Scottish Links Golf
AFSD - how to determine
the real length of a golf course
Royal Aberdeen, Cruden Bay...
Royal Troon, Turnberry, Prestwick
Royal Dornoch, Brora, Castle Sutart, Nairn. .
Just east of Edinburgh
Scotland's Golf Coast
St. Andrews area
Out of the way, but worth a play
Great links golf for everyone
What others say
Scotland's Golf Coast
The Golf Coast of Scotland is a bonanza for the independent golf traveler.
Our base on the Golf Coast is North Berwick, about 20 some miles east of the beautiful capital city of Edinburgh. North Berwick is a lively yet nostalgic town you can easily and quickly get to know. Once a vibrant ferry port as well as a fishing and grain port and popular summer resort, it is now (to us) the perfect place for golf and a good representation of the authentic Scotland. North Berwick is an art centre, with many fine galleries, and is also a great centre for bird-watching. I'm smiling as I write this because I'm about to introduce you to several of my favorite things. But first things first...as always, you'll want to go to the Tourist Information Centre in the town centre. The entire staff is very helpful. While there, you can pick up a copy of "The Essential Guide, Edinburgh & Lothians" (no charge for this VERY useful booklet) and also be sure to buy your Ordnance Survey maps of the area. You will find a good assortment of books on Scotland as well.
Places to Stay on Scotland's Golf Coast
Faussetthill House -- Longtime favourite on Scotland's Golf Coast, this beautiful B&B in Gullane is so tastefully decorated. Owners/hosts George and Dorothy Nisbet are well-experienced at creating excellence for their guests. Their lodging is well-known and highly recommended, so be sure to book far in advance. No website of their own, so reach them by phone (44) (0)1620 842 396. or by Email firstname.lastname@example.org. A short walk to shops and the Gullane golf courses, Faussetthill House is on the main street of Gullane.
Jadini Garden B & B -- This 3 star lodging in Gullane has a secluded walled garden, excellent location, and private parking. Mary Chase, the owner, will let you have use of the kitchen if you take all the rooms. (Nice if you are traveling with others.) And she also has a self-catering 3-bedroom luxury apartment available as a weekly rental. Jadini is located on the charming Goose Green in the heart of Gullane village. www.jadini.com
Drem Farmhouse -- An attractive 4 star large Georgian house with beautifully decorated bedrooms, each of which has a view of the garden. A large sunroom for the guests overlooks the extensive gardens. On the grounds are the remains of a Knights Templar Chapel, and Edinburgh is a short 20 minute train ride from this conservation village of Drem. By car just 3 miles from Gullane and 5 minutes from North Berwick. In addition to B&B lodging, the farmhouse offers self-catering (rented by the week) . www.dremfarmhouse.co.uk
Carfrae Farm House B & B -- out of the ordinary for the discernng traveler
This historic Scottish farmhouse is located in the beautiful Lammermuir Hills south of North Berwick, a part of Scotland you probably have missed and which you will long remember. The views, the gardens, the luxury accommodations, and the moderate rates make this the perfect choice for a "getaway" while still being close enough to Edinburgh and the Golf Coast links courses. Owners Dorothy and Hamish Gibson have lived in this area all their lives and are gracious hosts. Visit their lovely website. www.carfraefarmhouse.com
Craigielaw Lodge -- Brand new beautiful lodge attached to Craigielaw Golf Club's clubhouse. We are very impressed. Take a look -- www.craigielawlodge.com.
