The historic town of Berwick-upon-Tweed sits at the mouth of the River Tweed midway between Edinburgh and Newcastle upon Tyne.
Just two miles from the Scottish Border it is the most northerly town in England. Berwick stands on the North side of the Tweed so some would say it is on the wrong side!
Today Berwick-upon-Tweed is a popular holiday destination with something for everyone, thriving on its history and heritage whilst embracing the present.
Discover the natural beauty and architectural elegance of the town by strolling the perfectly preserved Elizabethan fortifications, the most complete bastioned town defences in Northern Europe. In just over one mile you will be starkly reminded of Berwick’s turbulent and bloody history, changing hands between the English and the Scottish no less than 13 times. You will be enchanted at this town of character with buildings of charm, historical worth and stunning views of the coast and the River Tweed. A walk around the Elizabethan ramparts will reveal the wonderful Georgian architecture of this beautiful walled town with its pantiled roofs and high chimneys.
Alleyways, gateways, nooks and crannies will lead you from the walls to the spine chilling cells of the Town Hall Museum or to The Main Guard, situated in Palace Green and run by Berwick Civic Society, now telling the ‘story’ of life in a garrison town. England's first purpose built Barracks, in The Parade, now houses a complex of museums including Kings Own Scottish Borderers Museum, Berwick Borough Museum, protector of some of William Burrell's remarkable collection of fine arts, the Gymnasium Gallery and English Heritage, 'By Beat of Drum' exhibition.
Opposite The Barracks stands the unique Cromwellian Church welcoming visitors throughout the year. View the 16th century stained glass windows, original communion table, Reredos Screen and beautiful rose window.
Marygate, the town's bustling main street, is dominated by the imposing Town Hall, built around 1750 , with its 150 foot spire often mistaken for a church. Enjoy the spectacle of the annual Riding of the Bounds as the street becomes filled with horses and riders on their traditional ride out on the 1st May.
Take a riverside walk and admire the ruins of Berwick Castle dating back to the 12th century - an important fortification in border warfare. All except the west curtain wall was levelled to allow the building of the railway in 1847.
The River Tweed, internationally famous for salmon fishing, meanders through Berwick and is also home to the second largest herd of beautiful Mute Swans in Britain. The River separates Berwick from Tweedmouth and Spittal and is crossed by three fine bridges, all with their own place in history.
The oldest of the bridges, Berwick Bridge, was built between 1611 and 1634 with monies granted by King James VI of Scotland who was horrified by the original wooden bridge crossed on his way south to be crowned King James I of England! The Royal Tweed Bridge opened by Edward, Prince of Wales in 1928 was created to take traffic away from the old Berwick Bridge.
The Royal Border Bridge, completed in 1849 and officially opened in 1850 by Queen Victoria, was designed by Robert Stephenson and provided the last link in the railway line between London and Edinburgh.
Renowned artist, L.S. Lowry loved to holiday in Berwick and painted many pictures during his visits to the town. Altogether, Lowry produced a fascinating group of more than thirty drawings and paintings of the Berwick area. Eighteen of which have been reproduced on information boards scattered around the Town, Tweedmouth and Spittal, creating The Lowry Trail. Pick up a leaflet and follow in Lowry’s footsteps!
Across the river to the South you will find Tweedmouth and Spittal. Once supporting a thriving fishing industry, Tweedmouth still boasts a busy dock. Looking back toward Berwick from the old bridge, as the setting sun catches the pantile roofs you could easily forget that you were in North Northumberland and believe you were enjoying the vista of many an historic mediterranean fishing port.
The small ‘seaside’ resort of Spittal has a character all of its own. A long sandy beach, children's play-park, seafront cafe, and amusements creates a haven for families. The romance of the promenade leads to a cliff top walk affording panoramic views along this spectacular coastline.
For the sports-minded, Berwick has a range of golf courses that take advantage of the diverse and stunning countryside and coastline that surrounds them. Berwick Bandits Speedway offer thrills, spills and excitement at the Shielfield Park Stadium – a venue they share with Berwick Rangers, the only English football team to play in the Scottish professional league.
Berwick-upon-Tweed is proud to be the first town in North East England to achieve Cittaslow status. The Cittaslow Movement originated in Italy and now includes over 100 towns in countries throughout the world. A Cittaslow town aims to maintain and develop its distinctiveness and the quality of life enjoyed by residents and the people who come to visit. The priorities are to combine the traditional with the modern, rather than re-development for the sake of change. Berwick’s easy pace of life, its Georgian streets, unique Elizabethan Walls, good transport links, clean air and wide open spaces all help make it a very special Cittaslow town.
The town boasts an active Slow Food Group dedicated to the promotion and use of locally produced foods. The Group works closely with local producers throughout the year to provide an even better and wider choice of good food and drink for residents and visitors.
Berwick also offers some delightful and stylish individual shops for you to enjoy.