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5 of the Best Hadrian’s Wall Sites

Built a staggering two thousand years ago this very year (2022), Hadrian’s Wall was built to “separate the Romans from the barbarians”. Stretching 73 miles from coast to coast with either a “castle” or small fort from one mile to the next. The wall was occupied by the Romans and Britons, who would have lived, worked and died there. 

Today, Hadrian’s Wall is a popular tourist hotspot, and for good reason. Not only does it brim with its two-thosand year old history, but it also provides some beautiful scenic attractions. 

Here’s our pick of a few of the best Hadrian’s Wall sites to visit:

1. Lanercost Priory

Lanercost Priory is a red-coloured quiet ruin of a construction built in 1166 by Henry II. At the time, it was inhabited by Augustinian canons but later became dilapidated after the Dissolution under Henry VIII. It saw a revival in 1740 when it was restored as a parish church.

Today it’s a World Heritage Site, where you can admire the monuments, cloisters and tombs, as well as fragments of 16th-century wall paintings and a Jacobean fireplace. It also may come as no surprise, given its proximity to Hadrian’s Wall, that there are even remnants of Roman inscriptions. 

2. Brocolitia Fort 

Brocolitia Fort is one of the 16 forts found along Hadrian’s Wall, and housed a garrison of around 500 soldiers from France and Belgium.

Also known as Carrawburgh Fort, the fort is home to the unearthed Temple of Mithras, a third-century building constructed to worship the Roman god, Mithras. 

While very little of the original construction remains, you can still see copies of the original altars that were dedicated by the commanding officers. 

3. Vindolanda 

Vindolanda is a must for any visitor to Hadrian’s Wall. In fact, this Roman auxiliary fort predated the wall, and was in operation from around 85 AD to 370 AD. 

Now a charitable trust open to tourists, Vindolanda is a great place to immerse yourself into the life of a Roman. You can explore the leather sandals, helmets and writing tablets as well as parts of the garrison town’s reconstructed turrets and temples. 

4. Heddon-on-the-Wall 

Heddon-on-the-Wall is a consolidated stretch of Hadrian’s Wall sitting in the county of Northumberland. It’s a common end point to most Hadrian’s Wall walking routes, as it’s a much more scenic spot than the Newcastle end-point nine miles further east. 

Most of Hadrian’s Wall around Newcastle is found under the Military Road, built after the Jacobite uprising of 1745. However, at Heddon, the wall keeps its original features, standing to a broad guage of nearly three metres thick at points. You can also see that in parts of the wall, there are corn-drying kilns built into the core, a medieval or post-medieval example of putting the ruins to good use. 

5. Segedunum

  • Website: Twmuseums.org.uk
  • Location: Buddle St, Wallsend, Newcastle upon Tyne NE28 6HR

Segedunum stands as the most eastern fort on Hadrian’s Wall and, to many,  marks the gateway to the wall. 

With its extensive interactive museum and 35 metre hight viewing tower, this is a great place to start your journey along the wall. You can also collect your Hadrian’s Wall badge and certificate if you promise to finish the walk! 

These are just five of our favourite Hadrian’s Wall sites of interest, although there are many many more. Whether you’re embarking on a walking or cycling tour of Hadrian’s Wall (we think both are equally enriching), make sure you punctuate your tour with some visits to the wall’s historical hotspots. 

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