IT’S often considered something of a local treasure – a little-known jewel famed for its award-winning beach, windswept dunes and glorious golf courses.
But now the residents of Gullane could be left fighting off tourists after it was named one of the UK’s top seaside holiday destinations by a popular travel site.
The East Lothian town, which recently played host to the Scottish Open golf, has been earmarked as one of the fastest growing tourist hotspots in the country by Holidaylettings.co.uk – an offshoot of TripAdvisor.
In a report, it insisted the “delightful dwelling” was now a sought-after site for trendy holidaymakers, adding: “Gullane has an award-winning beach in a natural cove surrounded by dunes and untouched greenery – full of rare wildlife.
“Like a round of golf? Gullane is the home of Muirfield and a number of other glorious golf courses – all of which offer impressive vistas across the mighty River Forth.”
Stars of the golfing world descended on the coastal town last month to battle it out at this year’s Scottish Open – played for the first time ever at Gullane Golf Club.
Eagle-eyed fans watched big-name talents such as Phil Mickleson and Justin Rose tee off on fairways that boast a history stretching back more than 130 years.
Malcolm Duck, director of East Lothian’s Scotland’s Golf Coast marketing campaign, said Gullane has become a hub for food, drink and year-round sight-seeing.
And he hailed the area as the “Burgundy of golf” – after the French region famous for its wines – with more top courses in close proximity to each other than anywhere else in the world.
He said: “It’s got so much going for it. The airport is only 40 minutes away and a European capital city – the Athens of the North – is a short train journey away.
“It’s got a rural location, and there’s a nice beach and golf courses.
“There really is an awful lot going on, and all with Edinburgh on the doorstep. The winter time is when there are some great bargains. The winter golf is exceptional. And it’s a fantastic bird watching area in the winter – a phenomenal bird watching area.”
Gullane has seen a 62 per cent year-on-year boost in its online TripAdvisor profile – with more traffic and reviews than ever before.
Councillor John McMillan, East Lothian Council’s economic development and tourism leader, said the town’s booming appeal was “not surprising”.
He said: “To hear that visitor numbers are increasing at such a high rate and that online reviews of those stays are overwhelmingly positive is wonderful news for East Lothian’s growing economy and tourist industry. We have set out to be Scotland’s leading coastal, leisure and food and drink destination, and I think we can probably claim that title.”