Berwick upon Tweed is a popular holiday destination for those looking to enjoy the best of the Borders both on the English and Scottish sides. Its located on the north bank of the River Tweed on the northern edge of Northumberland, the most northerly of English counties. Its border location meant the town changed hands many times, often violently down the years, and its town walls are testament to its past as a valued asset fought over by the English and the Scots.
From the top of those walls you can see the wide estuary of the River Tweed and a Robert Stevenson-designed railway viaduct hailed as one of the finest in the world. It is these views that have enchanted many, including Lancashire artist L.S. Lowry who painted and holidayed in the town. There is a specially created Lowry Trail for those who want to explore his favourite holiday resort.
However, Berwick is about more than its vistas. It is a bustling and vibrant market town that offers everything a visitor could need. Venturing inside the formidable walls you’ll find a charming and eclectic Georgian market town with a huge range of things to do and enjoy, including some great museums – try the Berwick Barracks and Main Guard as well as galleries and an Arts Centre.
Berwick lies at the mouth of the Tweed, at 98 miles the second longest river in Scotland flowing through some of the most beautiful and historic scenery in Britain. For the final four miles of its journey the river runs entirely through England. A little upstream on the lower reaches for a distance of about 16 miles it marks the Scottish border with England – a frontier which was much disputed in years gone by. It is also internationally renowned for its excellent salmon fishing. But it is not for fish alone that people are drawn to the Tweed. Today, the ruins of watchtowers and fortresses add a hint of romance to the pretty borderland scenery.
Just a short drive to the south is Holy Island, the cradle of English Christianity. Even in these more secular times, as the home of England’s Christian heritage it is still a place of pilgrimage and is linked to the mainland by a tidal causeway. On the island Lindisfarne Priory was the birthplace of a true national treasure – the Lindisfarne Gospels, a unique illuminated Latin manuscript of the gospels. The stones from the Priory were used to build the impressive Lindisfarne Castle, which stands on a rocky outcrop overlooking the island and today is in the ownership of the National Trust.
Over the nearby border the coastline becomes much more rugged with the highlight being St Abb’s Head, a nature reserve for thousands of nesting seabirds including guillemots, kittiwakes and puffins. The remote fishing village of St Abbs is surrounded by jagged cliffs. Here old fishermen’s cottages wind down to the surf-battered harbour. Sea angling, sub-aqua diving, bird-watching and regular sightseeing boat trips run from the harbour.