North Berwick, Scotland
ABOVE: The Scottish Seabird Centre. INSET BELOW: A walk on the beach, and the North Berwick Golf Club (a.k.a. the West Links).
Things to see and do
One of the best reasons to make the trip to North Berwick is to see the offshore islands, which are brimming with wildlife. Visitors can enjoy a showcase of seabirds, particularly the 100,000 North Atlantic Gannets, Puffins, Guillemots, and Kittiwakes who reside on Bass Rock, Craigleith, Lamb and Fidra islands for much of the year. Seals are often spotted as well, and groups of dolphins and whales show up occasionally. Boat tours take you close to all these animals, and the Seabird Centre’s cameras catch all the action, relaying it live back to guests on shore.
The Scottish Seabird Centre is the focal point of any visit to the coastline. Its Discovery Centre is well-suited for families, with games, interactive cameras, a wildlife cinema, daily fish feeding, and more. A pleasant café and well-stocked gift shop are available, and the Centre also serves as a base for guided bird walks and different boat trips that venture out to the islands (usually lasting between one and two hours).
One word of warning: Boat trips may or may not be running on any given day. Check the timetables in front of the Seabird Centre, just below the large Celtic cross. If a boat journey is out of the question, don’t be discouraged: Take a walk down the coastline, enjoying the huge beaches and the occasional fly-over by rogue gannets. I spent about four hours on a shoreline stroll, and it was a great afternoon out. Just be sure to pack a lunch – there are no hot dog vendors on this beach.
However, if 'links' reminds you more of fairways than wieners, consider one of the many picturesque golf courses nearby. The North Berwick Golf Club is situated right alongside the Firth of Forth, extending westward from the harbor. Alternatively, to the east, there is the Glen Golf Club, which enjoys similarly impressive views of the sea and is also easily accessible from the heart of town. More courses can be found elsewhere in the area; see North Berwick’s golfing site for the full list.
For up-to-date activities and events listings, be sure to visit North Berwick’s web portal. From the North Berwick Highland Games to the Open Air Cinema and Harbor Festival, there’s actually quite a bit happening in this quaint old burgh.
Next page: How to reach North Berwick
Photos copyright © Anders Imboden.
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