Bonnie Berwick: history and good living on the Scottish coast

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Sandy beaches, glorious vistas and a bustling high street add to the charm of this pretty seaside town just half an hour from Edinburgh

The first surprise is that a half-hour trip by train from Edinburgh to North Berwick is really as far as you need to go for a taste of Scotland that is elemental and remote, a place of windswept beaches, stunning coastal walks and panoramic views. The West Coast and the Highlands may be more extreme, but then so is the journey to get there. This, by contrast, is an easier but no less enjoyable adventure.

We take a sleeper train from London’s Euston, tip out on to Edinburgh’s Waverley platform from our couchette, a little crumpled but refreshed. Checking in our luggage at the station, we give ourselves a couple of hours to wander along the Royal Mile, ending at the National Gallery where we lose ourselves in a maze of rooms, the standout being the death masks in the phrenology collection, including Voltaire and Keats; each eyelash and nose pore preserved in morbidly fascinating detail. After a delicious vegan breakfast in their café, we’re back on the train by midday.

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