Hadrian's Wall - West to East
Much like Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Path, begin your Hadrian’s Wall adventure at Bowness on Solway by dipping your toes into the Solway Firth inlet of the Irish Sea. Along the way, ancient Roman milestones and markers guide your steps, revealing the legacy of Roman soldiers. Explore impressive Roman forts like Birdoswald and Housesteads, which once teemed with life. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the milecastles and turrets, reminiscent of checkpoints along the wall’s storied past. The ever-changing landscapes, from coastal plains to farmlands to the breathtaking Northumberland National Park, create a stunning backdrop. The Vindolanda archaeological site is a time capsule, offering a glimpse into daily Roman life. As you pass through charming villages like Haltwhistle and Once Brewed, you’ll find cosy spots for a pint and a peaceful night’s rest at our hand-picked B&B and quaint hotel accommodation.
Get Ready For
- The wild natural beauty of the Northumberland National Park, a designated Dark Sky Park
- A diverse range of wildlife including the shy endangered red squirrel
- Incredible rich cultural heritage of historical sites including ancient hill forts
- A treasure trove of Roman artefacts at Vindolanda archaeological site
- Newcastle upon Tyne’s unique blend of history, culture and warm Geordie hospitality
On the trail
What it's like underfoot
The terrain varies from solid paths and well-maintained trails to uneven stone and rocky sections. You will find yourself walking on centuries-old Roman cobblestones and rugged natural surfaces as you cross moorlands, meadows, and the occasional muddy stretch, particularly after rainfall. Which is all part of the fun! Some parts of the trail offer relatively smooth walking while others require a bit more surefootedness which makes sturdy hiking boots essential.
Hadrian’s Wall is the best-preserved and largest surviving outpost of the Roman Empire and is a testament to the military organisation, construction and engineering skill of the greatest empire in history. The wall spans 118km across northern England and was built in AD122 by the Emperor Hadrian and his army of 15,000 Roman soldiers. The original stone wall stood almost 6m high and took 6 years to build. The museums and interpretive sites along the way emphasise the incredible complexity, engineering, vision and sheer will-power of the Roman Empire in preventing the northern tribes from invading England.
There is little accommodation on the Wall itself, so the daily distances will vary from that in the walk notes depending on where your accommodation is located and if you take any optional diversions.
If you have the chance, take the opportunity to visit the 900-year-old Carlisle Castle and the similarly aged Carlisle Cathedral famous for its large Gothic window and dramatic choir ceiling. Or take a stroll through the inviting city streets to discover its enticing nooks and crannies and lively atmosphere.
Embark on your Hadrian’s Wall journey from the pretty coastal village of Bowness-on-Solway on the Solway Firth, which separates England from Scotland. The trail meanders through the coastal landscape of the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a haven for birdwatchers with wonderful views of the Solway Coast. You will pass by the small village of Port Carlisle before your first brush with history at Drumburgh Castle which was originally built as a defensive structure in the 12th century. Your first experience of the ‘Wall’ comes just after Burgh-by-Sands where you can see remnants (outline) of a Roman fort. You may not see much (any) of Hadrian’s Wall but it is a wonderful day to enjoy strolling through the countryside enjoying gorgeous views over the River Eden.
Set off following the beautiful River Eden with some pleasant walking first through Rickerby Park with its impressive Cenotaph then through lovely farmland showcasing the beautiful English countryside. Take a break at Crosby-on-Eden where you could picnic on the banks of the river if the weather is good. You won’t see any obvious remnants of the Wall until you are past the village where you pick up the Vallum (fortified wall) and ditch. Wander through a patchwork of fields as the trail follows the ditch to the villages of Newtown and Walton. If you are diverting to the lovely little market town of Brampton for the evening you will pass Brampton Old Church following the ancient Stanegate Roman road.
