Annan is a charming town on the Solway Firth, 8 miles from the border. It began as a river port in the 14th century and had a royal castle built by Robert the Bruce by the early 1300s. Despite its early development, most of the Annan that you see today has been built within the past 200 years. Its proximity to the border and strategic position meant that Annan was visited time and again by English armies from the 1300s to the 1500s. This ensured that little has survived from the towns early history. A high proportion of the buildings are built from a beautiful dark red sandstone. Toward the west end of the High Street is its most imposing building, the Town Hall built in 1878, with clock tower. The three span Annan Bridge, was built in 1826 by Robert Stevenson. The famous Scottish writer Thomas Carlyle attended school in Annan. The Royal Burgh of Annan has a bustling high street with a good range of locally-run shops, supermarkets and several cafes and restaurants. Each year on the first Saturday in July, Annan celebrates the Royal Charter, and a mounted cavalcade undertakes the Riding of the Marches. Entertainment includes a procession, sports, field displays and massed pipe bands.