Gabriella Swerling

The best English border towns for Scots celebrating Hogmanay

  • From Spectator Life
Berwick-upon-Tweed (photo: iStock)

Scotland’s deputy first minister has been trying to discourage would-be New Year’s Eve revellers from travelling to England this week. Those planning to escape Scotland’s strict Covid rules with a Hogmanay trip south of the border are going against the ‘spirit’ of the restrictions, according to John Swinney.

As Chloe Smith, the UK work and pensions minister, has pointed out though, Scots are ‘more than free to move around’ the UK over the New Year – Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP are not yet able to impose a hard border along the 96-mile stretch between Bella Caledonia and contaminated England.

And for those Scots who do want to exercise their rights as British citizens and to see in the new year in style, The Spectator has put together a guide of the best English border towns in which to ‘tak a cup o’ kindness yet’ this Hogmanay.


Located just two-and-a-half miles south of the Anglo-Scottish border, Berwick, as it is known by locals, is the northernmost town in England.

Just a 40 minute train from Edinburgh, there are plenty of B&Bs and boutique hotels to stay at, and a wide range of New Year’s events to choose from.

Before the celebrations begin, you can opt for fine dining at The Queen’s Head hotel or have a fish and chips from the string of local chippies. When evening comes, and if you’re up for a big night, the Radio Rooms event space on Main Street is hosting an electronic music party on New Year’s Eve featuring what it claims are ‘five amazing DJs’. The £11.50 tickets could see you dancing through to 3 a.m. thanks to the owners procuring a special licence. Meanwhile, The Plough on the Hill traditional country pub is hosting a live music night with The Beardy Busker — a local acoustic musician — playing a range of ‘the biggest hits on the biggest night of the year’.

Come New Year’s Day, if you fancy a stroll along the stunning Northumberland coastline, it’s easy to get there by car, foot or train.

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