MORE FROM SCOTLAND MAGAZINE
Gretna Green, since 1754
Having first opened its doors in 1754, Gretna Green is now a 5-star Scottish visitor attraction, home of the Famous Blacksmiths Shop, the Gretna Green Experience telling the worlds greatest story of love and great Scottish shopping…
Nestled at the border between England and Scotland, the Gretna Green Famous Blacksmiths Shop is globally celebrated as one of the most iconic wedding venues in the world.
The building, built in 1713, sits at the very heart of the village of Gretna Green at the junction of five old coaching roads. These formed the main intersections between Scotland and England; well-used by travellers passing in and out of Scotland.
The history of the Famous Blacksmiths Shop began in 1754 when couples seeking to escape the restrictive marriage laws of England and Wales flocked to Gretna Green. It was their first stop in Scotland, where marriage laws were more lenient. Here, young couples were greeted at the crossroads by the ‘Blacksmiths Priest,’ and the legend of the marriage anvil was born. The Blacksmith Priests would strike their anvil during the wedding ceremony, forging an unbreakable bond between the two lovers.
Nowadays, not only does it remain one of Scotland’s most famous wedding venues, it is also a 5-Star Visit Scotland Visitor Attraction; offering everything from the Gretna Green Experience and family-friendly activities, to famous brand shopping, experience days and dining.
Gretna Green Experience
The Gretna Green Experience is the UK’s first immersive attraction dedicated to romance. Visitors can full submerge in the ‘thrill of the chase’ as they go through centuries of love, romance, and marriage at Gretna Green, from the 1200s and the age-old tale of that first knock at the door when the Famous Blacksmiths Shop story began in 1754, through the rebellion and scandal of the traditional Gretna Green elopement wedding to the celebration of love over the iconic Blacksmith’s anvil that is typical of marriage ceremonies of the modern day.
Following a breathtaking refurbishment in 2022, the museum has transformed into a state-of-the-art immersive and interactive experience. It features a former Stagecoach that once transported passengers from the Lake District to Gretna Green. The exhibit showcases stories of couples who defied convention for love. Visitors can also engage with the history of the Blacksmiths priests and priestesses through interactive boards, learning how they ensured couples were safe and wed. Additionally, visitors can see the original Blacksmith’s marriage anvil, an enduring symbol of love, and give it a touch for good luck.
In addition to its historical charm and famous weddings, Gretna Green offers a delightful shopping experience that captures the essence of both Gretna Green and Scotland’s rich cultural heritage. Visitors can explore a wide array of luxury British and Scottish brands, including Barbour, Harris Tweed, Radley, and Gretna Green since 1754. The shops offer an assortment of Scottish souvenirs, fashion, accessories, cashmere, fine jewellery, homeware, craft beers, ales, whisky, and gin. Food enthusiasts can savour a variety of luxury foods from local suppliers, ranging from sweets and confectionery to fresh meats and fish.
To find out more, visit the Gretna Green website here.
Published six times a year, every issue of Scotland showcases its stunning landscapes and natural beauty, and delves deep into Scottish history. From mysterious clans and famous Scots (both past and present), to the hidden histories of the country’s greatest castles and houses, Scotland‘s pages brim with the soul and secrets of the country.
Scotland magazine captures the spirit of this wild and wonderful nation, explores its history and heritage and recommends great places to visit, so you feel at home here, wherever you are in the world.