Two Stunning Counties: discover Northumberland & the Scottish Borders
This area is steeped in history, with a wealth of ancient castles, churches, abbeys, ruins, standing stones, prehistoric rock carvings, historic houses, gardens... We are spoilt for space, peace, wildlife & beauty too, with miles of unspoilt sandy beaches to the Northumbrian side of the Border, & craggy, rugged coastline to the Scottish side. There are surfing & dive sites on both sides, & stunning wildlife boat trips available around our islands. Endless quiet country lanes & rolling countryside make walking & cycling a breeze, whilst the Lammermuir, Eildon & Cheviot hills are perfect for a steady climb & stunning views.
Listed below are just some of our regular haunts - for even more ideas visit:
& take a look through our photo albums at Loaf to see some of our favourite places -
Close to Loaf:
Beautiful riverside walks just down the lane. Plus a wealth of footpaths criss-crossing the countryside. Perfect for wildlife watching, running, cycling, or a leisurely stroll...
The Union Chain Bridge - half an hour's walk (or catch the Horncliffe bus most of the way) down the lane from Loaf brings you to this historic site. Opened in 1820 it was the longest wrought iron suspension bridge in the world, and the first vehicular bridge of its type in the United Kingdom.
A riverside walk brings you to Horncliffe & its old village pub.
Norham Castle, village & church - take a riverside walk (& a Loaf picnic), a short cycle or drive, or the local bus (Perryman's no 67) to Norham, the next village along. You won't regret it. Ancient history, river & picture-perfect Northumbrian village green. Friendly local pubs with live music nights.
Paxton House - A few more minutes walk along the riverside from the Chain Bridge (or a short drive round from Loaf) brings you to the grounds & gardens of this historic country house with fine collections of Chippendale & Trotter furniture & Georgian costume. Regency Picture Gallery houses collections on loan from the National Galleries of Scotland. The grounds include a children's adventure playfround & hides for wildlife-watching. Seasonal programme of events. Gift shop & traditional tearoom - keep asking for plant milks & vegan-friendly options!
A few minutes drive, cycle or bus journey:
Berwick Upon Tweed - (you can also walk here, via pretty disused railway line, roadside verge & then footpath in approx 50 minutes.)
Famous for it's 3 bridges, Elizabethan town walls, castle ruin, town hall & gaol museum, Georgian architecture & Barracks housing 3 museums, riverside walks & gardens, beach, pier & lighthouse, rosy pantiled roofs, Lowry trail, & Autumn season of festivals.
Berwick has a thriving selection of independent shops & cafes, plus the usual highstreet chains, & a Charter Market every Weds & Saturday. The Maltings theatre & cinema has a excellent programme throughout the year. Seasonal boat trips from the quayside run along the Tweed up to Paxton & the Chain Bridge & back.
Take a wander over the old bridge to Tweedmoth for a different perspective on the town, the excellent Watchtower Gallery, & walk on round to the old seaside resort of Spittal for long sandy beaches & to pick up the Northumberland coast path, with views out to Holy Island, the Farnes & down to Bamburgh Castle.
Buses will take you from Berwick to all the surrounding countryside, villages, towns & coast, & the East Coast Main Line rail service from Berwick station reaches Edinburgh or Newcastle in under an hour.
See a huge selection of things to see & do here -
This year - 2015 - Berwick will celebrate its 900-year story with Berwick 900, a wide range of events & activities.
Ford & Etal - two villages of Ford & Etal which lie in the valley of the River Till, between the Scottish Border and the Cheviot Hills.
Explore the Heatherslaw corn mill, take a steam trip on the Light Railway, visit Etal Castle & village, & walk the Flodden battlefield, canoe down the River Till with Active4Seasons, or view the stunning pre-Raphaelite paintings at Lady Waterford Hall in Ford.
Map - http://www.ford-and-etal.co.uk/tourism/what-to-see-and-do
Eyemouth & the Berwickshire Coast - Take in Eyemouth Museum, with its history of the town, changing exhibitions, & the famous Eyemouth Tapestry commemorating the Great Fishing Disaster of 1881; the Eyemouth Maritime Centre; Gunsgreen House (home of Georgian smuggler John Nisbet, & brilliant family-friendly destination today); check out Marine Quest Diving; Rib Boat Trips from Eyemouth Harbour; The Hippodrome opening in Summer 2015; Eyemouth Golf Club with its coastal links; & walk the beautiful, rugged Berwickshire Coast Path to Burnmouth, Coldingham (see the Priory, Coldingham Loch & Coldingham sands for surfing - St Vedas Surf Shop - & beach wanders), & on to St Abbs.
St Abbs is perfect for walking, birdwatching & diving, has an excellent visitors' centre, the beautiful Number Four Gallery, & a Friday market & cafe in the old school/Ebba Centre (used to stock vegan eats & plant milk - keep asking & creating a demand & they may reinstate them!)
Next up the coast is St Abb’s Head, a National Nature Reserve famous for its clamouring seabird colony & rugged coastline.
A little further afield:
Holy Island of Lindisfarne - approx half an hour's drive (or take the 477 Perryman's bus from Berwick) - http://www.perrymansbuses.co.uk/images/stories/downloads/Timetables/2015/PerrymansBuses-477-Holy-Island-June-2015-ExtraEasterServies.pdf
A stunning location. The island is the final destination of long distance walking route the St Cuthbert’s Way. Brilliant for birdwatching, Lindisfarne's tidal mudflats, saltmarshes and dunes together form the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve.
Visit the church, Priory ruins (English Heritage), Lindisfarne Castle & Gertrude Jekyll garden (NT), birdwatching centre, Lindisfarne Visitors' Centre & Gospels Exhibition, & Pilgrim's Coffee House for home-roasted coffee & vegan food & drink!
Be sure to observe the safe crossing times, as the sea comes in very fast across the causeway.
Duddo Stone Circle. Get on out there! (you can even borrow a bike from Loaf..)