Self-catering lodging (houses or apartments you rent by the week) on Scotland's Golf Coast
Craigend Cottage - Desirable 4 star home directly alongside North Berwick West Links Golf Course and overlooking the sea. A delightful place to spend a week or more, just a few minutes walk to town centre and train station. Owners Sally and Andrew White have thought of everything when they created this fine 3 bedroom accommodation that was originally a wing of a stately mansion. Perfect location. Fabulous views. Book early. www.craigendcottage.co.uk
Seabird Mews - 4 star rating. Lovely 2-story contemporary villa in ideal location for golf, beach, train station and town centre. Bright and airy with two balconies, a patio, three bedrooms and two baths. Stylish, new, and immaculate. And with its own parking space right outside the door. (Rare in North Berwick.) Highly rated, Seabird Mews became very popular as soon as it opened in late 2010, so you must book early. www.cottageguide.co.uk/seabirdnews
Gullane Holday Apartment -- Brand new and already a winner. We're pleased to recommend this exceptional apartment that overlooks Muirfiield Golf Course and the sea. Everything you would want and expect in a deluxe accommodation. And the rates are excellent. Located in Gullane, it is receiving high and enthusiastic reviews -- much deserved. Read more on their website www.gullaneholidayapartment.com
Drem Farmhouse - (see above under B&Bs)
Golf Nest Gullane Apartment -- Luxury three-bedroom Victorian apartment, beautifully outfitted and furnished to the highest standard. On the Main street of Gullane about 300 yards from Gullane Golf Club, the Golf Nest is owned by PGA golf professional Eric Grandison, of the renowned Eric Grandison Golf School located at Craigielaw Golf Club. The apartment is centrally located on Scotland's Golf Coast. For more details and photos see the website www.gullaneapartment.com
Golf Lodge Cottage -- owned and managed by Tom and Emma Hill (see below), so you know it's got to be excellent--the location, the all-new luxury, and the hospitality. See their website. www.golflodgebb.co.uk
And for GROUPS, we strongly recommend the following accommodations rather than a large hotel. Experience authentic Scottish lodging and you will enrich your stay.
Places to Eat on Scotland's Golf Coast
In North Berwick --
Good place for a pint in North Berwick -
The Auld Hoose - 19 Forth Street, corner of Forth Street Lane. A pleasant, old-fashioned gathering place for the locals, where you will feel comfortable in this historical, traditional pub. Women and men alike are made to feel very welcome. A great opportunity to sample the simple dignity of a non-touristy, genuine Scottish pub. For a pint or a wee dram, stop in at The Auld Hoose (The Old House).
Plan a picnic (or pamper your palate)
Gullane Delicatessen -- Purveyors of Fine Wines and Foods
An astonishing array of international foods and wines. The personable owner, Mark Cervi, has established a gourmet venue with unusual and hard-to-find items as well as everything you need for a great picnic basket. And creating picnic baskets (hampers) is one of Gullane Deli's specialties. Located in the heart of Gullane--a few miles from North Berwick--Gullane Deli is something you'd expect to find in NY or Paris or Rome. The foods and wines are tops, the service is genuinely warm and helpful, the prices very competitive.
Mary-Alice suggesets ...
The Golf Coast is loaded with delights. Since you'll probably
be staying in the town of North Berwick,
we'll look there first. You could spend
days investigating just the High Street
where you'll enjoy abundant tearooms,
galleries, and things like the following.
These options are just some of the
of fascinating shops offering local
products and gifts --
|North Berwick town centre a potpourri of charming shops. Always active, attractive, with something for everyone. Stroll along the High Street for a sense of authentic Scotland. Even the police station (on left) looks good !!|
North Berwick is renowned as an art centre.
Try these --
Greens and Blues -- on the high street in town centre, is outstanding. www.greensandblues.co.uk
Westgate Galleries -- 37-41 Westgate, the east end of High Street. A must if you appreciate fine art and unique gorgeous gifts of all sorts. plus a good tearoom. www.westgate-gallery.co.uk
Meg Maitland -- Superb women's clothing -- a class act offering a great selection in great taste. On a par with NY 5th Avenue, Paris and Rome. One look at their window displays and you'll want to go in. Classic & contemporary, fun to visit. Town centre at 76 High Street. www.megmaitland.com
Stop 'N Shop at #93. An amazing shop with everything from hot water bottles to fishing rods to kites to...well, you name it. If you don't see what you want, ask, because they probably have it. Our thought is that if they don't have it, we don't need it!
