East Lothian is the perfect holiday destination – with over 40 miles of coastline, beautiful beaches, rolling countryside, an abundance of attractions, cycle routes and walks, delicious food & drink, and the world’s finest links golf courses. We have compiled a list of activities to give you some holiday inspiration… Have fun!
East Lothian is the perfect place for cycling as it has a range of terrains to suit everyone. The county is mostly flat and not too hilly, perfect for a leisurely cycle with the family. Prefer something a bit more challenging? Head to the Lammermuir Hills (on our doorstep!) to get the heart rate going.
Visit East Lothian has created some brilliant cycle routes with maps, times, terrain, distance, access and route info.
If you’re up for a challenge…
Try out ‘Round the Foothills’ – a challenging 3 to 4 hour / 35.9km ride with a 280m ascent. The route starts in Haddington, however if you’re staying at Carfrae Farm you could join the route in Gifford which is just down the road from our holiday cottages and is also home to the famous Laterne Rouge cycling café, as well as Lewis & Clarke and The Goblin Ha’. To find out more go to: https://visiteastlothian.org/things-to-see-do/outdoor-activities/cycling/go-biketouring/
For an easy route with the kids, why not try out ‘Family Fun’ – a nice loop from East Links Family Park (a popular family destination on the outskirts of Dunbar) and explore the countryside that inspired the young John Muir. The route is just under 20km however you can shorten the loop if you wish. It has a mixture of roads and cycle paths and goes to Tyninghame Beach so pack a picnic and some towels and make a day of it! See the route here: https://visiteastlothian.org/things-to-see-do/outdoor-activities/cycling/go-road-cycling/
John Muir Way Day Trip – North Berwick Circular
Head off on an adventure along the breath-taking coast west of North Berwick, passing a medieval fortress and an extinct volcano. This 22.2km route is classed as straightforward and starts and finishes in North Berwick – try out The Lobster Shack or The Herringbone to refuel! Find out more here: https://visiteastlothian.org/things-to-see-do/outdoor-activities/cycling/john-muir-way-day-trips/
East Lothian isn’t called Scotland’s Golf Coast for nothing! Home of the 2015, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2022 Scottish Opens and boasting 21 Scottish golf courses (from 18 golf clubs) along 30 miles of stunning coastline including the largest concentration of Championship links golf courses anywhere in the world…
Dunbar Golf Club
With a history stretching back to 1856, stunning scenery, a welcoming clubhouse and a reputation for abundant sunshine, Dunbar Golf Club is definitely worth a visit. See www.dunbargolfclub.com for more info.
Castle Park is our local golf club, only a 10 minute drive away nestled at the foot of the Lammermuir Hills. A stunningly beautiful golf course which consists of two very different nines which provide a challenge to golfers of all levels. You are guaranteed a warm welcome. To book a tee time and find out more visit www.castleparkgolfclub.co.uk
The North Berwick Golf Club
Golf has been played here since the 17th century and from almost every tee there are stunning views of the Firth of Forth, the Bass Rock and Fidra. A short walk from North Berwick’s bustling town centre – the perfect spot for some refreshments after your round. Check out www.northberwickgolfclub.com.
You couldn’t write a blog about golf in East Lothian without mentioning Muirfield. Home of The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, one of the oldest clubs in golf, it began in Leith in 1744 and moved to Muirfield in 1891. Muirfield is a prestigious golf course with stunning views and is a renowned venue to major championships. It is advised to book early in peak season to avoid disappointment. For more info visit: www.muirfield.org.uk
You’re spoilt for choice with a great variety of landscapes for walking… the Lammermuir Hills to the south and a coast of beaches and cliffs with vast swathes of countryside and arable farmland in between. Carfrae Farm is nestled in the Lammermuir Hills and guided walks are available to book (see below) or if you’re feeling adventurous grab a map and some boots and head for the hills (not to be a spoil sport, but remember to take safety precautions and always leave enough time to get back before dark!)
Take part in a full day guided walking tour in the Lammermuir Hills, with stunning scenery and a breathtaking sense of space and isolation, the vast rolling massif reveals a hidden landscape with a remarkable natural and human story to tell.
Harestone Hill to Lammer Law via the Hopes Reservoir. The routes pass ancient drove roads, and allow a vivid appreciation of today’s grouse moors, with their buzzards, game and mountain hares, all against a spectacular backdrop over East Lothian, the Firth of Forth and across the Borders to the Cheviots.
