7 things to do and see on the Hadrian’s Wall Path
You've probably heard of Hadrian's Wall, the 80-mile long coast to coast fortification, constructed by the Romans nearly two millennia ago. For nearly 3 centuries it represented the northwestern frontier of the Roman Empire and today is a UNESCO World Heritage site and considered one of the UK's most fascinating historical landmarks.
Though much of the original wall has disappeared or lays buried beneath the ground, numerous sections still remain, and the iconic pathway that follows its original route is littered with all manner of ancient landmarks, not to mention some truly stunning scenery.
From numerous, well-preserved stretches of wall, to the remains of fortresses and temples, plus rugged cliffs, rolling fields, and the most photographed tree in the country, there is no shortage of interesting sights along the way.
Read on to discover 7 things to do and see on the Hadrian’s Wall Path.
If you begin your journey in the west (at Bowness on Solway) you'll encounter this first point of interest almost immediately.
Strolling along a quiet road you'll enjoy scenic views of Solway Firth, the coastal waters that form part of the England/Scotland border, and a designated 'area of outstanding natural beauty.
If you begin your journey in the West, you'll reach Carlisle pretty early on, and should you have time, it's a city well worth exploring.
Thanks to its storied past (which predates even the Roman arrival), it boasts numerous interesting landmarks and attractions which are sure to whet the appetite of any history buff. These include the striking cathedral, Tullie House Museum, and the eponymous Castle, which is considered one of the most impressive in all of England.
Some 16 miles east of Carlisle, is Birdoswald, one of the most interesting stops along the trail.
Though the Roman fort that once stood here has largely disappeared, a few remnants remain, along with a turret, a milecastle, and the longest remaining section of wall, plus it's also home to a visitor centre, which features several interactive exhibitions.
Take in stunning views at Steel Rigg
You won't be short of scenic panoramas along your walk, but few match those at Steel Rigg. Think breathtaking vistas of the rugged cliffs of Peel Crags, with the wall cresting dramatically above them!
Take a picture at Sycamore Gap
One of the most striking and iconic attractions on the trail, Sycamore Gap is located a mile east of Steel Rigg, near the picturesque lake of Crag Lough.
Said to be one of the most photographed trees in all of England, the single sycamore to which the place owes its name is set dramatically at the base of a striking dip in the landscape, and over the years has featured in numerous tv shows and films, including, most famously, the 1991 Hollywood epic Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, starring Kevin Costner.
The Temple of Mithras
Located almost halfway along the trail, Brocolitia was once home to one of the wall's sixteen forts. Though it remains unexcavated, nearby, sits one of the most compelling landmarks on the trail, a striking temple, dedicated to the deity Mithras, the eponym and central figure of the Roman religion of Mithraism.
Segedunum Roman Fort & Museum
The final stop on your adventure (if you're travelling from west to east) the appropriately-named Wallsend in North Tyneside, was once home to a fort that formed the easternmost point of the wall.
The most thoroughly excavated fort on Hadrian's Wall, Segedunum features the remains of barrack blocks and stables, the headquarters building and the commander’s house. In addition, it's also home to a reconstructed section of Hadrian’s Wall alongside an 80 metre stretch of the original wall, which at some points, stands at 8 metres high.
On top of that, there is also a full-sized reconstruction of a Roman bathhouse, and a museum, featuring all manner of Roman relics!