Bunney's (formerly Fisherman's Kitchen) - More than a fine market with fresh food and wines, there are many unique items in this attractive shop. PLUS a cafe' with the best scones you've ever tasted.
Lockett Bros -- Wine & Whisky Specialist - Scottish Wine Merchant of the Year 2005
Independent wine merchant with wide selections and good prices. In-store tastings, gift boxes & wrapping, free local delivery, and fun browsing. Friendly, knowledgable, and helpful. www.lockettbros.co.uk
If you want to take home some fine single malt whisky, this is the place to shop.
Thistles - Scottish gifts and wonderful kitchenware.
Howdah Coffee & Tea Emporium - shop carrying all that its name implies. Amazing selection of coffees and teas from around the world. You'll need time to browse. Owner really knows his teas and coffees!
Several charity shops (Oxfam, Heart, Red Cross, Cancer, etc.) where we buy used books at great prices. And keep an eye out for antiques in these shops. Many bargains.
North Berwick Highland Games -- The highpoint of the year for this charming town. North Berwick hosts the 5th largest highland games in all of Scotland, and is definitely an event you will long remember. Pipe (bagpipe) bands from all over the world, all dressed in their tartans. Games, including tossing the caber (akin to a telephone pole), Scottish dancing competitions for all ages, foot races, solo bagpipe competitions, tossing the North Berwick stone (a huge rock) and so much more. Walking stick carvers, selling their beautiful sticks--something anyone who goes walking in the countryside should have. (Richard and I each bought one here, and we use them a lot.) Everything Scottish. Rides, food and drink. Something for everyone. Then in the evening, the grande finale--the pipe bands parade down the hill and through the town. What a great day--an opportunity to see an authentic "highland games." Usually held the first or second Saturday in August. See the Tourist Info Centre for more details, or call John Starr at (0)1620 890 333. Visit their colourful website to get a flavour of this memorable yearly event. www.northberwickhighlandgames.co.uk
Essence of Beauty -- For hair, nails and beauty. Suzanne, the owner, has created a serene, welcoming atmosphere, where you can relax and which you will appreciate. Just off the High Street, at 2a on Law Rd., next to the bicycle shop. Phone 01620 890 095.
Other North Berwick attractions --
Scottish Seabird Centre -- Awarded the 5 Star rating, and with good reason. A wonderful facility for experiencing and learning about puffins and gannets and other birds of the area. The Centre is at the North Berwick harbour and is a serious scientific centre for the study of seabirds. A viewing deck, with telescopes and interactive cameras, allows you to view the nesting of the birds on the islands just off shore without disturbing them. See puffins and gannets up close. www.seabird.org.
Visit the Harbour -- just a block down from the High Street. You'll enjoy it.
Visit the lifeboat (RNLI) station -- by the harbour
Walk the beach -- the sand is firm and the views are exhilerating. The beach goes right along next to the North Berwick West Links golf course. In fact, the beach is within bounds !!
Climb the North Berwick Law -- an extinct volcano, which can be seen from many miles away, even from across the Firth of Forth in the Kingdom of Fife. A major landmark, it is 612 fee high with a not-too-difficult path to the top. Richard and I have climbed the Law, and recommend it if you like a good walk. Climb from the back (south) side, which is not nearly as steep as the north side. Follow signs for the carpark, and go from there. You'll be rewarded with fantastic views.
Boat trips to Fidra Island -- to see the puffins
Boat trips to Bass Rock -- to see the gannets.
Internet Service -- Lothian Computer Systems & Internet Cafe, 6 Church Road in the centre of North Berwick. Owned and operated by a very knowledgable and helpful couple, John and Lucia Starr (and assisted by their daughter, Luisa).
|Loo of The Year
I know, I know...but it is SO unique. Really, you cannot come to North Berwick without visiting the "Loo of The Year" award-winning public toilet in the town centre. Fresh flowers daily, clean as a whistle, walls festooned with national awards from many years. How could I not include it on my must-see list?