A climb to Harestone Hill (504m) and loop to Peat Law, for dramatic views of East Lothian and the Firth of Forth, descending to Hopes Reservoir (south bank) to access Sting Bank Valley for an ascent of Lammer Law (527m). Vistas across the Pentland Hills and Scottish Borders, returning via Hopes Reservoir (north bank).
Height climbed: 591m / 1942ft
Distance: 15 km / 9.3 miles
For more information and to book a guided walk contact Lammermuir Tours on 07747 165 289.
For information on paths in the Lammermuirs you can download a useful pdf here: https://visiteastlothian.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Walks-in-the-Lammermuirs.pdf
Gifford to Garvald
Start: Gifford village centre
Distance: 6 miles / 9.5km
Time: 2.5 – 3.5 hours each way
Terrain: Paths, tracks and quiet roads
Opposite Gifford village hall, follow The Avenue towards the gates to Yester Estate. Before the gates turn left and follow the signs for Yester Path. At the end of Park Road there is a gate leading into Yester Woods and the path is well signposted from there. After 4 km, cross the road and follow the track past Danskine Loch (part of Carfrae Farm) and along the side of a field. Turn left when you reach the road and after 100m look out for the path going off to the right. For this next section you will be walking around the edge of a field which could contain cattle. The path then runs along the side of the Donolly Reservoir (a lovely spot for wildlife watching) and then down a track through farmland belonging to Carfrae Farm. The last 800m of this walk is along a quiet road into Garvald, or stop off at your cottage first!
Gifford has a couple of unique independent shops and cafes, a restaurant and a pub. Garvald has a traditional inn. There are play parks and public toilets in both villages.
Start & Finish: Gullane
Distance: 5 miles / 7.5km
Time: 2 – 2.5 hours
Terrain: Grassy paths and tracks, sandy beach
Cross the car park to the south–west corner and walk through the narrow ‘vennel’ path leading to Hill Road. Turn right to the top of the road and go through the metal gate, where there is a waymarked trail across Gullane Hill and the golf course. Continue on this as the path descends to a junction with another path signed for “Gullane Point” and “Gullane Bents”. Take the first of these options out to the rocky promontory. After taking in the fine views of Gullane Point retrace your steps back to the signposts, this time following the route for “Gullane Bents” back to the car park. The walk can be shortened here. For the longer walk continue on the mown-grass path out of the car park to Marine Terrace. Take the waymarked trail from Marine Terrace, and after approximately 1km bear to the right at a junction of paths. The path eventually goes through a wood before meeting a wide track, which you should turn left onto to round a small prominence. Continue on this track past the ruins of a building by a stone wall and head towards the Black Rocks and the beach. Continue along the path by the beach until you reach the path leading back to the car park.
Gullane has a variety of independent shops, cafes and restaurants, a play park and public toilets.
Whether you are an experienced rider, a beginner or have kids who would love to give it a go, horse riding at Seacliff Stables is the perfect place to go. Many of their horses are home-bred, with a range to suit all levels and abilities. This family run stables is surrounded by stunning scenery for you to explore and there is minimal traffic as they only ride on private land. For more information go to www.seacliffstables.co.uk
Surfing, wakeboarding, sailing, diving, kitesurfing, windsurfing, coasteering… The choice is yours! There is an abundance of water sport activities and companies in East Lothian, below are a few to get you going. We have partnered up with Ocean Vertical to offer SUP Yoga sessions on the Danskine Loch at Carfrae Farm, the perfect place to relax and connect with nature whilst enjoying the health and stress-reducing benefits of yoga. It has been tried and tested by Trudi and it is well worth a go – she says the possibility of falling into the water is all part of the fun! For more info click here.
Surfing, SUP Yoga, Paddleboarding, Coasteering… Let this professional team take you on an adventure. SUP Yoga sessions are also held on the Danskine Loch on Carfrae Farm, a short drive from our holiday cottages. Take a look at their brilliant website: www.oceanvertical.com
Foxlake is a 5-star award-winning adventure hub offering a wide variety of unique and exhilarating adrenaline filled outdoor activities, including the UK’s first ropes course over water in FoxFall. Located in beautiful woodland on the edge of the John Muir Way near Dunbar, it’s the perfect place for family fun or a day out with friends. Find out more here: www.foxlake.co.uk
Whiteadder Watersports Centre
Located on the beautiful Whiteadder Reservoir in the Lammermuir Hills, the centre offers sailing, open water swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding and fly-fishing. Not far from Carfrae Farm and a brilliant way to spend the day! Find out more and book here: www.whiteadderwatersports.co.uk