Hadrian's Wall – East to West
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. According to written reports, Hadrian built the wall to ‘separate his empire from the barbarians to the north’. The original stone wall stood almost six metres high and took six years to build.
Walk in the footsteps of Roman centurions for 135km along the iconic Hadrian’s Wall Path from the intriguing city of Newcastle upon Tyne (Wallsend) to the tiny English border village of Bowness-on-Solway. The walk is one of Britain’s most loved, long-distance hikes. It passes through an endless array of gorgeous scenery from the Northumberland National Park to picturesque county Cumbria and the Solway Coast ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’.
Experience museums and interpretive sites along the way which emphasise the incredible complexity, engineering, vision and sheer will-power of the Roman Empire in preventing the northern tribes from invading England.
Get Ready For
- Walk the length of the wall from coast to coast across the north of England
- Indulge your love of hiking and history as you follow this ancient stone relic
- Discover extraordinary examples of Roman military architecture
- Look for the Vallum, an earthwork defensive ditch along the wall
- Take in the simple pleasures of spending time immersed in nature
- Gorgeous scenery including the Solway ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’
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.
The twin cities of Newcastle and Gateshead are separated by the river Tyne but connected by several bridges including the futuristic Millenium Bridge, the only tilting bridge in the world. Both cities thrive on surprising and delighting – experience their vibrant nightlife, explore the multi-cuisine restaurants, the recently revitalised quayside cultural area with its infusion of galleries and museums and the famous Angel of the North sculpture.
- 10m ascent, 20m descent
You begin your Hadrian’s Wall adventure with a short urban walk from the official starting point at the ruins of Segedunum Fort into Newcastle. This allows you to spend time at the multi award-winning Segedunum (strong place) interactive museum and archaeological site which features exhibitions, activities and a reconstruction of a Roman Bath House. The museum provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in the Forts history which was home to 600 soldiers for almost 300 years. The route from Segedunum follows a converted rail line to join with and follow the River Tyne past the iconic quayside area and into the heart of Newcastle. Don’t forget to find a cosy pub and sample the city’s famous brown ale or “The Dog” as it’s locally known.
- 175m ascent, 60m descent
You won’t see much of the wall today as the path continues along the River Tyne meandering to the now suburban village of Newburn. Enjoy the green oasis of the lovely Tyne Riverside Country Park as the Northumberland countryside opens up and finally leaves suburbia behind. Peaceful Heddon-on-the-Wall sits atop a hill and you’re rewarded for your effort with a considerable section of the wall remaining intact at the edge of the village. From Heddon (hill where heather grew) onwards, you will truly feel like your Hadrian’s Wall adventure has begun.
- 250m ascent, 325m descent
For most of today, the trail closely follows the B6318 (Military Road) which was built atop the wall in the 18th-century. But you won’t notice the noise from the highway as you pass by pretty sheep and cow dotted fields, open countryside and some lovely woodland tracts. Appreciate the food and hospitality of Robin Hood Inn, a traditional English pub dating back to 1752. You will follow the vallum (defensive ditch) before picking up a good section of the wall at Planetrees as you approach Chollerford. Just before Chollerford there’s the lovely little church at St Oswald’s built to commemorate victory at the Battle of Heavenfield and marks the beginning of the 155km St Oswald’s Way. Chesters Roman Fort and Museum is located just outside Chollerford and depending on where your accommodation is located, you can explore in the afternoon or the following morning. The museum holds a wonderful collection of Roman artefacts and very well-preserved baths and officers quarters.
- 425m ascent, 255m descent
Today may well be your favourite, if not most tiring days walk as you enter the rugged beauty of Northumberland National Park. Enjoy incredible views over Roman ruins, forts, fields and moorlands with the wall keeping you company as it climbs to Whin Sill ridge, one of the UK’s most significant geological features. This area boasts the best-preserved section of Hadrian’s Wall, including stunning Housesteads Fort, one of the first built along the wall and once home to over 800 men. The final section into Once Brewed takes you past Sycamore Gap and the site of the tree made famous in the Robin Hood movie featuring Kevin Costner (sadly the tree was felled in an act of vandalism). There are several theories surrounding the name of the local pub, Twice Brewed; one legend tells of Roman soldiers complaining that the beer was too weak for them to fight and they demanded it be brewed a second time. However, locals will tell you the name comes from the two “brous” or the brows of two hills overlooking the inn.
- 255m ascent, 355m descent
A challenging day awaits as the path follows the dramatic undulating landscape and windswept moors of Northumberland to the Cumbrian border. There are some strenuous climbs including the highest point of the entire walk at Winshields Crags (345m) but your effort is well rewarded with superb views in all directions. From these high vantage points it’s easy to marvel at the ingenuity in selecting these rocky crags as a natural line of defense. You will pass some intact sections of the wall, the remains of Thirlwall Castle and the fort remains of Great Chesters and Magnis before arriving into quiet Gilsland where you can enjoy a cream tea at the village tearooms or ale at the friendly pub.
- 200m ascent, 250m descent
Just outside Gilsland you’ll find Poltross Burn Milecastle (No. 48) – one of the best-preserved ruins on the walk. The remains include part of the north gateway and stairs to the parapet. The walk heads toward the River Irthing following some excellent sections of the wall to Birdoswald. There are over half a dozen engravings along this section of the wall which are well worth seeking out.
The path continues along an elevated plateau with plenty of beautiful scenery to the village of Banks before descending into farmland and continuing to the tiny village of Walton where you can refresh yourself at the lovely tearooms and café.
- 10m ascent, 60m descent
Today you’ll pass through some lovely sections of rural countryside and open fields but any evidence of Hadrian’s Wall is now behind you. The walking is pleasant easy and very enjoyable as it follows the banks of the River Eden into the 2,000 year old Roman city of Carlisle. Break your journey with some excellent pub food or refreshments at the delightful Stag Inn, in the pretty village of Crosby-on-Eden, before following riverside paths to the ancient city. Explore medieval Carlisle Castle built in 1092 which stands strategically between the border of England and Scotland.
- 35m ascent, 30m descent
The final day of your walk follows the River Eden beyond Carlisle passing through Burgh by Sands and along a quiet road to Port Carlisle with views to the Lake District peaks. The salt marshes and beautiful expanses of the Solway Firth lay before you. This area is regarded as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the birdlife is prolific. Before returning to Carlisle for your overnight accommodation don’t forget to celebrate your achievement with a drink at the Kings Arms in Bowness which is a favourite among walkers.
Today your Hadrian’s Wall adventure ends after breakfast. You may wish to consider extending your stay in historical Carlise 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, guest houses 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)
- Guide book, map and luggage tags
- Hadrian’s Wall passport (stamping available May to October)
- Pre-trip guidance and planning from experienced and dedicated RAW Travel staff
- Single supplement $1380
- Travel insurance
- Lunch and dinners
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.
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 – West to East
- Hike through the wild Northumberland National Park
- Explore a treasure-trove of Roman artefacts
- Be amazed at the rich cultural heritage
- Enjoy a unique blend of history, culture and hospitality
Coast to Coast
Lakeland Ramble – Coast to Coast
- Includes your own personal mountain guide for a day
- 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