Hadrians Wall

Regarded as one of the greatest engineering feats of Roman Britain, Hadrian’s Wall is a World Heritage Site built to guard the country’s northwestern frontier. 

Stretching for 76 unbroken miles to seal the border with Scotland, the celebrated structure took thousands of men more than 200 years to build and impressively, some two thousand years later large parts of it are still intact. 

The eastern stretch of the Wall winds through the serpentine coastal county of Tyne and Wear making it the obvious starting point for visiting some of the most significant sites.

Hadrians Wall tyne and wear

Arbeia South Shields Fort Museum, South Shields

Situated beside the mouth of the River Tyne, Arbeia Fort guarded the sea-route to Hadrian’s Wall. In its time it was a military supply base, the Roman Emperor’s headquarters and a bustling cosmopolitan fort. The original buildings were ruined long, long ago, but its impressive, partial reconstruction shows off its huge strategic importance during Roman times. 

The Fort must have witnessed plenty of drama in its heyday, including deeds of murder, revenge, war and love. Today, visitors can immerse themselves in the Roman world, with popular events that recreate some of these fascinating stories. 

Visit the Set in Stone’ gallery – and hear the stories of people living and working on the Wall AD160. The Amazing Finds’ gallery showcases some of the most unusual Roman treasures unearthed over the centuries – from wedding rings to battle swords.

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Hadrian’s Wall Segedunum, Wallsend

Another eastern point along the Wall – Segedunum — has the most complete excavations of any fort in the Roman Empire. 

Visitors can marvel at the whole ground-plan, showing the exact layout around AD200. It includes soldiers’ barracks, commanding officer’s houses, a hospital and granary store.

The Wall

Benwell Temple, Benwell

Besides being an engineering miracle, what makes Hadrian’s Wall so fascinating today, is that many of its ruins lie among present-day residential neighbourhoods. 

Benwell Temple – though it sounds grand – is actually a little shrine for the god Antenociticus, believed to be a native diety adopted by the Romans as a source of inspiration and intercession in military affairs. Lying just outside Newcastle City Centre and wedged, incongruously between rows of 1930’s houses, it was one of just 13 temples along Hadrian’s Wall.

Benwell can be seen in half-an-hour, so throw in a trip to nearby Corbridge. You may marvel here at its collection of Roman objects found along the Wall, from armour to jewellery. You may also walk along a real Roman high-street and imagine life as a soldier at this chilly northern outpost of the Empire.

Hadrians Wall

Venture out to Chesters Roman Fort, Hexham

Chesters is the most intact cavalry fort in the country, featuring a well-preserved bath-house. It can

easily be paired with a visit to Clayton Museum, a resting-place for various Roman inscriptions recovered during excavations. 

This now peaceful fort includes a handy little tearoom – a quintessentially English cafe serving up homemade classics like scones with jam-and-cream, and a selection of really tasty cakes. 

After exploring the ruins, be sure to check out the best things to do in Tyne & Wear, one of the UK’s lesser-explored regions full of hidden gems.

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