North Berwick to Newcastle

So we still had to get home from Scotland. Instead of driving home ridiculously early as we had on the way up, we opted for a mostly night-time drive home, aiming to drive from Newcastle back to London after the children’s bedtime. But first we had to get to The Toon…

We left Queensferry mid morning in the glorious sunshine for the short, but scenic drive to North Berwick – somewhere I’d never visited and had always wanted to. I wasn’t disappointed – it was absolutely gorgeous and is fast becoming one of my favourite places! It looks quite Mediterranean in the warm sunshine and I was sad we only had time to stay for a few hours.

We packed lots in though – enjoying the brilliant Scottish Seabird Centre which managed to squeeze so much into its tiny frame.  We loved moving the cameras on the outlying islands, to zoom in on nesting birds and to watch the Gannets fly and dive around Bass Rock (even now, a couple of weeks later, Alex loves talking about the Gannets!).  We watched through telescopes and did brass rubbings of various birds.  The children even got to enjoy a mini softplay area.  I was sad that the timings didn’t work out to go on a boat trip.  I’d highly recommend a visit if you are passing through.

We couldn’t stay inside on such a stunning day though – so we found a nice spot on the harbour and enjoyed a picnic.  It was so colourful and bustling.

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We didn’t stay put for long though – not when there were lots of rocks to climb!

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Here’s Bass Rock – coloured white by all the bird droppings!  You can’t really see in the picture, but gannets were literally swarming around the tiny island.  North Berwick really was beautiful – and I absolutely have to go back, not least because I frustratingly found myself without a penny of cash on me to enable me to sample the scrummy foot at the Lobster Shack in the Harbour.  Already looking forward to that!

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Here’s we are standing by the lido – next time we’ll bring swimming costumes (although I’ll be amazed if we get so lucky with the weather next time we’re there!)

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All too soon, it was Sophie’s nap time – and that cued the next bit of the drive.  So we jumped back into the car and headed for Newcastle, admire the stunning coastline as we went.  It was funny passing St Abb’s Head – the site of a University of Warwick diving trip from 15 years ago where Matt and I first became friends.  I can’t imagine what I’d thought if you told me I’d next pass by over a decade later, married to Matt and with two children in the back of the car!

We had planned to visit our friend Tracy in Newcastle, but as we arrived in the city we received the sad news that she was sick – so we made a detour to the brilliant Baltic Arts Centre (and made a note that we have another reason to visit the North East again as we simply have to meet her puppy and bunny rabbits!).

It just so happened that there was a big CBBC festival going on there, so there was lots to see.  Alex got to share a lift with the Cookie Monster, and make some artistic suggestions to a cartoonist working on a massive dragon cartoon around the building!  We whiled away an hour in the workshop space, decorating parrots in the pirate themed corner, learning about the human body from the BBC Horrible Histories team and doing a great treasure hunt around the gallery.

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After a delicious pizza dinner in the city, we got the children into their PJs in the car park and hit the road South!  Super Matt drove the entire way home, and we were all tucked up in bed by 1.30am.  Exhausting – but a fabulous day!

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