Spend a delightful day out in East Lothian, where generations of Edinburgh folk have chosen to relax and unwind. It has peaceful, unspoilt beaches, rolling hills, historic castles and churches. And some of the driest, sunniest weather in Scotland. Although this is a small part of Scotland near Edinburgh it has so much to see and do!
Leaving the capital, we head through Portobello, Edinburgh's seaside resort and the first of the fine beaches we pass. We stay by the coast and through Musselburgh, perhaps stopping at the Prestongrange Mining Museum to see some of the industrial past of this area. Continuing by Gosford House, home of the 12th Earl of Wemyss, to the pretty village of Aberlady with its parish church dating from 1400's. We sweep by the nature reserve of Aberlady Bay and drive through the first of this areas 21 golf courses, Gullane, with Muirfield nearby. Gullane bents is a stunning sandy beach.
The drive to North Berwick is dominated by the stunning Bass Rock, a massive crag rising out of the sea to a height of 350 feet. Mighty Tantallon Castle nearby is a shadow of its former self after a visit from Oliver Cromwell in 1651 but is still an impressive site with lots to explore. Further along the coast is Dunbar, birth place of John Muir, founder of the US National Park system, which has the nearby park named after him. Dunbar also has an attractive harbour and ruins of Dunbar Castle, from the 1070s.
We then head inland through the fertile agricultural landscape to the village of East Linton, with several quaint pubs and hotels. Preston Mill, Scotland's oldest working water mill and now run by the National Trust for Scotland is on the outskirts of the village. About a mile away near Traprain Law (a distinctive dome shaped hill), is Hailes Castle, which has connections with Mary Queen of Scots and is an impressive ruin on the River Tyne.
The handsome town of Haddington with its mix of medieval, Georgian and Victorian architecture is a short distance away. Its parish Church, St. Mary's is the largest in Scotland, even bigger than St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh!
We head back to Edinburgh, but there are many different options and attractions left in East Lothian. These include the Museum of Flight (home of Concorde in Scotland), Lennoxlove House (home of the Duke of Hamilton), Glenkinchie Distillery, Myreton Motor Museum, Dirleton Castle, Seton Collegiate Church, National Flag Heritage Centre, Hopetoun Monument and the rolling Lammermuir Hills.