Highlights of Hadrian’s Wall: Luxury Mini Break

Emperor Hadrian ordered the building of a barrier across northern England in AD 122. Today, it is one of Europe’s largest surviving Roman monuments. And the 135km-long National Trail that traces the wall – from Wallsend in the east to Bowness-on-Solway in the west – provides the most dramatic walk through history.

This time-travelling mini break focuses on the highlights of Hadrian’s defensive masterpiece. From your base at a beautiful hotel, you’ll make forays out to the milecastles, turrets, turf mounds and well-preserved fortifications that lie along the wall, walking between a succession of fascinating sites, enjoying view after incredible view. You’ll stretch your legs on paths tramped by legionnaires and get a real insight into what ancient Roman life was like, exploring millennia of history at your own pace.

Tour Overview

The icons below highlight the distance, difficulty and theme of this itinerary.

Days

4

Distance

Walks around 8km

Difficulty

Easy / Moderate

Landscape

High Hills & Moorland / Rolling Countryside

Theme

History / Food & Drink

Activities & Experiences

Walking / Heritage

Highlights of Hadrian’s Wall: Luxury Mini Break

Here’s everything you need to help you plan your very own walking and exploring break in 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.

Tour details

This itinerary has been created by The Carter Company, who specialise in luxury self-guided walking holidays in the UK and Europe. The Carter Company prides itself on booking superior accommodation in quality hotels and boutique B&Bs, and drawing on unrivalled local knowledge to provide real ‘insiders’ tours.

The Carter Company will arrange your whole tour: you just need to arrange transport to your first location.

To find out more about this itinerary and make an enquiry or a booking, click on the Enquire Now button at the top of the page. The Save to My Rucksack button allows you to save itineraries to view later.

Included

  • Four nights luxury ensuite accommodation with breakfast.
  • Transfers to the start and end of the walks each day, as specified.
  • Emergency 24-hour phone number and support.
  • Route directions on GPS and OS maps.
  • The services of our friendly local host to welcome and brief you, share their knowledge and look after you.
  • Adventure Handbook, packed full of information, history and photos of the area, as well as The Carter Company’s insider tips on how to discover the local secrets and hidden gems.
  • Waterproof mobile phone holder, power bank and lead (one per room) for you to keep at the end of the tour.

NOT INCLUDED: Airfares; travel to and from the trip start and finish points unless specified; entrances to attractions unless specified; boat fares unless specified; lunches and dinners unless specified; alcoholic drinks, mini bars and meals before and after the trip.

Itinerary

Take an extraordinary stroll through history. This gentle short break combines a stay in an indulgent hotel with walks along some of the finest sections of Hadrian’s Wall and visits to the eye-opening archaeological sites along its length, plus incredible views over Northumberland, Cumbria and across the Scottish border.

Day 1 Arrive in Roman Britain

Welcome to Hadrian’s Wall Country. Settle in at your hotel and, if you have time, pay a visit to nearby Lanercost, a remarkably well-preserved Augustinian priory, where Edward I convalesced for several months shortly before dying on his final campaign.

Overnight in one of the area’s luxury hotels.

Day 2 Walk to Birdoswald

This morning, we’ll deliver you to Banks Turret for a walk along one of the most complete remaining sections of the wall. Here, the turf barrier gives way to consolidated stone, and offers sweeping views of the rolling countryside.

En route, sitting above the River Irthing, lies the Roman fort of Birdoswald. Explore the extensive remains and informative exhibits, take in the impressive views across the valley and stop for a bite. Then continue down to the Roman bridge at Willowford and onto Gilsland, where we’ll meet you and drive you back to your hotel.

Walk: 8km. Overnight in one of the area’s luxury hotels.

Day 3 To Vindolanda

Today, we’ll return you to the wall, to pick up the trail around Milecastle 43. This is one of the most demanding sections – but worth it. From Winshield Crags, the highest point of the trail, you will be rewarded by huge, wild views in all directions. The quality of the wall itself is also remarkable here.

Upon reaching Once Brewed, stop for lunch at the Twice Brewed Inn before cutting across to Vindolanda a Roman auxiliary fort that guarded the Stanegate Roman road. It is noted for the Vindolanda tablets, considered among the most important finds of military and private correspondence found anywhere in the Roman Empire and probably the best source of information about life on Hadrian’s Wall. A visit to the site is highly recommended. From here, we’ll transfer you back to your hotel

Walk: 8km & 3km. Overnight in one of the area’s luxury hotels.

Day 4 Head for Housesteads

After a good breakfast, we’ll deliver you to Carrawburgh Roman Fort and the nearby Temple of Mithras, probably built by soldiers from the Rhineland around AD 200.

Head west for a scenic stroll to the Roman fort of Housesteads. Pause for refreshments in the cafe and a look around the museum before exploring the fort itself, set up on the hillside, with far-reaching views. Continuing west will take you over some of the most strenuous and challenging areas of the wall as you come back to Steel Rigg.

We will meet you at Housesteads to take you back to your hotel.

Walk: 8km. Overnight in one of the area’s luxury hotels.

Day 5 Homeward Bound

Today, it’s time to leave Hadrian behind – though perhaps squeeze in a stop at Chesters Roman Fort or the Roman town of Coria (Corbridge) before fully returning to the 21st century.

Travel home.

Accommodation

This trip includes four nights in top-class ensuite accommodation with full breakfast. It could be based at any of three luxury hotels: Farlam Hall, a traditional house in the Cumbrian countryside; Langley Castle, in the South Tyne valley near Hexham; or Walwick Hall, near Chesters Roman Fort. There are also plenty of classic inns in the area too.

Food & Drink

There is lots of great local food and drink to be found in Hadrian’s Wall Country – look out, in particular, for Northumbrian stotty cakes, locally brewed ales and (at Birdoswald) the chance to try an authentic Roman burger. We can offer restaurant recommendations.

Activities

This grade of this tour is relatively easy, with some undulating sections. Walks could made longer if required.

Walks
  • Banks Turret to Gilsland, 8km
  • Great Chesters to Once Brewed, 8km
  • Once Brewed to Vindolanda, 3km
  • Carrawburgh Roman Fort to Housesteads, 8km

Experiences

There’s heritage aplenty in this region. As well as Roman sites, take in ancient abbeys and state-of-the-art museums. There is also plenty to see and do in nearby Carlisle and Newcastle.

  • Housesteads Roman Fort – Impressive archaeology, high on an escarpment.
  • Vindolanda – Huge Roman construction and garrison base; extensive archaeological site and world-class museum.
  • Birdoswald Fort – Best-preserved Roman fort, on the longest intact section of Hadrian’s Wall.
  • Lanercost Priory, near Brampton – Augustinian priory, famed for its involvement in the Anglo-Scottish wars.
  • Corbridge Roman Town – Remnants of a Roman town; also home to the Corbridge Collection of artefacts, the largest of the Hadrian’s Wall collections.
  • Chesters Roman Fort & Museum – Most complete Roman cavalry fort in Britain.

Travel

Transfers to the start and end of the walks each day (as specified) are included in the holiday.

Advice

The walks are graded fairly gentle, with some undulating sections. Walks could made longer if required. The trip is paced so that you have plenty of time to explore the Roman sites as well as enjoy the walking. There is plenty to see and do in Carlisle and Newcastle at either end too, if you want to extend your trip.

We advise that you check opening times and booking restrictions before travelling.

Please check out these links for latest advice when in the countryside

Countryside Code

COVID-19 Guidance

Interactive Map

Click here to access the interactive map

Maps, Guidebooks & Merchandise

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.