Who doesn’t like something for nothing? Exactly. And what better something for nothing than a whole list of free things to do in East Lothian.
Dunbar is one of the hidden jewels of the East Coast of Scotland. Located right on the east coast, it is a beautiful, historic town in East Lothian and as the name of our site may have suggested, Dunbar has 60 amazing, fun and entertaining things to do for kids, adults, adventure junkies and history buffs. In fact it has more than just 60 things to do and they will not disappoint. And the icing on the cake is that quite a few of these things are completely free!
So lets dive straight into a list of some of the top free things you can do in Dunbar, East Lothian this weekend.
Surfing & Paddle Boarding
Okay so this is completely free, as long as you have a surf board (or have a good friend who will lend you one). But the beaches in and around Dunbar are some of the best in Scotland and the waves are highly regarded by surfing enthusiasts who thing they are some of the best waves in Scotland. So if you want to get wet and wild – go surfing on the seas of the East Coast.
Dunbar is both the perfect base for family and group cycles, and for more ambitious trips around East Lothian and the Lammermuir Hills. Most attractions are a short (flat!) cycle from the town centre and easily accessible.
Please remember if you are bringing your bike by train it is advisable to book it on ahead of your visit.
Dunbar is an excellent base for walkers whether you wish to dawdle down the historic High Street, follow the Clifftop Trail or take the challenge of the 134 mile John Muir Way. Close to the Lammermuirs and with some excellent coastal and inland walks in the area there are lots of possibilities.
East Lothian is a rewarding location for bird watching with a rich diversity of habitats to suit all birders. From within the town there are opportunities to spot a large number of sea birds including noisy Kittiwakes nesting on the castle walls, diving gannets and cormorants, wings outstretched. More experienced birders will find there are excellent locations at Tyninghame and Belhaven Bays and further east at Skateraw, Barns Ness and Thorntonloch. Inland visit the Whiteadder reservoir and Lammermuir hills. A little further away visit St Abb’s Head for a spectacular cliff walk or North Berwick’s Seabird centre is an educational hub.
Explore the area that inspired John Muir as a boy either on your own or with the East Lothian countryside ranger service which runs wildlife experiences and activities for all ages throughout the year.
When the tide goes out on East Beach there is a wonderful natural experience in the little pools left behind amongst the rocks. The rocks can be sharp and slippery so take care but there is an abundance of life in each of them. Spot little fish and prawns, crabs and different seaweeds. With a net and bucket you can explore your finds a little closer but always remember to place them back carefully.
The harbours are a brilliant place to visit with children. The ruins of Dunbar Castle lie at the entrance of the newer Victoria Harbour but don’t miss the old Cromwell Harbour, the two are connected by a lifting bridge. Children will delight in spotting the visiting seals, looking out for dolphins, inspecting the fleet of fishing boats and catching a glimpse of the Lifeboat when she visits.
See the castle and harbour
The ruins of Dunbar Castle stand proudly above the Harbour entrance, there is no access to the ruins but with imagination it is easy to appreciate that it was once one of the strongest fortresses in Scotland. Dunbar has three harbours, dating from the 17th century, and the town was once a major herring and whaling port. The harbours are always busy with a fleet of fishing boats, a sailing club and other activities including divers, coastal rowers, kayaks and stand up paddle boats regularly making use of its facilities.
John Muir Country Park
Just outside Dunbar by East Links Family Park is the John Muir Country Park which is a wonderful walk on sandy trails through wood and grassland. Part of the John Muir Way this walk can be enjoyed on its own or part of a longer walk from the town centre across Belhaven Bay, although check the tides before approaching the “Bridge to Nowhere”.
Whether you live in Scotland or the North of England, finding things to do at the weekend can, from time to time get tough. Do you go to location X which has the beach but nothing else or do you go to location Y that has an old castle but nothing to entertain the kids.
Well this is where Dunbar can truly shine a bright light on your weekend plans.
Whether you are looking for weekend trip ideas or Easter, Summer or October Week getaway suggestions, then you need to check out Dunbar.
On the main navigation of the site, you can discover the full range of things that you can see and do in Dunbar but if you are looking for some quick links to check our and specific suggestions, check out the buttons below.