It may be 2,000 years old but Hadrian’s Wall – once the northern frontier of the Roman Empire – remains a formidable barrier. The 135km-long National Trail that follows it, from Wallsend in the east to Bowness-on-Solway (within the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) in the west, is unique in providing unfettered public access to this precious UNESCO-listed landscape. In few places is history so open, on such a large scale. Which makes it an excellent focus for a fascinating short break.
The east-central section of the wall wends across Northumberland, one of England’s wildest and least-populated counties. It is here that the wall performs some of its most dramatic manoeuvres, diving down valleys and climbing up hills, affording big views. It is also home to some of the most astonishing archaeology: excavated sites, with their garrisons, bath houses, even communal toilets, reveal what day-to-day life was like in Roman Britain. And, as well as all the wonderful walks and historical insights, there are plenty of welcoming places where you can stop for a proper pint and a great pub meal. An excellent ancient adventure awaits.
The icons below highlight the distance, difficulty and theme of this itinerary.
Walks from 4km to 10km
Easy / Moderate
High Hills & Moorland / Rolling Countryside
History / Food & Drink
Walking / Heritage / Hands On
Here’s everything you need to help you plan your very own walking and exploring break in Northumberland’s Hadrian’s Wall Country. Click on the blue arrow tabs below for more information. To save this itinerary to view later, use the Save to My Rucksack button at the top of the page.
Plan a five-day escape in Northumberland to explore the east-central section of Hadrian’s Wall. Base yourself between the market town of Hexham and the village of Once Brewed/Twice Brewed, just south of the wall. Both have public transport links.
The itinerary recommends two nights in Hexham and two nights in Once Brewed/Twice Brewed. Here are some suggestions depending on whether you are travelling by car or public transport.
Many of the pubs and hotels listed under the Accommodation section also offer food, from pub classics to fine dining. Additionally, seek out some of the region’s characterful cafes.
There’s plenty of excellent walking in Northumberland’s Hadrian’s Wall Country. Many of the heritage sites are quite close – it’s possible to walk between them, or follow circuits.
For further walking inspiration visit The Outdoor Guide.
There’s heritage aplenty in this region. As well as Roman sites, take in ancient abbeys and state-of-the-art centres and museums.
For further information on cycling visit Cycle England.
Travel possible by car, bus and train. Northern Rail services the region.
Suggested walks should take between one and four hours. They are graded fairly gentle to moderate.
We advise that you check opening times and booking restrictions before travelling.
Please check out these links for latest advice when in the countryside
Click here to access the interactive map
The official guidebook and map for the Trail are available from the National Trails Shop along with a wide range of gifts and other merchandise.