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Berwick-upon-Tweed 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

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After leaving London behind, we ventured by train out into the English countryside. It was nearly as idyllic as the stories and movies portray. Grassy green hills, castles and small villages nestled next to streams and village fortifications. I even saw a lamb frolicking across a pasture fenced by an ancient stone wall.

After a short four~ hour journey, we arrived in the quaint town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, thusly named for it's location at the delta joining the river Tweed to the English Channel. The proud people of this place will remark to you of it's history and renown as a centerpiece of British history. The town sits as the largest settlement officially within England, and throughout it's history had changed hands between the English and Scottish no fewer than 13 times! The modern town had grown up around the historic walls that had previously kept the people safe during times of war. As we arrived in the late afternoon, we could see people strolling along the grassy fortifications.

Alannah House

A short 10 minute walk led us to our accommodation for the next two evenings, the Alannah House Bed & Breakfast. As I panned Google in day's prior looking for stops to add to our journey, I spotted the inn from my digital perch above and could not resist the urge to book a couple of nights almost immediately and I'm glad I did! The proprietors Steve and Lynn warmly welcomed us in and showed us to our room on the second floor. It was homely and comfortable, with calm brown colors and an en-suite. A queen bed and two sitting chairs made for ample lounge space.

After setting our bags down, we ventured back onto the high street to find Dinner at the Leaping Salmon. Alanna insisted we get the chips covered in mac-n-cheese and bacon. Who was I to say no? She followed the appetizer with a root vegetable pie and I had bangers and mash. A British dinner indeed.

Upon our return to the BNB, Alanna wanted to stay in while I was eager to explore. At around 9pm, I set off into the night. Around the corner, I exited the town through a large gate set in the massive stone wall. I was hoping to follow some trails but unfortunately they were not lit. Instead I followed a very dim path back along the edge of the wall and back up into town. Once back inside the walls, I picked directions mostly at random. I passed an infirmary set in an ancient building, descended a huge hill, and snaked my way through the streets around the prominent city hall. After an hour or so, I had wandered back to the heavy dark red door guarding Alannah House.

We both settled in for the evening and fell asleep to the quiet sounds of the sea and breathing the cool, crisp air through the open window.

An English Breakfast

Like many other things on this trip, the Alannah House was my first experience of a bed and breakfast. The previous evening, we filled out a pre-order form for breakfast. The hotel lobby boasted of awards for hospitality that I was eager to put to the test. I had ordered a full English breakfast with all the accouterments. A bowl of porridge preceded a full plate of bacon, sausages, hash browns, a poached egg, grilled tomatoes, beans, and even blood pudding! I ate all of it, happily.

Alanna and I drank the breakfast tea like water, even needing a refill for the large teapot set on the elaborate table placing. After our hosts cleared the table, we sat to chat with them for a few minutes about their travels in America, swapping stories and anecdotes about the differences between our countries.


After breakfast, we went for a walk around the town. We began in the same place as my walk from the night before, but this time with the rare aid of sunshine in the normally overcast coastal sky. Up the wall we climbed and admired the views from atop the wall. A dozen people were out and about within sight, dogs eagerly leading owners and children following close behind their parents.

We were vaguely following a trail chronicling the works of LS Lowry, a prominent English artist with numerous paintings and sketches of the town from a variety of angles. As we descended the wall on the south side of town, we passed a sign displaying one of his sketches set against the inspirational view of the distant lighthouse.

We continued on out onto the pier and into the windy vista. The lighthouse stood alone against the sea. As we approached the far side of the building, we stood looking out into the vast ocean, salty cool air chilling our bones as the waves softly churned and crashed into the chest high wall separating us from nature's chaotic aquatic dance.

Turning around, we began our walk back toward the quiet town. I couldn't help but admire the quaint site of terraced buildings up the hill. I wish there were more towns and cities in Texas with such populated vertical geography.

We snaked around the south end of the town, following the river, and eventually crossed on foot via a small one-way bridge. At this point, breakfast was beginning to affect my biology in uncomfortable ways. A short ways off, I could see a sign for Asda, the Walmart owned British supermarket chain; onward!

We took a few minutes to explore the store and comment to each other on the various oddities when compared to it's patron across the pond. As Easter is approaching, a giant Cadbury egg the size of a child's head was on sale for £0.99. I noted to myself the price of fresh vegetables and produce, cheap in comparison to what we have in the states. The store was also much smaller than any Walmart I've ever been in. After walking up and down every aisle, we set off back across the river to continue our walk along the walls.


Back on the high street, we quickly turned off into an alley in search of a path back onto the walls. At the end of the alley, a fork was revealed around the sharp corner, with a path leading up and a long and steep set of earthen stairs leading down into a thick copse of trees. After a short deliberation, we headed down the wood capped steps.

The steps were all of varying depths and heights and a rope railing followed down our left hand side. Ever the smartass, I played a fictitious conversation between two builders who might have constructed the staircase.

"How big should we make these?"

"I don't know, put your foot down, make a mark and then move down"

The joke being, that as each builder moved ahead of the other, so too would the steps change back and forth in varying sizes.

I must have missed the memo about mocking ancient builders because shortly after the remarks left my mouth in a faux cockney accent, I twisted my ankle and fell to rest with my backside on the hard wooden edge of a stair. The pain quickly dulled into an ache, reignited with short flashes upon each step. At this point, we were about halfway down the steps. Unsure of where to go, we continued on, hoping for an easier path back up. No such path existed.

To make a long story short, we walked another mile or so, back up a steep hill (but no stairs!) and the Coronation Garden on the far side of the train station we had arrived from the day before. Statues of an otter and vole lived along freshly cut grass and bench lined paths in the small garden. After sitting for a moment we continued back through the town and to our hotel to rest.

We ended the evening with dinner at a local chippy, both of us satisfied by the generous portions of fried fish and golden potatoes.

Overall, it was a pleasant stay. If you find yourself in Nortumberland in need of a place to stay, I can highly recommend Berwick-upon-Tweed and the kind folk that run the Alannah House Bed & Breakfast. Next, onward to Scotland proper!