“The first time I was able to hike Hadrian’s Wall was back in 2011 and the experience is still seared into my memory. This trip will stay with you for a lifetime.”allan wright, zephyr Adventures founder and owner
Hadrian’s Wall country is quite simply a walker’s paradise, with stunning landscapes and a rich history. Hike Hadrian’s Wall as we walk across England coast to coast and inn to inn. Located in spectacular Northern England, Hadrian’s Wall was built in AD122 under the orders of Emperor Hadrian. The stone wall stretched for an amazing 73 miles and was successful in controlling the northern frontier of the Roman Empire. Likely the world’s largest surviving Roman construction, Hadrian’s Wall was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is the most protected landscape anywhere in the United Kingdom.
Hike Hadrian’s Wall
Hadrian’s Wall is a testament to the enduring influence of the Roman Empire. As you trek along the wall, you’ll encounter well-preserved Roman forts, “milecastles”, and turrets. These archaeological sites provide insight into the daily lives of Roman soldiers and their military strategies. The wall stretches across picturesque landscapes, making it a visually stunning experience.
At times, especially at the start and end of the trek, Hadrian’s Wall will not be visible at all. However, we are generally walking through breathtaking vistas of the English countryside – imagine rolling hills, lush meadows, and charming villages along the way – or through small towns.
The trail is generally well-maintained, it is mostly flat at the beginning and end, and the trail never rises much above 1000 feet in elevation. However, the middle section does have some steep ascents and descents and we find walking multiple days in a row is taxing. Mileage varies from six to 15 miles per day. You will want proper hiking gear and good physical fitness.
Culture and Cuisine
In addition to its Roman history, trekking Hadrian’s Wall allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture. You can sample traditional British cuisine, interact with friendly locals, and learn about the area’s rich history. You will pass small villages, many rural farmhouses, and herds of sheep. We’ll stay in small cities and rural towns.
Along the trail, you’ll have the opportunity to savor traditional British dishes in charming pubs and restaurants. Classics like fish and chips, hearty pies, and locally brewed ales are popular, authentic English choices.
Trekking Hadrian’s Wall often attracts international tourists and fellow trekkers from different backgrounds. Engaging in conversations and sharing experiences with people from around the world will enhance your cultural perspective and create lasting memories.
Your Local Guide
Patrick Norris has trekked Hadrian’s Wall over two dozen times. Before guiding full time Patrick worked as a countryside ranger/manager for 20 years. In that role he had to understand a great deal about the British countryside and he now brings that knowledge and shares it with you as a qualified hill walking guide. He holds the Walking Group Leader Award, which he gained at the National Mountain Centre at Plas y Brenin in Snowdonia. Patrick’s knowledge of history includes the Roman, Anglo-Saxon and early Christianity periods and he will share tales of the Kings, Saints, and Sinners who have passed this way. He enjoys pointing out the wildlife, the wildflowers, and a wealth of landscape features as we share a walk in the Northumberland countryside. On public tour dates, Patrick will be joined by a second Zephyr Adventures guide.
Join us as we hike Hadrian’s Wall on either a public tour date or with your own private group of four or more. Also consider our Scotland Trekking Inn-to-Inn & Whiskey Adventure.
- Dates: August 16 - 24, 2024
- Cost Per Person: $4,950
- Single Supplement: $1,095
- Private Tour Minimum: 4
- Activities: Hiking
- Difficulty: Moderate/Difficult
- Guides: Patrick Norris
Private Tours: Contact us for small group pricingBook this Tour
- Walk the width of England, all 84 miles of it, coast to coast!
- Enjoy stunning, unspoiled English countryside along the National Hadrian's Wall Trail.
- Sample traditional pub fare and local beers in country pubs.
- Visit the remains of the Northerly most outpost of the Roman Empire.
