East Lothian u3a has more than 50 learning and leisure groups catering for a wide range of interests. Members are free to join as many groups as they wish. Groups are usually held in the daytime. Meetings take place weekly, fortnightly or monthly at venues agreed by the members. Excursions may be organised by some groups. Click on the titles below to see more details. A timetable of the various group meetings can be seen here. (The individual group pages with extra information including contact details for the Leaders are only accessible to logged-in members. )
Arts & Crafts
For anyone with an interest in resuming drawing or perhaps trying out some different techniques using a variety of pencils and other media. Basic drawing materials will be required. Although these will not be teaching sessions, much can be learned with regular practice and by sharing ideas and experience with each other. Meets monthly on 1st Wednesday, 1:30-3:30 in members’ homes on a rota basis.
Members share their interest in needle and craft work and are hopeful of attracting members with new skills to share with us. Before Christmas we tend to concentrate on making cards, small gifts and some decorations. We would also encourage anyone who has a skill to come and demonstrate this to us. Meets Thursdays 2.00 – 4.00 October – March in Longniddry Community Centre.
This group is for people of all abilities who are interested in photography to simply get out there with your camera in the safety of a group environment. It will be an opportunity to learn from each other as we go and take pictures that we are proud of. Locations will be in East Lothian but may on occasion go further afield (e.g Edinburgh, The Botanic Gardens etc). Meets the second Wednesday of every month.
If you have played Bridge for years or have been attending lessons for beginners and are ready to move on, this may be the group for you. We attempt to improve our bidding and play in a relaxed atmosphere by using a variety of hand evaluation methods and improving our knowledge of playing techniques. This is a fun group for folk who want to play better Bridge. New members welcome. Meets weekly, Thursdays 2.00 – 4.00 in Nungate and Haddington Community Centre, Haddington.
Come and enjoy this ancient game. Meets first Friday of the month 10.30 – 12.30 in Members’ homes.
Members meet together, currently in each other’s homes to socialise and enjoy learning and playing “modern” games which have emerged from the recent renaissance in board gaming.
These modern games (sometimes called “Euro games”), are competitive but not aggressive; you don’t win by attacking other players and there is no player elimination. You often have to influence the others by trading or even working together. Most games last from 30 to 90 minutes.
They typically require more thought and planning than party games, such as Pictionary or Trivial Pursuit or pub games like dominoes and cribbage, but are less intense than classic strategy games, such as chess and Go. This allows for relaxed and friendly socialising whilst enjoying time together and stretching our minds a bit. Having fun is the goal rather than winning.
Meets weekly: Friday mornings in members’ homes.
Meets first Monday of every month 2.00 – 4.00 in members’ homes.
At present, we have professional input on alternate weeks and use the intervening weeks for practice under the guidance of the more competent members of the group. To date we have danced rumba, waltz and quickstep and are going to tackle the foxtrot, jive and tango as well as improving our skills in all the dances. There is currently a waiting list for ladies, but men are very welcome! “Strictly Come Dancing” we are not but who knows – watch this space! Meets weekly, Thursdays 10.30 – 12.00 in the Golf Club,Haddington.
This group meets during the winter months. The classes are weekly on Tuesday mornings at the Bridge Centre, Poldrate, Haddington. There are 10 classes before Christmas and 10 classes after Christmas. We will be starting again on 1st October 2019. We recently adjusted our times, and now start at 11.15 a.m. and finish at 12.45 a.m. We have been in existence for over 12 years, and our members range from beginners to experienced dancers. Our classes consist of warm up exercises, couple and set ceilidh dances, and simple jigs and reels. Our aim is to give people enough confidence to join in social dances, weddings, etc., and to help people to enjoy the exercise, company and music. If you think that you would like to join this lively group, please turn up at a class with soft, comfortable shoes and a drink of water. You could give the class a try and then decide if you wish to become a member. Meets weekly, Mondays 1.00 – 3.00 in the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Alistair Grant Hall).
