Walking Hadrian’s Wall

Roman wall near Caw Gap, Hadrian’s Wall
Roman wall near Caw Gap, Hadrian’s Wall
Hadrians Wall, near Housesteads
Hadrians Wall, near Housesteads
Days 4 - 6: the central section is the walking highlight, with well-preserved stretches of wall and far-reaching views
Days 4 - 6: the central section is the walking highlight, with well-preserved stretches of wall and far-reaching views
Mithras, favorite god of soldiers, being born from the cosmic egg. Relief in the Great North Museum
Mithras, favorite god of soldiers, being born from the cosmic egg. Relief in the Great North Museum
In honour of the Emperor Hadrian - one of the many inscriptions erected by the wall-builders
In honour of the Emperor Hadrian - one of the many inscriptions erected by the wall-builders
The boar was the symbol of the XXth Legion - building stone in Chesters Museum
The boar was the symbol of the XXth Legion - building stone in Chesters Museum
Nearly halfway along the 80 mile wall - this is the 39th milecastle, Castle Nick, used as a milking parlor in later years
Nearly halfway along the 80 mile wall - this is the 39th milecastle, Castle Nick, used as a milking parlor in later years

Discover the archaeological remains at Vindolanda

The Hadrian’s Wall footpath crosses wild and beautiful terrain, its route covering the shortest distance coast to coast across the country, following Hadrian’s frontier. This is a real walking holiday (up to 13 miles per day) – a wonderful way to chart the entire length of the frontier, on foot – as the Romans would have done. Pass forts, mile castles and some fine museums, as we walk west to east.

We start along the shore of the Solway Firth and end at the excavated fort and reconstructed bath-house at Segedunum. Crossing the remote Northumbrian and Cumbrian fells, one can easily imagine the Roman soldiers, far from Syria or Spain, as they patrolled the farthest flung corner of the Empire.

  • See the largest unbroken section of Hadrian’s Wall as you journey through stunning British countryside
  • Walk the route in the company of an expert, who knows its stories inside and out
  • Explore Birdoswald, where you’ll get to see its fort and museum
  • Delve deeper into the rich history of this unique area

Themes

  • Romans

Practicalities

  • Special Access
  • Small Group
  • Low Single Supplement
  • All Inclusive

Itinerary 2020

Day 1

Our journey begins in the Cumbrian village of Wetheral, perched high on the banks of the River Eden. Here we check in to our hotel, where we meet our group and guide lecturer. This evening we enjoy an introductory talk about the history of Hadrian’s Wall – an engaging taster of what is to come.

Hotel: Crown Hotel, Wetheral
Meals: Dinner included

Day 2

This morning we drive to Bowness-on-Solway where our walk begins. We wander along the shore of the Solway Firth toward Burgh-by-Sands. The day ends with a visit to Tullie House Museum in Carlisle. (c 7.2 miles)

Hotel: Crown Hotel, Wetheral
Meals: All meals included

Day 3

We start at Lanercost Priory, built from stone taken from Hadrian’s Wall, and then stroll via Haytongate, Hare Hill and the Banks Turret to Birdoswald. Later, we explore Roman remains at Birdoswald fort. An auxiliary unit of Dacians (from modern Romania) formed the garrison. (c 5 miles).

Hotel: Crown Hotel, Wetheral
Meals: All meals included

Day 4

We return to Birdoswald and begin walking towards Thirlwell along the longest unbroken section of Hadrian’s Wall. After a short drive we stop at
Carvoran to explore the notable collections at the Roman Army Museum. We continue towards Burnhead to view the quarry. (c. 6 miles)

Hotel: Beaumont Hotel, Hexham
Meals: All meals included

Day 5

Our morning begins with a visit to Vindolanda, in the heart of the Northumberland National Park. The earliest remains of the fort here pre-date Hadrian’s Wall, and were first established in approximately 85 AD – the timber huts from this era are now buried in the waterlogged soil. The fort was subsequently demolished and rebuilt nine times, and foundations of its stone constructions are still visible for us to explore. Highlights include the well-preserved 3rd century bath house, and the remnants of the only temple dedicated to a Roman deity to have ever been found in a Roman auxiliary complex.

After lunch, we drive to Steel Rigg, a dramatic crag with views of the rugged countryside. We pick up our trail and make our way to Housesteads Roman Fort to finish the day, viewing the remains and the museum here. (c 3.5 miles)

Hotel: Beaumont Hotel, Hexham
Meals: All meals included

Day 6

We lace up our boots for a visit to the fort and mithraeum at Carrawburgh, our starting point for today. It is thought that this elegant temple was built by Roman soldiers in around 200 AD, as its three altars, dedicated to the bull-slaying god Mithras, were all inscribed from commanding officers. A nymphaeum, or natural grotto, was also located here, though no visible traces remain.

This afternoon we stride out to Chesters on the bank of the North Tyne River, enjoying the fresh country air and changing views. At Chesters we are rewarded with a visit to the most complete Roman cavalry fort in the country, Cilurnum. The site, maintained by English Heritage, features an extensive collection of artefacts, a fine bath building and officers’ quarters. (3.5 mile walk)

Hotel: Beaumont Hotel, Hexham
Meals: All meals included

Day 7

This morning, we drive out to Heavenfield and trek to Port Gate, the site of a fortified gateway controlling traffic along Dere Street, the Roman road that ran north to the Firth of Forth. Following lunch, a drive to Corbridge takes us to a once vibrant Roman town and major military depot. We view artefacts at the museum. We then walk along the River Tyne to Corbridge, to see the preserved Roman bridge abutment and reused Roman masonry in the Anglo-Saxon church. (c 5 miles)

Hotel: Beaumont Hotel, Hexham
Meals: All meals included

Day 8

Starting our tour at Whittle Dene Reservoir this morning, we wander to Heddon-on-the-Wall, where we see a well-preserved stretch of the wall. This substantial structure demonstrates how thick the wall was meant to be, showing it at its original, planned width of two metres. A medieval kiln and circular chambers are also visible here.

Later we view the surviving wall that stretches around Denton, before continuing to the Temple at Benwell, dedicated to the local god Antenociticus, a deity thought to have been involved with military affairs. With the majority of our leg-work now behind us, tonight we kick off our hiking gear and enjoy a well-earned dinner to mark the last night of our holiday with the group. (c 4.5 mile walk)

Hotel: Beaumont Hotel, Hexham
Meals: All meals included

Day 9

Our journey from coast to coast is almost at an end. We enjoy a gentle walk from Scotswood to the remains of the Roman fort at Newcastle, on the banks of the River Tyne. From there we board a metro to the Great North Museum, which was built for Northumbria’s natural history collection in 1884. Alongside fantastic fossil galleries and displays about the living planet we find a detailed Hadrian’s Wall exhibition, where treasures and stories abound.

Our final destination is Wallsend, where we visit the site of Segedunum, the most completely excavated fort on Hadrian’s Wall, which once housed troops from mainland North Europe. An interactive museum reveals what life would have been like for a cavalry officer at the height of the garrison’s powers. The adventure comes to an end at the seaside town of South Shields, where we say our goodbyes and head home. (3 mile walk)

Meals: Breakfast & packed lunch included.

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Tour Manager
  3. Local Travel - All local transport
  4. Meals - Water with all meals, wine & tea or coffee with dinner
  5. Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in program; tips included
  6. Field Notes
  7. Hotels

Travel Information

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2020 Tour Details

Mon 7th Sep - Tue 15th Sep

Available

£2,195

without flights

sgl supp: £425

HAD20A

Led By: Tony Wilmott

Guide Lecturer

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