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Berwick-Upon-Tweed – A Curator’s Guide

By James Lowther, 25.09.2020
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Berwick-Upon-Tweed. Image courtesy English Heritage.

Berwick Town Walls

No visit to Berwick is complete without a walk around the Elizabethan walls that surround the town. Built in 1558 and a mile and a-quarter in length, they are the only example of bastioned town walls in Britain. They give fascinating views of the town from a range of different vantage points and stunning views across the North-Sea.

Lowry Trail

L.S Lowry was a regular visitor to Berwick from the mid 1930s onwards, taking a holiday to enjoy the fresh air of the North Sea. As a result, he produced over 30 paintings and sketches of the town. The Lowry Trail takes visitors to many of the sites that inspired these works throughout the town, with engaging information panels detailing the works. Look out for the commanding Lion’s House, which Lowry reputedly almost purchased until he found out it was damp!

L. S. Lowry, An Old Street in Berwick-upon-Tweed, 1952. © The Estate of the Artist.

Bridge Street

Between the Maltings and the Granary Gallery is Bridge Street, perhaps the town’s own ‘cultural quarter’, home to a number of independent artist run spaces including Foldyard Gallery and Print Workshop, Bridge Street Gallery and Tidekettle papermakers. You can enjoy excellent coffee and bagels at the Mule on Rouge, where you can also spin some vinyl from their record collection or go for something stronger at the Curfew Micropub with a beer garden hidden down a little side alley.

Northern Soul Kitchen

A brilliant food waste initiative and pay-as-you feel café in the centre of the town that uses unsold food from local shops and supermarkets to create healthy and delicious, affordable food for everyone. They also hold regular pop-up events at their workshop in Spittal along with Bear Claw Brewery and Karmic Vegan Cakery, which is well worth the short walk over the river.

Maltings Café

Housed in the town’s theatre & Cinema, the Café has the best views across the River Tweed, it has a delicious home cooked menu, freshly sourced locally and a great selection of wines, beers and spirits.

Berwick-Upon-Tweed. Image courtesy English Heritage.

James Lowther has been Head of Visual Art at Berwick Visual Arts since its inception in 2012 and is responsible for curating and delivering a programme of temporary exhibitions across two gallery spaces, an artist residency programme and the development of wider initiatives to support the visual arts in Berwick-upon-Tweed. 

He first collaborated with the Fleming Collection in 2017 for the exhibition ‘Scottish Colourists from the Fleming Collection’ (2017) which was awarded Best Event in Northumberland at the Journal Culture Awards that year. Recent co-curated exhibitions include ‘Turner: Northern Exposure’ (2019) exploring the influence of the northern landscape on Turner’s work and 'ARTIST ROOMS: Douglas Gordon’ as part of the 2018 ARTIST ROOMS programme with TATE. In 2013 he initiated an ongoing partnership with Newcastle Universities Centre for Rural Economy and Institute for Creative Arts Practice (NICAP) to develop an innovative artist residency programme that enables artists and academics to collaborate and research contemporary rural issues.

For those who cannot, or prefer not to, travel at this time, our virtual exhibition along the same theme continues with Art UK's curations tool. Visit and explore here.