East Lothian
Dirleton-Gullane Area
Getting to RAF Drem - Map
From Edinburgh, the west and north
From the south
Public Transport

East Lothian

Renowned originally for its vast expanses of arable farmland, East Lothian is better known nowadays for its golf courses, some of which have held world-class championships. Lying immediately to the east of Scotland's capital city of Edinburgh, the county has a wealth of history to its merit. Traprain Law is a lump in the landscape upon which ancient settlements and fortifications were built. Likewise, North Berwick Law on the coast which has been a lookout point throughout the centuries, with substantial remains of a Napoleonic period outpost as well as a World War Two bunker. Three early castles remain near the east coast of the county - Tantallon, Dirleton and Hailes, all rich with atmosphere, each preserved and open to the public.

During World War Two, the coast of East Lothian was heavily used for training. In the work-up prior to the D-Day Landings, the beaches and dunes were practice areas for Combined Operations work. Certain parts were target areas for Mosquitos, Beaufighters and other ground-attack aircraft, flying from RAF East Fortune and RAF Leuchars (across the Firth of Forth, in the county of Fife).

Dirleton - Gullane Area

The nearest villages to RAF Drem are those of Gullane and Dirleton, both of which have grown slightly in size from their World War Two days, but still manage to retain something of their original identity and atmosphere. There is a growing indication however, that new inhabitants are coming from outside the area - a trend caused by the age of the "city commuter". Edinburgh is less than one hour away by car. Fortunately, many individuals and groups have realised that East Lothian's "living memory" will not be living forever, and have taken steps to note down and preserve it. Such is the case with RAF Drem and the surrounding area. Those who lived through Drem's wartime years are few now, and therefore it is so important to secure the memories for the future. The author of these lines learned from a previous inhabitant of his cottage in Dirleton, that it was almost burned to the ground by a German incendiary bomb which blazed at the back door. He has also found spent .303 cases in the garden, with rusty remains of links attached - relics of overhead aerial battles.

A top secret radar station was located near Dirleton, just a mile north of the airfield. The old buildings remain, now converted to a dwelling house. Few looking at it would realise that this was a highly restricted establishment sixty-odd years ago. The only hints to its original purpose are the dispersed air raid shelters.


The RAF station took its last name from the small village to the south, the main feature being its railway station and junction. This was a "request stop" on the east coast mainline and would have been the entry and exit point for airmen and women posted to RAF Drem throughout the war.

Getting to RAF Drem

East Lothian - City of Edinburgh a few miles to the west,
approximately 40 miles north of the English border, and on the coast of the Firth of Forth/North Sea.

From Edinburgh, the North or West:
By car, drive down the A1 south towards Berwick-Upon-Tweed. Approximately 10 miles from Edinburgh, take the exit for the B6363 and B1377 to Longniddry/North Berwick (follow signs for Seabird Centre). Drem is 10 miles away at this point. Continue towards North Berwick, passing through the village of Longniddry and then the small village of Drem. The old hangars of RAF Drem will now be seen straight ahead. The retail village at Fenton Barns lies one mile past Drem, to the right of the road (signposted). Follow yellow internal signs to Arts & Crafts Gallery.

From the South:
By car, drive up the A1 and exit after Dunbar, onto the old A1 which runs parallel to the new (signposted to North Berwick). After about three miles, turn right onto the B1347 (towards North Berwick). Pass Museum of Flight entrance after two miles and turn left at T-junction. Follow road down hill, and turn left directly after passing under railway, on B1377. At Drem village, turn right at junction onto B1345. Follow directions from this point, as from Edinburgh.

Public Transport:
Travel by bus or train, at present, involves a walk of about one mile to reach Fenton Barns Retail Village. It is hoped that a bus service will be introduced to resolve this inconvenience. From Edinburgh the North Berwick train stops at Drem Station (services hourly, travel time 30 minutes). Buses from Edinburgh are also each hour (travel time 1 hour), the nearest stop being at Dirleton.

For Multimap navigation, enter postcode "EH39 5BW"

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