NORTH BERWICK has a great deal of charm and a somewhat faded, old-fashioned air, its guesthouses and hotels extending along the shore in all their Victorian and Edwardian sobriety. Two nearby volcanic heaps, the Bass Rock and North Berwick Law, are the town's defining physical features. The former can be observed closely from North Berwick's principal attraction, the Scottish Seabird Centre (April– Oct daily 10am–6pm; Nov– March Mon– Fri 10am–4pm, Sat & Sun 10am–5.30pm; till 5pm Mon– Fri Feb & March; £6.95; Tel:01620/890202, Web: www.seabird.org ), by the harbour. It offers an introduction to all the sea birds found around the Scottish coast, particularly the 100,000-plus gannets and puffins which nest on the Bass Rock every summer and there's even a live link to cameras mounted on the volcanic island, showing close-up pictures of the birds in their nesting grounds. Weather permitting, there are also boat trips around the rock from North Berwick harbour, though only a few have landing rights on the rock.
North Berwick is served by a regular train from Edinburgh Waverley (30min), with discount deals for those heading for the Seabird Centre (ask at Waverley ticket office or call Tel:08457/550033). From the station it's a ten-minute walk east to the town centre, and the tourist office (April– Sept Mon– Sat 9am–6/8pm, Sun 11am–4/6pm, April & May closed Tues; Oct Mon– Sat 9am–5pm; Tel:01620/892197) on Quality Street. One of the best cafés in town is at the Seabird Centre, with panoramic views over the beach. Among the town's restaurants, Bass Rock Bistro (Tel:01620/890875, Web: www.bassrockbistro.co.uk ; closed Sun & Mon), at 37–39 Quality St, serves Scottish seafood and meat sourced from the excellent local butcher, while Osteria Cosmo & Angelo at 71 High St (Tel:01620/890589, Web: www.osteria-no1.co.uk ; closed Sun) offers a pricey but classy menu of classical Italian cooking – booking recommended.