Once you’ve immersed yourself in the wealth of sightseeing and dining opportunities, you can then leave Edinburgh via Musselburgh.
Be sure to take in a horse race or two at Musselburgh Racecourse, if only for the spectacle, before joining the coast and its wading wildlife. Much of the shore is designated for its visiting birds, which flock on its sandy beaches and shores to pick up worms, shells or crustaceans amongst the tides. In winter you’ll see Redshanks and Dunlin and the large black-and-white Eider Ducks all-year-round. Eiders are unusual in that they ‘crunch up’ mussel shells (and their soft yummy contents) for an ideal meal. We've not listed any of the delights the city of Edinburgh has to offer, but try browsing the listed websites at the bottom of the page for ideas about which sights to see.
There are some Edinburgh streets to negotiate before you join shared walking/cycling routes for most of the way to Prestonpans. Most of this section is relatively level and follows pavements, smooth tarmac shared use paths and seafront promenade.
There are a few busy road crossings and narrow pavements to negotiate east of the Meadows before the route gets on to off-road shared use paths. After that, apart from the bridge over the railway at Brunstane and a few relatively narrow gaps between bollards or around the ends of barriers, most of this section is fully accessible on foot or bike, or with a horse, wheelchair or buggy.
For detailed information about potential access restrictions along this section, see the Accessibility Storymap.
Short diversion near Musselburgh Ash Lagoons
While works are under way to restore the ash lagoons, there is a 500m diversion between Musselburgh and Prestonpans along the B1348.More Information
By rail: there is an hourly service between Edinburgh Waverley and Prestonpans
By bus: this section of the route is served by the X5 bus route between Edinburgh and North Berwick.
By car: parking in Edinburgh is plentiful but can be expensive. There is a free car park at Prestonpans train station.
Points of interest
The route skirts the foot of this dramatic hill in the heart of the city. Spend the extra hour or two to take in the views of Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth from the summit.
This exquisitely furnished National Trust for Scotland property has hosted many of the key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment. Be sure to visit the enchanting shell grotto nestled in the grounds.Visit Website
Musselburgh Ash Lagoons
Great for watching sea ducks and various waders, especially in winter.
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.
Bawsinch and Duddingston Nature Reserve
Duddingston Loch is the only example of a natural freshwater loch in Edinburgh and is an important site for breeding and wintering wildfowl.
Portobello Community Orchard
The orchard is open to walkers and visitors all year. It is a delightful, sheltered resting spot, nestling by an old stone bridge and filled with 80 fruit trees and some solid picnic tables. There are regular work days and events in the autumn if you'd like to get involved.
Musselburgh town centre
A strong contender for Scotland's oldest town - explore the harbour, Tolbooth and race course.
Explore Musselburgh's local history at the free museum next to the town hall.Visit Website
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
Click on one of the sections below to view more details and plan your trip.