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Whitesand Shiel

Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland

There are waterside homes, and then there’s Whitesand Shiel. Barely a salmon’s leap from the legendary River Tweed, this 18th-century fisherman’s shelter has been lovingly reimagined as a quirky couple’s retreat.

Whitesand Shiel

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Overview

There are waterside homes, and then there’s Whitesand Shiel. Barely a salmon’s leap from the legendary River Tweed, this 18th-century fisherman’s shelter has been lovingly reimagined as a quirky couple’s retreat.

A fantastic location with captivating views and plenty of wildlife spotting opportunities

Used as a salmon-netting station until 1992, it lies just upstream from old Berwick’s bustling town centre and the spectacular Tweed estuary. As well as enchanting river views, Whitesand Shiel provides uninterrupted vistas of Robert Stephenson’s handsome Royal Border Bridge – a Grade I listed railway viaduct opened by Queen Victoria in 1850.

Downstairs, its open-plan living area is a winning blend of earthy colours and organic materials. Wooden floorboards, sumptuous leather sofas, cosy tweeds and solid oak furniture create an air of understated luxury which suits those memorable surroundings. The fully-equipped kitchen sits snugly in one corner, complete with cheery white fittings, and a log-burning stove in the stone fireplace stands ready for service on chillier days. A dining table is also found here, and two sofas face the small, Sky-equipped TV.

One floor up is the superb, glass-fronted sitting room, its slanted floor-to-ceiling windows offering a captivating view of the Tweed. Aided by free-to-use binoculars, this makes a fabulous spot to sit and watch the river and its many inhabitants – including salmon, otters, an extraordinary array of birdlife and even seals. Otherwise, laze on the corner sofa or large beanbag, enjoying a selection of books and games. To one side, the cosy adjacent bedroom features attractive exposed beams. You’ll find a bathroom below, complete with a walk-in rainfall shower.

The owner’s passion for the renovation project is reflected by charming details which reference Whitesand Shiel’s history. Former fish crates have been reborn as a wooden coffee table, while original fishing nets top the bed. Old oars are now coat hooks and an upturned fishing boat was ingeniously converted into sheltered outdoor seating. Continuing that nautical theme, the Royal Border Bridge is visible through a sitting-room porthole window.

That boat-cum-bench is part of a grassy garden with a pizza oven where you can eat al-fresco on sunny days — and use the provided telescope to stargaze at night. Look out for the house’s vintage weather vane, too.

Connecting to Edinburgh, York and London, Berwick’s station is a ten-minute walk away past the walled town’s castle remains. Just beyond are plenty of independent shops and galleries, plus a host of good restaurant options. Fourteen miles south, across Berwick’s other two great bridges, is Holy Island. The iconic Bamburgh Castle and namesake beach below aren’t much further on, with sandy shores at Cheswick or Eyemouth even closer. Explore inland, meanwhile, and you can visit ruined, romantic abbeys or Walter Scott locations amid the Scottish Borders or hike up beautiful, crowd-free Cheviot Hills.

Property details

Ground floor

Access into an open plan living area comprising:

Fully equipped kitchen with electric cooker with grill, oven and 4 ring ceramic hob, large fridge/freezer, small dishwasher, plenty of utensils and good quality china and glasses. Dining space with seating for four.

Cosy seating area with two comfortable sofas, wood burner (initial supply of logs provided), small TV with Sky and DVD player, iPhone docking station.

Utility room with washing machine, Belfast sink, microwave and overhead pulley. 

Shower room with walk-in shower with drench shower head, basin and WC.

First floor

Sitting room with floor to ceiling glass window offering superb views across the river to Berwick Bridge, corner sofa, large beanbag, selection of books and games, binoculars and small telescope.

Bedroom with 4’6” double bed, dressing table, chest of drawers, and armchair. Hanging space is provided by a door hook and hangers. Velux window with blackout blind.

Outside

Whitesand Shiel is set within a fully enclosed garden with an outside seating area and hedging offering privacy. A former wooden netting boat has been converted to provide a quirky bench. There is garden furniture, a barbecue, pizza oven and bench seating to the side and rear access to the property. A gate allows access onto the footpath with wider views across the estuary and walking access directly into Berwick upon Tweed.