Today’s walk takes in some of the most impressive ruins on the trail Though not a continuous stretch, you’ll encounter sections of Hadrian’s Wall, turrets, and milefortlets—each a tangible link to the Roman legacy. And don’t forget to explore Birdoswald Roman Fort, where the past comes alive with its well-preserved remains. This section of the trail blends history with the tranquillity of the countryside, making for a delightful and enlightening day on the trail. If you are walking from Brampton you will pass the beautiful Lanercost Priory that was built with stones from Hadrian’s Wall from 1164–1174.
Starting your journey from the charming village of Gilsland you soon find yourself surrounded by rolling hills heading towards one of the more challenging sections of the walk. Along the way you’ll pass by the enchanting Thirlwall Castle, a medieval gem from the 12th century. Perhaps take a delightful detour to explore the picturesque village of Greenhead or picnic at pretty Cawfields Quarry. The views from Highshield Crags are excellent and your reward for effort is worth every step as you reach the summit at Winshields Crags to be rewarded with stunning views in all directions. Finally your day gracefully concludes in Once Brewed a cosy hamlet with a visitor centre and cosy accommodation.
There are a few ups and downs today as you venture towards Steel Rigg, which welcomes you with its beautifully preserved sections of Hadrian’s Wall and breathtaking panoramic views. Don’t forget to explore Housesteads Roman Fort for a fascinating window into Roman military life. Chesters Roman Fort, or Vercovicium, invites you to stroll through its remarkable ruins including its intact bathhouse. Today’s adventure finishes in Chollerford where you can admire its historic bridge.
There is not a lot of Roman wall walking today but you will soon find yourself surrounded by rolling countryside landscapes, meadows, and woodlands – a tranquil escape. While this section doesn’t showcase continuous stretches of Hadrian’s Wall, it offers its own unique appeal. Keep an eye out for educational markers that provide fascinating insights into Roman history. As you continue you will reach the delightful village of Corbridge with its market square and Roman Town remains. Hexham is another gem and beckons further exploration with its historic streets and Hexham Abbey. The path often runs alongside the meandering River Tyne offering scenic riverbank views. Terrain-wise, it’s a comfortable walk with gentle inclines, making it accessible and enjoyable. And as you approach Wylam you will have the chance to delve into the legacy of railway pioneer George Stephenson, the ‘father of railway’.
In the morning you quickly rejoin Hadrian’s Wall following the River Tyne with the promise of an exciting adventure-filled day that blends history with urban industrial charm. Although this section may not have the Roman remnants of the wall, it offers a different kind of fascination. As you approach Newcastle upon Tyne, the terrain evolves into a more urban setting and the iconic Tyne Bridge and River Tyne come into view. The bustling cityscape awaits with its vibrant energy, historic landmarks and modern amenities. Today’s walk beautifully balances the tranquillity of the Northumberland countryside with the excitement of city life, offering a delightful blend of experiences along the way.
From the lively Newcastle city centre you will be immersed in its historic landmarks, and warm Geordie hospitality. As you follow the path of the ancient wall witness the seamless fusion of the old and the new with the remains of Roman history intertwining with the contemporary cityscape. Your adventure culminates at Segedunum Museum where you can explore the fascinating exhibits and artefacts shedding light on the Roman past on English soil. It is a final walk on Hadrian’s Wall Path that takes you through time, offering a delightful mix of historical discovery and the vibrant spirit of Newcastle upon Tyne.
Today your Hadrian’s Wall adventure ends after breakfast. You may wish to consider extending your stay in Newcastle to further explore its fascinating past.
Bowness-on-Solway is best known as the western end of Hadrian’s Wall. It lies within the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, west of Carlisle, and is a haven for birds; oystercatchers, redshanks and lapwings are just a few of the many varieties of birds that spend time here.
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Lively Carlisle has lots of highlights. Carlisle Castle has dominated the city’s landscape and history for more than 900 years. On a tour, you’ll get to see the turret where Mary Queen of Scots was once held captive! The Gothic Carlisle Cathedral is the second smallest cathedral in England. The East Window is one of the largest stained glass windows in the country.
The small attractive village of Walton is about 3km north of Brampton. As you walk to/from Gilsland you’ll encounter sections of Hadrian’s Wall, turrets, and milefortlets – each a tangible link to the Roman legacy.
