top of page

Bird Spotting With The Scottish Seabird Centre

Updated: Mar 11, 2023

You don't have to travel far in Scotland to enjoy the beautiful scenery and spot some wonderful wildlife. Recently we enjoyed a catamaran cruise from the coastal town of North Berwick around the islands of Craigleith and Bass Rock, located in the Firth of Forth. Looking for a fun day out for all the family? This will inspire the young through to the more mature members of the family, with interactive displays inside the centre, to the exciting wildlife spotting opportunities.

View of the beach, sea and local houses.
North Berwick Beach ©MDHarding

Bird Spotting With The Scottish Seabird Centre

Reaching North Berwick

North Berwick is easily reached by car, bus and train from Edinburgh. We took the train from Edinburgh Waverley taking only 30 minutes. It is a relaxing journey, with no stress of trying to find a car parking space. Time to sit back and enjoy the passing scenes of the Scottish countryside before the short walk to the Scottish Seabird Centre. The best-value train ticket to purchase is called a cheap day return. This must be purchased before boarding the train for travel anytime after 10am (during the week). Don't worry about your return, there are no restrictions on your return time from North Berwick. The train departs for North Berwick every 30 minutes from Edinburgh but returns only every hour. There is a cosy waiting room at North Berwick train station but don't be caught short, as there is no bathroom!

Colourful purple flowers with the welcome to North Berwick sign.
Arriving At North Berwick Train Station ©MDHarding

About The Scottish Seabird Centre

The Scottish Seabird Centre is a 5-star attraction since opening in 2000 and has won over 25 awards for sustainability, quality, innovation and customer service. The charity is dedicated to inspiring people to care for wildlife and the natural environment. The centre has large interactive displays, a cafe and a gift shop.

One of its most famous visitors has been Sir David Attenborough when filming a new wildlife programme for Sky's 3D.

The beach, sea and the Scottish Seabird Centre sitting on a piece of land jutting out to sea.
The Scottish Seabird Centre ©MDHarding

Catamaran Cruise

The catamaran cruise departs from North Berwick sailing around Craigleith and Bass Rock with the world's largest colony of northern gannets. Bass Rock was voted BBC Countryfile Magazine's Nature Reserve of the Year in 2014/15 & 2015/16. The total duration is 1 hour.

The catamaran carries up to 55 passengers, is partially open to see the incredible wildlife and there are toilets on-board.

Looking out of the boat onto the Craigleith's cliff's covered in birds.
On-board the Seabird Catamaran Cruise ©MDHarding


Craigleith one of the small islands standing at 24 metres at its highest point, located in the Firth of Forth used to be home to one of the largest colonies of puffins. In 1999 numbers crashed due to an aggressive alien plant species. Today the puffins are back at home and it was fun seeing the comical little birds. You can also see seals, cormorants, shags and more!

Solo puffin swimming in the sea.
Puffin Swimming Solo ©MDHarding

Bass Rock

Discover Bass Rock's historical past and how there was once a prison! Today it is home to the largest colony of gannets. The sight is spectacular and it has a smell that stays with you.

Reminds me of the pungent smell on one of the Galapagos Islands. Did you know that you can also book a boat trip with a Bass Rock landing?

A section of Bass Rock with it's prison walls and lighthouse covered in birds.
Bass Rock Lighthouse & Remaining Prison Walls ©MDHarding


The Scottish weather can be very unpredictable but no matter what the weather, this trip is a lot of fun and the information from the guide is really interesting and informative.

The sea with just a glimpse of Bass Rock in the distance surrounded with sea fog.
Bass Rock with Looming Haar ©MDHarding


North Berwick and the surrounding area is great for exploring with a variety of walks including North Berwick Law, boat trips and a ferry to Anstruther on the Fife coast. With so much to see and do, what about a stop-and-stay/weekend away? Pre-book your accommodation in advance to avoid any disappointment.

If you are planning on visiting Tantallon Castle and more Historic Scotland attractions, don't forget to purchase your Explorer Pass. It's great value!

On top of North Berwick Law, with it's whale bone arch, looking out to sea.
North Berwick Law ©MDHarding

I hope you enjoyed reading it and if you did, don't forget to share! I'm sure your friends and family would enjoy it too. As always, I would love to hear from you. Please email any comments/questions to or message me via Facebook or Twitter. Happy Travels:) x

Many thanks to the Scottish Seabird Centre

P.S. I have published a children's colouring book - Birds Around The World. It not only has pictures to colour in but information about each bird, from the giant of the sky to the world's smallest bird.

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page