Great destinations for days out which won’t break the bank - Steve Cardownie

The Bass Rock was described by Sir David Attenborough as 'one of the 12 wildlife wonders of the world'The Bass Rock was described by Sir David Attenborough as 'one of the 12 wildlife wonders of the world'
The Bass Rock was described by Sir David Attenborough as 'one of the 12 wildlife wonders of the world'
Some time ago I wrote about venues that were worth visiting outside Edinburgh city centre and, now that we are enjoying better weather, I wanted to turn my attention to places to visit outwith the city itself.

I have chosen those that are only a short distance away and could be visited with a return to Edinburgh the same day. For those that are lucky to be young or old enough to qualify for free bus travel the opportunities are there to be explored and for those who have to pay or have access to a car I hope that my suggestions will not “break the bank”. I have also chosen places that I have visited in the past and enjoyed the experience – so here goes.

Twenty miles from Edinburgh lies the town of North Berwick which boasts two sandy bays and two golf courses. The Scottish Seabird Centre is a marine conservation and education charity, the highlight of which is the interactive live cameras out to the wildlife on the Firth of Forth islands, including the Bass Rock which has the world’s largest colony of Northern Gannets currently estimated to number 150,000, Isle of May, Fidra and Craigleith. The John Muir Way passes through the town which offers cafes, restaurants and pubs to cater for those in need of sustenance.

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Queensferry is only 10 miles from Edinburgh city centre and where the spectacular view of the three bridges is unsurpassed. The Maid of the Forth is a sightseeing cruise operator that has won a number of awards and offers a variety of cruises on the Forth which depart from under The Forth Bridge. There are plenty of eateries and pubs within walking distance, one of which features in Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel, Kidnapped. He was reputed to be staying at The Hawes Inn in 1886 when he came up with the idea for the book and started writing it there. Well worth a visit – and a read!

Linlithgow Palace, just 20 miles from Edinburgh, was the birthplace of James V and Mary Queen of Scots and sits in what is now a public park where picnickers gather by the banks of the loch. There are a number of established events in the town throughout the year. This year the Party at the Palace will be held on the weekend of August 10/11 featuring UB40, Lulu, ABC, Heaven 17, The Skids (who can forget their live performance of Albert Tatlock?) and Bananarama amongst others, so – be there or be square!

Back to the east of Edinburgh and no more than a 30-mile drive away lies Dunbar. The birthplace of John Muir, born on April 21, 1838 he was dubbed “Father of the National Parks” for his conservation work and his advocacy of the preservation of wilderness and was pivotal in the establishment of national parks in the United States, where he made his home. The house where he was born is on the High Street and has been converted into a museum. The eastern part of the John Muir Way coastal path starts from the harbour and is well worth the walk.

So, just a few suggestions that might be considered for a day trip from Edinburgh, but if none take your fancy there is, of course, still plenty to do in the capital itself.