In AD122 the Emperor Hadrian ordered a mighty frontier system to be built across Britain to defend the Roman Empire from the “barbarians to the North”. Join me on an 8-day walking vacation along this 80-mile Hadrian’s Wall Path in northern England, from the banks of the River Tyne near the North Sea to the Solway Firth on the Irish Sea.
Wednesday, June 19 – Day 1: Arrive in Newcastle. Overnight Stay in Newcastle.
Newcastle, England was a major shipbuilding and manufacturing hub during the Industrial Revolution and is now a centre of business, arts and sciences. It’s where we’ll meetup for our Hadrian’s Wall adventure. With its excellent road, rail and air connections, getting to and from Newcastle is very easy. Today we will explore the city at a leisurely pace, check-in to our accommodations and prep to begin walking the wall the next day.
Thursday, June 20 – Day 2: – Bowness on Solway to Carlisle – 14 Miles
With the westerly breeze at our backs, the first day of our walk is a wonderful start with fine views over Bowness-in-Solway, which has been designated an area of outstanding natural beauty and has an abundance of bird life, and with views to the south of the high peaks of the Lake District. The walk is on mostly flat terrain through open fields and along canals and rivers and finishes at our accommodations in Carlisle. Because the Wall was built of earth in this section, there are few remains.
In the evening we are free to explore Carlisle and try some of the local cuisine. Carlisle is famous for its Castle, a great medieval fortress that has watched over the City of Carlisle for over nine centuries. You can explore fascinating and ancient chambers, stairways and dungeons and find the legendary ‘licking stones’. Here, parched Jacobite prisoners found enough moisture to stay alive, only to be brutally executed on Gallows Hill.
Friday, June 21 – Day 3: Carlisle to Lanercost – 14 miles
From the hustle of Carlisle, via quiet riverside paths, county lanes and a march along the line of the wall, today is a most lovely ramble through open countryside. This day is again on flat ground, although we are gradually rising as we leave the seacoast towards the center of England. This section of the wall was also made from sod and rocks but we will see the first clear indications of the original Wall, an exciting sight indeed.
We will end today’s walk at Lanercost with its hauntingly beautiful Priory founded in 1165 by Augustinian canons. We can enjoy a nourishing meal at our accommodations and then retire for the evening to prepare for tomorrow’s activity.
Saturday, June 22 – Day 4: Lanercost to Steel Rigg – 14 miles
Today is one of the most impressive day’s of the hike. We will be in the majestic interior section of trip, passing long sections of historic Wall remains and hiking along many ups and downs that test our endurance but also make the views spectacular. We will pass Birdoswald Fort, which stands high above a bend in the River Irthing in one of the most picturesque settings on Hadrian’s Wall. With probably the best preserved defenses of any Wall fort, this was an important base for some 1,000 Roman soldiers, succeeding an earlier fort of turf and timber. We will see many additional turrets and milecastles today as we rise up into the spine of England.
Upon reaching Steel Rigg it is just a short walk off the wall to our accommodation. We will enjoy dinner together and share stories and impressions from the day’s walk.
Sunday, June 23 – Day 5: Steel Rigg to Chollerford – 12 miles
After a hearty breakfast we continue on our journey along Hadrian’s Wall and quickly come to what is one of the most famous and enticing scenes of the Wall, Sycamore Gap and Crag Lough. This section of the wall has been used a number of times in films and the dramatic scenery is what you will likely remember from this trip.
On this day we also pass Housesteads, which is the most complete example of a Roman fort in Britain, and now the most popular site on the Wall. It stands high on the exposed Whin Sill escarpment, commanding breathtaking views. It was one of 12 permanent forts added to the new frontier by Hadrian in about AD 124. Known as “Vercovicium” (“the place of effective fighters”), it was garrisoned by a cohort of around 800 infantry (for most of its history Tungrians from Belgium), later reinforced by Germanic cavalry.
Our route takes us out of the high country and to Chollerford and we will be staying at a typical British inn tonight, with an opportunity to try one of the many British specialties for dinner, perhaps accompanied by a glass of ale.
Monday, June 24 – Day 6: Chollerford to Heddon-on the-Wall – 15 miles
Today’s section is almost entirely through open countryside on green grassy paths and is an easier day’s walk than the previous two as we make our way from the high interior spine of England back down to the coast. We will still see remnants of the Wall and there will be an opportunity to stop at the Robin Hood Inn for lunch!
We finish in the small town of Heddon-on-the-Wall at a local B&B, located just a short distance from two different “public houses” or pubs that focus on serving excellent meals for dinner.
Tuesday, June 25 – Day 7: Heddon-on-the Wall to Segedunum Fort – 15 miles
Today is our final day of walking the Hadrian’s Wall Path. We will head downhill from Heddon-on-the-Wall to the Tyne River valley and then follow the Tyne through lovely countryside. We then reach the outskirts of Newcastle upon Tyne, passing remains of the rich industrial heritage the city was built on. As we continue through the center of the city, the waterfront has been redeveloped and we pass grand hotels, the Tyne Bridge, Sage Gateshead (a new music centre), the recently-opened Baltic (an arts centre), and many appetizing places to each lunch.
Segedunum Roman Fort, which stands on the banks of the River Tyne, was the end outpost of Hadrian’s Wall and is also the finish of our walk. For almost 300 years Segedunum, which means ‘strong fort’, was home to 600 Roman soldiers. It now houses a museum and recreation of the original fort. We will make our way from the Fort and go to to our Newcastle accommodations.
Wooh Hooh! We have completed The Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail and walked across England.
Wednesday, June 26 – Day 8: Departure Day
Breakfast is included this morning. We are free to leave on our own schedules for our continued travels or back home.
Trip Cost: $1,850 per person (double occupancy)
Single supplement: $450
Includes: daily luggage transfer, breakfast daily, welcome group dinner, farewell group dinner
Excludes: Airfare, ground transportation, travel insurance
Optional 4 night London Pre-Tour: July 15-19 (Featuring Stonehenge and Bath day trip)