Dunbar to North Berwick and back

Dunbar to North Berwick and back

Suzanne Forup

Suzanne Forup is Head of Development Scotland for Cycling UK and the co-founder of Women’s Cycle Forum Scotland. She is also a co-ordinator of We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote – a collaboration of organisations campaigning for more investment in active travel. Suzanne uses her bike for everyday journeys and leisure rides but her love is cycle touring and she has travelled and toured in southern India, central America and Cuba, as well as adventures closer to home with family and friends.

This circular route has several variations, making it suitable for a range of cyclists, including families with older children or those looking for some off road action as well as a road route. Starting (or ending) in Dunbar the ride follows some of the John Muir Way to North Berwick, giving riders the opportunity to explore two of Scotland's lovely seaside towns and beaches too. The route takes you past some of our beautiful coastline on NCN 76, showing off Belhaven Beach, a popular spot for surfing. There are a couple of short climbs, ensuring you can get the best of the views of Bass Rock coming into North Berwick, but at least one can be avoided if you take a longer route around. The road sections are generally quiet but rural, so care needs to be taken as the road surface is variable and a good headlight required if you want to do this in winter. It’s a great place to spot wildlife, with deer, hares, owl and bats seen at different times of day. The route is a café lovers heaven, with great options in both towns and along the route including my route favourites: Smeaton Nursery Gardens and Tearoom, Steampunk in North Berwick and the Boardside Café at Foxlake outside Dunbar. Both North Berwick and Dunbar have regular train services so it's easily accessible from Edinburgh, which is 30 miles from Dunbar.

The route suits regular cyclists, or beginners if doing it one way. Families with older children cycling independently, or children in toddler seats or trailers for some variations on the route, should also find it an enjoyable ride if they are experienced. I'd recommend using a touring or mountain bike, or a robust hybrid.

Level of ride 
Type of bike 
Mountain bike