East Linton lies largely to the west of a bridge built in the 1500s over the River Tyne, but probably predates it by many centuries. A little over a mile to its south-west lies Hailes Castle, built in the 1200s, while on the edge of the village is the Parish Kirk of Traprain, which incorporates a chancel of similar age.
The bridging of the River Tyne secured East Linton's place as a staging post on the Great North Road. This is reflected in the rather good choice of hotels and pubs in the village, including the Bridgend Hotel set, not surprisingly, facing the end of the bridge.
The River Tyne proved ideal as a source of power for mills, a number of which were built along its banks through the village. Just to the north-east of East Linton is Preston Mill, a survivor dating back to the end of the 1500s. This is run by the National Trust for Scotland and is one of the oldest meal mills in Scotland with its machinery still in working order.
The railway came to East Linton in 1846. Today the East Coast Main Line is carried through the village at high level, bridging both the River Tyne and main village street. It comes as a surprise to see high speed trains passing feet away from the gable end of the pretty ivy-clad stone pharmacy in the village. East Linton originally had its own station, but this disappeared in 1960.
The railway and the mills helped establish East Linton in the second half of the 1800s as an important farming centre complete with a now long gone cattle market. It also served as a centre for hiring seasonal labour for farms across East Lothian.
The Great North Road, the A1, has long bypassed East Linton, and the most recent incarnation of the road has no convenient junction for the village. The earlier bypass succeeded in keeping through traffic away from its narrow streets and even narrower bridge, and despite the arrangement of its successor the village remains a busy place in its own right. At its heart lies the village square, complete with an attractive gilt fountain. From here roads lead to the River Tyne bridge, as well as north-east towards Prestonkirk and north towards North Berwick.
For somewhere so close to Edinburgh, East Linton has managed very successfully to retain its essentially rural charm. Attractive domestic buildings gather with pubs, shops and other services, and the overall effect is well worth the detour from the A1.