Parking

There is ample private parking directly outside the cottage.

Babies & Children

Regretfully Whitesand Shiel is not suitable for children and babies.

Dogs

One well-behaved dog is welcome at Whitesand Shiel without charge; a second dog is accepted with a £20 charge. Please note that dogs are not permitted upstairs or on the furniture. An outside tap is available.

The garden is fully enclosed, however the immediate access road down to Whitesand Shiel is farmland with livestock and your dog will require supervision and kept on a lead while walking in this area.

To the front of the property, there is a gate with direct access to a walking path overlooking the estuary which allows a picturesque walk into the historic town of Berwick upon Tweed.

Guest amenities

The beds are made up with good quality bed linen, hypoallergenic duvet and pillows. A hairdryer is provided. Bath sheets and hand towels are provided for all guests.

Wi-Fi & Mobile Coverage

Wi-Fi is not available. There is good mobile coverage with 4G on most networks.

Heating

Heating is provided by electric panel heaters and a wood burning stove. An initial supply of logs are provided.

Guest privacy

There is a footpath directly to the front of the property which leads into Berwick-upon-Tweed town centre, however the garden area has established planting and hedging which offers guest privacy when sitting-out.

Access - Important

Access to Whitesand Shiel is via a concrete and gravel track which is usable by all vehicles other than in severe weather conditions. The access road is steep in parts and does involve exiting the vehicle to open the access gate into the field on the upper section, and then into the parking area of the garden area of the property on the lower section. This may prove difficult for guests with restricted mobility. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns. 

Location

Whitesand Shiel offers guests the best of both worlds; the location is surprisingly peaceful and private and yet Berwick’s shops, pubs and restaurants are just a fifteen minute walk from the front door. Unusually for this part of the world, Whiteand Shiel is one of very few properties where a car is not required. Berwick upon Tweed is on the main East Coast line which also links to the west coast and the station is about a 10 minute walk from the house.

Whitesand Shiel is an ideal base for exploring Northumberland’s Heritage coastline, 25 miles of golden sands and secluded rocky coves that remain almost deserted even in the summer months. Some of our favourite spots include the stunning beach at Bamburgh, miles of pristine sand, popular for walking, riding, surfing, coasteering and kite surfing. The magnificent views from the cliff top walks at St Abb’s Head and the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. This tiny, picturesque island linked at low tide to the mainland, is an overwhelmingly mystical place, home to the evocative remains of a ruined eleventh-century priory, a beautifully restored castle and the infamous Lindisfarne Mead. Head to the Farne Islands to see the resident seals and incredible birdlife including Puffins. 

The historic town of Alnwick and the wonderful Alnwick Gardens are just over a half an hour drive away and well worth a visit.

The charming, ancient towns of Duns and Kelso are also nearby and Edinburgh is an easy day trip either about an hour by car or 45 minutes on the train from Berwick upon Tweed.

Activities

Berwick offers a good range of unusual, independent shops including galleries, antique and restored furniture shops and quirky gift shops. The town is also well served with pubs, restaurants and cafes. Foodies will be delighted with the supremely fresh fish, excellent local cheeses, Chainbridge Honey and other fine local produce on offer.

Enjoy a wander around the town’s historic Elizabethan Walls, the best preserved in Europe. Walk the Lowry Trail which follows in the footsteps of the great 'matchstick men' painter and allows visitors to experience some of the hidden gems of the town, which Lowry discovered on his many holidays in Berwick from the mid-1930's to the summer before his death in 1976.

Berwick has a thriving arts scene at the centre of which is the charming Maltings Theatre which hosts a packed diary of theatre, cinema, dance and comedy. There are three art galleries and the Watchtower also hosts a number of events including jazz live from Ronnie Scotts in London. For something a bit different, take a boat trip from Berwick upstream to Paxton House, a superb Adam mansion boasting an impressive collection of art.

Berwick hosts a number of events throughout the year including the Riding of the Bounds in May which follows the ancient tradition of riding the town’s boundaries to guard against the thieving Reivers, the Seaside Festival in August which includes street entertainers, Punch and Judy, live music, and sandcastle competitions. The Food and Beer Festival in September is a mouthwatering opportunity to sample all the region’s superb produce, and the Film and Media Arts Festival, the largest of its type in the region will bring a cultural touch to your stay.

