5 Museums to Visit in East Lothian

September 26th, 2018

east lothian museums to visit

Photo: Coastal Communities Museum / Facebook


There are lots of things we love about living and working in East Lothian, and one of those things is the rich heritage and history we have here. Whether you’re an East Lothian native or just visiting, these museums are all fascinating and well worth a visit to find out more about the area.

Perfect for an autumn day out with the family, here are seven of our favourite museums in East Lothian.

Musselburgh Museum

Let’s start with the Musselburgh Museum, which is just a 10 minute walk from Eskmills. The museum is full of exhibits exploring the history of the “Honest Toun”, all the way from earliest times, through its Roman settlement and medieval upheaval to its former valuable industrial mill complex and thriving agricultural, mining and fishing communities.

The museum has a programme of changing displays and exhibitions, plus there are activities for children, so there’s always something new to see. The Musselburgh Museum is free to enter and it’s open Thursday to Saturday 10.30am to 4.30pm between Easter and October.

Visit: 65 High Street, Musselburgh, EH21 7BA – musselburghmuseum.org.uk

Coastal Communities Museum

Located in North Berwick, the Coastal Communities Museum focuses on the fascinating history of East Lothian’s coastal areas. There are over 10,000 years of local history and culture to discover, including objects which date back as far as 3,000 years – as well as more modern artefacts you might remember from your childhood if you grew up by the sea.

Two special features for 2018 include an exhibition on medieval pilgrimages, and one commemorating the First World War and the contributions of local men and women. Admission is free and the museum is open at weekends from April to November. It’s also open Wednesday-Sunday in April, July and August.

Visit: School Road, North Berwick, EH39 4JU – coastalmuseum.org

Dunbar Town House Museum & Gallery

With its distinctive witch’s hat tower and its bell, clock and sun dials, the Town House has been the focus of town life since the 16th century. The building is home to a museum and gallery on the ground floor with changing historical and art exhibitions as well as a local history display area and research room managed by Dunbar and District History Society.

Visitors can see the historic Council Chamber and an atmospheric jail cell during a tour of the Town House. The museum is free to enter, and it’s open every day, 1pm to 5pm between April and September, and is open at weekends October to March, 2pm to 4pm.

Visit: Dunbar Town House Museum and Gallery, High Street, Dunbar, EH42 1ER

National Museum of Flight

The National Museum of Flight is Scotland’s national aviation museum, located at East Fortune Airfield, half way between Haddington and North Berwick. A great day out for the family, there’s lots to see and do, including getting up close with Concorde, exploring the hangars and interactive gallery, and stepping into a cockpit for a 360 degree view.

There are often special events at the National Museum of Flight, so keep an eye out for those too. Admission is £12 for adults and £7 for children, and between March and October the museum is open every day from 10am to 5pm. During winter, it’s open at weekends only from 10am to 4pm.

Visit: East Fortune Airfield, East Lothian, EH39 5LF – nms.ac.uk/national-museum-of-flight

Prestongrange Museum

For over 400 years Prestongrange was a focus of industry. A harbour, glass works, pottery, colliery and brickworks have all left their marks on the landscape including winding gear, a vast brick kiln and a Cornish beam engine. Surrounded by woodland the site is now a haven for wildlife where you can explore these monumental relics of Scotland’s industrial heritage.

The grounds are open all year round, and the museum, visitor centre and cafe are open between April and September everyday from 11.30am to 4.30pm.

Visit: Morrison’s Haven, Prestonpans, EH32 9RX