Wednesday, 23 March 2016

North Berwick: Steam Punk, Westgate Gallery, JPs, beach and more

Today we took the short trip by train to North Berwick for a most pleasurable day with E's cousin, Anne.  It was a day of relaxing in cafes over coffee and cake, time at the playground, wandering around gardens, walking along the beach and catching up with family.  The sun shone on us, we shared lots of laughter, and the food was glorious.

Our first stop was at JPs for a cuppa.  JPs Deli and Cafe is the reincarnation of Bunneys that I wrote about on our last visit to Scotland in 2012.  It was taken over by John Paul McLachlan in 2013 but retains much of the look and quality of Bunneys.  (Though is now a most fetching shade of green inside and out.)  The cheese and onion scone I had was superb.  It was warm and soft and full of flavour.  I had an elderflower presse to drink that was refreshing.  We all had scones except Sylvia who had a chocolate eclair.  It was great to sit and chat.

Next was a visit to the local playground behind the lodge.  Sylvia had great fun on the flying fox and the roundabouts and the swings.  Then we walked around the lodge gardens and were serenaded by the birds in the aviary.

We decided to stop for an early lunch at Steampunk Coffee.  E had spied it up a little lane and we were all mightily impressed.  The cafe is located in an old warehouse.  It has been designed with style and a great attention to detail.  Even the basins in the toilets are a little steampunk.

Upon first entering we were concerned there was only one table.  However then we looked up and found there were many more seats upstairs.

The tables and chairs were all mismatched old tables and chairs, which despite - or possibly because of - their slightly shabby upholstery are just the sort of furniture I wish I had in my home.

I rather liked the look of the salad bar.  Then I saw the impressive savoury muffins.  They were made with sun dried tomatoes, olives, feta, cheddar and possibly something else with lots of seeds on top.  I ordered one with some thai noodle salad and rocket.  The muffins was soft and fresh and filled with flavoursome chunks of vegies and cheese.  The salad was fresh and tasty while the rocket is the pile of greens I was needing.

Everyone else had the grilled cheese sandwich.  (E had rocket with his.)  Sylvia was a bit unimpressed but E and Anne were most impressed.  In fact Anne said it was the best grilled cheese sandwich she had ever had.  She spoke to the chef and we think it was manchego cheese in it.

As well as all the indoor seating, there is plenty of outdoor tables and chairs in the forecourt with a lovely view of the ruined church and graveyard opposite.  You can also see the combie van which visits market with the Steampunk coffee that is roasted and ground at the warehouse.

Then we took at walk down Victoria Road (past Melbourne Place) to the sea.

We walked along the beach.  Sylvia collected shells and made a wee sandcastle.

As we walked we could see The Bass Rock, one of the iconic landmarks of North Berwick.

Closer to the shore are the rocks at the end of the beach where e would play as a boy on his holidays.  Sylvia loved scrambling over the rocks and E showed her the rock formation like a chair.  The tide was quite high so they couldn't run around it as E has on previous visits.

It had been a lovely sunny day but by the time we left the beach it was quite overcast.

BTW I find the houses at the edge of the beach very British because the beaches where I grew up down the Great Ocean Road usually had either cliffs or parks by them and buildings were not visible from the beach.

Then it was time to wander the shops a little.  This picture of Bass Rock was found down a wee close where there were illustrations about Robert Louis Stevenson's time in North Berwick.

One of our favourite shops is the Westgate Galleries.  It is always welcoming and cosy with such beautiful gifts and pictures. 

Today I finally had a chance to eat in the Westgate Galleries at the Orangery cafe when we stopped for afternoon tea.  I had a berry tea and a splendid slice of cranachan cake.  It was a soft sponge cake with generous amounts of raspberry jam and buttercream.  (Coincidentally on my last trip to North Berwick I had cranchan cake!)

While we were there we decided to buy a print from North Berwick.  This town holds a special place for E.  He had many holidays there as a child and continues to visit as an adult when he can.

We took one last walk to the sea on the West Beach and then we took the train home.  It was lovely to be in North Berwick and to have an opportunity to spend time with Anne.  You can read about my previous trips to North Berwick in 2012 and 2009.

JPs Cafe and Deli
96 High Street, North Berwick
01620 890245

Steampunk Coffee
49A Kirkports, North Berwick
01620 893030

The Orangery
Westgate Galleries
39-41 Westgate, North Berwick
01620 894976


  1. Nice looking food and places, you can never go wrong with a bit of a savoury muffin.

    1. Thanks VegHog - I love savoury muffins - wish they were at more cafes

  2. That beach looks lovely for a good windswept walk. I've never yet managed to perfect the savoury muffin, but you've reminded me I need to give them another go! I love a good salad bar - I always end up taking about three times as much food as I need.

    1. Thanks Joey - the salads were not self serve or I probably would have been less restrained :-) But I was glad to see them.

  3. The steampunk café looks very fun.
    And the beach is beautiful!!
    What a lovely trip Johanna! It sounds like you all had a nice time despite the unfortunate circumstances.

    1. It is a beautiful beach and indeed to be able to go to special places helps in a difficult time.

  4. I love the beach scenes and the look and sound of the steampunk cafe. I'm glad you're getting out and about and spending time with family.

    1. Thanks Kari - this is a special place for e's family but he could take credit for discovering the steampunk cafe


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