Wide and varied repertoire of dances, old and new, to music from around the world. No partners or experience needed. Limited places available. Meets weekly, Thursday, 1.30 – 3.00 p.m. in the Alistair Grant Hall at the Bridge Centre, Haddington.
This Group meets on every second Friday throughout the year, on alternate weeks from the Simply Strollers Group. Walks start at 10am and are between 5 and 7 miles with some flexibility. There is a short stop around midway. The walks start from a range of locations, usually within one hour’s drive from Haddington. The Group is managed by a small planning team. All members are encouraged to participate by leading walks and suggesting suitable places for a coffee or lunch at the end of the walk. We do not organise transport but encourage members to share cars where possible. Well behaved dogs with responsible owners are welcome – where there is a requirement for dogs to be on a lead this must be observed. Meets alternate Fridays throughout the year.
Meets every Wednesday afternoon at 2.0 p.m. throughout the year except on Christmas day at the Petanque Terrain next to Lady Kitty’s Garden, Church Street, Haddington.
The strolls start at different locations, within a 40 minutes drive of Haddington and are led by one or two members. We meet fortnightly on Friday mornings at 10.15 for a 10.30 start. We meet on alternate weeks from the Intermediate Walking group. Strolls are easy, along flat terrain, between 2 and 3 miles in length and can be through woods, along the coast and our many lovely beaches, through a village or most often a combination of these. We take our time to enjoy the land and seascapes and each other’s company and pride ourselves as being a friendly and sociable group. Meets fortnightly, Fridays, 10.15 for 10.30 start (Alternate weeks from ‘Intermediate Walking’).
Click here for Group page The group was founded in 1999 and currently numbers around 50 members. Walks are led by group members and are always very sociable occasions, with an average turnout of about 18. They take place throughout the year except for a break over Christmas/new year. Walks are usually between 8 and 10 miles, moderately demanding, sometimes including steep gradients, and with stops for coffee and lunch. Walkers normally assemble in time to leave Haddington at 9 am, and share transport to the starting point. We encourage all members to devise and lead a walk (or walks) during the year. A small committee looks after the common interests of the group and collates the programmes.
Meets weekly, Wednesdays.
Our programme of monthly talks and visits reflects the interests of the group. Information about our meetings until June 2020 are on our group page.
The Beginners’ Italian Group has restarted. It is aimed at members who have little or no Italian and would like to order a beer, wine or coffee, or even ask directions when they go to Italy on holiday. New members welcome.
Log in and Click the Group page link for contact details.
For those who have some experience in speaking French, but who lack practice. The aim is to encourage each other to become more fluent for holidays and leisure, by conversation on a different topic each week (chosen in advance to allow for – optional – preparation). Meets Thursdays, fortnightly – 10.30-12.00 in members’ homes.
The group is using a course guide ‘Facon de Parler’ and is led by a tutor who is fluent and has teaching experience. No one in the group is a complete beginner but we all lack conversational skills. We are enjoying very good progress and the atmosphere in the group although earnest is relaxed and can be quite light-hearted on occasions. Meets Tuesdays – Weekly – 10.00 am – 12.00 in East Linton.
We are meeting as a small informal group with the aim of developing our learning and our conversational skills in the language. New members are very welcome to join us from complete beginners to those who may have some fluency in the language. We individually supplement our learning using online resources or by attending formal classes. Meets: Weekly on a Friday morning at 11 a.m. in a quiet cafe setting.
Concentrating on listening and speaking skills, the group’s aim is to build up confidence in communication. Varied methods are used to increase members’ knowledge of vocabulary and structures. Meets fortnightly, Mondays 10.00 – 11.30 in Haddington.
Due to COVID 19 the classes have been suspended since March 2020. When circumstances permit a re-start, I propose to re-organize the groups Beginners and Intermediate Italian depending on the response from prospective members. The classes are expected to be every 2 weeks, at a time and day to be agreed, and held in members’ homes. Each group will be a maximum of 5 people plus me as leader, as this has been seen to be the optimum size for most people’s homes and for group learning.