The area has over 26 miles of fantastic beaches just made for lazy picnics. Spittal beach, Cocklawburn, Goswick and Cheswick beaches are all close by. The renowned beach at Bamburgh is only a 20 minute drive from Berwick.

For more action-based activities, windsurfing, kitesurfing and coasteering are available at Budle Bay, Beadnell and Bamburgh, while canoeing can be arranged on the nearby coastal waters or river systems. There are also extensive cycling and mountain biking trails in and around the area, including favourites such as the Coast and Castles route as well as the newly launched Sandstone Way.

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is about a 20 minute drive from Berwick. This tiny, picturesque island linked at low tide to the mainland, is an overwhelmingly mystical place, home to the evocative remains of a ruined eleventh-century priory, a beautifully restored castle and the infamous Lindisfarne Mead.

There is excellent bird watching both on the coast around the town and also further afield at Bamburgh, St Abb’s Head and the Farne Islands, home to a resident colony of grey seals in addition to an impressive array of birdlife including puffins, guillemots, razorbills and terns.

There are two golf courses close by; Magdalene Fields five minutes from the town offers superb views of the famous Elizabethan walls, the cliffs leading into Scotland and the iconic castles at Bamburgh and Holy Island. Set within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty six miles south of Berwick, Goswick is a highly-regarded links course selected as an Open qualifying course. In total there are 34 courses within a 30 mile radius including, in addition to the above, the well-regarded links courses at Bamburgh and Eyemouth and parkland courses at The Hirsel and Roxburghe.

The magnificent city of Edinburgh is also an easy day trip, just 45 minutes on the train from Berwick.

Fishing

Fishing

Welcome to the realm of the king of fish, the mighty River Tweed. Every year thousands of Atlantic Salmon make their way up river, an annual odyssey that is one of nature's miracles.

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Wildlife

Wildlife

Our region is home to outstanding scenery which boasts emerald forests, pristine lochs and rivers, heathery hillsides, sweeping moorlands as well as a picture perfect coastline.

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Cycling & mountain biking

Cycling & mountain biking

Whether you ride fast or slow, on-road or off-road, there is something uniquely special about enjoying some outdoor time on two wheels. Here in the region we have something for everyone from high-energy mountain biking blasts to gentle forest paths the whole family can enjoy.

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Shopping, arts and crafts

Shopping, arts and crafts

We are extremely fortunate to have a region where independent shops are king, and to have an area flowing with creativity through its talents in arts, crafts and textiles.

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Walking

Walking

From the lush green uplands to shimmering sea, the area boasts a hugely diverse and enticing landscape that is perfect for exploring on foot. From gentle rambles to long-distance hikes, there are a vast array of trails and waymarked routes for newbie walkers or experienced alike.

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Historic houses and castles

Historic houses and castles

With more stately homes, castles and historic sites here than you can shake a proverbial stick at, visitors are quite simply spoilt for choice.

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Golf

Golf

There are 40 golf courses in Northumberland, and another 21 in the Scottish Borders offering visitors an incredibly wide and varied range of golfing options.

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Children and families

Children and families

Here at Crabtree & Crabtree, we like to think we’ve pulled together some rather nifty ideas to keep tots to teens happy and entertained during your stay.

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Adventure Sports

Adventure Sports

If you love a challenge or just crave a little excitement away from the day-to-day bustle of working life, we have lots to offer - whether it be watery pursuits, muddy blasts or thrill seeking, adrenaline-charged adventures.

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Horse riding

Horse riding

Horse riding is intrinsically linked to the history and heritage of the area and goes right back to the 13th and 14th centuries where townspeople would ride the clan’s boundaries to protect their common lands. Thankfully our riding pursuits today are not quite so dramatic!

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Shooting

Shooting

For sheer variety alone Northumberland and the Scottish Borders are irresistible to any gun.

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Spas and beauty treatments

Spas and beauty treatments

Everyone needs a little time-out to relax and for many that may involve a little pampering, the chance to experience new therapies, or simply some dedicated ‘me time’ to enjoy or practise disciplines which bring a sense of well-being and good health.