DAY 1 > Arrival in Newcastle
You can arrive at any time today in Newcastle, located on the east coast. The only things we have scheduled today are a pre-dinner introductory meeting at our hotel, where our local guide will provide details about the walk and answer any questions that you may have. We will then walk to dinner at a local restaurant and then get you to bed early tonight in preparation for our early morning departure tomorrow.
DAY 2 > Bowness-on-Solway to Carlisle > 15 miles
After an early breakfast we will shuttle west to the edge of the Channel of River Eden (which leads to the Irish Sea) and Bowness-on-Solway for the start of our journey along the Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail. This is a lovely start to the walk with fine views over Bowness-on-Solway, which has been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and hosts an abundance of bird life. Here the fishermen still fish for salmon using a Haaf net, a method introduced by the Vikings over a thousand years ago. To the south we look back on the high peaks of the Lake District. The walk is on mostly flat terrain through open fields and along canals and rivers. Because the Wall was built of earth in this section, there are few remains. We’ll enjoy a packed lunch along the trail and end up at our accommodation located near to the Hadrian’s Wall Trail. If you still have the energy, you will have the opportunity this evening to enjoy the beautiful city of Carlisle at your leisure. Carlisle is famous for its Castle, a great medieval fortress that has watched over the City of Carlisle for over nine centuries. Perhaps you’ll have time to explore fascinating and ancient chambers, stairways and dungeons and find the legendary “licking stones” prior to our official welcome dinner.
DAY 3 > Carlisle to Lanercost > 15 miles
After saying our farewells to our hosts in Carlisle we set out on today's walk; a pleasant day's ramble through open countryside passing through quaint villages. Although not always visible, this section of the Wall is made from sod but it’s nevertheless still impressive and a tantalizing prelude of what’s to come. We end today's walk at Lanercost with its hauntingly beautiful Priory founded in 1165 by Augustinian canons. We retire for the evening after a delicious home cooked meal.
DAY 4 > Lanercost to Gilsland > 6 miles
After two long walking days, we intentionally have a short day today to allow a bit of a recharge and have a relaxing start. A hearty breakfast will fuel us as we re-join the trail and see our first bit of the stone wall! After a fashion, long sections of the wall become more evident, with examples of turrets and milecastles. Birdoswald Fort stands high above a bend in the River Irthing, in one of the most picturesque settings on Hadrian's Wall. A Roman fort, turret and milecastle can all be seen on this excellent stretch of the Wall, with probably the best-preserved defenses of any Wall fort. This was an important base for some 1,000 Roman soldiers, succeeding an earlier fort made of turf and timber. We reach Gilsland just after lunch and there is a short transfer to Vindolanda Roman Fort, a Roman auxiliary fort just south of the Wall, one of the best Roman sights in the area. After the visit to Vindolanda, we transfer back to Gilsland and our accommodation.
DAY 5 > Gilsland to Steel Rigg > 12 miles
Leaving Gilsland we pass the 14C Thirlwall Castle, built out of stone plundered from the Wall. Before we start to climb out of Walltown Quarry we visit the Roman Army Museum which is part of the Vindolanda Charitable Trust. Watch the superb and award winning 20 minute 3D Edge of Empire film which takes us on an eagle eye view along the section of Hadrian's Wall that we are about to walk along - absolutely stunning and a definite must see! You will see many additional turrets and milecastles today as you rise up into the spine of England. This is one of the most impressive days of the hike. As we continue on through Walltown Quarry and Cawfields, the walking becomes more challenging with a number of sharp gradients and ascents as we gradually rise up to Winshields Crags and the highest point on the Wall – surely a must for any photo album! The views are quite simply breath-taking and the impressive nature of the wall starts to grow as you pass milecastle after milecastle and experience true Hadrian's Wall Country. We end the day’s walk at Steel Rigg where it’s just a short walk to our accommodation.
