“ Address: 58 Bridge Street / Berwick on Tweed / Northumberland / TD15 1AQ / Telephone: 01289 331481 „
I was as surprised as you might be to discover that Berwick-upon-Tweed has a "backpacker" hostel. I've stayed in many budget hostels in many places, but never in a town like Berwick-upon-Tweed. That's not to say that Berwick isn't a major tourist destination - it's a charming town with Britain's best preserved Elizabethan era "star" fortifications, but it isn't a major backpacker destination. Most of the other tourists I saw were either grey haired coach parties or suited and booted walkers who were beginning the Pennine Trail or exploring the magnificent windswept east coast.
Berwick-upon-Tweed has an excellent location: the old town is at the mouth of the River Tweed, with Tweedmouth, Spittal and East Ord on the south side of the river. The east coast mainline, Britain's fastest railway, runs through Berwick on its way from Edinburgh to London. The station is a fifteen minute walk from the town centre and the hostel.
I arrived early, but by prior arrangement the manageress was happy to look after my bags. I returned later to check-in, and discovered the secret of Berwick Backpackers. Don't tell anyone - but the only thing hostel-ish about this place are the prices. Tucked away in a little courtyard are a number of single, twin and dorm rooms, some en suite. They are extremely comfortable, and my single room even had a TV and DVD player. A communal kitchen / dining room is very well equipped and comfortable, and a generous selection for breakfast is included in the price (cereals, croissants, breads, tea, coffee, eggs etc).
The location is handy for the older parts of town, down close to the waterfront. The Barrels Alehouse across the street is probably the best pub in Berwick, with extremely friendly company and a good selection of real ale on tap, and live music downstairs at the weekend.
Backpackers seeing England and Scotland would do well to get off the train in Berwick for at least a night, perhaps en route from those essential stops in York and Edinburgh. The small town atmosphere is calm and the architecture and history of the town is easy to appreciate. The hostel is perfectly priced, located and equipped, and it could even be a respectable budget weekend away for young romantics. Definitely recommended.