North Berwick Scotland: Incredible One-Day Itinerary

Nestled along Scotland’s picturesque coastline, North Berwick Scotland is a charming seaside town just a quick hour’s drive away from Edinburgh. This adorable city has a lot to offer and makes a great day trip from Edinburgh or Glasgow!

This North Berwick one-day itinerary from Edinburgh will help you make the most of your day. 

north berwick city street with shops and cars

Table of Contents

North Berwick Scotland is a seaside town that popular destination during the summer because of all the outdoor activities! There is something for everyone here. From morning castle exploration to afternoon wildlife boat cruises, this one-day North Berwick Scotland itinerary makes the most of your time in this picture-perfect town.

I had the opportunity to visit North Berwick Scotland as a day trip from Edinburgh during my time in Scotland. We wanted to see the Scottish coastline with steep cliffs and enough to do to make the drive worth it – and oh my, we were impressed!

This one-day itinerary in North Berwick Scotland will transport you from the busy tourist areas of Edinburgh and plant you right into a relaxed and quaint Scottish Town.

Where is North Berwick Scotland?

There are three ways to get to North Berwick Scotland, by car, bus, and train. Let’s go over each one in a bit more detail. map image directions to north berwick

Edinburgh to North Berwick Scotland by Car

The fastest and easiest way to get to North Berwick is by car.

Edinburgh is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from North Berwick. This drive takes approximately 45-60 minutes depending on traffic. The drive is pretty straightforward and easy.

The quickest way to get from Edinburgh to North Berwick is to jump on the A1 from Edinburgh and stay on the A1 until you reach the signs for North Berwick. It’s well-marked and should be pretty easy.

If you want a more scenic route, you can take the A198 to hug the coastline throughout the drive. Keep in mind, this will add some extra time to your drive. 

Edinburgh to North Berwick Scotland by Train

Waverley Train Station
Edinburgh Waverley Train Station

If you don’t have a car, the train will be the next best option! Edinburgh and North Berwick are connected well via train. The train is a convenient option and offers beautiful scenic coastline views.

The train takes approximately 1 hour and costs just over $10 each way per person.

You will get the train from Waverly Train Station which is located in the center of town, between the Old Town and New Town. This should be in walking distance from most accommodations.

Edinburgh to North Berwick Scotland by Bus

Edinburgh Hop-on Hop-off bus

If you don’t have a car, North Berwich is accessible by bus and train. The bus is the least convenient way to travel between the two.

The bus may be more convenient for you, and a cheaper option. Edinburgh to North Berwick Scotland by bus takes around 1.5 hours.

Nonetheless, If you are planning to take the bus it’s always best to ask your hotel or hostel for directions to the train station. You can grab the bus from Princess Street and take it to North Berwick.

When Best Time to Visit North Berwick Scotland?

North Berwick is best to visit in the summer. During the summer, North Berwick comes to life with many open restaurants, beach visitors, and many Scottish use it as a holiday destination. You’ll find many people taking advantage of the sandy coastline by swimming and sunbathing on the beach.

castle in north berwick scotland

Due to the popularity of visiting North Berwick in the summer, places can become more crowded and you will need to book excursions in advance.

The spring in North Berwick you’ll find the flowers beginning to bloom and the town getting ready for the summer crowds. Spring here can also bring a considerable amount of rain and milder temperatures.

The fall and winter in North Berwick you’ll find thinned out crowded and cooler temperatures. The town becomes quite sleepy this time of year. You will find a much more peaceful visit during this time of year.

Where to Stay in North Berwick Scotland

man sitting on beach in north berwick

Although North Berwick can be done in a day trip from Edinburgh, if you want to stay a bit longer it may be best to book some accommodation here.

North Berwick has a variety of places to stay from the town center to coastline views. As a budget backpacker, you won’t find any hostels in this area.

When planning your trip to North Berwick Scotland, you’ll want to decide where you want to stay. A hotel in the Town Center is convenient for food, shopping, and beach access. You can also book a room outside of town on the beautiful coastline or near the golf course!

As mentioned, North Berwick becomes very crowded in the summer months, so it is best to book your accommodation in advance.

Overview of North Berwick

North Berwick Scotland is a small coastal town just south of Edinburgh and Glasgow. It hugs the North Sea and is well famous for its world-renowned golf course as well as incredible bird watching.

Here you’ll find the North Berwick Golf Club, which is the 13th oldest golf club in the world! Although I am not a golfer by any means, It was still one of the more beautiful golf courses I have ever seen.

Additionally, North Berwick is unique because from late March through August, you can spot puffins! These cute birds are only found up north in milder weather, like Iceland, Greenland, Canada, and Scotland!

This cute town is fantastic for seeing the famous Scottish coastline just a quick drive away from the tourist hub of Edinburgh.

One Day Itinerary in North Berwick Scotland

Tantellon Catle, Beach time, Hike North Berwick Law, and Wildlife Seabird Cruise.

This One Day Itinerary in North Berwick Scotland is designed to make the most out of your day trip. It is made with the adventurer in mind! If you want a fun-filled day in North Berwick, this one is for you!

This one day North Berwick itinerary is best suited if you have a car, as there will be driving. If not, you can take the public bus or adjust as needed.

Morning

9:00 am – Drive to North Berwick from Your Accomodationedinburgh city

Have an early start to your morning by leaving your Edinburgh or Glasgow accommodation at 9 am! You’ll want to wake up a bit earlier to get ready and eat a big breakfast. Today will be a big day, so be sure not to skip out on breakfast!

