Gretna & Gretna Green

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Gretna Green village and Gretna town are situated next to each other in Dumfries & Galloway south Scotland, on the border with England, next to the A74 / M6 motorway.

The area is best known for runaway weddings at the famous Blacksmiths, and its many hotels.

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See also a large Click On Map for the area Top Attractions.

The image top is of the Old Blacksmiths in Gretna Green where most of the weddings take place, around 1,500 per year.

The image second top is of the Sculpture Garden at the Old Blacksmiths, a popular place for tourists taking photos.

This is now one of the top attractions in Scotland, attracting tourist from around the world.

The Old Blacksmiths Museum shows living conditions and dresses from when weddings began here in 1754.

There are three marriage rooms with the Original room seen right. Ceremonies take about 20 minutes. If you are visiting the museum when a ceremony is taking place, you know when the couple are wed when you hear the hammer hitting the anvil.

You can only view this room between ceremonies.

The two other marriage rooms are next door, The Sadlery and Rennison Room.

The museum also has a number of vintage carriages on display, a large souvenir shop, restaurant and shops.

Gretna Hall Hotel in Gretna Green has a Coachouse also popular for weddings, as seen right. The hall also has scenic gardens for wedding photos. The hall was built in 1710, later converted to a coaching inn, and began weddings in 1885.

Gretna Old Parish Church is situated in Gretna Green centre, also popular for wedding ceremonies. The earliest parts of the church date to the 1600s, although much of what can be seen today dates to the early 1900s.

Gretna Green Railway Station is situated behind the church with a large car park. The station allows travel between Gretna Green and Dumfries, Carlisle and Glasgow.

Gretna Town is situated on the west side of the motorway with its top attraction being the Gretna Gateway Shopping Centre.

Gretna Gateway has a good selection of shops and eateries, popular with the vast numbers of tourists visiting the area.

The Old Toll Bar is situated in Gretna town right next to the border with England, first or last building in Scotland. The Old Toll also provides wedding ceremonies, over 10,000 since 1830. The bar is also popular for meals and has a cafe.

Gretna & Gretna Green History

1612 - a custom post was set up at Gretna Green to collect taxes on cattle crossing the border, leading to growth in the area.

1754 - an Act of Parliament was introduced in England that restricted marriage in England, including preventing the marriage of anyone under 21, unless they had their parents or guardians consented.

The act did not apply to Scotland, leading to many young couples running off to Gretna Green, first town in Scotland. Many marriages were carried out by Blacksmiths, tradesmen regarded as the most respectable of the time.

1857 - an English Act of Parliament stated marriages in Scotland would only be recognized in England if one of the couple had been resident in Scotland for at least three weeks before the wedding, leading to a reduction in weddings.

1914 - during WWI, the town of Gretna evolved to house workers at a huge munitions factory close by on the Sloway Firth.

1940 - marriages in Scotland by non clergyman or official registrar were outlawed, leading to a reduction of marriages at Gretna.

1994 - restrictions on marriages were lifted, allowing anvil weddings to take place at Gretna and Gretna Green again, although they then had to be carried out by a clergymen.

2002 - registrars are also allowed to carry out Anvil Weddings.

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