Looking at most of the forum you'd think that Gretna Green is only about getting married. Well it's about more pleasant things as well.

There are actually three places Gretna Green is the site of Gretna Hall Hotel, Smiths and the Blacksmiths shop. Springfield which is contiguous is a very old farming and weaving village where the original marriages were held but is now not at all commercialised. Gretna township where the registry office and most of the hotels are is a planned community built in the First World War to manufacture cordite for munitions. In recent years its become famous for the exploits of its tiny football club run by its barmy millionaire owner.

Apart from the football club there is the Gretna Gateway, an out of town shopping mall.

As I said jokingly at the start it would be a shame if you just came to Gretna to get married. It makes an excellent base to explore the western border country. Heading south west you can easily get to the northern lakeland which is a lot less crowded than further south and just as nice. On a wet day a visit to Rheged at Penrith is to be recommended. Penrith itself is a pleasant small market town worth an explore.

To the South East you have Hadrian's Wall. Apart from the wall itself there are many museums which explore Roman History.

To the East you start getting into the Borders. Without going as far as the famous old border towns of Hawick, Gala etc you can spend pleasant times in places like Newcastleton or Canonbie. Further to the East you are into Kielder park.

To the north there is the fantastic little town of Moffat and nearby wonderful scenery such as the Grey Mare's Tail and the Devil's Beeftub.

To the North West for the adventurous there is the little known and less explored Forest of Ae. More Westerly there are some smashing little towns like St John's Town of Dalry.

Driving to the West you can make an easy day trip to Kirkcudbright - the artist's town while further afield takes you to Stranraer and the ferry to Ireland with many old towns off the way such as Wigton or Creetown (gem museum).

Carlisle is a mere 7 miles away and is a small City with a Cathedral, museums and a castle to explore as well as shopping and other facilities. Dumfries is not much further away and has connections with Robert Burns.

Really there is too much to write about - as I said if you are looking for a good base for a holiday then don't let all the marriage business put you off - there is a lot more beside.

If you are getting married then don't worry. It is a business and everything is honed to making your day a success. Maybe just stay a few days longer and explore the area.