Berwick upon Tweed
Berwick, along with former fishing village Tweedmouth and the seaside resort of Spittal, historically owes its livelihood to the river. A hub for exports, a centre of a thriving salmon fishing industry from the sixteenth century and a boat-building town from the eighteenth century, it has stone harbour walls and a cobbled quayside beneath the massive ramparts.
The definitive border town, focus of many centuries of warfare between England and Scotland, Berwick has perfectly preserved Elizabethan fortifications, the most complete town defences of its type in Northern Europe, and eighteenth century Barracks that were the first in Britain to be purpose-built. In 2015 Berwick celebrated 900 years of history and heritage with exhibitions, living history, and a programme of exciting events.
Built between and around these iconic historic sites are Georgian buildings of great character, linked by cobbled lanes and narrow archways. This is a town packed with interest and tradition, and even boasts a building which leans even more than the Tower of Pisa - a Granary, now restored as a youth hostel, art gallery and bistro
What can I do?
- Walk the walls – a circular walk around the dramatic Elizabethan Walls takes about an hour, passing bastions, watchtowers, gun batteries and cannon, with wonderful views out to sea, across the estuary and up the Tweed. Guided tours with the wonderful Derek Sharman of 'Time to Explore' are available.
- Visit the Hawksmoor-designed Barracks (Easter-Oct, Mon-Fri) - home to Berwick Museum, housing part of Sir William Burrell’s art collection, and military displays in the English Heritage and Kings Own Scottish Borderers museums
- Take the riverside walk known as New Road, with close-ups of wildlife, bridges and even winding through archways in the medieval castle wall.
- The Lowry Trail - Follow in L.S. Lowry’s footsteps and compare today's landscapes with Lowry's interpretation of Berwick on his many visits to the town.
- Explore the character and specialist shops which cluster round the Town Hall and spread up Castlegate and down West Street to Bridge Street, reached by cobbled lanes and passageways
- Watch hundreds of mute swans in the Tweed estuary moulting colony, the second largest mute swan colony in Britain. Walk north along the coast to find the puffin breeding site at Needle’s Eye
- View the magnificent Royal Border Railway Bridge, designed by Stephenson, the Bridge is illuminated by a multitude of coloured and changing lights.
- The Chain Bridge Honey Farm takes its name from the historic Union Chain Bridge, only 200 yards away. The bridge links Scotland and England across the River Tweed. This family run honey farm sells many bee related products. There is also a cafe.
- There’s something for everyone at Pot-A-Doodle Do from small kids to teenagers, parents and grandparents. Plates, bowls, cups, trinket boxes, models and mosaics, just add your personal touch to make a work of art. You can use sponges, stencils, pencils and brushes – be as creative or traditional as you like! If you don’t fancy ceramics there is a selection of glass painting and mosaic-making to choose from. Pot-a-doodle-do also have a cafe and accommodation.
- Download a Journey Planner for trips around the AONB from Berwick upon Tweed by bus
What do I need to know ?
- Check out what’s on at www.visitberwick.com: from walking, film and food festivals to the annual Riding of the Bounds, Berwick offers events throughout the year.
- Berwick upon Tweed Tourist Information Centre is open all year - email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Getting to Berwick
Berwick-upon-Tweed is very well served by trains on the East Coast Main Line and has an excellent network of local buses which makes Berwick and ideal base for a car-free break.
See our Getting Here pages for information on rail travel to Berwick
Berwick has good bus connections to the Northumberland coast and into the Scottish Borders and North Northumberland. See our Getting Around page for bus travel information and timetables.
Maltings Theatre and Gallery
The Maltings is England's most northerly theatre and cinema. Their busy year round programme of events aims to entertain and inspire as many people in the regional as possible.
They offer the very best in film, comedy, theatre, children's shows, classical concerts, opera, dance, music and more. The Maltings also host regular classes in dance, music and drama, helping to engage, inspire and support young artists.
Berwick Parish Church
Thought to be the only parish church built during The Commonwealth of Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), it was designed by John Young of Blackfriars.
The foundation stone was laid 1650 and it opened in 1652. Holy Trinity replaced the medieval Church, which had stood a few yards to the south since 1190AD but was demolished shortly after the new church was opened.
Fashioned largely from the stones and timbers of Edward I's once great 13th century castle, the site and fabric have witnessed almost 1000 years of history in both good times and bad.
Berwick Castle and Ramparts
The remains of a medieval castle crucial to Anglo-Scottish warfare, superseded by the most complete and breathtakingly impressive bastioned town defences in England, are mainly Elizabethan but updated in the 17th and 18th centuries. Surrounding the whole historic town, the entire circuit of the walls can be walked, offering varying views of the sea and coastline.