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Classes at your holiday home

Classes at your holiday home

Enjoy art, cookery, photography, flower or chocolate classes or whisky tasting in the comfort of your own holiday home...

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Ancestral history research

Ancestral history research

Crabtree & Crabtree know that tracing the history of your family can be a wonderful journey of discovery. Here are our top tips for starting your family tree.

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Services

Cooks and chefs

Cooks and chefs

Make your stay hassle-free with your own personal cook

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Additional housekeeping

Additional housekeeping

Award yourself a real break and let us provide a pair (or more) of helping hands.

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Nannies and babysitters

Nannies and babysitters

Relax, explore the local area, enjoy a long lunch or a romantic evening out by hiring a fully qualified registered and experienced nanny or babysitter to come to your house.

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Beauty and spa treatments

Beauty and spa treatments

Everyone needs some pampering, whatever the occasion.

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Fresh flowers

Fresh flowers

Fresh cut flowers delivered to your holiday home.

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Dog sitting

Dog sitting

Our experienced dog sitters will look after your furry friends whilst you are out exploring.

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Holiday photography

Holiday photography

Family holidays, reunions and honeymoons kindle priceless moments that deserve preserving.

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Wine delivery

Wine delivery

Crabtree & Crabtree have teamed up with Corney & Barrow one of the longest established independent Wine Merchants in the UK to offer a bespoke service.

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Reviews

"My husband and I stayed at Whitesand Shiel and what a wonderful week we had. The weather was extremely kind to us. Watching the bird life was amazing and we were lucky to see an otter feeding on the river bank, 3 seals and numerous swans with signets, Canada geese, lapwings etc.  We were also blessed to see 2 deer one morning in the fields to the back of the cottage. At the rear of the cottage is a delightful garden, with mature fruit trees and plants.  The owners have provided a stone built barbecue and pizza oven, plus table and chairs. A hedge around the property offers privacy with a boat converted into a sheltered seating area at the top of the garden offering views across the River. There are lots of walks from the cottage and we did not use our car at all during our stay.  What we particularly enjoyed was being able to walk right into the centre of Berwick along a lovely path by the River – about 10-15 minutes. I would most definitely recommend Whitesand Shiel and will certainly visit again, hopefully in the not too distant future. A very professional, but at the same time friendly, Holiday Company, who managed our booking exceptionally well.  Quickly responded to our queries and kept us well up-to-date with their payment process, plus arrival and departure details.  Customer service is first class, handled by very knowledgeable and friendly staff.  Thank you Crabtree & Crabtree for all your help in providing a seamless holiday process."

Mr & Mrs Thompson

"We had a wonderful week. The weather was good and it's the perfect cottage - remote but you can walk by the river into Berwick where people are friendly and they speak to you as you walk past. 

We were lucky the otter came and we watched a family of swans with 5 little ones, and a heron one evening. 

We even watched 3 deer on the far side of the river bank. 

It's so peaceful and the cottage has all you need to unwind and relax.

This is our 4th stay and we are looking forward to returning."

Lambert Party

"We very much enjoyed our stay at Whitesand Shiel especially as we benefited from good weather most of the time. The location and views are superb and the design of the accommodation makes the most of them by providing the upstairs room with the huge window. We spent a lot of time river watching….. swans, herons, ducks with ducklings, the rowers, and the tide coming and going. There were beautiful riverside walks in both directions and the local people we met were very friendly."

Mr & Mrs Speck

"It was a wow! moment when we first saw the cottage and surroundings. The cottage is clean and cosy with a view to beat any other view we have seen before. With plenty of wildlife to look out at. Biscuits, wine, bread, local honey and milk were waiting for us to devour them were a nice treat."

Mrs Welton

"Wonderful cottage, in this amazing conversion. Every detail covered. We've had a very relaxing week and hope to be back soon. Thank you."

Stow family

"Love this cottage! We had a great week in this perfect setting. Thank you, we hope to be back."

Roberts family

"We had a great stay at Whitesand Shiel. The cottage is absolutely superb and was exactly as described in your guide."

