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Gretna Green

(3.8/5 based on 900+ reviews for 4 attractions)
Things to do: museums, spas, nightlife
Gretna Green is a village in the south of Scotland famous for runaway weddings. It is in Dumfries and Galloway, near the mouth of the River Esk and was historically the first village in Scotland, following the old coaching route from London to Edinburgh. Gretna Green railway station serves both Gretna Green and Gretna. The Quintinshill rail crash, the worst rail crash in British history (226 recorded deaths), occurred near Gretna Green in 1915.Gretna Green sits alongside the main town of Gretna. Both are accessed from the A74(M) motorway and are situated near to the border of Scotland with England.MarriageGretna Green is one of the world's most popular wedding destinations, hosting over 5,000 weddings each year in the Gretna/Gretna Green area, and one of every six Scottish weddings.It has usually been assumed that Gretna's famous "runaway marriages" began in 1754 when Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act came into force in England. Under the Act, if a parent of a minor wishing to marry (i.e., a person under the age of 21) objected, they could legally veto the union. The Act tightened up the requirements for marrying in England and Wales but did not apply in Scotland, where it was possible for boys to marry at 14 and girls at 12 with or without parental consent (see Marriage in Scotland). It was, however, only in the 1770s, with the construction of a toll road passing through the hitherto obscure village of Graitney, that Gretna Green became the first easily reachable village over the Scottish border. The Old Blacksmith's Shop, built around 1712, and Gretna Hall Blacksmith's Shop (1710) became, in popular folklore at least, the focal tourist points for the marriage trade. The Old Blacksmith's opened to the public as a visitor attraction as early as 1887.
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