Gretna is situated on the Scottish side of the borders of Scotland and England, it is the first village travellers come to when they enter Scotland. Traditionally Gretna was the spot where English couples would elope to get married, these days its more of a romantic retreat. This post looks at the top things to do in Gretna including accommodation, self catering, and hotels in Gretna.

Your Complete Guide to Gretna

The world-famous Gretna Green awaits you.  My Voyage Scotland picks its top things to do and hotels in Gretna below. 

Things to do in Gretna

things to do in gretna

Lovers come from all over the world to tie the knot in Gretna, why? Tradition.

In the 18th-century English law, tightened marriage arrangements so that couples had to be age 21 before they could marry (without their parents’ consent), Scottish law differed and couples could marry on the spot, either by declaration or a ‘handfasting’ ceremony.

 This meant that many childhood sweethearts would run away to Scotland to pursue their dreams of marriage – how romantic!

These days, although laws have changed and so much time has passed, many still slope to here to celebrate their love.

Gretna Green Famous Blacksmiths Shop

things to do in gretna

Whether you are planning on getting married or not, you must visit the place where couples have come to marry since 1754.

History fans will love this tourist attraction in Gretna as it brings to life the towns dramatic past with a fascinating collection of memorabilia and artefacts. At the Gretna Green Famous Blacksmiths Shop you will find everything from marriage letters to photographs of some of the rebel brides and grooms that have taken advantage of Scotland’s lenient marriage laws over the years.

Gretna Gateway

things to do in gretna

Fancy a shopping trip while you are staying in Scotland or the North of England? Make the pilgrimage to Gretna Gateway

This buzzing outlet village in the heart of the town is home to several designer brands and high street names. 

It is more than likely that you will find a bargain here as you can get up to 60% off original prices at brands like Nike, Polo, and Boss, to name just a few. 

The Devils Porridge Museum 

things to do in gretna

This 5-star museum in Gretna has won A Visit Scotland Thistle Award for Best Heritage Visitor Attraction in the West of Scotland.

This family-friendly museum is an educational experience dedicated to the people that worked in the largest munitions factory in the world during the First World War. It also commemorates and explores the stories of the Solway Military Coast during the Second World War. 

At the museum, you can learn more about the fascinating history of this Border area, see artifacts, read and watch films about these interesting periods of time. 

Dumfries & Galloway 

things to do in gretna

Caerlaverock Castle Dumfries and Galloway

While visiting Greta explore Dumfries & Galloway. Discover how beautiful this part of lowland Scotland is with your own eyes by day-tripping to one of its coastline destinations where you will find rocky shores and untouched sandy beaches. 

This part of the country is home to acres of forest and if you love green spaces make sure you bring your bike or walking boots with you. 

Accommodation and Hotels in Gretna

Getting married or just passing through, there is excellent accommodation and hotels in Gretna to choose from.

Hotels in Gretna Star Picks: Gretna Chase Hotel

hotels in gretna

Feeling grand? You will if you choose to stay at the Gretna Chase Hotel. This stunning location dates to the 1800s. Guests love the hotel’s charming rooms and original character – some of the luxury suites here even have four-poster beds!

If you do choose to stay here, make the 30 minutes journey to Northumberland’s Kielder Forest Park for a stunning countryside walk. 

Smiths at Gretna Green Hotel

hotels in gretna

If you are searching for a four-star hotel at Gretna Green, check out Smiths. 

This luxury hotel is our top pick for honeymooners – it has 2 x AA rosette dining restaurant on-site and an award-winning cocktail bar – we can’t think of a better place to start married life. 

Rooms here are stylish and incredibly comfortable and the hotel staff goes above and beyond for its guests.

The Gables Hotel 

hotels in gretna

You and your loved one can experience a romantic retreat like no other at The Gables Hotel.

The Ailsa Suite at this accommodation is an excellent choice for couples that want to pamper themselves during their break to Scotland. It has its own private lounge area, a double whirlpool bath, separate double shower and Super King Size Sleigh Bed on site. 

This is another popular spot for a wedding in Gretna as the venue has over 20 years’ experience of hosting wedding receptions.

Cressfield Country House Hotel 

hotels in gretna

Cressfield Country House Hotel offers it’s guest excellent value for money as rooms from as little as £45.00 per night – a great price for this location.

If you would rather a more rural setting this hidden gem is twenty minutes away from Gretna Green located on the edge of Ecclefechan village.

 Each room at the Cressfield Country House Hotel is unique and you can request a room with views of the spectacular scenery outside when booking. 

Gretna Hall Hotel 

hotels in gretna

Gretna is not short of stunning hotel locations and the Hall Hotel is one more to add to your list. The perfect place to escape, the hotel is serene, surrounded by fields and woodlands. 

Guests that stay here are a short walk away from the Courtship Maze, which is a free family tourist attraction in the town. The Courtship Maze honours its town’s history as it is shaped like a pair of interlocking wedding bands. If you make it back out, you can return to the hotel to relax in its comfortable and classic surroundings. 

This hotel is family-friendly, and pets are welcome too! Breakfast is included with family rooms (maximum four people).

Self-catering Gretna 

This quiet part of the Dumfries and Galloway region has a selection of hidden gems scattered about. Find your perfect match with our guide to accommodation in Gretna and the surrounding area below.

Anvil View Cottage

hotels in gretna

Take some time of day to day hustle and bustle and escape to Anvil View Cottage. Perfect for tourists that want to travel around the region, it is close to Gretna Green and is under ten miles away from Carlisle Castle.

This self-catering holiday home in Gretna is ideal for couples, as it includes one bedroom and a kitchen. 

More things to do in Dumfries & Galloway