Family days out near me: North Berwick, East Lothian - take a virtual trip into Scotland's marine environment at the Scottish Seabird Centre

Just along the coast from the Capital lies a portal into a fascinating world of wildlife – with its own seabird cities and a metropolis of marine mammals.

By Julie Douglas
Thursday, 19th May 2022, 7:00 am

Name: Scottish Seabird Centre

Description: A conservation and education charity, supported by a five-star visitor experience, close to North Berwick’s picturesque harbour and beaches.Its recently transformed Discovery Experiences aims to transport visitors deep into Scotland’s marine habitats using a range of interactive exhibits, storyboards, games, and virtual reality.

Location: The Harbour, North Berwick,EH39 4SS.Located on the John Muir Way, the attraction is 25 miles from the centre of Edinburgh and is well served public transport.

The Scottish Seabird Centre overlooks North Berwick Harbour and a beautiful stretch of sandy beach, with a rocky shoreline that’s perfect for rockpooling.

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    Suitable for: All ages

    Entry costs: Admission prices are – Adults, £11.95; children (3-15), £7.95; concessions, £9.95; family (2+2), £34.00. Children under-3, members and carers go free.To encourage the use of sustainable transport the centre offers a 20% discount on admission to anyone with a valid (same day) East Coast Buses or Scotrail ticket.You can visit the cafe and gift shop without a ticket.

    Opening hours: From April to August, the centre is open daily from 10am to 6pm. Check the website for seasonal opening hours.

    What they say: "Dive into Scotland’s incredible marine environment with our transformed Discovery Experience."The all-new exhibits, games and upgraded live cameras on the world’s largest Northern gannet colony, the Bass Rock, bring the wonders of Scotland's exceptional marine habitats and wildlife to life."Explore the diverse marine life Scotland's seas support, from our incredible deep sea corals and kelp forests to playful marine mammals and giant seabird cities."Control interactive live cameras to zoom in on amazing local wildlife and soak up the coastal views from our Seabird Café.”

    The interactive Discovery Experience is popular with young visitors

    What visitors say: “The Discovery Experience was memorable, informative and enjoyable. The guides were so well versed and interesting. Their enthusiasm and commitment was great to see.”“A little gem. From the outside this place looks tiny, don’t be put off. It is indeed small, but it is full of interesting displays.”“Did not visit exhibition but used cafe which was very good value for money and very tasty.”

    Look out for:

    Use live cameras to watch puffins, razorbills, guillemots, terns, shags and gannets. Seasonal boat trips to breeding colonies in the Firth of Forth can be booked at the centre from April to September.

    Parking: The centre’s own pay-and-display car park fills up quickly in the summer. Rates range from £3 for one hour to a full-day charge of £8. The website has a link to other parking locations.

    Facilities: The Seabird Cafe offers meals and snacks, using locally sourced produce. The gift shop sells sustainable products, with all profits supporting the charity’s activities.