Berwick-Upon-Tweed Things to Do

  • Ramparts, estuary and bridge
    Ramparts, estuary and bridge
    by leics
  • Cannon over the estuary
    Cannon over the estuary
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  • Berwick-Upon-Tweed Barracks & Main Guards
    Berwick-Upon-Tweed Barracks & Main...
    by spidermiss

Best Rated Things to Do in Berwick-Upon-Tweed

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    Barracks

    by stevezero Written May 20, 2006

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    Berwick Barracks
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    From the earliest days of war between the English and Scottish. Berwick was an important military town. Soldiers of the garrison were for many years billited in local taverns and private houses, which placed a heavy financial burden on the people of the town. Complaints to the Government led eventually, in 1717, to the building of the first purpose built infantry barracks in England. Designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor, Berwick Barracks were completed in 1721.
    Today the Barracks hosts a number of attractions, including 'By Beat of Drum' - an exhibition on the life of the British infantryman. While there, visit the King's Own Scottish Borderers Museum, the Contemporary Art Gallery and the Berwick Borough Museum.

    This one is ideal for anyone into military history. Allow yourself several hours as there is a lot to see here. Perfect for that rainy day.

    In the care of English Heritage.
    Admission Charge.
    £3.30

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    Berwick Castle

    by stevezero Updated May 20, 2006

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    Berwick Castle

    Very little remains of what was once the most important of all the border castles. Begun in the 12th century, few castles can have seen as much military action and changed hands as frequently as Berwick. Over the centuries that England and Scotland were in conflict, the castle was a key objective for the armies of both nations. From 1296 when Edward I of England successfully besieged the Scottish castle at Berwick through until the end of hostilities between the two countries, ownership of the castle changed frequently.

    In later years the castle ruins were used as a quarry, providing stone for the adjacent Royal Border Bridge and the town barracks, and a large part, including the Great Hall, was cleared to make space for the railway station. The main surviving remnant is the White Wall that descends from the railway to the banks of the River Tweed. Built in 1297, it guards a steep flight of steps known as 'Breakneck Stairs'.

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    Lord's Mount

    by stevezero Written May 20, 2006

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    Lord's Mount
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    Lord's Mount is a 16th century stone two storey artillery tower, founded by King Henry VIII. This enormous circular fortification, which probably supported an embrasured parapet, flanks the north-east angle of the medieval town wall. The surviving lower floor, has casemates for six long swivel guns and an accommodation range which includes, a garderobe, a kitchen and a well. The upper floor, with its platform for six more large guns and the captain's apartments, were dismantled in 1558 when the Elizabethan Ramparts were begun.

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    Magazine

    by stevezero Written May 20, 2006

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    Brass Bastion

    The Gunpowder Magazine was built in 1749, to store the powder for the nearby Barrracks. it was specially designed with safety features to prevent explosions, and blasts were directed upwards through the roof should the worst have happened, instead of destroying the town. Forunately it survives to this day.

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    Main Guard

    by stevezero Written May 20, 2006

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    Main Guard

    The Main Guard is a Georgian military guardhouse, built in 1815, which contains an exhibition of the history of the town and Royal Berwick. It is situated near to the Quayside.

    In the care of English Heritage
    Admission Free.

    Open 1- 5

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    Old Bridge

    by stevezero Written May 20, 2006

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    Old Bridge
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    The old bridge was built by James I (James VI of Scotland) to link his two kingdoms after the Union of the Crowns.
    The bridge was built in 1634 and was the main highway of its time into Scotland.
    The bridge has since been superceded by a modern road bridge over the Tweed, but the old bridge is stil open to traffic in one direction.

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    Quay Wall

    by stevezero Written May 20, 2006

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    Quay Wall

    Quay Wall as the name suggests is a fortified wall built on the banks of the River Tweed to protect the town from attack from the river.
    Nearby on the Quayside is a new development which contains shops and eating establishments.

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    Royal Border Railway Viaduct

    by stevezero Written May 20, 2006

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    Royal Border Railway Viaduct
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    The Royal Border Railway Viaduct was built in 1850 to bridge the River Tweed and carry the railway into town.
    The bridge still provides an important link between England and Scotland and provides a good vantage point from which to see the town if you are travelling by rail.

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    Bell Tower

    by stevezero Written May 20, 2006

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    Bell Tower
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    The Bell Tower is an Elizabethan stone octagonal four storey tower, founded in 1577. It flanks the line of the medieval town wall and is built on a circular base, of 1392. Over the centuries, it has been considerably repaired and altered, with the doors that gave access to the parapet walk, showing the original height of the wall. As the name suggests, it was used to warn the defenders of the Elizabethan Ramparts of a raid.

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    Cumberland Bastion

    by stevezero Written May 20, 2006

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    Cumberland Bastion

    The Cumberland Bastion is one of five bastions, or fortifications, along the ramparts that surround the town. It is named after the Duke of Cumberland, who defeated the Scottish Jacobite army of Bonny Prince Charlie in 1846.

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    Russian Gun

    by stevezero Written May 20, 2006

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    Russian Gun

    Until the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Berwick's walls bristled with artillery. The one cannon remaining on the riverside fortifications is a souvenir of the Crimean War.
    This Russian gun is a link with the story that Berwick is still at war with Russia today! The tradition has its origins in the fact that the town used to be mentioned separately on documents and international treaties. It is said that Berwick was included in the declaration of war with Russia in 1854, but was accidentally omitted from the peace treaty two years later.