Hayne family

"This is the most magical place for watching birds and wildlife. We have kept a bird diary and these are the species we have seen. The wonderful swans gliding by, flocks of lapwings, cormorants, 25 herons on the island, oyster catchers, curlews, redshanks, goosanders, herring gulls, black-headed gulls, great black-backed gulls, Greylag geese, little egrets, crows, rooks, mallards, blackbirds, robins, buzzards and kestrels. Close to the woods at the end of the footpath we saw a jay, song thrush, wood pigeons and a wren. On the river flats, a kingfisher (very special indeed!), a firecrest (also very special). There was a juvenile great tit in the garden and a magpie on the fence. We were also very lucky to see the otter also a deer in the fields behind the woods. Last minute sighting! - On our last day, we saw the otter - on closer inspection it was definitely a seal making its way down river. Sadly we now have to leave this beautiful place."

Wilkie family

"Thank you for sharing this wonderful cottage with us. Everything just perfect. Enjoyed meeting all the locals."

Cullum family

"I have been to many places in this country but this one will be hard to beat. I have never said the word 'wow' so many times. You have a truly wonderful place. Everything was perfect. You must be so proud at what you have achieved. So much care and attention to detail has gone into this wonderful place. We will be back without a doubt. One complaint! - we had to leave."

Turnbull family

"A most perfect spot. Really has the 'wow' factor. Stunning location, always changing."

Wright family

"Amazing cottage, perfect place to chill and relax, now back to the real world!"

Sykes family

"We absolutely loved it. My husband used to work in the Shiel in 1979 and was excited about returning. It is quite a unique renovation in a stunning location. We have already booked to return in a couple on months. Can't wait!"

Humphreys family

"We had an absolutely brilliant time at this cottage which is furnished extremely well and comfortable. The owners were also very welcoming & helpful."

Nicholson family

"Beautiful cottage. Fantastic location. Have walked our socks off! Masses to do and see. Lots of food and good beer!"

Mr Brooks

"We have loved our stay at your beautiful cottage. We've relaxed, stargazed, enjoyed a bit of bird watching and also spent one day walking the historical sites of Berwick upon Tweed. We visited Bamburgh and walked from Coldingham Sands to St Abbs. All in all, it has been wonderful. Many thanks. The shortbread was absolutely delicious!"

Ms Patel

"Our 25th Wedding Anniversary! - Many thanks for lovely food on arrival. This cottage is perfect. Views, nature all in front of the house, walks as well. The cottage has a lovely atmosphere. It's so cosy and has everything you need for a restful holiday. It's like a hidden gem. Thank you so much, we really enjoyed our holiday."

Mr & Mrs Moore

"Absolutely loved our stay. The cottage was wonderful. Walks and wildlife amazing. Thank you for the fabulous welcome pack. It was very welcome indeed."

Mr & Mrs Fletcher

"We had a wonderful time in your little cottage. It's a gorgeous place with fantastic views - loved waking up in such a fantastic setting, as did our little dog Bailey - who felt totally comfortable here. Thank you for everything - we can't wait to return and would highly recommend to others."

Bithell party

"So chilled and relaxed, we didn't want to leave... so we didn't... extended for an extra night. Will be back for sure, hopefully very soon. Many thanks to the owners."

Hillary party

"Perfect place to relax! Thank you for the lovely welcome pack."

Dunne party

"Another lovely stay in this amazing cottage. Thanks for the lovely welcome pack. Hope to be back soon. A big thank you."

Mr & Mrs Heyworth
Location Rural - less than a mile from Berwick-upon-Tweed.
Dogs
  • One dog is welcome free of charge, a second dog is welcome with a charge of £20.
Babies & Children
  • Whitesand Shiel is not suitable for babies and children.
Arrival / Departure
  • Typical arrival day: Friday during high season, with the additional option of Monday during mid season. Flexible arrival day during low season.
  • Arrival time: 5pm
  • Departure time: 10am
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Looking over the estuary at Whitesand Shiel from the enclosed rear garden
The little things we love...
"Sipping coffee and watching the river life on the estuary in the morning sunshine, with the day stretching ahead."
Logan and Karen, owners of Whitesand Shiel
email us or give us a call on 01573 226711 for details.

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