Opening times

  • Monday 10am - 4pm
  • Tuesday 10am - 4pm
  • Wednesday 10am - 4pm
  • Thursday 10am-4pm
  • Friday 10am-4pm
  • Saturday 10am-4pm
  • Sunday 10am-4pm
More information

Opening times

  • Monday 10am - 4pm
  • Tuesday 10am - 4pm
  • Wednesday 10am - 4pm
  • Thursday 10am - 4pm
  • Friday 10am - 4pm
  • Saturday 10am - 4pm
  • Sunday 10am - 4pm
More information

Opening times

  • Monday 10am - 4pm
  • Tuesday 10am - 4pm
  • Wednesday 10am - 4pm
  • Thursday 10am - 4pm
  • Friday 10am - 4pm
  • Saturday 10am - 4pm
  • Sunday 10am - 4pm
More information

Opening times

  • Monday 9.30am-5pm
  • Tuesday 9.30am-5pm
  • Wednesday 9.30am-5pm
  • Thursday 9.30am-5pm
  • Friday 9.30am-5pm
  • Saturday 9.30am-5pm
  • Sunday Closed
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The Union Chain Bridge

The Union Chain Bridge spans the River Tweed connecting the parishes of Horncliffe in England, and Hutton in Scotland, 5 miles upstream from Berwick-upon-Tweed. Designed by an entrepreneurial naval officer, Captain Sir Samuel Brown, over 200 years ago, the Category A/Grade I listed structure was the first chain suspension bridge in Europe to carry wheeled traffic.

Before the Union Chain Bridge was built, the only available crossings over the River Tweed at this locality were by ford or, occasionally, by ferry. Depending on the time of year, recent rainfall, and the tide, this could often make crossing the river impossible or dangerous. When opened, in 1820, the Union Chain Bridge saved local people a detour of over 10 miles to the next nearest safe vehicle crossing over the river, either Berwick Old Bridge or Coldstream Bridge.

Captain Sir Samuel Brown designed the pioneering Union Chain Bridge.

The Union Chain Bridge utilised pioneering engineering techniques for the day. The use of wrought iron as a bridge-building material was relatively new and Captain Sir Samuel Brown employed the use of his newly-patented chain link design. The iron manufacturing and design schematics that he used were hugely influential in the development of western suspension bridges thereafter.

From 2020 to 2023, an international team of engineers restored and strengthened the structure to ensure its continued use for another 120 years. Although some wrought iron components have now been replaced with steel equivalents, remarkably, the design of the Union Chain Bridge remains today very much as it was when it was first completed in 1820.

The wrought iron chain link design was cutting-edge technology for the time.

Today, the bridge is recognised as an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. It is also featured in the Guinness Book or Records as the oldest vehicular suspension bridge in the world and the Scottish pylon is also recognised as the oldest free-standing road suspension bridge masonry pylon in the world.

The Union Chain Bridge is both celebrated internationally due to its historic importance and loved locally as an important heritage asset and Tweed crossing point. The Friends of the Union Chain Bridge are still an active group. Learn more about their work here.

The Scottish pylon is oldest free-standing road suspension bridge masonry pylon in the world.

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