If you are interested in joining one of the groups, please apply to me giving your availability day/time, please be as flexible as possible to enable a consensus. The sessions are about 90 to 120 minutes long and can be a.m. or p.m. Each group will be established based on the numbers responding. Before starting the course, I will convene a group meeting to discuss syllabus and content with the members. I look forward to hearing from you hoping that we will be able to re-commence sessions in September.
Click the Group page link for contact details.
The aim is to provide members with the basic communication skills for simple conversations in e.g. holiday situations. Good pronunciation and fluency take precedence over grammatical accuracy. New members are welcome, but some previous knowledge of Italian is necessary. We have no teacher, but use CDs and varied passages for translation, with members contributing accounts of their experiences. Meets 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month 2.00 – 4.00 in the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Upper Hall).
This group provides members, who should already have a basic grasp of spoken Spanish, the opportunity to practice their conversational skills and extend their vocabulary. New members are welcome. Meets fortnightly, Tuesdays 2.00 – 4.00 in members’ homes.
Bookworms selects a reading programme drawn from a wide range of books and literature, which are arranged in three categories: Modern Fiction, Classic Fiction and Non Fiction. We read and discuss one book a month, members taking it in turn to introduce a book. Meets monthly, except August & December, Tuesdays 10.30 a.m. – 12 noon currently in The Waterside Bistro in Haddington..
Two books supplied each month by East Lothian Library. One book is selected for reading and discussion and members take it in turn to lead discussions. We meet in members homes on a rota basis. Meets monthly on the third Tuesday 2.30 – 4.00 p.m.
Members read and discuss a wide range of literary novels published mainly, though not exclusively, in the last twenty years. Books are chosen with the aim of stimulating thought and debate as well as entertainment. The group reads and discusses one book a month. Meets monthly, last Tuesdays 2.00 – 4.00, September – May in Haddington.
This group has been running for 2 years and our numbers have expanded to a maximum of 11 members. During the autumn we are reading plays by Alan Ayckbourn, Brian Friel, Richard Sheridan and Dylan Thomas. Meets fortnightly, Thursdays, 2.00 – 4.00. The meetings are usually held in a member’s house in Haddington, with some visits to other members’ homes from time to time.
Mind and Body
“Circle Dance fosters a spirit of inner calm, friendship and harmony, as all the dancers move in unison – each dependent on another”; “Circle Dance; music and rhythm, folk dances, exercise, co-ordination, meditation, togetherness”; “Good exercise but low impact”; “Gives me dance steps that allow me to move to familiar songs and to new rhythms”; “Eclectic music reminds us of our holidays abroad”; “I find it therapeutic”; “I go into a mindfulness zone”. Meets weekly, Thursday afternoon, 1.30 – 3.00 p.m. in the Alistair Grant Hall at the Bridge Centre, Haddington.
Our group looks at the practices in the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course, introduced 40 years ago by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine, to deal with pain relief. The varied techniques are based on Buddhist meditations but are in no way religious; the neuroscience coming out recently shows the benefits of rewiring the brain – increased immunity, decreased tension, even anti-aging! Meets Monday afternoons in the Bleachingfield Centre, Dunbar.
Advanced class and not suitable for beginners. We practise the Yang style short and long forms, and various qigong sets. Meets Thursdays 10.00 – 12.00 in the Alister Grant Hall, Bridge Centre, Haddington.
The aim of this group is to explore ‘classical music’ in a variety of ways and enjoy, as a group, both listening to, and watching performances of, selected pieces of music using audio CD, video DVD disks and other formats. Our programme for the year follows an agreed theme and each piece is chosen to illustrate a particular aspect, with suitable introductions and group discussions. If you just wish to sit back and enjoy a classical music performance and, perhaps, learn something about the piece, or its composer, you will be most welcome – we are a friendly group with a good sense of camaraderie! Taking part in this group doesn’t require any particular musical skills or knowledge as we try to avoid the un-necessary use of ‘theoretical language’. You may already have some knowledge of classical music and, if you would be happy to share this with like-minded people, you will be encouraged to do so, as everyone will benefit. Our meetings are held in the Pool Room at the Bridge Centre, Haddington. Meets monthly from October – June, at 2.00 on the first Friday of each month, except in January when the meeting is on the last Friday of the month: we have an extra meeting on the last Friday of May.
