Tour East Lothian

An East Coast Adventure

Written by Jeremy Hawkings

From Greywalls & Chez Roux at Gullane, take the A198 to Dirleton Castle, part of which dates from the 13th century. From Dirleton continue east to North Berwick and have a walk around this pretty seaside town, dominated by North Berwick Law, a larva plug from a pre-historic volcano. It is a well worthwhile walk with some impressive views once you get to the top. The other landmark, sitting prominently on the horizon is The Bass Rock, a bird reserve and home to 150,000 gannets during the height of the breeding season. North Berwick is home to Scotland’s Seabird Centre and there are daily boat trips to the Bass Rock from North Berwick Harbour.

Having explored North Berwick, take B1347 to Haddington, then A6093 to Pencaitland where you will find the Glenkinchie Distillery, one of the smaller distilleries in Scotland producing what is known as The Edinburgh Malt which is light, fragrant and floral. There are distillery visits and inside you will find what was once a working model of a distillery built for the Great Exhibition. From Pencaitland, journey south and join the A68 southwards into Scotland’s border county where you have a myriad stately homes to visit.

Thirlestane Castle is at Lauder and is a magnificent example of 16th-century architecture, one of the oldest and finest castles in Scotland. It is open to the public in the summer months.

Manderston is in the village of Duns and is a magnificent ‘money no object’ example of the Edwardian era. The house and gardens are open to the public.

Mellerstain House and Gardens are on the A6089 between Kelso and Gordon and were built by William and Robert Adam the famous Scottish architects. The interior decoration, especially the ceilings and the Library are masterpieces of Classical decoration.

Abbotsford at Melrose is the 200-year-old home of Sir Walter Scott, a famous Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet. Here you can learn about his life and achievements.

Floors Castle at Kelso is the largest inhabited Scottish Castle and home to the Duke of Roxburghshire. The castle and grounds, located just a few miles outside Kelso, are open to the public and there are walking and cycle trails as well as many activities for all ages. From Kelso, you can journey back to East Lothian or Edinburgh via the A699 and A68.

First published 26 June 2019. Information correct at time of going to press.