As mentioned, the drive takes just over an hour from Edinburgh to North Berwick Scotland. 

You’re actually going to drive a bit farther this morning by heading to the Tantellon Castle! The Tantellon Castle is just a few short miles outside of town, and will be your first stop on today’s itinerary.

If you’re arriving by train, take an early train from Waverly Place to North Berwick. From there, it may be difficult to get to Tantellon Castle. You can take a taxi or spend your morning cafe hopping in the town of North Berwick.

10:00 am – Visit the Tantellon Castle

tantallon castle, castle on a cliff overlooking water

Scotland is known for density of castles, they have over 3,000 in this country! During your time in Scotland, you’ll only catch a fraction of the many castles, but this castle is one worth seeing.

The Tantellon Castle was built in the 14th century by the Douglas family, one of the most powerful royal families at the time. This castle has also played apart in the Wars of Scottish Independence.

Upon arriving to the castle, you will find a big parking lot. There is one at the front of the drive way and one at the back, the latter being much closer to the entrance to the castle.

The Tantellon Castle has a small price, which you can find here for the most updated information.

I loved this castle for many reasons, but my favorite had to be the views! Here you can find where the famous Scottish cliffs meet the North Sea. Additionally, there is some great bird watching there too!

Upon entering the castle, signs are well-marked and give plenty of history. If you read all of the signs, you could spend an hour or two here.

tantellon castle in north berwick scotland

During our visit, and the foreseeable future, the inside of the castle is closed for refurbishment, but you can still walk the grounds for free. It is still worth a visit even if you can’t enter the castle.

Once you finish here, drive 10 minutes (3 miles) back towards North Berwick.

11:30 am – Lunch in North Berwick

Once your back in town, there are many free and paid parking spots. I recommended parking as central as you can.

By this time, you’ll probably be a bit hungry from all the driving and castle viewing!

You can wander the main town shopping street for some lunch.

cafe in north berwick scotland

I recommend eating at The Rocketeer Restaurant. This restaurant is situated right on the beach with stunning views. Even on a rainy day, the restaurant has covered seating and a nice atmosphere. Additionally, you’ll find a wide variety of seafood here!

If you want something a bit lighter, you can head to one of the many cafes in town.

Afternoon

12:30 pm – Do a little Shopping and Walk Along the Beach

beach in north berwick scotland

Once you finish up lunch, it’s time to do some exploring! North Berwick has a lovely shopping street and long stretches of sandy beaches.

Take your pick! Start by shopping a bit on High Street. Here you will find a variety of vintage shops, cafes, restaurants, crafts, and more. Most of these shops are family owned and have fun interiors. It really feels like you’re on a beach town.

After you’ve browsed High Street, walk a block or two back to the beach. Kick your shoes off and enjoy the coastline. On a rare nice summer day, you will find many people at the beach and even swimming!

2:00 pm – Hike North Berwick Law

berwick law hike in north berwick scotland

Next, you can hop back in the car to hike North Berwick Law! It’s a very quick 4-minute drive, or 15-minute walk to the car park.

North Berwick Law is a popular hiking trail that takes you to the top of the hill for 360-degree views. The stunning view of the coastline is not to be missed, especially on a clear day!

This 1.3-mile out-and-back trail gains 500 feet of elevation, making it a moderate-difficulty hike. Most people in good health will be able to complete it. This hike takes most people around 1 hour to complete.

3:30 pm – Head to the Scottish Seabird Center

North Berwick is known as a great destination for bird watchers due to its abundance of seabirds. Head to the Scottish Seabird Center to learn more about why they seabirds love this area!

Additionally, inside the Scottish Seabird Center, you will find an interactive exhibit, the Discovery Experience. This paid ticket is perfect for kids and has games, exhibits, and interactive live cameras.

The Scottish Seabird Center is located at the end of a pier on the beach. This means it also has a unique view of North Berwick Scotland! Check out the views while you’re here over a cup of coffee at the cafe.

4:30 pm – Wildlife Seabird Cruise

bass rock in north berwick scotland

The time has come to get out on the water! Book a Wildlife Seabird Cruise. The cruises depart from the Scottish Seabird Center and tickets can be booked online. Most of the wildlife cruises depart in the late afternoon.

Although I did not have enough time to take a wildlife cruise, I wish I had the experience! They truly look so magical and are a great way to learn about the North Sea.

Evening

6:00 pm – Dinner with a View

The time has come for some dinner! You’re probably pretty exhausted at this point, as you have had a big day in North Berwick hiking, viewing castles, shopping, and more.

north berwick scotland city street

Grab some dinner here to help fuel your ride back to Edinburgh. Most of the restaurants are going to be on High Street and Quality Street. Both streets are relatively small, so maybe something caught your eye earlier in the day.

If not, here are my recommendations.

  • The Puffin – located on High Street, this Scottish restaurant serves pub food and seafood. The portions are plated beautifully.
  • Cucina Amore – An Italian restaurant located on High Street.

7:30 – Drive back to Edinburgh

Around 7:30 it’s time to begin your drive back to Edinburgh. Luckily, during the summer months, this should ensure that you still have daylight during your drive, as it doesn’t get dark until much later.

 

Visiting Scotland soon? Read these!

north berwick castle on scottish cliffs

I’m Danika! A travel obsessed, Disney adult, with a knack for budgeting.

In 2020 I was furlough from my “dream” job at Disney and have pursued my first love of travel ever since. I have traveled to 33 states and 28 countries spanning 5 continents.

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