- This article is about the Scottish town. For Gretna in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana see Greater New Orleans.
Gretna is located in Dumfries and Galloway in South West (Scotland). It is known as a border town, the border with England being just to the south. This entry concerns both Gretna and Gretna Green, which is located on the other side of the M74.
As the first town across the Scottish border, Gretna had a football team that for many years played in England until a new owner took it for a drastic rise and fall as a Scottish team.
More notably, border status made Gretna Green a traditional stop for weddings that could be prevented in England but not Scotland at a time when English law was more restrictive. The tradition dates to 1754, when England required parental consent for under-21's to marry.
A "marriage by declaration," where anyone could perform a ceremony, existed in Scottish law until 1940. This led to many marriages being solemnised "over the anvil" at the Old Blacksmiths Shop in Gretna Green, still a popular and traditional venue.
The marriage laws in England and Scotland are now similar, leaving few couples legally needing to cross the border to get married. Gretna remains a popular venue for weddings of people from the UK and further afield, with about 5000 weddings per year celebrated in a village with a population of 2700.
Among the many people to get married in Gretna Green is also Joschka Fischer who entered into his first marriage here in 1967 before becoming foreign minister of Germany from 1998 to 2005. It was his first of - as of 2017 - five.
Gretna is well served by road, being just off the M74. Both road and railway fork at Gretna to take traffic to Glasgow or Dumfries; a train trip to Gretna is slightly more difficult since passengers on the main west coast line have to get off at Carlisle and take a train north on the Nith Valley line, which stops for Gretna Green very soon after crossing the border and splitting from the main line.
- 1 Gretna Green Story Museum (The Old Blacksmiths), DG16 5EA. Daily 9.00-17.00 (or 18.00). An exhibition in the traditional wedding venue of the Old Blacksmiths. You may catch a glimpse of a wedding taking place. £3.50.
- 1 Gretna Greyhound Racing, Halcrow Stadium, Annan Road, DG16 5DQ, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tuesday night trials and Friday race meetings at Gretna Dogs, an independent greyhound racing venue.
- 1 Gretna Sunday Market, Central Av, Gretna. Not as large and vibrant as it used to be
- 2 Gretna Gateway Outlet Village. Open 7 days a week 10am to 6pm. Gretna Gateway has 50 stores and 5 cafés.
- Gretna Hall Hotel, Gretna Green, Gretna, Dumfriesshire, DG16 5DY, ☎ . Historic 1710 manor house on ten acres of gardens, accommodates weddings, family celebrations, business meetings and overnight stays.