find Berwick Law which – a gentle climb of around 30 minutes which gives incredible views of the surrounding landscape.
7. Tantallon Castle
Tantallon Castle is a dramatic 14th century fortress located in North Berwick, on the east coast of Scotland. Built by the powerful Earl of Douglas, it was once one of the largest castles in Scotland and stood as an imposing symbol of power.
Today, Tantallon Castle is in ruins but still provides visitors with a fascinating glimpse into the past and its rich history. The castle was originally constructed to protect the approach to Edinburgh and has seen many sieges over its long history. One of its most famous battles occurred when King James IV attacked the castle in 1491 during a conflict with the Earl of Douglas. Despite its impressive defences, Tantallon Castle eventually fell to James’ army and remained under royal control until 1699 when it was abandoned. Visitors can explore remnants of a number of features including towers, courtyards, barracks and a gatehouse, which are still preserved today.
Seacliff Beach in East Lothian is a stunning stretch of sand surrounded by dramatic cliffs and serene views. It was recently voted as one of the top 10 beachs in the UK. The beach lies near the small fishing village of North Berwick, which offers visitors a variety of amenities and accommodation options. Visitors to Seacliff will be amazed to find one of the words smallest harbours cut into the rock face on the far left of the beach. From this side, you also get an one of the best views of nearby Tantallon Castle. The beach is accessed by a small single track road via a paid barrier. There are several unpaved car parks and public toilets; these are not in the best condition but the magnificent beach and its view of the Bass Rock are unparalleled.
9. National Museum Of Flight
The National Museum of Flight is an aviation museum located in East Fortune, on the east coast of Scotland. Founded in 1975, the museum is one of the top tourist attractions in the region and home to a variety of aircraft exhibits and activities. Visitors can explore exhibitions ranging from early pioneers of flight to modern day jets, as well as finding out what it was like to be a WWII fighter pilot, or walk inside one of the world’s first commercial airlines. As well as static displays, there are a number of interactive experiences such as airplane simulators, 3D cinemas and guided tours led by qualified aircrews. Other features include a climbing wall and outdoor play area for children. The National Museum of Flight is open year-round and provides visitors with an in-depth insight into the history and science behind flight.
The highlight of the museum is the Concorde experience where you come face to face with Alpha Alpha, the first Concorde in the UK’s commercial fleet. Concorde was a British-French supersonic passenger aircraft that made its first commercial flight in 1976. It held the record for the fastest passenger aircraft ever, travelling at speeds of up to Mach 2 (twice the speed of sound). The aircraft had two engines and could carry up to 128 passengers at one time. Its sleek design and iconic shape made it an instantly recognizable symbol of luxury air travel. On board, passengers were treated to luxurious cabins with extraordinary views of the world outside their windows. After 27 years of service, Concorde was retired in 2003 due to rising costs and decreasing demand for its highly priced tickets. Despite its short lifespan, the airplane is still remembered today as an engineering marvel and a symbol of human innovation.
10. Belhaven Brewery
Belhaven Brewery is a historic brewery in the Scottish town of Dunbar. Established in 1719, it has a long and rich history producing beer for many generations of Scots. The brewery produces a range of award-winning ales and lagers, including its flagship beer, Belhaven Best. The brewery also offers visitors an immersive experience with guided tours of its traditional buildings, tastings of its craft beers, and an exciting interactive exhibition which tells the story of Belhaven’s five hundred years of brewing expertise. Visitors can also sample delicious food in the Brewery’s restaurant, or shop for souvenirs at the onsite store. Belhaven is more than just a place to drink beer – it’s an experience that celebrates Scotland’s unique brewing heritage!
Dunbar is a town located in East Lothian, Scotland with a long and vibrant history. It was the birthplace of Alexander Rodger, who wrote the Scottish folk songs ‘Ae Fond Kiss’ and ‘My Love is Like a Red Red Rose’. The town is also known for its attractive beaches, with stunning views of the North Sea.
12. Cove Harbour
Cove Harbour is a beautiful but tiny fishing harbour located in the county of East Lothian, on the East Coast of Scotland. The harbour is accessed by an unpaved path and tunnel which takes you to a view of the most quaint old harboured beach you will ever see. The cliffs tower high above it making you wonder how people built this place.
13. St Abbs Harbour
St Abbs Harbour is a picturesque fishing village in East Lothian. It’s known for its harbour walls, which are made up of gigantic hexagonal rocks that were formed over millions of years to create a protected haven for boats. The harbour itself is small but well-used, with a number of trawlers and pleasure crafts coming in and out every day. Visitors to the harbour can take advantage of excellent fishing opportunities from shore or boat, as well as stunning coastal views, bird watching and wildlife spotting. There are plenty of places to stay nearby, including hotels and B&Bs, as well as great restaurants serving fresh local seafood.
Eyemouth is a picturesque fishing village on the coast of Berwickshire, in Scotland’s East Lothian region. The small harbour is full of boats ready to set sail, while an ancient watch tower overlooks the scene. This quaint fishing town has plenty to offer visitors; take a stroll down its cobbled streets, visit the local shops and galleries or explore the area’s history at one of its many museums. There are numerous bars and restaurants serving delicious fresh seafood dishes, as well as stunning coastal walks and stunning vistas from its impressive rocky cliffs. Visitors can relax at several pet-friendly holiday parks nearby or choose from luxury accommodation options including beachside cottages and boutique hotels.
15. Holy Island – Lindisfarne
Holy Island is an enchanting island off the coast of Northumberland, England. It is connected to the mainland by a causeway and is home to ancient ruins, stunning beaches, unique wildlife and rich cultural heritage. This small island can be explored by car or on foot, where visitors will find plenty of places to visit, including Lindisfarne Castle and Priory, The Dovecote Tea Room, and Bamburgh Castle. For nature lovers there are miles of coastline to explore as well as several nature reserves filled with rare birds and uncommon plants.
Meade is a traditional alcoholic drink made on Holy Island, England. It is made from fermented honey and has an alcohol content of around 10%. The drink has a golden color and a sweet, slightly syrupy taste. It is usually served as an accompaniment to local dishes or enjoyed chilled on its own. As one of the oldest recipes in Britain, meade has been enjoyed by locals for centuries and remains popular today. Its unique flavor adds an extra layer of flavor to any dish, making it a refreshing addition to any meal!
16. Bambourgh Castle
Bambourgh Castle is an 11th-century Norman motte-and-bailey castle . It was built by William I after the Norman Conquest of 1066 and served as a military base and royal residence throughout the Middle Ages.
The castle has been partially restored, giving visitors a glimpse into its past. The main feature is the giant 50 ft mound, surrounded by deep ditches that were once filled with water. Adjacent to the mound are two baileys – outer and inner – both of which contain a range of ruins, such as towers, gatehouses and other buildings. Today, Barnbourgh Castle is open to the public for guided tours and picnics, making it one of the most popular historical attractions in the area.
Bambourgh Castle was used as a filming location for the Harry Potter movies. In the first film, it was used to represent the Hogwarts Great Hall, while in The Order of the Phoenix it was transformed into Professor Umbridge’s Ministry of Magic office. Other scenes shot at the castle include one involving Griphook and Hagrid in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, and several exterior shots of Hogwart’s during The Philosopher’s Stone. Bambourgh Castle is a unique location for these films due to its rich history and authentic atmosphere.