Charm and variety in ‘Biarritz of the north’
LISA GRAY travels to North Berwick to see if its reputation is deserved
ONCE known as the ‘Biarritz of the north’, North Berwick has been a popular holiday destination of Scottish families for generations.
Just 25 miles east of Edinburgh, the small and picturesque seaside town adopts a fortunate position on the Firth of Forth and was once a royal burgh of East Lothian.
Boasting a busy high street and golden sandy beaches, its reputation as a holiday haven is well-deserved – and what better base from which to explore than one of its grandest buildings – the majestic MacDonald Marine.
Situated on the coast, the 19th century Victorian house makes a stunning addition to the rugged landscape – and the locals are clearly proud of what proves to be a superb place to stay.
My husband and I opt room with beautiful views to travel by train, a very over the water and one of pretty journey via several local golf courses. Edinburgh, and are Furnished stylishly and greeted by a friendly dog true to the grandeur of the walker almost as soon as house, there has been we leave the platform. thoughtful attention to
Spotting our suitcase, detail, with comfort made he greets us and says: “Ah, absolute priority. you must be off to The The Marine boasts the Marine. Let me show you award-winning Craigleith the way.” Restaurant, another
The evident joy local example of hospitality at people take in our its best. a wide selection to suit all surroundings is displayed The elegant eatery tastes. throughout our stay, with champions local produce Those really looking to every employee at the and offers a menu making indulge can also take a hotel also going out of taste and quality rich afternoon tea in the their way to help us get bar.ingredientsparamount. the best of our time there. The fish and seafood is Meanwhile, the hotel’s
We are swiftly checked among the best we’ve ever on-site spa is the stuff of in and settle into a tasted and breakfast does dreams. spacious and luxurious not disappoint either, with Here, your worries can evaporate as you rest in an al fresco thermal spa pool, the combination of hot bubbles and cold air proving a truly exhilarating experience.
There is a complex of different saunas and steam rooms, including an ice room and ‘aromatherapy grotto’, as well as a large pool, well-equipped fitness suite and relaxation room.
A variety of treatments is offered at reasonable prices, with the whole facility emanating tranquillity.
For those able to tear themselves away from the hotel, the town centre is easily accessible via a coastal path.
One must-see attraction is the Scottish Seabird Centre on the harbour, a centre of expertise for ornithologists and nature novices alike.
Visitors can learn about the many native species, such as puffins, seals, gannets and guillemots, with interactive cameras, films and displays bringing nature to life.
Elsewhere, there are numerous boutiques, art galleries and plenty of walks to enjoy, making the resort ideal for a short break.
North Berwick has lost none of the charm that earned it such a sterling reputation for holiday makers – and a stay at the opulent Marine will make you feel like Lord or Lady of the manor.
●● The library at Macdonald Marine, above, and the Scottish Seabird Centre, below, a short walk from the hotel
●● The Macdonald Marine hotel