FROM superb golf courses to culinary main courses, this part of Scotland harbours a wealth of holiday treats, with fabulous restaurants, beautiful beaches and exciting outdoor pursuits for all the family to enjoy.

East Lothian, Scotland’s sunniest corner, is a well-known golf destination, with an impressive 21 courses to choose from for all skill levels, many with expansive coastal views.

However, there’s so much more to see and do in the area – from swimming and surfing to boat trips and distillery tours.

Easily accessible from much of central Scotland, East Lothian is perfect for a long weekend, or even your summer holiday.

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From grand country homes to hip hostels, there’s accommodation in East Lothian for everyone.

We love The Watchman in Gullane. Newly refurbished with simple and lovely rooms overlooking Gullane golf course, this is a relaxed and friendly base for exploring the area.

You can have breakfast in the leafy garden room, head out to explore for the day, then return for a sundowner on the sunny terrace or in the idyllic hidden beer garden.

There’s a cracking bar menu. Try the cod with brown butter, capers and tender stem broccoli. The friendly pub hosts regular live music, too.

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If grandeur tempts you, book into Marine North Berwick, lovingly restored and restyled in recent years – think opulent wallpaper and polished wood.

Spend the afternoon in the luxurious spa or book in for the justifiably popular Sunday roast.

Marine North Berwick overlooks the West Links Course, with expansive views out to Bass Rock.

For a budget stay that’s brilliant for groups try The Dolphin Inn in Dunbar. It’s an independent youth hostel with great social spaces, self-catering facilities, and a fun and welcoming vibe.

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Across the area there are many family-run small hotels, excellent B&Bs, and brilliant self-catering options so while you should definitely book ahead, you won’t be short of choice.

Boasting more than 40 miles of coastline, East Lothian has more than its fair share of gorgeous sandy beaches, perfect for beach walks, swimming and building sandcastles.

Gullane Bents is easily accessible with plenty of parking and quick access to the sand, which makes it ideal for wee ones.

Yellowcraig Beach is a crowd-pleasing favourite, with ample parking, beautiful woods to explore, sand dunes, rockpooling and absolutely stunning views of the picturesque lighthouse on nearby Fidra island.

From here you can also walk to the pretty village of Direlton and explore the grounds of Dirleton Castle.

The castle itself is currently closed for renovations but is certainly worth a future visit.

ADVENTURE TIME

Longniddry is a varied stretch of beach worth exploring and from here there are also good views back to Edinburgh.

Belhaven Beach is a favourite with surfers. Coast to Coast Surf School, based at Belhaven Surf Centre, can teach you how to catch the waves and stay safe.

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It also offers paddleboarding and coasteering lessons to see the coastline in new and exciting ways.

For a longer walk choose a section of the John Muir Way.

The Dunbar to North Berwick is a particularly popular stretch and is also very easy to get to, with each end accessible by train.

This section is around 15 miles so make sure you are properly prepared.

East Lothian is brilliant for families, not least because of its strong ice cream culture – look out for branches of Alandas (North Berwick) and Luca’s (Musselburgh). While children will never tire of spending their time on beaches, there are lots of other entertaining options in East Lothian.

Foxlake Adventures is the place to head for a wet and wild day out. It’s perfect for anyone who has a “give it a go” attitude, whatever your age. Try the FoxFall ropes course over water, splash through water on a giant inflatable “ringo”, or have a go at cable wakeboarding.

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There are off-road Segway rides if you’d prefer to stay dry.

Refuel at Jay Bird’s Larder when you’ve worked up an appetite. East Links Family Park is great for younger kids, with a huge wooden fortress to explore, go-karts, trampolines and the popular safari train.

Book in to the Discovery Experience at The Scottish Seabird Centre for interactive displays about our marine environment. Highlights include operating the remote puffin camera on the Isle of May.

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LOCAL FLAVOURS

For a wet weather option Dunbar Leisure Pool is good fun as it has a flume and a wave machine.

A stomp up North Berwick Law is great to burn off steam, too, with utterly fantastic views.

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For an adults-only experience, why not pay a visit to NB Distillery in, you guessed it, North Berwick?

NB makes a classic London Dry Gin (once voted Best in the World), a Navy Strength Gin (proceed with caution), School Night low-alcohol gin, and a delicious Samphire Gin with local samphire for a marine tang.

NB Distillery offers a popular early evening “Ginspiration Tour” where you are met with a G&T, take a tour of the distillery then relax in the elegant lounge by the log burner with a flight of drinks to sample, sip and enjoy.

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You can also visit Glenkinchie Distillery near Pencaitland for a tour and tutored tasting. Now part of Johnnie Walker, the distillery has a long and interesting history.

Unsurprisingly, East Lothian is very good at seafood. We love East Coast restaurant in Musselburgh. Run by Carlo and Katia Crolla, their Italian heritage is evident in the gloriously generous portions and the perfect pasta dishes.

There’s always a warm welcome and a real attention to detail. 

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Bowls of steaming Shetland mussels arrive with wedges of sourdough, and scallops with anchovy and sage butter are tender and delicious – and excellent value for seafood of this calibre.

It’s a haven for shellfish lovers – don’t wear white and order the delicious lobster spaghetti. 

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Half a lobster, some through the pasta, some ready to break out of the shell, with spaghetti, chilli and tomato makes for joyful messy eating.

The children’s menu is excellent – mussels and chips is perfect kids’ food – it’s tasty, nutritious and fun to eat, and it’s great to see that recognised.

Next door, with the same owners, is a truly excellent fish and chip shop, which is regularly voted one of the very best in Scotland. During the summer you can also take away exciting daily specials. How does langoustine scampi or panko lemon sole on the beach sound?

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We also like fine dining at Ducks Inn in Aberlady and feasting on seafood at The Rocketeer in North Berwick. For the best casual eating be sure to make a beeline for The Lobster Shack on North Berwick’s North Pier.

The house special is half lobster and chips, locally caught from sustainable sources, and enjoyed dipped in garlic butter or with a verdant chimichurri.

The salt and pepper squid and seafood chowder also hit the spot.

If you’re hungry on the beach (and, let’s face it, who isn’t?), find Alandas Fish & Chips at Longniddry Bents.

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For baked pastries and other treats and exceedingly good bread, you can’t beat Bostock Bakery (in both North Berwick and East Linton).

For the freshest of coffee our favourite has to be Steampunk in North Berwick where you can even watch the coffee being roasted.

 This summer is the perfect time to visit East Lothian.

Pack your swimsuits, download the Visit East Lothian app, pick up a seafood picnic feast, and head to those gorgeous sandy beaches…no stressful passport queue required.