How Did North Berwick Become the Best Place to Live in Scotland?

North Berwick | © Graeme Maclean / Flickr
North Berwick | © Graeme Maclean / Flickr
Photo of Deborah Chu
26 November 2017

Gorgeous coastlines, a thriving community, incredible seafood…but the residents of North Berwick have long known what the rest of us now do, which is that their small seaside home is one of the best places to live in the UK. Read on and discover the special charm of this special Scottish town.

The Good Place

So what factors determine where is the “best” place to live, exactly? According to The Sunday Times, their report took into consideration everything from the range of housing, broadband speed and exam results, to the quality of the coffee and whether the post office is still open. This year, North Berwick topped the board in Scotland for all these categories, with judges especially lauding the town’s community spirit and vibrant high street.

North Berwick | © Tess Watson / Flickr

In a surprising twist, the judges also particularly singled out another winning element in their final ruling: the beloved North Berwick institution, The Lobster Shack. Don’t be fooled by this innocuous little hut on the harbour – The Lobster Shack has been selling scrumptious fish and chips alongside local fisherman Jack Dale’s fresh catches for many years. Serving up deliciously juicy mussels and their signature half-lobster with chips, queues stretch all the way down the harbourside for good reason.

Local Lobster | © Karl Magnuson / Unsplash

The Best of Both Worlds

Though a mere half an hour train journey from Edinburgh, North Berwick’s 7,000 residents relish their town’s tightly-knit community vibe, whilst also reaping the advantages of their close proximity to the metropolis. As such, North Berwick has become a popular choice for commuters who make their daily bread in Scotland’s capital, but wish to lay their head away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

North Berwick | © lynjardine / Flickr

North Berwick is also particularly attractive to avid outdoorsy people, who are drawn to the town’s gorgeous coastline and wildlife-rich waters, and savour the opportunity to go sailing or rowing on fine days. Likewise, a hike up the statuesque North Berwick Law overlooking the town offers magnificent views of Bass Rock, as well as towards Edinburgh and the Pentlands.

Bass Rock | © Magnus Hagdorn / Flickr

It Takes a Village

The natural beauty of North Berwick’s surroundings has also instilled a deep strain of environmental activism and wildlife conservation in the community. At the tip of North Berwick’s peninsula is the famous Scottish Seabird Centre, a place where researchers and families alike can study and learn about the local gannet and puffin population in a non-invasive way. Drawn together by their love for home and environment, North Berwick’s residents also maintain the Coastal Communities Museum, an entirely volunteer-run institution which highlights the unique importance of seaside towns in British history. North Berwick is also the headquarters of FIDRA, a vital charity that actively works to end the use of polluting microplastics on a local and international level.

Crowded Rock, North Berwick | © Magnus Hagdorn / Flickr

And so, whilst many people hold their homes near and dear to their hearts, North Berwick’s gorgeous scenery, community spirit and environmental activism has made this small seaside town stand out from all the rest. Sounds like heaven on earth indeed.

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