Jun 142024

Milsey Bay Beach, Melbourne Rd, North Berwick EH39 4LB 

Tan sand, blue bay, light blue sky with clouds in the distance.
North Berwick Tidal Pool ©Ian Capper

When you stand in North Berwick, there’s coastal history to be seen all around you. If you look out to sea, Bass Rock is visible in the distance. It’s home to a large colony of gannets and often appears nearly white from the sheer plumage of birds! Fidra island is also viewable which is rumoured to have been Robert Louis Stevenson’s inspiration for Treasure Island.  

Large rock surrounded by ocean and set against sunset in the sky.
Bass Rock ©Visit Scotland

Just below the Scottish Seabird Centre you’ll see a small harbour. The dingy park here was once an outdoor swimming pool. From 1900, swimming galas would draw big crowds and over the years the pool was improved with diving boards, changing rooms and even heated water. As holidays abroad became more affordable, North Berwick’s popularity as a tourist destination declined. The pool fell into disuse as the closure of the power station in 1978 removed what little heat there was for the water, and it eventually closed in 1995.  

Old-time photo of a pool with people swimming.
North Berwick Outdoor Pool ©East Lothian Council Museums Services 
Modern photo of pool with people swimming, coastline in the background.
Postcard of North Berwick Outdoor Pool ©Memories of North Berwick Outdoor Pool

North Berwick still has a swimming spot though. If you’re at Milsey Bay for low tide, you’ll see a low sturdy wall revealed on the shore. This boundaried tidal pool fills at high tide and ensures a regular supply of fresh seawater. It was built in the 1930s to provide a shallow swimming area for children to paddle and play safely. Plan your visit around the tide, but if you have to wait, there’s plenty to do. Boat trips, ice cream or hike North Berwick Law where you’ll get an even better view of these cherished landmarks from the summit!  


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