About the Area
Stepping Stones is located near the West Bay of North Berwick, East Lothian – otherwise known as the sunshine coast. Set amidst miles of magnificent coastline, golden beaches, rolling countryside, spectacular cliffs, award winning tourist attractions and the world’s finest selection of golf courses.
This haven of tranquillity may feel like a million miles away from the city but it’s also only minutes from Edinburgh by car, train or bus. The local rail station is within walking distance so the historic city of Edinburgh, with a wealth of shopping, restaurants and spectacular places of historical interest, is also easily accessible.
Considered one of Scotland’s best kept secrets, East Lothian has it’s own unique microclimate and offers more sunshine than most other locations in Scotland. Situated to the east of Edinburgh, East Lothian attracts many visitors each year for several different reasons. Whether you enjoy the activities such as walking, golf, cycling and sailing or prefer the elegant charm of historic houses and castles – there is something for everyone. Charming villages and seaside towns are the very signature of East Lothian’s spectacular coast line.
North Berwick is a pretty little town in the shadow of the famous and imposing volcanic plug, Berwick Law. The name North Berwick means North ‘barley farmstead’. Bere in Old English means ‘barley’ and wic in Old English is ‘farmstead’. The word North was applied to distinguish this Berwick from Berwick-upon-Tweed, which throughout the Middle Ages the Scots called South Berwick. It was recorded as Northberwyk in 1250. North Berwick harbour was built in the 12th century and is still a busy working harbour to this day.
The town has a fascinating and controversial history which includes witch trials, executions, pilgrimages and English invasion.
The town is now home to locals, Edinburgh commuters and is also a popular tourist destination for holiday makers and day trippers alike. The town is currently probably most famous for its reputation as one of the most impressive golfing destinations in the world.
The Bass Rock
This fascinating piece of Scotland’s seascape is positioned in the outer part of the Firth of Forth. Approximately 2 kilometres offshore, and 5 kilometres north-east of North Berwick, it is a steep-sided volcanic rock reaching 107 metres at its highest point. It is home to a large colony of gannets and as one of the foremost nesting sites in Scotland for seabirds, there are regular boat trips from North Berwick to see a variety of fascinating creatures at close quarters. The rock is a literally a paradise for ornithologists who will see gannet, guillemot, razorbill, puffin and kittiwake. Currently uninhabited by humans, the rock was once home to an early Christian hermit and a castle was later built on the site. After the Commonwealth, this latter construction was used as a prison. A lighthouse was constructed on the rock in 1902, and the remains of an ancient chapel can also be found. The Bass Rock features in numerous works of fiction, including Robert Stevenson’s Catriona and The Lion is Rampant by contemporary Scottish novelist Ross Laidlaw.
Boat Trips and the Scottish Seabird Centre
There are several boat trips available from North Berwick harbour. Trips to Fidra are available and the shape of this tiny island is said to have inspired Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous map featured in his classic Treasure Island. Like Treasure Island itself, the north end of Fidra has a large natural rock arch that can be seen through. Regular boat trips are also available to the Bass Rock.
The Scottish Seabird Centre, located to the East of North Berwick town centre is great place to spend the day and there are lots of interactive attractions for children. You can also watch live footage of the birds on the nearby Bass Rock.
East Lothian is one of the best regions for golf in Scotland, with 22 courses offering choice to golfers of all standards and tastes. You may recognise many courses – Dunbar, North Berwick, Musselburgh, Gullane and of course the world famous Open Championship course at Muirfield. Golf courses in the region are truly some of the worlds oldest and most admired. The region offers traditional links and classic inland golf courses; many are steeped in history and are therefore complimented by modern, challenging, courses. Most are also coupled with friendly clubhouses and affordable green fees. The coastal route (A198) provides easy access for visitors and short journeys between courses. Even if you only have time in your busy schedule for a golfing weekend, located just 30 minutes east of Edinburgh, East Lothian is easily accessible by air, rail and road. Come and discover the complete Scottish golf experience for yourself!
Further details of how to make bookings at local courses are available on the Links page of this website.
Surfing and seascapes
To the north of Dunbar is Belhaven, one of the best surfing beaches in the area, with the intriguing ‘Bridge over the Sea’. Here too is the John Muir Country Park and a coastal trail which offers good walking and splendid seascapes.
Museums, Palaces and Castles
If history and exploration is your passion then inland, there is no shortage of things to do. The Museum of Flight at East Fortune, (home to Concorde) is a great venue for a day trip and castles in the immediate vicinity include Tantallon and Dirleton. Further along the coast you will find the ruins of Fast Castle which cling grimly to a steeply sloping platform on top of a rocky promontory which projects from the cliffs just over three miles north west of St Abbs Head. Here you will also find great bird watching, diving and sailing.
The nearby city of Edinburgh also has an impressive collection of Museums, Galleries and Monuments. These include: Edinburgh Castle, The Museum of Childhood, Dynamic Earth, The National Gallery of Scotland, The Old City Observatory, Holyrood Palace, and the world famous Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh Surgeons Hall Museum. These are but a few of the places of interest that fit neatly into this genre. Full details of Museums Galleries and Monuments in the City are available on the Links page of this website.
The Edinburgh Fringe and other Festivals
The Edinburgh Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival with over 40,000 performances and more than 2,500 shows packed into 250 venues across the city. The fringe is open to all: anyone can perform and everyone does – from students to superstars! Other Festivals include: Edinburgh Art Festival, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay & New Year Party, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Edinburgh International Science Festival, Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival and the world famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Full details of other festivals can also be found on the Links page of this website
If you are travelling to North Berwick from another destination either within or outside the UK, your holiday destination is easily accessible.
Trains to Edinburgh are available from all other UK cities and North Berwick is also accessible via Edinburgh and Glasgow Airports. If you are travelling from Ireland or mainland Europe via ferry, Scotland has several ferry ports.
Should you require any help with your transport arrangements, including Airport transfers or rail station pick ups, please contact Stepping Stones using the contact details page. We will endeavour to assist you with your travel arrangements and can provide a personalised chauffeur service from Edinburgh city or any of Scotland’s Airports upon request. We can literally take care of everything and will be pleased to take the headache out of those final details like travel transfers for you. The only thing you will need to worry about is enjoying your holiday!
Whilst in North Berwick trains and buses run regularly to the city of Edinburgh making a visit to Scotland’s beautiful capital city a relaxing and entirely enjoyable experience. These excellent public transport links also mean you are spared the hassle of city driving and expensive parking. For full details of travel options in the area including airports, bus and rail services, please see our Links page.