One of the most significant Roman ruins in England and one of the most visited tourist sites in northern England, Hadrian’s Wall bisects the country from the North Sea in the east to the Irish Sea in the west. It was constructed in AD 122 when the Roman Emperor Hadrian took over the empire and was keen to protect Roman Britain from the barbarians in the north. Many people wrongly believe that the wall marks the border between England and Scotland but it doesn’t – that lies a mile north of the western end of the wall and over one hundred miles north of the eastern end of the wall.
Many sections of the wall are still intact as well as forts and garrisons, and the way the wall was built varied according to which regiment built it and the available materials; for example, some parts are made of stone, others of earth and turf. You can visit Hadrian’s Wall for a few hours, a day, or even follow its path for a week-long walk. There is a well-signposted National Trail walking path along 84 miles of the wall, and also good cycling trails. In addition from April until October each year, a bus route runs along the route of the wall, the Hadrian’s Wall Country Bus AD122 (see what they’ve done here with the route number!) from Newcastle Central Station to Carlisle with connecting buses to Bowness on Solway, a small coastal village built on the site of the Roman fort Maia that was the end of the wall.
The bus takes bicycles and is a great way to explore the length of the wall. Just south-west of Carlisle lies the famous and very beautiful English Lake District so you might want to combine a trek along Hadrian’s Wall with a visit to the lakes.