Charm and va­ri­ety in ‘Biar­ritz of the north’

LISA GRAY trav­els to North Ber­wick to see if its rep­u­ta­tion is de­served

Macclesfield Express - - TRAVEL -

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 get­gre­di­entsparamount. 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

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