And now for some exceptional places just a wee bit further afield --
Let's begin with an essential for the lover of golf history and tradition--
Cleek, niblick, mashie, spoon, baffy? No,
they're not types of fast food, they
part of the history of golf. One visit
Archie Baird's Heritage of Golf Museum will clear it all up.
Tucked next to the Gullane Golf Club pro shop in the centre of Gullane is one of golfdom's great treasures. Small in size but large in importance, this unrivalled collection is the result of one man's passion for the tradition and history of golf. Rare early golf clubs, balls and all sorts of historical golf mechanisms and memorabilia fill the room--calling out to be noticed. And noticed they will be, for the founder and curator of the museum is here to explain them all. For example, Archie will show you why the very best early golf ball makers could only "manufacture" two per day and how the gutta percha ball not only revolutionized the golf ball but how it forced changes in golf clubs.
Archie Baird is a wellspring of information and colourful stories about the history of golf. The more interested you are in golf history, the more fascinating and the more generous with his time he becomes. Throughout his life, Archie has collected golfing artefacts, many of them one-of-a-kind. Former RAF pilot in WWII, veterinary surgeon, and Captain of Gullane Golf Club, Archie is a member of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. His wife, Dr. Sheila Park Baird, is the great-granddaughter of Willie Park, Sr., first winner of the Open Campionship.
|The Heritage of Golf Museum is for the seriously interested. The only way to visit the collection is by phoning Archie, who is always happy to give a complementary "tour" to those genuinely seeking to explore the rich treasures of golf history. Archie Baird is an expert--engaging and articulate--with a twinkle in his eye as he enthusiastically explains his collection. You can reach him by phoning 01875 870 277. A visit to his museum is a privilege you are bound to appreciate and enjoy.|
Black House -- Main Street in Gullane. A feast for the eye...luxury handwoven Harris Tweed bags for women, men, business and travel. Each bag is beautifully handcrafted. Definitely worth a visit. Perfect Scottish gift for yourself or someone special. Lynne's bags are exceptional. www.blackhousebags.com
Preston Mill on the river Tyne in East Linton. After you visit the mill, which is still turning after over 400 years, take the footpath behind it for about 100 yards to the massive 16th Century stone Phantassie Doocot (dovecote).
Hailes Castle, just outside of East Linton. Any history enthusiast will enjoy the ruins of the castle where Mary Queen of Scots and her eventual third husband, the Earl of Bothwell, stayed when fleeing after the murder of her second husband (Lord Darnley) in 1567. Bothwell was allegedly a key figure in the murder of Darnley, and some speculate that he abducted Mary and brought her to this castle.Married a few days later, they lived together for only a brief period. (Mary Queen of Scots is an especially fascinating subject.) An idyllic spot along the banks of a small river. The drive into it on the narrow usually empty road is lovely. See your Ordnance Survey for directions.
Tantallon Castle -- built in 1375, it was virtually impregnable for many years. You'll realize why when you see the spectacular location! Just east of North Berwick. A must-see.
Museum of Flight -- at East Fortune Airfield near Haddington. Historic aircraft of WWII in huge hangars. If you are at all interested in aviation, place this on your list of things to do. One of the Concorde SSTs is tnow part of the exhibit. A cafe' on the premises. You'll find the museum well signposted throughout the area and it's also on your Ordnance Survey.
Dirleton -- A picturebook village -- Considered by many to be the most attractive village in Scotland, and I have to agree. What a gem. Built around a lovely village green, this is such an unspoiled little piece of heaven that you will want to spend time ambling about and taking in the beauty. Walk down the little lanes, admire the gardens, investigate the church and visit the fine Dirleton Gallery, etc., and of course the superb castle right in the heart of the village. (See below.) I encourage you to make Dirleton part of your itinerary.
|Dirleton Castle -- Our favourite --
Walk all through the castle for a sense of what life was like then. We visit it every year. Just off the main road (A198) a couple of miles west of North Berwick, in the centre of the picture-postcard little village of Dirleton. (More weddings are held in Dirleton Castle than any other castle in Scotland ...and there are many, many castles in Scotland!)