Gretna Green

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Coordinates: 55°00′07″N 3°03′58″W / 55.002°N 3.066°W / 55.002; -3.066

Gretna Green is a village in the south of Scotland famous for runaway weddings.[1] 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 has a railway station serving both Gretna Green and Gretna.[1] The Quintinshill rail crash, with 227 deaths the worst rail crash in Britain, occurred near Gretna Green in 1915.

Gretna Green sits alongside the main town of Gretna.[1] Both are accessed from the A74(M) motorway and are situated near to the border of Scotland with England.[1]



Gretna Green is one of the world's most popular wedding destinations; hosting over 5000 weddings each year, and one of every six Scottish weddings.[2]

Gretna's famous "runaway marriages" began in 1753 when Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act, was passed in England; it stated that if both parties to a marriage were not at least 21 years old, then parents had to consent to the marriage. This Act did not apply in Scotland, where it was possible for boys to marry at 14 and girls at 12 years old with or without parental consent (see Marriage in Scotland). Many elopers fled England, and the first Scottish village they encountered was Gretna Green. 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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