A myriad of adventures and relaxing escapes await, as spring and summer arrive in East Lothian.

Edinburgh’s coast and countryside is overflowing with ideas for great days out, whether you are a thrill-seeker, history buff or wildlife-spotter, or simply looking for something fun to do with your family.

A new guide to the top things to do in the area, published by the East Lothian Tourism Attractions Group, captures the very best of the region in a colourful, handy format packed with useful information and contact details.

There is also plenty of advice on responsible travel and how to reduce the impact of your visit in what is a precious area of outstanding natural beauty.

Families seeking an adrenaline rush should head for Foxlake Adventures in Dunbar, an award-winning hub offering a wide variety of outdoor activities, including Foxfall, the UK’s only overwater ropes course; Scotland’s first cable wakeboarding park; off-road Segway tours, their brand new Aqua Park and more. 

The Herald:

If peace and tranquillity are more your style, Newhailes House and Gardens is a picturesque estate in Musselburgh, with year-round delights in store for historians and wanderers. This Palladian house is a treasure trove of curiosities, which gives an insight into many generations of the Dalrymple family who once lived here.

The Herald:

A relaxing stroll through the grounds provides opportunities to discover wildlife, a shell grotto and tea house, and to unwind as you enjoy some delicious treats at the Stables Cafe. Children can enjoy great family fun in Weehailes Adventure Playpark, tucked away behind the estate courtyard.

Historic Musselburgh Racecourse is one of the UK’s most stylish racing venues, home to award-winning hospitality and an unforgettable atmosphere on race days.

The Herald:

An impressive line-up of events throughout the year includes Ladies’ Day, the Edinburgh Cup, family days and themed nights, with early bird prices available.

East Lothian’s flagship arts and entertainment trust The Brunton, which is hosting performances at various venues around Musselburgh and Haddington, has a fantastic line-up in store for 2024, with theatre, music, cinema, comedy, children’s shows and dance all on the bill.

One of East Lothian’s many free museums and biggest draws is John Muir’s Birthplace, which tells the incredible life story of the famous Scottish explorer, born in 1838, who still inspires climate action today.

The Herald:

The attraction marks the starting point of the epic 134-mile John Muir Way, a famous walking and cycling route across Scotland.

It is also possible to take a walk back in time to East Lothian’s rich past, thanks to a variety of museums and historic buildings. Dirleton Castle and Gardens, for example, is a spectacular fortress which was home to three successive noble families over the course of 400 years, before being heavily damaged by Oliver Cromwell’s siege in 1650. 

It has its own chapel, and is a popular wedding location as a result. The romantic ruins and beautiful gardens (home to world’s longest herbaceous border, incidentally, and a rare tree species unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs) are the perfect backdrop to a relaxing saunter in the fresh air.

The National Museum of Flight at East Fortune Airfield is an attention-grabbing attraction packed with fascinating exhibits, from historic aircraft to Scotland’s Concorde.

The Herald:

It is an ideal family day out, with interactive displays and opportunities to learn about aviation history from the First World War to the present day appealing to all ages.

It is not everywhere in Scotland that you can ‘zoom in’ on some of the country’s most fascinating wildlife. From the warmth and comfort of the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick, visitors can use interactive live cameras to spy on local birds and animals at assorted locations, including the impressive landmark Bass Rock, which is home to the world’s largest northern gannet colony.

The Herald:

The centre, which is a leading marine conservation and education charity, also runs seasonal boat trips.

The world of whisky is a fascinating one to Scots and fellow lovers of a dram the world over, and to explore Glenkinchie Distillery, the Lowland home of Johnnie Walker, is to take a sensory journey. 

From walking in the fragrant orchard gardens surrounded by farmland and wildflower meadows, to sampling this malt which is loved around the world, this is an intriguing peek behind the scenes of master distillers at work.

The Herald:

Meanwhile, at Scotland’s oldest working brewery, a fascinating tour reveals how the rich and fertile lands of East Lothian help to produce some of the country’s finest craft beers and ales.

Nestled between the rolling barley fields of Dunbar and beautiful Belhaven Bay, just 25 miles from Edinburgh, Belhaven Brewery Visitor Experience introduces visitors to a tradition that dates back more than 300 years.

The Herald:

The brewery first opened as a visitor experience in 2021, and was promptly named Best Beer Visitor Attraction at the World Beer Awards in 2022 and 2023. Tours finish in the Monks Retreat, where those aged over 18 can sample some of the award-winning beers and ales made here. 

As an area of outstanding natural beauty, with many designated wildlife areas, attractions and venues across East Lothian are keen to encourage responsible travel.

The East Lothian Travel Guide to Top Things to Do also provides some useful advice on how residents and visitors can reduce the impact of their days out, such as cycling or using public transport instead of driving; using designated bins or taking rubbish home; using local EV charge points; and keeping an eye out for special nature-friendly events at some of the attractions.

To discover more about the top days out in East Lothian, visit daysoutguide.visiteastlothian.org