Once Brewed is a cosy hamlet with a visitor centre and cosy accommodation.
Chollerford is a delightful village. Here there is evidence of the remains of extensive Roman bridging, wide enough to take chariots.
The small village of Wylam is best known for its history of railway pioneering and fantastic architecture.
Newcastle upon Tyne
Newcastle upon Tyne, or simply Newcastle, is located on the River Tyne. In the lively and vibrant Newcastle city centre you’ll discover famous landmarks and warm Geordie hospitality.
Wallsend is the eastern end of Hadrian’s Wall and is famed as a shipbuilding town.
- Hassle-free walking with exclusive use of our specifically designed navigational hiking app
- 9 nights quality accommodation including warm welcoming B&Bs, guesthouses and small hotels
- Daily breakfast including fresh fruits, yoghurt, cereals and/or a hearty, cooked English breakfast to support your day on the trail
- Pack-free walking with luggage transfers on each hiking day (1 x 20kg bag per person)
- UK based RAW Travel support person
- RAW Travel buff, luggage tags
- Pre-trip guidance and planning from experienced and dedicated RAW Travel staff
- Carbon offset and a native tree planted on your behalf
- Single supplement $1380
- Travel insurance
- Lunch and dinners
- Taxi, bus fares
finding your way
Our unique RAW Travel walking app has been designed to help you navigate easily. Simply download your map with the unique link we send you and you’ll be able to follow your route with ease, showing your location in real-time without any internet connection needed or cumbersome pages of notes. The app has many great features: it shows the location of each night’s accommodation, weather forecasts localised for your overnight stops, plus important reminders, safety information, videos and emergency contact details. It also has a unique audio feature that can tell you about places and points of interest as you approach them on the trail.
Lovely trip exploring Northern England. Enjoyed the beautiful scenic countryside. Much harder than expected.
Michelle Cahill, Maroubra (NSW) – September 2023
We thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Doable but tough enough to get a very satisfied sense of achievement. Loved the sense of history and awe at walking the 2000-year-old wall!! The accommodation was superior to what we expected. We must commend the hostess at Dacre House in Gilsland who welcomed us with open arms when we arrived soaking wet after a day in the rain and provided towels, arranged for our boots and clothes to be dried and supplied a wonderful evening meal. The room was large airy and beautifully appointed. The luggage transfer worked brilliantly.
Gayle Lee, Benalla (VIC) – June 2023
Hadrian’s Wall – East to West
- Marvel at 2,000 years of ancient Roman history
- Explore a ‘Frontiers of the Roman Empire’ World Heritage Site
- Enjoy Newcastles’ Victorian and post-industrial architecture
- Meander through idyllic countryside and picturesque villages
Coast to Coast
Lakeland Ramble – Coast to Coast
- Relax and enjoy cosy B&Bs and pubs along the route
- Wander through charming lakeland villages
- Absorb the remote wilderness of the Lake District
- Listen for cuckoos in the Borrowdale valley
South Cotswolds – Cotswold Way
- Walk from charming Painswick to the elegant streets of Bath
- Explore honey-coloured villages and medieval market towns
- Follow the path through two butterfly conservation reserves
- Discover the ancient history of Neolithic Belas Knap
South West Coast Path: St Ives to Falmouth – Cornwall
- Discover aquamarine smugglers coves and wind-blown beaches
- Embrace the solitude and beauty of the wild remote landscape
- Be charmed by delightful fishing villages and colourful harbours
- Experience warm hospitality and quality B&B accommodation
A Cornish Camino – Cornwall
- Travel the path of Saints and pilgrims along the Cornish coastline
- Wander along cobbled streets past pretty whitewashed cottages
- Follow the path through tranquil woods and country lanes
- Walk the ancient cobbled causeway to St Michael’s Mount
TRIP date selection
when would you like to travel?
Please select your preferred dates for on-demand trips or select a scheduled date for group departures. If you have booked a self-guided trip please understand that because your trip date is on demand and we must check availability of all properties on your chosen dates before it can be fully confirmed