DAY 6 > Steel Rigg to Chollerford > 14 miles
After a hearty breakfast you have what is probably one of the most famous and dramatic sections of the wall, past Sycamore Gap and Crag Lough. This section of the wall has been used a number of times in films, and is also one of the best-preserved sections of the Wall (known as Claytons Wall after John Clayton of Chesters who was a Lawyer in Newcastle and devoted every Monday of his professional working life to restoring the Wall to what we see today). We pass Housesteads, the most complete example of a Roman fort in Britain, and now the most popular site on the Wall. It stands high on the exposed Whin Sill escarpment, commanding breath-taking views. It was one of 12 permanent forts added to the new frontier by Hadrian in about 124 AD. Known as Vercovicium ('the place of effective fighters'), it was garrisoned by a cohort of around 800 infantry (for most of its history Tungrians from Belgium), later reinforced by Germanic cavalry. Our route then takes us to Chollerford, where a well-earned drink at the pub is in order.
DAY 7 > Chollerford to Heddon-on-the-Wall > 14.5 miles
This day begins by climbing up out of Chollerford with some lovely views North to the Cheviot Hills. Although the distance today is more than on previous days, it really is an easier day's walking being
fairly flat and in stark contrast to what we have previously done. You will still see remnants of the Wall but the joy of today is moving through wide-open spaces. More importantly there are a number of places to stop off en route for light refreshments and to take a well-earned breather. Upon reaching Heddon-on-the-Wall, there will be a short transfer to our accommodation at Newburn, where after a relaxing shower or bath you can have a lovely evening meal and look back on the superb walk that you have nearly finished.
DAY 8 > Heddon-on-the-Wall to Segedunum Fort > 15.5 miles
After our last hearty breakfast we will start the last leg of our epic journey. This final day truly is a day of contrast. Firstly, you follow the River Tyne through some lovely countryside, before walking through some of the rich industrial heritage which Newcastle upon Tyne was built on. Much of the waterfront has now been redeveloped as you pass grand hotels, the Tyne Bridge, Sage Gateshead (new music centre) and the recently opened Baltic (arts centre), a cultural revolution evolving from an Industrial one! At the end of the Trail is Segedunum Roman Fort which stands on the banks of the River Tyne in Wallsend and the last outpost of Hadrian’s Wall. For almost 300 years, Segedunum (which means "strong fort") was home to 600 Roman soldiers. We have a celebratory dinner tonight in Newcastle, for congratulations are in order. You can look back with pride and say with hand on heart that you walked the Wall, from one coast of England to another!
DAY 9 > DEPARTURE
You might choose to sleep in this morning and if you do, you certainly deserve it! You are free to depart at any time today.Book this Tour
Night 1 > Hilton Newcastle Gateshead > Newcastle
Night 2 > Crowne and Mitre Hotel > Carlisle
Nights 3 & 4 > Brookside Villa > Gilsland
Night 5 > Twice Brewed Inn > Steel Rigg
Night 6 > Battlesteads Hotel > Chollerford
Night 7 > Keelman's Lodge > Wylam
Night 8 > Hilton Newcastle Gateshead > NewcastleBook this Tour
We meet you in Newcastle the first afternoon of the trip and you are free to depart Newcastle at any time on the last day of the trip (checkout is at noon).
- A local guide accompanies the group on the trail and a Zephyr guide accompanies the trip with a support van.
- Double occupancy lodging is included. If you are traveling solo, we will match you with another traveler of the same gender. However, you may pay a single supplement to have your own room.
- All of your meals, starting with breakfast on Day 2 and ending with breakfast on Day 9 are included. Most lunches are packed lunches, eaten on the trail.
- All your transportation and bag transfers are included once you meet your guide on the first day. Each day there will be one option to be transferred in the support van if you decide not to walk the full day's distance.
- All group activities are included.
- NOT INCLUDED Beverages, desserts, gratuities to your guide, personal expenses, and travel to and from the destination.
We rate this trip as moderate to difficult, as walking long distances on consecutive days can be very taxing. We recommend training for this trip to better enjoy it. There are one or two steep climbs and descents in the middle section of the walk, with reasonably level walking on the other days.
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