One Interesting Night in Berwick-Upon-Tweed

IMG_4975Earlier in the day on August 23rd, I had been exploring Tantallon Castle and the town of Dunbar. My final stop for the day was this great YHA Hostel in Berwick-Upon-Tweed.

A lot of the hostels I’ve stayed in during this trip have been converted old buildings and repurposed. I like this kind of recycling! YHA Berwick is housed in a 240-year-old restored former Granary and boasts a fantastic blend of original features with a state of the art hostelling experience at the docks. In addition to the hostel, the building also houses a bistro, meeting rooms and a very nice Exhibition Art Gallery.IMG_4977Below are the traces of the rail line leading out to the docks beyond the doorway from the entrance to the hostel.

IMG_4976Looking to the right of the railway gate outside in the courtyard of the hostel are traces of where the Old Bridge Tavern used to be. This place is chock full of historical sights just outside my hostel doors!

Berwick-Upon-Tweed sits at the most northerly tip of Northumberland, just 3 miles from the Scottish Border. It’s a nice coastal town with sandy beaches and beautiful riverside walks, perfectly situated for a relaxing break – a haven for walkers and cyclists. Just what I needed after a long day of exploring. Since there was still quite a bit of daylight left, I headed out the granary rail gate and explored the dockside just beyond which offered fantastic views of the Tweed River and a bridge.

A famous artist, L.S. Lowry (1887 – 1976) visited the town of Berwick many times beginning in the mid-1930s. The ‘Lowry Trail’ identifies the sites of many of his finest paintings and drawings of the town. Lowry was a regular visitor to this town. The exact date of his first visit is unclear, but his first oil painting of Berwick showing the High Street is dated 1935 and he continued to visit the town a year before his death in 1976. In total, Lowry produced more than 20 paintings and drawings of the town, from the harbour and its piers, the beach at Spittal, salmon fishing on the River Tweed and even a football match at the ‘Stanks,’ according to the town’s website.

As I began my walk around Berwick I happened upon the 10th location on the “Lowry Trail,” his painting of Bridge End.

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IMG_4892At left is what it looks like today!

I walked down to the corner to get a closer look at the buildings that had been mentioned in the sign and then walked along Bridge Street taking in the sights.

 

There’s the William Cowe & Sons “Home of the Original Berwick Cockles!”
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IMG_4900Aha! Another Lowry trail sign and sight of one of his paintings! This is fun!

 

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Bridge Street

IMG_4903When I got down to the end of Bridge Street, I turned right onto Sandgate Road making a loop back to the quay in order to find the quay walls which border the river. Along the way, I passed the Hen & Chickens Hotel.IMG_4904Just beyond the hotel, I found the historical Sandgate, and above it, the Quay Walls I could walk upon and follow around the perimeter of the town.IMG_4907

 

IMG_4906IMG_4908Once I climbed the stairs up onto the Quay Walls, I had a really nice view of Sandgate Road I had just walked down.

 

 

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Such a beautiful evening it was and this walk offered some stunning views as I strolled.IMG_4917

IMG_4918Across the way was the “Spittal” in the distance and a whole host of sailboats catching the last gentle winds of the day for a ride around the mouth of the river.

 

IMG_4919I passed a building that looks like they’re going to restore and repurpose. Looks interesting; I wonder what it will become?

Next, I came upon Coxon’s Tower and it also offered some nice views of the harbour and the mouth of the river.

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IMG_4923Lots of swans and sailors enjoy this estuary! I can even see the Berwick Lighthouse at the end of the jetty.IMG_4926IMG_4929Next, I came to one of the 6 canons at Fisher’s Fort … good defences to guard the River Tweed with against enemy ship attacks!IMG_4932

IMG_4933Then to the left is Pier Road.IMG_4934

Hey! I found another piece of the Lowry Trail!

After the harbour, the trail led up a grassy hill. Off to the left, behind a wall, I discovered quite a delightful community garden. It was massive and so well cared for.IMG_4950

IMG_4947As chance would have it I also stumbled across yet another piece of the Lowry Trail, “The Lions!” I really liked the Lowry trail; it’s very interesting and fun to follow!IMG_4946

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Just past the lions, the path turned once again with another great view of the gardens below.IMG_4954Around the corner and through the gate I come to the other end of the gardens and spy one of the community gardeners I can have a chat with. Evidently, having a spot allotted to you is quite the treasure and there is a long waiting list for others who want to join! I can certainly understand why it is so prized to get a spot allotted to you. This dirt has been tended for such a long time, is rich with nutrients and loving care thereby lending itself to a bountiful harvest! What gardener wouldn’t want a piece of that treasure?IMG_4955

IMG_4958IMG_4959As I made my way down the narrow rock wall-lined pathway back to the centre of town, I noticed the light was beginning to fade and decided to get a few last pictures in the middle of town while I still could.IMG_4960IMG_4961Quite an impressive Town Hall was waiting patiently for me to capture its tall stature!IMG_4963

IMG_4964Loved the way the birds made good use of the tippy-top mount at day’s end, singing their little hearts out!IMG_4966IMG_4967Working my back down toward the Quay and the hostel, I followed delightful winding cobblestone streets. Such a nice little town to explore with all of its little twists, turns, trails and garden views. I barely scratched the surface on the Lowry Trail. Perhaps one day I’ll return to explore it further. It had been a long day exploring Tantallon Castle, the town of Dunbar and the birthplace home of John Muir, then driving the rest of the way to Berwick.

It was time to put my feet up for a while, have a bite to eat and settle in for a good night’s sleep because the next day I was off once again down the road headed for York! But that’s another story, for another time…

This post is the first of the stops I made while travelling through England. On this 4-month holiday, I started out by exploring Ireland for 5 weeks with my friend, Lynne. After I took her to the airport in Dublin, I crossed the Irish Sea as a foot passenger on the Irish Ferries from Dublin over to Holyhead, Wales. There I rented another car and started making my way north through the western side of England, visiting Liverpool, towns in the Lake District (Ambleside and Keswick) for a week or so before crossing the border into Scotland.

I spent the next two months exploring all over every possible inch of Scotland that I could manage and had a whole lot of fun doing it. During this next part of the trip, I travelled down through England for about 8 days visiting quaint English villages, towns and cities such as Berwick-Upon-Tweed, York, Sherwood Forest, Cambridge, Canterbury, Dover, Swanage, Brighton and Beer.

driving map of England stops

In the next 8 posts, I’ll be sharing with you all of my adventures through each of these places. It’ll be quite the adventure with lots of wonderful sights to see – medieval setiings, cathedrals, where Robin Hood hung out, and a whole host of gorgeous remote seaside hideaways! You won’t want to miss it.  Until then…

 

 

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Author: Claudia Frew

Adventuresome, independent, and fun-loving American 65-year young great-grandmother who loves to travel; often going solo!

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