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Puffin on the west coast

We're staying in Edinburgh during May and want to see puffin.  we don't have time to head north, but i think you can see them on the west coast which we could do in a few days?  any details would be greatly appreciated!


  • VisitScotlandAngelaVisitScotlandAngela Member, Administrator, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    edited January 2017
    Hi @Libbyontour! The great thing is that you don't need to travel too far from Edinburgh to see puffins! The Scottish Seabird Centre at North Berwick is around 25 miles from Edinburgh City Centre and can be easily reached by train or bus.  There are also guided boat trips across to the Isle of May National Nature Reserve to visit the puffins in May. I love puffins too and seeing them is definitely on my to do list  for this year! :)
  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    ..and if you are heading up to the West Coast, do visit the Isle of Staffa to get your puffin fix on top of seeing one of the most unique geological formations in the world. Trips run from Oban & Isle of Mull. Here are a few puffins from our last trip.
    I'm Anirudh, an Indian travel blogger who has explored a lot of Scotland by public transport. My blog. Find me on Facebook | Instagram

    Best of Scotland in 1 week itinerary (fully by public transport)

    My Scotland travels (includes EdinburghSkye, HarrisMullArranOrkneyLoch Lomond, Islay, Oban, DunoonSpeyside)

  • Hello @Libbyontour!

    Fantastic to hear of your interest in spotting some puffins! They are such fine seabirds!!!

    As VisitScotland Angela mentions, Isle of May on the east coast and the colony is one of the largest in Scotland.  Boat trips leave from Anstruther on the East Neuk of Fife from April to October check out their website for more information (search Anstruther Pleasure Cruises) or if you are more of a thrill-seeker, I remember reading that fast ribs leave from Anstruther too, or from North Berwick! It is some sight to see! However, I think I will stick to the more sedate boat trip!

    The experience on the Isle of May is simply unforgettable and the area is teeming with wildlife in the late spring and summer months. When I visited, I observed seals, arctic terns, puffins, gannets, fulmars, kittiwakes, razorbills and guillemots, along with varying gulls and the beautiful oystercatcher. The Isle of May is managed by Scottish Natural Heritage as a National Nature Reserve (NNR) and has a modern and innovative visitor centre, which is really worth seeing! SNH have a fantastic blog on the activities and goings-on on the Isle of May NNR. I would highly suggest a visit to that webpage!

    Please note, especially during the seabird breeding season, take protective measures for for head- i.e. a hat! The birds are on high guard at that time, especially the arctic terns!!!! It is best to wear strong footwear and appropriate clothing, the weather out there can change quickly, even in the summer!

    Other good places on the east coast to spot puffins between April and August would be RSPB Fowlsheugh near Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire and also the Bullers of Buchan cliffs north of Aberdeen and just south of Peterhead! Also, south-east of Edinburgh in Berwickshire, there is St Abbs Head. This is a well-regarded area for its seabirds (maybe not so much puffins) and its natural landscapes! Maybe another name to keep a look-out for! I need to visit this area soon!

    I hope you can get some trips going for your trip later this year! Seeing the diverse range of Scottish wildlife is truly inspiring! :) 

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