Mon 25 May 2015
Last week, the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick invited me to Puffin Fest. The centre is about 45 minutes drive from Edinburgh. So I went along with my husband, two year old daughter and baby son for a visit to the Discovery Centre and a boat trip on the Puffin Express.
We arrived by car on a gorgeous sunny Saturday afternoon. We went straight to the Seabird Centre pay and display car park. It took about 15 minutes to get a space because it was so busy, but thankfully we got one in the end. As we walked to the centre, we noticed several free car parks, so next time we will try them first. However, they looked very busy too.
The Seabird Centre is in a beautiful location next to the beach. When we arrived we went to the cafe for lunch and sat outside in the sunshine, looking out to sea. We had a lovely view and my daughter loved looking out at the boats on the water. There was a children’s entertainer wondering around the cafe making balloon animals for the kids. She was great fun and made a pink puffin for my daughter, which she loved.
After lunch we headed to the Discovery Centre, which is the exhibition part of the Seabird Centre. There were displays giving information about seabirds and wildlife in the area, interactive live cameras on the nearby islands, nature films and events. There were activities set out for the children, and my daughter got to see some sea creatures close up including a starfish. She was a bit too nervous to touch them, but some of the older children were allowed to hold them. There was also a viewing deck with telescopes looking out to the islands. We spent about an hour looking around the centre and we all really enjoyed the exhibits and activities.
Finally it was time to climb aboard the Puffin Express for a bit of puffin-spotting. Thousands of puffins nest on the local islands during the month of May. The boat trip lasted about 30 minutes and took us out to the island of Craigleith, where we were lucky enough to spot lots of lovely puffins on the sea, in the air and nesting on the tops of the rocks.
We also saw a seal, which was very exciting, and many seagulls, guillemots, cormorants, gannets and other species of bird. I had never seen a puffin before and was amazed how close we got to them. There was a very knowledgeable guide on board to point out the wildlife and teach us some interesting facts.
I would definitely recommend a visit to the Scottish Seabird Centre and especially one of the boat trips, which was the the highlight of the day for us all (except my baby boy who slept through the whole thing!). Although the Puffin Express only sails during Puffin Fest in May, the centre runs other boat trips from April to October, subject to weather conditions.
Scottish Seabird Centre, The Harbour, North Berwick, EH39 4SS