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Dunbar Visitor Guide

Lauderdale House in Dunbar

The East Lothian region of Scotland, located close to Edinburgh, extends from the southern edge of the Firth of Forth to the boundaries of the Scottish Borders. Dunbar located about 30 miles east of Edinburgh is a lovely little seaside town and is considered to be the gateway to East Lothian. The town has everything you would expect from a coastal town - rugged coastline, beautiful landscapes, a number of historic buildings, shopping and other leisure activities. But it is most popular for its connection to John Muir, the explorer naturalist and the 'Father of the National Parks'. John Muir was born in Dunbar and emigrated to the USA in the 1840s. He is credited with founding the national park movement as he was the one who convinced the President of the USA of the importance of conservation of nature and the setting up of National Parks.

John Muir's childhood home is today a small museum dedicated to his life and work as a conservationist, explorer and geologist. The museum includes interactive displays, a small exhibition and a gift shop.

John Muir's Birthplace

The other museum in the town is the Dunbar Town House Museum and Gallery where you can learn about the town's past and present via a gallery with changing historical and art exhibitions. The townhouse building itself is a beautiful building with a distinctive witch's hat tower. Admission is free at both the museums.

Dunbar Town House Museum and Gallery

John Muir statue outside Dunbar Town House Museum and Gallery

Other notable buildings in the town include the Abbey Free Church, the Chapel tower, the Parish church and Lauderdale House. Lauderdale House was built in 1740 for Captain James Fall a local MP and then was sold to the 8th Earl of Lauderdale who had some remodelling done. The house was also used as a military headquarters (army barracks) sometime in the 18th century and finally came into the hands of the local council and is today used as private flats.

Lauderdale House

Offering a combination of history and a stunning natural setting is the Dunbar Castle or rather the remnants of the fortress that once guarded the coastal town. The castle ruins today serve as a reminder of the violent times that the town went through.

Dunbar Castle

Dunbar Castle

A 2-mile trail from the castle leads to John Muir Country Park. The park stretching from Belhaven to Tyninghame is home to a wide variety of insects and birds. Dunbar has two promenades which are a part of the John Muir Way and provide an excellent viewpoint of Dunbar's coastline.

John Muir Country Park

John Muir Country Park

John Muir Country Park

John Muir Country Park

John Muir Country Park

John Muir Country Park

John Muir Country Park

John Muir Country Park

John Muir Country Park

For those into sports Dunbar has two golf courses and also offers local facilities for scuba diving, surfing, wind boarding, tennis and squash. Dunbar leisure pool with many exciting water features, a beach area, a wave machine etc. is ideal for the entire family. There are a number of sandy beaches nearby with Belhaven Bay being one of the most popular ones due to its glorious, extensive beach.

Dunbar is a lovely little town which could make an ideal base if you are interested in exploring the East Lothian coastline or even if you are planning to explore Edinburgh. Those interested in birdwatching, water sports and nature walks will also find Dunbar equally well-suited for their needs. Or you could simply visit Dunbar to enjoy its relaxing and laidback vibe.

Dunbar Community Bakery

Other places of interest in the East Lothian region include - Musselburgh Museum, Inveresk Lodge Garden, Prestongrange Museum, Glenkinchie Distillery, Scottish Seabird Centre, Dirleton Castle & Gardens, Tantallon Castle, Foxlake Adventures (UK's only ropes course over water), Preston Mill and the National Museum of Flight.

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