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Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's Wall, Hexham, Northumberland, England

ABOVE: Hadrian's Wall by Houseteads Fort near Hexham, Northumberland. (Note: Walking on the wall is now discouraged by preservationists.)

Hadrian's Wall is one of the major attractions in Northern England. The surviving portions of the ancient Roman stone wall run across the Border Country of Northern England from Carlisle to Newcastle upon Tyne.

The wall was intended to protect occupied Britain from the unruly Picts, who--in Rome's view, at least--preferred savagery to civilization. Work began under the Emperor Hadrian in 122 A.D., and the 84-mile (135-km) wall was completed in just six years.

Today, the best-preserved sections of Hadrian's Wall are in a 20-mile (30-km) section between Hexham and Haltwhistle in Northumberland. You'll find walls, fortresses, camps, and other ruins (some restored) along with museums and information centers.

Hadrian's Wall, Northumberland, England

Reaching the wall

Buses run from Carlisle and Newcastle to the main attractions and visitor centers along the wall in summer, making it practical to combine public transport with point-to-point walks.

Trains are another option. The scenic Tyne Valley Line connects Carlisle, Brampton, Hexham, Haltwhistle, and Newcastle upon Tyne. In summer, you can change to the Hadrian's Wall buses at the Haltwhistle and Hexham stations.

If you're driving, follow the B6318 "Military Road" along the wall or head north from the A69 at Haltwhistle.

Hadrian's Wall and Swingshields Crag near Cuddy's Crag

ABOVE: Hadrian's Wall and Swingshields Crag near Cuddy's Crag.

History and tourist information

Hadrian's Wall Country
Start your planning at the wall's official tourism site.

Visit Northumbria: Hadrian's Wall
The regional tourism site covers the basics and includes a page on walking the wall.

Hadrian's Wall, Extent of the Roman Empire
A highly readable illustrated article with photos, diagrams, and maps. From aboutScotland.com.

Arbeia, South Shields Roman Fort
The Roman fort of Arbeia wasn't part of Hadrian's Wall, strictly speaking, but it was a supply depot for the garrisons along the wall.

Hadrian's Wall: History of the Roman Britain Wall
N.S. Gill's short article at ThoughtCo. describes the wall and the history behind it.

Vindolanda
The Vindolanda Charitable Trust operates this site, which has visitors' information, excavation news, etc. for  the Vindolanda fort and settlement and the Roman Army Museum.

Hillwalk Tours: Hadrian's Wall Path
This company offers self-guided walking itineraries (graded "gentle," "moderate," or "challenging") that include accommodation, luggage transfer, and other services.

Hadrian's Wall, Northumberland, England

ABOVE: Wall-walking wears down the stones, so walk alongside--not on top.

Hotels and other accommodations

Hotels near Hadrian's Wall & Housesteads Fort, Bardon Mill
These listings are from our affiliate partner, Booking.com, which is the no. 1 hotel site in Europe.

Photographs

Derry Brabbs' Hadrian's Wall
These outstanding photos are from a book that was featured in The Guardian.