Things to do in Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland
The attractive town of Berwick-Upon-Tweed has many pleasant Georgian buildings and is situated at the mouth of the famous River Tweed where it joins the sea at the end of a winding, one hundred mile path through the tranquil Scottish Border Country.
Berwick sits comfortably on the north bank of the Tweed and has three bridges spanning the river. These are the Old Bridge, The Royal Tweed Bridge and The Royal Border Bridge.
Being fought over many times by the English and Scots including being taken by William Wallace; (one of his limbs was displayed, hanging from the old bridge following his execution as a warning to all.) Berwick remains an English town…for the present that is.
Parking is plentiful at Marygate. An easy walk going clockwise around the outer perimeter of the town and starting from the tourist information office could take less than two hours, but is well worth the effort of climbing the steps through the archway onto the tarmac footpaths of the wide Elizabethan, raised earth ramparts (in the care of English Heritage).
Up here you will have great views of the town. It is surprisingly relaxing, quiet and invigorating with an indefinable atmosphere of welcoming peace, away from the hustle and bustle of the ‘shopping Berwickers' and the busy local traffic, which runs north and south right through the town centre.
Ancient cannons are strategically placed to ward off enemy attack, and have modern descriptive plaques. One of the cannons dates from the Crimean War. You will enjoy bracing sea air and fine uninterrupted views across the golf course to the cliff tops. A point of interest and a good place to rest for a moment is the Cromwellian Holy Trinity Church (deprived of a bell tower) and said to be built from the stones of Berwick Castle.
This is just across from the imposing Barracks of The Kings Own Scottish Borderers with its fascinating Regimental Museum. Then you continue on towards the Main Guard and the old Quay walls with the lighthouse visible to your left at the harbour entrance. Approaching Palace Green where the military governor once lived you can see across the harbour to the golden holiday sands of Spittal, once famous for its health giving Spa Wells. On your right is the decorative crest over the old Customs House (one of Berwick's many listed buildings) and a reminder of Berwick's important maritime past.
The large colony of Berwick Swans, mainly Mutes and some Whoopers, may well be in residence by the red sandstone Berwick Old Bridge and then you are walking along the banks of the Tweed, with the ancient settlement of Tweedmouth across the other side, towards the magnificent Royal Border Railway Bridge built by Robert Stephenson.
You can then continue up river towards the Castle ruins or go up the slope of Megs Mount, overlooking the river estuary. From here, on a clear day you can see all the way to Lindisfarne (Holy Island). Then still on your clock-wise tour you will re-enter Marygate and Main Street with its splendid view of the Town Hall.
This imposing building completely dominates the town with its one hundred and fifty foot ‘sky-splitting' needlepoint steeple and eighteenth century clock tower. Comprising of greyish-pink stone it was once the gaol from where men and women were taken to a place of execution, sometimes for seemingly trivial offences. The majority of town buildings have cheerful red pan-tile roofs from Holland with some of Welsh grey slate and have been painted by many artists including L.S. Lowry.
Eventually turning into the town itself you will find the shopkeepers helpful and friendly. Berwick Town makes the perfect, welcoming holiday home for touring Northumberland and the Scottish Borders.
Description by David M. Page
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