Penguins of Berwick – Berwick-upon-Tweed, England - Atlas Obscura

Berwick-upon-Tweed, England

Penguins of Berwick

Over a decade ago, painted penguins mysteriously appeared around Berwick-upon-Tweed for no apparent reason.  

Several years ago—but exactly when no one can recall—penguins suddenly appeared around Berwick-upon-Tweed. Emperor Penguins, about six inches high, freshly graffitied, for no apparent reason. Ever since, rumors abound over who could have created the quirky street art. 

The penguins were everywhere: on the sides of buildings, on the town walls, even ringing the base of Berwick Lighthouse. Nobody has ever come forward to claim responsibility, or to even offer clues as to the identity of the elusive artist, leading to a slew of rumors and wild speculation (one theory is that famed graffiti artist Banksy himself came to Berwick and in the dead of night bestowed the town with its penguin colony).

The residents of Berwick, known for its ties to landscape artist L.S. Lowry, applauded the quirky addition to their streets and readily adopted the penguins as part of their town’s unique lore; so beloved are the penguins that when a scheduled repainting of Berwick Lighthouse threatened to cover up several of them in 2011, local outrage was strong enough that it made it into the town’s newspaper, the Berwick Advertiser.

In the years since their creation, fresh paint, remodels, and the harsh climate of Northern England have all but faded many of the original penguins. However, several still remain, scattered around the town, and it has become a game among locals and visitors alike to go searching for them.

Know Before You Go

Helpful hints: There are six confirmed penguins in Berwick-Upon-Tweed. Stick to the historic part of town and search the bottoms of buildings.

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