25 miles,
40 km
Average time to complete:
3 hours
Route type:
Total elevation:
100 metres


Explore the Firth of Forth coastline just east of Edinburgh on this cycle along the John Muir Way.

Starting at Musselburgh’s Fisherrow Harbour, cross the River Esk and hug the coastline past the ash lagoons with their rich birdlife. Look out for the hundreds of swans that patrol the Forth here too.

Approaching Prestonpans you’ll spot the towering chimney that marks the industrial heritage museum at Prestongrange. After a tour of the free museum, continue along the John Muir Way through Prestonpans. See how many of the Prestonpans murals you can spot on the way.

There’s plenty of history on this route, passing the site of the Battle of Prestonpans and Scotland’s oldest railway, revealed at the 1722 Waggonway Museum.

There are multiple birdwatching opportunities too and the route takes you to a good one at Aberlady Bay Nature Reserve. Retrace your steps from here to return to Fisherrow Harbour.


This route follows the John Muir Way along the coast and is fully waymarked. The coastal terrain means it’s virtually flat. Surfaces are good with a few sections of hard packed dirt track or gravel but mainly tarmac on shared walking/cycle path. There is a short section of main road on the A198 leaving Cockenzie so take care on this stretch. On the approach to Aberlady, follow the lovely wooded footpath adjacent to the road.

Getting There

By rail: There are train stations at Musselburgh, Prestonpans and Longniddry on the Edinburgh line.

By bus: This area is served by the 26 and X5 bus routes between Edinburgh and North Berwick.

By car: There is free parking at Fisherrow Harbour and more options in Musselburgh town.


Plan to make a few stops on this route and not just at the historical sites. There are some great beaches in this area and several small towns and villages where you can stop for a snack. Too tired to pedal all the way back? Hop on the train at Longniddry back to Musselburgh.

For a full listing of businesses and attractions on this route, view it on the Plan Your Trip page.

Points of interest

Fisherrow Harbour

Found on the western approach to Musselburgh this harbour, built from 1850, is still used by pleasure & fishing boats. Walk along the prom or harbour piers and spot wading birds on the shoreline. Public toilets to the west include warm showers.

Visit Website
Musselburgh Ash Lagoons

Great for watching sea ducks and various waders, especially in winter.

Visit Website
Prestongrange Industrial Heritage Museum

Prestongrange is a free museum – managed by East Lothian Council Museums – and an open-air site of major importance in the story of Scotland's Industrial Revolution.

View Business Page
Musselburgh town centre

A strong contender for Scotland's oldest town - explore the harbour, Tolbooth and race course.

Visit Website
1722 Waggonway Museum

Museum dedicated to Scotland's first railway, the 1722 Tranent - Cockenzie Waggonway. Open at weekends only, 12-4pm.

View Business Page
Cockenzie House and Gardens

One of the few remaining unique late 17th century manager’s houses in Scotland. Call in for a well-deserved tea and cake and explore the gardens on your way.

Visit Website
Aberlady Bay Nature Reserve

A nesting site for a wide variety of birds, this local reserve is worth spending time exploring. Over 30,000 pink-footed geese visit in autumn.

Visit Website
55.968016, -2.974863