All Aboard. Get your ticket for a cruise on the Tweed

Photo Credit: James Gordon

This Easter, a new passenger boat the Border Rose, will take to the water in Berwick on Tweed.  The Border Rose, with a shallow draft designed for river cruising, will be able to take to the water irrespective of the tides. It will offer passengers the opportunity to cruise up the River Tweed and view the historic market town of Berwick on Tweed and other places from the river.  The River Tweed is one of Jeremy Paxman’s favourite rivers and is known as on of the  great salmon rivers of  Europe.  So to  whet your appetite for the River Tweed take a look at his recent Channel 4 programme on the River Tweed.


Berwick on Tweed

Berwick-upon-Tweed sits at the most northerly tip of Northumberland, just 3 miles from the Scottish Border. Today’s peaceful market town is a far cry from Berwick’s turbulent past.  The town has been captured or sacked 13 times over 300 years,  falling finally into English hands in 1482.

The Elizabethan Walls stand as monument of the importance of Berwick as a Border town defending England from the Scots. You can walk these great Elizabethan walls  taking in spectacular views across the River Tweed estuary.  They were  completed in 1558 and are now the most complete bastioned town defences in Northern Europe. From the walls you can view Berwick’s three bridges, including the iconic Royal Border Bridge,one of the finest bridges of its’ kind in the world.   The Bridge was designed by Robert Stephenson and built in 1847–50, at a cost of £253,000.  It’s a 720-yard-long railway viaduct with 28 arches, carrying the East Coast Main Line 126 feet above the River Tweed.  At night it is spectacular, illuminated by a multitude of changing coloured lights.


The Lowry Trail

The painter Lowry (1887-1976), famous for his ‘matchstick men’ paintings of the industrial north also painted the cobbled streets and seaside scenes in Berwick-upon-Tweed. He holidayed in Berwick on Tweed from the mid-1930’s to the Summer before his death in 1976. Lowry was drawn to the town by the fascinating architecture and close proximity to the sea. The Lowry Trail follows in the footsteps of the great ‘matchstick men’ painter and allows visitors to experience some of the hidden gems of the town.


A River view of Berwick on Tweed

The  river trip will allow passengers on the boat to enjoy stunning, unsurpassed views of Berwick’s Elizabethan Walls, formidable fortifications, as well as the three bridges.  The tours will be fully narrated to ensure visitors understand and appreciate the prominence of Berwick in medieval Britain.  The shallow draft of the boat should allow passage to the Union Bridge,  Paxton House and perhaps beyond.

The Union Bridge built in 1821 is  5 miles (8 km) upstream, from Berwick.  It’s the  World’s oldest surviving suspension bridge.  Nearby is the Chainbridge Honey Farm, making honey and beeswax products.  A great day our for families with an old red double decker bus as a tea room.  The 18th-century neoclassical Paxton House, designed by John and Robert Adam, has Scotland’s largest collection of Chippendale furniture.  There’s also  a magnificent picture gallery, in partnership with the National Galleries of Scotland.  Paxton also has an excellent tea room.  The house was built by Patrick Home as a house for the women he fell in love with.  Alas his love was unrequited and he sold up, heartbroken.


Watch a 900 year old fishing tradition 

In the summer you can  watch salmon fishermen at the mouth of the Tweed using traditional nets and rowing boats called cobles.  You can also join in this 900 year old tradition for a day. Tweed salmon and sea trout have recently been accepted into the Slow Food “Ark of Taste”, in recognition of their importance.


Where to find the boat

Boat trips will run daily from Easter to October. The boat ( a lovely red colour) departs from the pontoon, known as Tweed Dock, on Berwick Harbour beside the Chandlery.  Contact skipper David Thompson on 07713 170845 or check out their website, to organise your trip.

PS The picture above is just a pretty picture of the River Tweed in Berwick and not the Border Rose!

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