While we were planning, I happened to notice the little town of Berwick-Upon-Tweed on the map. It rang a bell because my book club had read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce some time ago. It's about a man who sets out to visit an old friend and ends up walking the length of England, ultimately arriving in Berwick. I also read the companion book, The Love Song of Miss Queen Hennessy, also set to a large degree in the same charming town. Since we were "in the neighborhood," I decided we should visit. This is where our route got a little circuitous. Berwick is the northernmost town in England and when we had taken the train from Edinburgh, we had probably gone right by it. Our B and B host told us that Berwick has actually changed hands between England and Scotland several times. We got into the car and drove north, actually crossing the border into Scotland for a time.
Berwick turned out to be a lovely walled city right on the north sea. We took a little walk on top of the wall to see the views and then found our accommodations.
We had a nice size room but the bed wasn't terribly comfortable. We were right near the water, atop one of the stone quays and looking out on the River Tweed.
We only stayed here one night and were charmed by the atmosphere and area.
Everything would have been perfect except for the coughing man at the restaurant. Have to watch those germs!
The next day we drove south to County Durham and the town of Barnard Castle. On the way, we stopped to see Bamburgh Castle, which turned out to be one of our favorite stops. We had heard about this castle when we were waiting for our tour in Iceland and were chatting with a couple from Australia. The wife was from Scotland originally, and told us if we were in the north of England, we had to see Bamburgh and so I wrote it down. It turned out to be on our way to Barnard Castle, so we stopped by.
Bamburgh sits on a rocky plateau high above the Northumberland coastline and is one of the largest inhabited castles in the world. Like most castles in this part of the world, it has been destroyed and rebuilt over the hundreds of years of its existence. Now owned by the Armstrong family, descendants of the first Lord Armstrong, it was opened to visitors in the mid 1900s. I think they had 14 furnished rooms to visit and the views (although windy) were spectacular here. The castle sits right above a beautiful beach and looks out to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne.
The fireplaces in these old kitchens are huge, and there was a spinning wheel in here!
The furnishings were beautiful.
A little bit of driving excitement: Just imagine that this car is coming around the corner at 60 mph and you have to remember to dive for the ditch on the left side. Keeps you on your toes! And this was actually a much wider road than many we encountered.
I will stop this part of the adventure here, since we ended up visiting another nice castle before the day was over and that will keep for next time.