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    Lowry Links in Berwick

    by spidermiss Updated Oct 15, 2012

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    Lowry Signage on the Trail
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    The painter, L S Lowry (1887-1976), used to visit Berwick Upon Tweed for his Summer Holidays until the year of his death in 1976. To him visiting Berwick and seeing the sea was a escape from industrialised Salford and Manchester!

    He did a lot of paintings and drawings in Berwick. He stayed in the Castle Hotel and once considered buying the property, The Lions, in the town because of the possibility of being attracted to the sea views from the windows.

    You can learn more about the artist via this link.

    Today visitors can do the Lowry trail in the town centre and it takes up to 3.5-4 hours and covers 5 to 6 miles. I had fun doing the trail and I got to appreciate more the town and it's surrounding villages from sights where Lowry painted (Please see my travelogues 1, 2, 3 and 4 ). You can either obtain a trail leaflet from the Berwick Tourist Information Centre.

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    Berwick on Tweed

    by Drever Written Mar 30, 2014

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    Marygate viewed from the town wall
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    The visitor to Berwick on Tweed may believing it to be a Scottish town, as it stands on the northern bank of the River Tweed, a Scottish river. The local football team even plays in the Scottish Football League.

    Berwick however began as an English settlement. It provided a jumping off point for invasions by the English into Scotland but an eastern port and gateway into England if held by the Scots. Therefore the town changed hands many times. In 1018 the Scots took control of Berwick. Under their rule Berwick was one of the most prosperous merchant towns in Britain and was worth to Scotland an annual customs value of £2,190, which equalled about one quarter of the customs of all England.

    In the fourteenth century Berwick became again an English town. In taking it with his army in the tens of thousands Edward I slaughtered around 17,000 people. The Scots were a mild-mannered wouldn’t hurt a fly nation in comparison despite their bloody history. Edward ensured he kept the town by throwing a wall around it against Scottish attack. Part of his walls is still visible in the north end of the town. Today’s walls, unique in England, date from 1558 and are intact. Based on an Italian design they have projecting bastions, similar to blunt arrowheads, built of stone and filled with earth, and joined by a strong curtain wall. Designed to protect the Old Town against gunfire they form a stark reminder of the town’s turbulent past.

    A treaty signed by Henry VII of England and James IV of Scotland in 1502 recognised Berwick as ‘of but not within the Kingdom of England’ – in other words an independent state in the middle. When Great Britain entered the Crimean War it declared it in the name of Great Britain, Ireland and Berwick on Tweed. The town became officially merged into England in 1974.

    Berwick is one of the most picturesque towns on the region's coast. It keeps an old-world charm with several elegant Georgian streets. The 17th century Berwick Bridge, which spans the River Tweed, dates from 1611. Built of red sandstone it has fourteen arches. Until the nineteenth century it was the main crossing point of the Tweed at Berwick.

    Berwick has many historic buildings and monuments, which reflect its turbulent past and military importance. It contains Britain's earliest barracks. They housed 600 men, which shows how seriously England feared attacks by the Scots. These barracks now house two museums, one of which includes an exhibition of British Infantry history.

    Near the barracks is the Berwick parish church, Holy Trinity. Built between 1650 and 1652 it is of a distinctive Puritan design. For a historic parish church it is unusual, in that it has no steeple, tower or church bell. Instead a bell in the 18th century Guildhall summons people to the church services. The Guildhall, often mistaken as a church, stands in the square on Marygate, the main shopping street. Built in Classical style, the latter has a portico of four Tuscan columns and a 150 feet spire. The top floor of the building was originally the Town Gaol but now contains a Museum.

    Unfortunately visiting in late September we found the barrack museum closed and the one in the Guildhall closed because of an inquiry into an unexpected death. We did do the 80-minute walk around the town walls - slightly over one mile. Along the way a series of noticeboards tell the visitor of the history of archways piercing the walls, gun-sites and buildings. From the wall there are good views over the countryside, town and river.

    Berwick has stirred different emotions in different people over the centuries. Mine was that it ought to be Scottish for it’s on our side of the River Tweed. Here are two contrasting verses:

    "Berwick is an ancient town
    A church without a steeple
    A pretty girl at every door
    And very generous people."

    OR ?

    "A bridge without a middle arch
    A church without a steeple
    A midden heap in every street
    And damned conceited people."

    Some believe the less complimentary verse came from the pen of Robbie Burns, Scotland’s national poet.

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    Tweedmouth

    by spidermiss Updated Oct 15, 2012

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    Berwick from Tweedmouth
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    I visited Tweedmouth when I did the Lowry Trail and which is part of Berwick Upon Tweed. As well as a village there is a Berwick Harbour and also noted the sites where Lowry painted.

    There are great views of the river, the sea and Berwick Town Centre from Tweedmouth and the village is accessed from crossing the Old Bridge.

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    Berwick Barracks

    by sambarnett Updated Sep 10, 2002

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    Clock Block

    Responding to fears over the 1715 Jacobite Rising, along with complaints from the Berwick citizenry over quatering soldiers led to the construction of the Barracks between 1717-25. The were first of their kind in England, providing a permanant home for over 600 men. The last remaining residents, the King's Own Scottish Borderers, vacated in 1964.

       Inside is a fascinating look at British army life, chronicling the various wars as well as delving into the ordinary and everyday activities of a solider.

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