Stretching an immense 73 miles coast to coast from Wallsend in the east to Bowness-on-Solway in the west is the UNESCO-listed Hadrian’s Wall. Built by the Romans in AD122 to guard the northwest frontier of the Roman Empire, Hadrian’s Wall showcases a remarkable feat of engineering and labour.
2022 marks the 1900th anniversary of this incredible UK landmark and sees the Vindolanda Charitable Trust host Hadrian’s Wall 1900, a packed programme of celebrations throughout the year, including exhibitions, workshops and film screenings.
Our Walking the Best of Hadrian’s Wall trip features the best highlights of this unique World Heritage Site. So, if the Wall has been on your ‘to-visit’ list, 2022 is the perfect time to discover its rich history and join in the anniversary celebrations.
Our route begins in Lanercost, where there’s the opportunity to explore the serene beauty of Cumbria’s best-preserved Augustinian monastery. Its triple tier arches and well-preserved cloisters may be beautiful, but they hold stories of a troubled past of many Anglo-Scottish battles.
Hadrian’s Wall took six years to build and is the best-known and best-conserved frontier of the Roman Empire. Once constructed, it comprised 80 milecastles, numerous observation towers and 17 larger forts. There were two further towers built between the milecastles so that every third of a mile had an observation point.
Our 6-day Hadrian’s Wall trip guides you west to east, taking in four of the most impressive and best-preserved ancient forts: Birdoswald, Vindolanda, Housesteads and Chesters.
Birdoswald Roman Fort in Cumbria sees the longest stretch of the Wall remains, which extend towards the horizon. The defining features are still clear to see with ruins of the fort, a turret and a milecastle.
Vindolanda is the location for several Hadrian’s Wall 1900 events next year, including Roman birthday celebrations and military displays in August and September and the winter festival, Saturnalia, and festive light tours in December.
Further eastwards at Housesteads, there’s the opportunity to delve deeper into the history of the Hadrian’s Wall at its interactive museum experience, wander the barrack blocks or take in the breathtaking views from the height of the escarpment.
Chesters is the most northern Roman Fort and the most complete. Step back into Roman life as you explore the bathhouse and steam room or the cavalry fort, where the headquarters building, courtyard, hall and regimental shrine have been remarkably preserved.
The landscape surrounding Hadrian’s Wall is varied and rugged. With rolling hills, rivers and moorlands, it may make for spectacular views on our Best of Hadrian’s Wall walk, but it proved extremely challenging for the Romans as they sought to construct this extraordinary landmark. Historical reports detail how it took three legions of infantrymen to complete the Wall, each 5,000 men strong.
Our trip is self-guided, meaning you can talk this walk at your own pace. Our expert route planners have also created the route running west to east, so prevailing winds are always at your back, and the best views are in your line of sight. As the trip takes in craggy hillsides, including Walltown, Winshield and Sewingshields Crags, you can pause to admire the stunning scenery or perhaps enjoy a picnic along the way.
As we near the end of our trip, the route pauses at St Oswald’s Church. Standing on the site of the Battle of Heavenfield, AD634, the church reveals intriguing stories of Oswald succeeding against the enemy in battle and ruling as a Christian leader for eight years.
Next, take in Aydon Castle, just outside the picturesque village of Corbridge. Remaining almost entirely intact, Aydon Castle is one of the finest examples of 13th century English manor houses. Its beautiful surroundings invite you to take a well-earned rest, enjoying the secluded woodland and walled orchard before concluding our Best of Hadrian Wall trip in the bustling Roman town of Corbridge.
Hadrian’s Wall is a well-trodden route for many walkers and history-lovers and so has a good range of options when choosing places to stay. Our trip comprises stays in four charming village or town hotels, where you’ll have everything needed to rest and relax after a wonderful walking adventure.
So, this year why not come and visit this iconic historical landmark as we celebrate an epic 1900 years of Hadrian’s Wall. To find out more about our trip, click here.