With its expanse of stunning coastline, miles and miles of countryside, unspoilt traditional villages and intriguing history, East Lothian is home to many hidden gems. From magical locations, secluded beaches, history & heritage sites to mythical creatures - there's lots to discover in secret East Lothian!
Pressmennan Wood is home to the elusive Glingbobs and Tootflits, follow the trail through the woods and see if you can find their houses, remember to look high and low!
Archerfield Walled Garden has an old wood where you can begin your hunt for its fairies and enjoy the Willow Walk and pond. When you have visited the fairies why not pop back into the cafe for a bite to eat?
For those who love exploring and have a taste for the supernatural, go into the woods in Gifford to search for the secret subterranean Goblin Ha’, the only remains of Yester Castle. Legend says that Sir Hugo de Giffard the ‘Wizard of Yester’ practiced sorcery in the undercroft and raised an army of hobgoblins in a pact with the Devil! At the end of your spooky adventure why not pop into the Goblin Ha’ hotel in the village for some refreshments?
While many of East Lothian’s beaches are very well known, there are some that are not quite so famous but equally beautiful.
Thorntonloch & Skateraw
Thorntonloch is a long sandy beach backed by amazing dunes and is hidden behind the rocky outcrop at Torness Point. The nearby power station has a visitor centre and a walkway with points of interest which leads to the smaller secluded beach at Skateraw.
Here you will find a long strip of open coast with a rocky shoreline, sandy, shingle and pebble beaches and geologically interesting rock formations. There is also a lighthouse which you can stay in for a very unique accommodation experience!
Fisherrow East Beach
Musselburgh’s beach is closest to Edinburgh and stretches from the bustling harbour to the mouth of the River Esk. This sandy beach is great for walking and birdwatching.
The John Gray Centre in Haddington tells the story of East Lothian from the Stone Age to the present and hosts temporary exhibitions.
North Berwick’s Coastal Communities Museum is a fascinating exploration of the town and surrounding villages. There is a changing theme for exhibitions to appeal to young and old alike.
Dunbar Townhouse Museum & Gallery is one of the oldest buildings in the town and inside you will find a changing programme of exhibitions about the area and its people. You can visit the old jail and Scotland’s oldest council chamber where witch trials were held.
Seton Collegiate Church is one of the best preserved medieval churches in Scotland despite its ransacking by the militia in 1715 following the Seton family’s support for the failed Jacobite cause.
Opened in 1722, the Waggon Way is Scotland’s earliest railway built to carry coal on wooden rails using horsepower and gravity. Excavations by local volunteers have uncovered lots of interesting finds including evidence of the iron railway built on top by Robert Louis Stephenson in 1815. Drop in to the small museum at Cockenzie Harbour to find out more!
There are lots of impressive castles in East Lothian and Hailes is one of the less well known but well worth a visit. The castle is tucked away in the scenic valley of the River Tyne. It is one of Scotland’s oldest stone castles dating from the early 1200s with a long and interesting history linked with the Wars of Independence and Mary Queen of Scots.
Arts & Crafts
This working artists’ studio welcomes visitors to browse the work made by local artists at the studios and offer one and two day workshops.
A perfect retreat in North Berwick where you can pick up quality Scottish gifts and enjoy a relaxing lunch.
Everything in the shop is made on the premises including jewellery, home wares and artwork. You can even spend time exploring your own creative projects to make bespoke gifts and art.
East Lothian is not Scotland’s Food & Drink County for nothing and boasts a fine selection of independent places to sample the very best local produce including these off the beaten track cafes!
Refreshments served outdoors in the walled garden or inside in the Victorian conservatory.
Relax in the outdoor courtyard or cosy tearoom.
If you are a cycling fan you will appreciate the name of this lovely coffee shop in the quaint village of Gifford.
Set in Dunbar’s beautiful Lauderdale Park this is the perfect spot to grab some great refreshments and sit back and enjoy the surroundings. This walled garden also has a super play park!