Many visitors on a cottage holiday are drawn to the historic stone-built border town of Berwick, which sits dramatically on the Tweed estuary and is England’s northernmost town. Changing hands between England and Scotland no less than a staggering 13 times between its capture by the Scots in the 11th century and its eventual retaking by the English in 1482, Berwick had become Scotland’s leading seaport and a place of considerable wealth and distinction.
Much of the original town, including the first set of city walls built by Edward II, was destroyed in the many subsequent sieges Berwick endured. The massive walls that draw visitors to modern Berwick were built during the reign of Elizabeth I to protect the town against further raids. They remain almost perfectly intact and as such are one of the most complete sets of Tudor town walls to be found anywhere in Europe. At the time, they were at the forefront of military technology, constructed with the dual aim of one the one hand repelling attack and, on the other, housing increasingly effective artillery in arrowhead shaped bastions. Visitors to Berwick walk the walls, either via a guided tour or using information available from the local tourist office; the tour takes between one and two hours dependent on pace, and affords some superb panoramic views of the Northumberland coast.
The legacy of Berwick’s Anglo-Scottish past results in a number of modern day anomalies; more than part Scottish, Berwick’s football team, Berwick Rangers, still play to this day in the Scottish Football League. Similarly, the river Tweed flowing through the town is still officially a Scottish river and as such, fishing is not permitted on a Sunday.
Modern Berwick is a thriving town that attracts many visitors each year. An ideal base for discovering the rest of the Northumberland region, Berwick offers good some good pubs and restaurants, shops, beaches, walks, gardens and a number of interesting museums, including Berwick Barracks Museum, and has created a thriving new cultural scene in the shape of the Maltings Arts Centre.
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