Visit Berwick-upon-Tweed and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland. Highly picturesque, Berwick is the northernmost town in England, steeped in history, and fascinating to explore on foot. It is built mainly of stone in grey or pinkish-brown. The roofs are mostly red-tiled and many a street is cobbled. The harbour has swans. The town is piled upon a peninsula at the mouth of the Tweed and it faces the river, rather than the sea. Three great bridges connect it with Tweedmouth on the south side of the estuary: the low stone bridge with 15 arches of varying height and width, completed in 1634; the 1928 concrete span known as the Royal Tweed which carries the heavy vehicular traffic now; and the railway's Royal Border with its 28 soaring arches, completed in 1850. The town is an entrancing sight from the Tweedmouth bank or the railway bridge.
Berwick's well-worn appearance seems to suit its historical role as a buffer town. It was an important trading centre and international port and was captured or sacked 13 times before 1482 when it was finally made English. But almost until the Union of the Crowns in 1603, it was regarded on both sides of the border as an English outpost. Until 1746, Berwick had a special status as a free borough and was mentioned separately in Acts of Parliament.
Berwick was part of the ransom paid by the captured William the Lion of Scotland to Henry II in 1147. It was sold to the Scots by Richard I to get money for his Crusade. It was destroyed in 1216 by King John in person. When William Wallace was executed in 1305 in London, one quarter of him was displayed here as a warning to other rebels. The Countess of Buchan, who had crowned Robert Bruce King of Scotland, was caged for six years in the castle yard from 1306.
Berwick has had two sets of protecting walls and the remains of the later ones give visitors their most interesting circuit of the town. The first walls were completed in the reign of Edward II and little is left of them. The town was then fortified by Elizabeth, starting in 1558, on the new Italian design with great emphasis on effective use of artillery. The Berwick walls are the only example of this style in Britain and among the earliest of the type in Europe. Three of the projecting bastions, shaped like flat arrowheads, remain. Cowport is the only surviving original gate. The high ramparts of earth and stone include Meg's Mount with its superb view of the town, the river and the sea.
In the late 18th century, the medieval riverside walls were rebuilt with gun emplacements overlooking the river mouth. Most of the old guns were turned into scrap for the Second World War. A pleasant walk along the Quay Walls passes a number of interesting looking buildings, including the Customs House.
The Town Hall, built in the l750s, is possibly the handsomest building, facing and dominating broad Marygate. Of rich brown stone in a Classical design, it has a grand portico with giant Tuscan columns and a tall spire. The bells of the Town Hall ring for Holy Trinity Church as well as the town curfew. The top floor used to be a gaol and prisoners were aired on the balcony around the roof. The restoration of the hall, which reinstated the butter market in the colonnaded rear ground floor and brought in a coffee bar and small shop, won a Civic Trust award in 1969.
Holy Trinity Parish Church in Wallace Green, which has no bell-tower, was completed in 1652 under Colonel George Fenwick, the Puritan governor, and is one of the few examples of its period. The Barracks were built between 1717 and 1721 in response to town objections to billeting soldiers in public houses. Their design is attributed to Vanbrugh. They contain the museum of the King's Own Scottish Borderers, open to the public.
Little is left of the ancient castle, except for a small ruin of the watch-tower on the riverside near the railway bridge and a length of wall which guarded a flight of steps up the steep bank. Much of the castle stone went into the railway bridge and the station occupies the castle site.
Berwick cockles are an old-fashioned peppermint sweet.
Nearby towns: Alnwick, Coldingham, Dunbar, Eyemouth
Nearby villages: Allerdean, Ancroft, Ayton, Bowsden, Branxton, Burnmouth, Cheswick, Chirnside, Crookham, Duddo, East Ord, Etal, Fenwick, Holy Island, Horncliffe, Kyloe, Lamberton, Lowick, Marshall Meadows, Middle Ord, Norham, Spittal, Tweedmouth, West Ord
Have you decided to visit Berwick-upon-Tweed or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Berwick-upon-Tweed bed and breakfast (a Berwick-upon-Tweed B&B or Berwick-upon-Tweed b and b)
- a Berwick-upon-Tweed guesthouse
- a Berwick-upon-Tweed hotel (or motel)
- a Berwick-upon-Tweed self-catering establishment, or
- other Berwick-upon-Tweed accommodation