This group plays and sings folk music from Scotland and around the world. If you would like to have some relaxing fun creating music with others on your flute, fiddle, whistle, guitar, concertina, clarsach, bodhran, chanter, etc. or with your voice, (or just come and listen), then phone Robert. Meets second and fourth Thursdays of the month, in 2017 starting 12th October, 2.00 – 4.00 (with tea-break) in the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Upper hall).
The Jazz group is studying the history of this important music, from its roots in the fields and towns of the Southern states of North America, with its early prominence based in New Orleans, up to the present day. It is hoped to cover all aspects from ragtime, the swing era, bebop, the Avant Garde and the improvised music of today. It will pose the question ‘What is Jazz?’ which has been asked ever since the music left New Orleans and will explore the highways and byways en route with interesting diversions and amusements, all with good music and discussion and with enough variety to hopefully satisfy all (musical) tastes. Meets every four weeks, Tuesday afternoons October – April in Spott.
We are a group of post-beginners, playing descant, treble, tenor and bass recorders. We play a variety of pieces from Early Music to Gershwin. On occasions we join forces with other U3A Recorder groups for playing days. Meets fortnightly, Fridays 1.00 – 3.00 p.m. in Haddington Golf Club (function room).
Sciences and Philosophy
There is much confusion in public and political discussions due to a misunderstanding of the biological basis of life. By looking at the underlying biology this group endeavours to distinguish certainty from the unknown and uncertain and thereby gain some new perspectives on matters related to health, the environment and farming, and distinguish where it is good to tread and where it is unwise to meddle. It will question what biological science is about, and marvel yet more at life around us. Meets monthly, 2nd Mondays 2.00 – 4.00 October to June in the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Upper Hall).
A wide range of methods are used within this group to facilitate discussion, including DVDs, podcasts, books and members introducing topics of interest. Group members have the opportunity to participate in the advance planning of the programme. Meets monthly, last Tuesday 2.00 – 3.30 in the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Upper Hall).
Geology is ‘the science which deals with the physical structure and substance of the earth’. How, when and what are the questions the group is asking. The answers come by way of illustrated talks, videos and guided museum visits in the winter months, but mainly by short field trips in the summer months to places of particular geological interest in and beyond East Lothian. Meets 1st and/or 3rd Thursday am and/or pm in the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Upper Hall).
We offer a programme of talks by visiting speakers on a variety of topics in sciences, medicine and the environment. Visits to places of scientific interest are an occasional feature. Suggestions or contributions from group members are always welcomed for inclusion in our programmes. Meets monthly (September – June) 4th Monday (excl. Dec.) 2.00 – 4.00 in the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Upper Hall).
Spring and summer events are usually visits to a member’s garden or to a public/private garden or nursery . These are mostly in East Lothian, but can be a bit further afield. Plants, information and questions are exchanged throughout the year using email. Over the winter, we meet less frequently, approximately monthly. We use the sessions to view DVD’s, practical demonstrations, discuss books and have brought in speakers. We aim to share our own knowledge and ideas within the group. Meets fortnightly, Mondays 10.30 – 12.30 April – September. Winter meetings approx. monthly.
The Lunch Club has been running since 1999. Between 15 and 20 members attend once a month at various venues within East Lothian. Meets monthly on consecutive weekdays in various venues.
Suggestions from group members for museums, galleries and places of interest to visit are listed. Volunteers then take turns to arrange one visit each per year, collecting all the information required and organising a guide to take our group if possible. A programme is arranged for the year. Costs: Entry fees if applicable and travel. Meets monthly, 2nd Thursdays, am and/or pm, February – October.