Surrounded by landscapes that are steeped in Roman history, Hadrian's Wall country and the beautiful, historic towns of Hexham and Corbridge will never disappoint! There’s so much to see and do in this area that you’ll need more than just a day to explore. Perhaps visit over a long weekend or as a family during school holidays, such as February half-term. Whether you’ve spent a morning learning about Hexham’s history or an afternoon venturing along the wall, our Hadrian's Wall holiday cottages will help to ensure you get the rest you deserve when night falls.
Questions answered on Hadrian’s Wall
Hadrian’s Wall is one of the largest historical remnants of Roman life in Northern Europe. Stretching 80 Roman miles from coast to coast, this ancient edifice is one of the region's best-loved and most popular visitor attractions. Some buildings along the wall have survived and in some cases partially restored, like the Roman forts of Birdoswald and Housesteads. These days marked trails originate from these forts.
We hope these questions and answers help you understand a bit more about the wall…
What is Hadrian's Wall?
Hadrian's Wall is a manmade wall which has become one of the largest historical remnants of Roman life in Northern Europe. It was built to create a border between Scotland and England which was fought over for centuries to come. It took about 14 years to complete and is the largest structure ever made by the Romans. There are 14 forts and many more castles along its length.
Why was the wall built?
It was built to create a border between the Romans and the Pictish tribes in Scotland. It allowed the Romans to control the movements of people coming into, or leaving, Roman Britain.
Where is Hadrian's Wall?
You will find Hadrian's Wall near the border between modern-day Scotland and England. It runs in an east-west direction from Wallsend and Newcastle on the River Tyne in the east, to Bowness-on-Solway and Solway Firth in the west. Parts of it are easily accessed when staying in Northumberland.
Who built Hadrian's Wall?
The wall was built by the Roman army on the orders of the emperor Hadrian following his visit to Britain in 122AD. It was the north-west frontier of the Roman Emporer for nearly 300 years. It is a masterpiece of Roman legendary masons, with the assistance of auxiliary soldiers providing labour and transport of supplies to the construction areas.
When was Hadrian's Wall built?
Hadrian's Wall was built in 122 AD.
How long is Hadrian's Wall?
The wall is 73 miles long, and although it is no longer fully intact, and certainly not as high as it once was, you can still see most of the wall line today along with historic fortresses and settlements along it. It was made a World Heritage Site in 1987. Keen walkers could probably walk the whole of the wall in six or seven days!
The wall was devalued in AD138 when Hadrian’s successor Antoninus Pius decided to build his own frontier, the lesser-known turf fortification, The Antonine Line further north. For an abridged history of Hadrian’s Wall, and a guide to the visitor centres and earthworks at Housesteads, Vallum and Birdsoswald, visit here.
Our guide to Hadrian’s Wall country is full of all you need to explore its historical delights at Northumberland end starting with the Roman settlement of Hexham.
The popular and attractive riverside market town of Hexham is rich in history, dating back to the 1300s when the Vikings came a-calling! Located on the south banks of the River Tyne in beautiful Hadrian’s Wall country, Hexham's town centre boasts picturesque winding streets, with the remarkable Hexham Abbey at its hub.
With an array of parks scattered throughout the charming town, galleries aplenty, a raft of outdoor activities and a number of historical sites waiting to be explored, there’s no shortage of things to do in Hexham. There is also a superb range of shops, restaurants, bars, bistros and coffee houses when you need to refuel. Also, to replenish the larder and fridge, head to the town’s farmers’ markets where you can easily stock up local produce and crafted goods. These take place on the second and fourth Saturday of the month.
If you like arts and culture you can visit Queen’s Hall Arts Centre for live theatre, music, dance and art exhibitions. If you fancy a flutter, head to Hexham Racecourse, which is a fun day out for all the family. It is one of the most scenic racecourses in the country. The nearby River Tyne is something of a fishing and angling hot spot; it is known as the best salmon and sea trout river in England and Wales. If you love the quiet, bring your rod and tackle and spend some quality time by yourself.
The much-loved and unspoilt town of Corbridge, located about 18 miles to the west of Newcastle upon Tyne, is beautifully situated in the heart of Hadrian’s Wall Country. The town’s own history dates back to Saxon times and the Romans once based one of their garrisons here while their soldiers were manning the wall.
In addition to all its fascinating history, Corbridge is also full of real Northumbrian charm and attractive stone-built properties. You are bound to love exploring the range of independent shops and boutiques, coffee houses and popular eateries in the pretty main streets that make up the town. Thanks to its agricultural events, country fairs and shows, the village attracts a huge number of tourists every year.
Arguably the best reason for visiting Corbridge is the chance to visit the remains of a Roman town. Once a central hub for picking up provisions and where civilians and soldiers lived, the town thrived right up until the fall of the Roman empire during the 5th century. Today, you can still walk its streets and view Roman armour and artefacts uncovered with the Corbridge Hoard at the on-site museum. The hoard is one of the most significant Roman-era discoveries, affording you an insight into the life of a soldier who would have defended Hadrian’s and the Antonine Wall. The museum is also home to the Corbridge Collection, the largest of the Hadrian's Wall's collections.
Around a mile from Corbridge is Aydon Castle, a lovely location for a family day out; if the weather’s good bring a picnic. Virtually intact, it is a wonderful example of a 13th-century manor house located in deep woodland. It survived a sacking during a period of Anglo-Scottish warfare but it was partially restored and was used as a farmhouse in the 17th century and a family residence in up until 1966. It is now managed by English Heritage. Keen film fans may recognise it from the 1998 film ‘Elizabeth,’ starring Cate Blanchett.
Stay in a Hadrian's Wall cottage
If you have been inspired to visit these picturesque towns in Hadrian’s Wall Country, take a look at our collection of holiday cottages in Northumberland and start planning your next holiday. Here are some of our favourites:
Or why not view the full collection of holiday homes dotted along Hadrian's Wall?
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.