Gullane is a small town in East Lothian, Scotland. It is best known as a haven for golfers, with many famous courses including Muirfield. For this reason, the town has become a popular holiday destination for golf enthusiasts to head to. But there is lots more to Gullane than golf, so we wanted to highlight the best things to do in Gullane for 2023, let's get into the guide:
Getting to Gullane from Edinburgh
How long to spend in Gullane
Places to see and things to do in Gullane
The Main Course
Goose on the Green
The Bonnie Badger
The Old Clubhouse
Getting to Gullane from Edinburgh
If you're travelling from the capital city then you've got a few options, although none of them are particularly convenient. The most popular option would be to take the bus, which as of 2022 should take around 50 minutes. This is because East Coast Buses have reintroduced their X5 express service which goes from Princes Street in Edinburgh all the way to Gullane via the bypass. There is also the 124 bus from East Coast Buses which takes you through Portobello and a few of the other towns in East Lothian, but this takes a little longer at around 90 minutes (although you do get some good views). If you're not keen on getting the bus then you could get the train to North Berwick and then get a taxi from there, which would take about 15 minutes and cost about £10. Lastly, you could get a taxi from Edinburgh to Gullane, however expect that this would cost more than £50.
How long should you spend in Gullane?
Gullane is a small place so you really don't need long to see and do everything, however, if you're playing golf at one of the excellent golf courses in Gullane then an 18-hole round will take up most of the day, and you'll be surprised at how quickly the time passes. We'd recommend 5-7 days if you're coming to play golf, which will also give you time to visit nearby North Berwick (pictured).
The best places to see and things to do in Gullane
Eat at La Potinière
At the edge of the high street, you'll see a small, unassuming little building that looks kind of like a house. Most people could walk past it without even realising what lies within - a fantastic restaurant, and easily one of the best in East Lothian. Run by award-winning chefs Keith Marley and Mary Runciman, the restaurant is small and focuses on simple meals made with locally sourced ingredients. You'll definitely need to book if you want to eat here, which you can do via their website - lapotiniere.co.uk
Take a Super Fry chippy to the beach
The Super Fry in Gullane is a great fish and chip shop that focuses on fresh food and great service. The people that own this chippy also own the restaurant The Main Course which is on the edge of the town. If you're heading to Gullane during the summer months, then it's a great idea to grab a bag of chips and take them down to the beach with you (remembering to bin your packet once you're finished of course). There are lots of great benches at the Gullane beach car park which give you views across the Firth of Forth towards Fife, and we made sure to include a mention of Gullane Beach in our list of the best beaches near Edinburgh.
Grab a cone at Imma's Gelato
If you've already had your dinner and you fancy something lighter and sweeter to take to the beach, you can't go wrong with ice cream from Imma's Gelato. This shop is owned by the same people who own the Super Fry but is a bit more of an upmarket treat. It's authentically Italian gelato and the team behind the counter are really pleasant. Definitely give this place a visit!
Head to The Main Course
The Main Course is definitely one of the nicer restaurants in Gullane, and again it's owned by the same team behind Imma's Gelato next door so it's an authentically Italian establishment. What we love about this restaurant is that the food is great and varied with everything from simple pizzas to slightly fancier pasta dishes, but also it doesn't have a stuffy atmosphere at all. Kids are more than welcome and there is a real buzz, especially at the weekends. Try and grab a booth next to the windows for excellent views across the golf course, and book your table here - themaincoursegullane.co.uk
Grab a cake and a coffee at Goose on the Green
Goose on the Green opened right before the pandemic started so has had a rough couple of years, but the fact that it has remained open is a testament to how great it is. Situated right in the centre of the village, this cafe is a stylish and relaxed place to grab a coffee and some homemade cake. If you're feeling a bit more peckish then you can grab one of their famous cooked breakfasts, definitely one to go for if you've been walking along the beach all morning.
Enjoy a pint at the Bonnie Badger
The Bonnie Badger is a fairly new pub/restaurant that has opened right in the heart of the town, but has already become a firm favourite with locals and tourists. The venue was opened by Tom Kitchin, a well-known Scottish chef. The food is simple and tasty - pub staples like burgers and pies, but all really well-made and delicious. Plus the interior of the pub is really cosy and pays homage to the golfing history of Gullane. You can also book a room to stay overnight here, and the rooms are lovely.
Find out more about The Bonnie Badger here - bonniebadger.com
Stay at The Watchman
The Watchman is a newcomer to Gullane but has quickly established itself as an excellent addition to the town. With 18 bedrooms to choose from and views across the golf courses, this is an excellent place to stay if you're looking to stay right in the centre of Gullane. The food here is also great and there is a nice beer garden to relax in. Book your stay here - watchmanhotel.co.uk
Have an outside drink at The Old Clubhouse
The Old Clubhouse is a Gullane institution and has been open for well over 10 years. It always has a great mix of locals and tourists and there is a real sense of atmosphere there. We're big fans of the outdoor area which is probably the best place in Gullane to sit if you're looking to enjoy a pint outside.
Head to Dirleton (and visit the castle)
Gullane is a great place to visit, but if you're staying for a few days then you might want to head outside the town for a bit. Dirleton is only 10 minutes on the bus and is home to Direlton castle. The oldest parts of the castle date all the way back to the 13th century, but the castle is still in remarkable condition given the age. It is a really impressive building and well worth a visit, plus the surrounding gardens are fantastic to stroll around.
Learn more about the castle here - historicenvironment.scot
Head to North Berwick for the day
If you've got a bit more time and fancy spending a whole day away from Gullane, then North Berwick is an absolute must-see. It's a beautiful little seaside town that is home to a number of interesting landmarks, including The Law hill and The Bass Rock island. Plus you can visit the famous Scottish Seabird Centre (pictured) You can get to North Berwick from Gullane very easily on the bus, it'll take about 20 minutes at most.