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Europe > Britain and Ireland > United Kingdom > Scotland > Central Belt > The Lothians > Dunbar

Dunbar

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Dunbar Harbour

Dunbar is a harbour town in East Lothian, on the south-east coast of Scotland.

The medieval harbour lay a couple of miles west, where the Biel Water flows out: that was "Belhaven" where the brewery still stands. Oliver Cromwell was unimpressed by its muddy creek and ordered construction of the harbour in Dunbar that bears his name. This in turn was outgrown by the 19th C, when the Victoria Harbour was created alongside. This necessitated cutting through the red sandstone of the headland, so it's a striking harbour entrance, with what's left of the castle teetering above it.

Dunbar was the birthplace of the conservationist John Muir (1838-1914). Local natural features and wildlife had already fascinated him by age 11 when his family moved to the USA. There he was to discover the wilds and set about their preservation through the agency of the United States National Park.

The TIC is just above the Victoria harbour.

Get in[edit]

By Road[edit]

Dunbar is located on the main A1 London to Edinburgh road, about 30 mi (48 km) south-east of Edinburgh and 28 mi (45 km) north of the English border at Berwick-upon-Tweed.

By Rail[edit]

  • 1 Dunbar railway station. The East Coast Mainline from London King's Cross to Edinburgh passes through the town, so there are plenty of direct services from all major stations on the east coast of the UK. Dunbar railway station (Q5257092) on Wikidata Dunbar railway station on Wikipedia

Get around[edit]

Map of Dunbar

See[edit]

Statue of John Muir as a young boy
  • 1 Dunbar Town House Museum, High St. Apr-Sep: daily 1PM-5PM; Oct-Mar: Sa Su 14:00-16:00. Photographic displays showing the history of the burgh. Local historic documents can be researched here - there is usually a member of the local history society on hand to offer assistance. free.
  • 2 John Muir Birthplace Trust, 126 High St, e-mail: . Apr to Oct: M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 1PM-5PM; Nov to Mar: W-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 1PM-5PM. Sited in the house where John Muir was born, this museum highlights the life, work, and achievements of the renowned environmentalist. Free Entry. John Muir's Birthplace (Q6249696) on Wikidata John Muir's Birthplace on Wikipedia
  • 3 Dunbar Castle. Remnants of one of the strongest fortresses in Scotland, situated overlooking the harbour. Dunbar Castle (Q2969165) on Wikidata Dunbar Castle on Wikipedia
  • 4 Torness Nuclear Power Station, Dunbar EH42 1QU (On A1 five miles east of Dunbar). M-F 09:00-16:30. Twin Advanced Gas-Cooled Reactors, pushing 600 MW apiece into the National Grid since 1988, and planned to continue to 2030. You can simply drop into the visitor centre, but you'll get much more from joining an organised tour (minimum age 7), which needs to be booked 3 weeks in advance (more than 4 weeks in advance for foreigners). Free, but there ought to be a £50 spot penalty for anyone making Homer Simpson jokes, which by now have half-decayed to lead.

Do[edit]

This sign list most of the attractions of Dunbar.
  • Dunbar Leisure Pool (Just off the High Street, overlooking the harbour). Council-run swimming pool with flumes and wave pool. Also has a sauna, steam room and gym.
Golfing at Winterfield, with the Bass Rock in the background
  • Dunbar Golf Club, East Links, +44 1368 862317 (clubhouse), fax: +44 1368 865202, e-mail: . Offers year-round play due to the area's renowned temperate climate. Dunbar Golf Club celebrated its 160th anniversary in 2016, though the current course was designed by the famous golfer Old Tom Morris in 1894. The course is used as a qualifying venue every time the Open Championship is held at nearby Muirfield and all of the major Scottish Championships have been played here.
  • Winterfield Golf Club, St Margarets, North Rd (West side of town off A1087 road), +44 1368 862280 (clubhouse), fax: +44 1368 863562. Offers stunning sea views across the Firth of Forth and Bass Rock.
  • Walk the John Muir Way. This long-distance path is being developed by East Lothian Council to follow the coast from Edinburgh to the Borders. The sections of the path either side of the town offer straightforward walking with stunning coastal views. An enjoyable short walk starts at the harbour, heads west past the ruined castle, and then along the top of the cliffs past Winterfield Park and golf course to Belhaven Bay and the John Muir Country Park
  • In late September there is a Folk Music Festival held in Dunbar.
  • 1 Belhaven Brewery, Brewery Lane, EH42 1PE, +44 1368 869200. Tours on Tu-F at 1:30PM, pre-booking essential. A largish brewery dating from 1719 which brews a range of cask, draught and bottled Scottish ales. £8.00.

Buy[edit]

The main shopping is area is the High Street and West Port

  • 1 Co-op supermarket. Has two stores in the town centre - a small one on the High Street, and a larger one on Delislse Street.
  • 2 ASDA. Supermarket on the edge of town.

Eat[edit]

  • 1 Saddlers (William Main), 19 West Port. A very comfortable place to get coffee and a scone. The wifi is free, and you can pick up a golf trophy while you sip your espresso.

Drink[edit]

Dunbar is home to Belhaven brewery which brews cask Scottish ales. Thistly Cross cider is made near Dunbar from Scottish apples. This premium cider is available is various alcohol strengths from 0.5% to a strong 7.2%.

  • 1 The Volunteer Arms, 17 Victoria St, +44 1368 862278. food served 12-9. Lovely traditional bar overlooking the harbour, with an upstairs restaurant and an outside seating area for the sunny days Dunbar is known for.

Sleep[edit]

There are 2 camp-grounds near Dunbar. One is just west of the town at Belhaven Bay and the other, a Camping a Caravan Club site, is just south of town. There are a number of bed and breakfast and hotels in the town.

Connect[edit]

Go next[edit]

  • North Berwick — 10 miles to the north, is home to the Scottish Seabird Centre and Tantallon Castle.
  • Berwick-upon-Tweed — The historic border town is the next stop to the south on the railway line.
  • Edinburgh — Scotland's famous capital city, is only 30 miles to the north-west.
  • Haddington
Routes through Dunbar
EdinburghHaddington  W UK road A1.svg S  Berwick-upon-TweedNewcastle-upon-Tyne



This city travel guide to Dunbar is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.