Hadrian's Wall Walk is one of the most popular walking holidays in England for many reasons - lively pubs and friendly B&B's, magnificent scenery and the quaint villages you will pass through along the path - but for most people it is the wealth of iconic landmarks you will see as you follow the course of Northern Europe's most significant surviving Roman monument that really attracts them to this beautiful walk. In my opinion, the following attractions can be counted among the historical highlights of Hadrian's Wall walk and should not be missed.
The most Eastern fort on the Wall which can be counted as the gateway to Hadrian's Wall. Facilities include a large interactive museum and a 35-metre high viewing tower, and this is the place to get your walk off to a good start, as you can collect your Hadrian's Wall badge and certificate here - however, the certificate is only allowed if you promise to finish the walk! See the official Segedunum Website for more details.
Corbridge Roman Town
Well worth the slight detour - at this old garrison town you can see the remains of two substantial granaries, a fountain house, markets and workshops as well as being able to visit a fascinating museum. You can read a bit more about Corbridge Roman Town on the English Heritage Website.
Chesters Roman Fort
You will pass Chesters after leaving the village of Wall, and it is definitely worth a visit. One of the main highlights is the excellent example of Roman baths which really give you a feel for what they would have looked like. One of the most impressive of all the sites on the path and is the best-preserved Roman Cavalry Fort in the UK. For more information take a look at the English Heritage Site.
Housesteads Roman Fort
Probably the most significant fort along the length of the Wall due to the excellent preservation of the ruins here - in places the walls run up to 10 feet. Another fascinating museum here, including a complete model of how the Fort would have once looked, ensures that this is a must-do stop on the Hadrian's Wall Path. There is more information on the Fort on the National Trust Website.
Vindolanda Roman Fort
While the ruins here are not as impressive as the ones at Housesteads, the artefacts which have been found here and which can be seen in the museum are what make it so interesting. These include objects such as writing tablets (Roman postcards), cutlery, weapons and pottery. An absolute must on the route and certainly deserving of an extra day to fully appreciate the museum. The Official Vindolanda Website has much more detail about this fantastic museum. Vindolanda Fort is located around Once Brewed and in order to get the most out of your time here we advise adding on a rest day in Once Brewed.
A re-enactment along Hadrian's Wall.
Birdoswald Roman Fort
Probably the last really significant remains of the Wall you will see towards the end of the walk along Hadrian's Wall, and for that reason alone deserves some time spent at it! Highlights include well-preserved defences, with three of the four main gateways having been unearthed as well as the outside walls. More information can be found on the English Heritage website.
There are several walking itineraries which will cover the 'Best of Hadrian's Wall walk' - these will all start in Corbridge and finish in either Gilsland, Brampton or Carlisle. So even if you don't have time to do the whole walk from start to finish, doing one of these itineraries will ensure that you see the best-preserved of Hadrian's Wall, and take in most of these fascinating and iconic landmarks along the way!