Of course Berwick Literary Festival 2017 is going to be a gem of a festival. Take a look at the programme and you’ll see why. However, this post and my next one are dedicated to our starry historic host: the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed.
If you’ve not been to Berwick before, you’re in for a treat and if you have been, you’ll no doubt relive past pleasures as well as uncovering new delights.
Berwick has evocative and historic streets to wander, with cute and enticing independent shops as well as the usual suspects. There are also watering holes a-plenty to delight and surprise you.
This post offers a potted lowdown on a some venues where you can chew some fat (literally and figuratively) and sup a beverage or two between Festival sessions. My next post will highlight some short but enjoyable walks to enjoy as you make your way from venue to venue.
- You’ll no doubt stop by The Corner House on Church Street which is the Festival hub, home of an open fire and bookshelves to browse, purveyor of fine local coffee (Northern Edge), cakes (fully-leaded and gluten free) and light lunches. Show your ticket and get 50p off a hot drink.
- Fantoosh on Marygate serves light lunches and lush cakes (it’s my local, I often grab ‘cakeouts’ to serve guests!), and offers dainty trinkets and gifts.
- Just over the old bridge in Tweedmouth, you’ll find Riverside Café – good scones and what looked like a sensible breakfast (several tables seemed to be reserved). The café will also be providing refreshments at the Festival venue in Spittal, St Paul’s.
- Mielle Patisserie is an artisan French-style café on West Street serving excellent cakes and light lunches.
- A new addition: The Lookout on Berwick Quayside. The quiches and soups smelt lovely when I stopped by and a customer told me the coffee was ‘delicious’. It is a bijoux outlet with tables and chairs by the river and great views.
- Enjoy the view from The Maltings Kitchen over a scone and a cuppa or a fresh-cooked lunch and glass or two of wine – in The Maltings arts centre, Eastern Lane. Open for early evening meals on Thursdays and Fridays.
- Foxtons on Hide Hill is a café-cum-wine bar which also offers lunch and evening meals using local produce – it has a loyal local following and can get busy.
- Pier Red on Castlegate is a cake-serving café and gallery by day and a relaxed and elegant wine bar on Friday (cocktails from 5.30!) and Saturday nights. Cheese and meat picking platters are also available.
- The YHA Granary Bistro in Dewar’s Lane offers a full range of drinks and family friendly meals in a relaxed atmosphere at excellent prices. You can get up to the lovely Granary Art Gallery from here for a quick look.
- Upper West Street on West Street straddles this category and the one below. It’s a café/bistro serving a tasty range of lunches/evening meals and roasts on Sunday.
More substantial eateries
- Gasparro’s on Bridge Street is the go-to for Italian staples.
- Audela on Bridge Street serves reliably good lunch and evening meals using fresh local produce. At time of writing it is about to move to new premises further along the same street so do check first.
- The Queens Head Hotel – lunches and evening meals which often make inventive use of lovely local produce. Venison is usually a good choice.
- The Plough on the Hill is a new addition to the area. Four miles out of Berwick at Allerdean, this South African themed gastropub claims 2016 MasterChef Professionals’ winner Gary Maclean as its Executive Chef (allow £18-£20 for a return taxi to Berwick).
- If curry’s your thing, Amran’s on Hide Hill is the place to go, it offers a great range of fine-tasting Indian food to suit the frailest and the most asbestos palates!
- I’ve already mentioned Pier Red and Foxtons – both popular and pleasing drinking haunts.
- The Brown Bear on Hide Hill is a pub with a heart that serves a super pint and a grand pie and gravy. There is outside seating. It is also a Festival hub and is offering 5% off food and drink to those who show their Festival ticket.
- The Curfew, tucked down an alley off Bridge Street, is Berwick’s super-popular micropub, serving fab craft beers – including those from excellent local brewery Bear Claw, local game and pork pies, scotch eggs and it’s the only place in Berwick to serve gouda and Dijon mustard – the ideal snack with beer. It has an outdoor patio.
- The Barrels Ale House on Bridge Street is Berwick’s long-serving real-ale pub and live music venue. It’s a firm favourite with locals and visitors.
This brief meander through the eateries and drinkeries of Berwick is by no means exhaustive. I’ve enjoyed a substantial number of the places listed, others have been recommended by friends. However, just as my shelves are full of books that I have yet to open, the streets of Berwick are teeming with venues that I have yet to sample. If I’ve missed any of your favourites – or if, when you visit Berwick, you find your own hotspot – please do leave a comment below so that we can be sure to check it out!
For those of you who like to keep your step quota up, there are lots of lovely walks in and around the town. Tune into my next post for a few strolls that will wake you up and ensure you get maximum enjoyment form your visit to Berwick Literary Festival 2017.