Our northernmost hostel, the handsome YHA Berwick, has plenty of character. Housed in a converted 200-year-old former granary (which boasts a unique lean; Pisa-upon-Tweed, if you will) it occupies a prime spot on the Berwick quayside. And as well as having 13 en-suite rooms, a bistro café and a well-stocked bar, it also serves up a more unusual feature: a dedicated art gallery.
Forming a part of the hostel since the restored building was unveiled five years ago, The Granary Gallery is run by Berwick Visual Arts, a local initiative committed to developing “a welcoming and engaging environment of exceptional, ambitious visual art” in the Northumberland town.
The gallery runs a changing programme of temporary exhibitions. Even better, they’re free to visit. And from now until 15th October, YHA guests have the opportunity to take in a display of Scottish Colourists from the Fleming Collection.
It’s the first major touring exhibition to be curated by the renowned Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation – owner of the finest collection of Scottish art outside of institutions – and includes 26 works by SJ Peploe, JD Fergusson, George Leslie Hunter and FCB Cadell. Visitors with an interest in the countryside and culture north of the border will find plenty to enjoy.
Art-lovers have further reason to add Berwick-upon-Tweed to their wish lists. As well as playing home to Berwick Visual Arts’ other contemporary space, The Gymnasium Gallery, the town also has strong associations with the legendary LS Lowry, who visited on numerous occasions. The Lowry Trail leads through the streets, taking in the spots immortalised in his works.
It’s also worth noting that the hostel’s Granary Bistro has a roster of open mic nights, live music events and comedy nights. And if all that’s not enough to keep culture vultures happy, there’s world-class day-trip potential in the shape of Edinburgh, which sits under 45 minutes away by train.