Hadrian’s Wall is a perfect example of the Romans forward-thinking, planning, tenacity and power. Begun in AD 122 in the reign of the emperor Hadrian, this impressive defensive fortification is the most important monument of Roman Britain. It ran from the banks of the River Tyne in the east to the Solway Firth in the west, spanning 73 miles and was the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire.
A significant portion of the wall still stands today, along with many of the forts, milecastles and turrets. A popular way to visit is on foot along the Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail – a long-distance footpath running from coast to coast.
Other highlights include:
• CORBRIDGE ROMAN TOWN – Walk along a Roman high street and don’t miss the Corbridge Hoard – one of the most significant finds from Roman Britain.
• CHESTERS ROMAN FORT AND MUSEUM – The best-preserved Roman cavalry fort in Britain. Explore a Roman bath-house complex and a Victorian-style museum full of incredible finds.
• HOUSESTEADS ROMAN FORT – Take in breath-taking panoramic views and wander the most complete example of a Roman Fort anywhere in Britain.
• BIRDOSWALD ROMAN FORT The best place to see the longest continuous stretch of the wall today. Don’t miss the Roman fort, turret and milecastle too.
Hadrian’s Wall was the main area of operations for the ‘Border Reivers,’ raiders along the Anglo-Scottish border from the late 13th century to the beginning of the 17th century. Their ballads and their words are now common in the English language such as “bereave” and “blackmail”: greenmail was the proper rent you paid, blackmail was “protection money”! Presidents Andrew Jackson, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon are all descendants of border reivers, as was Neil Armstrong, who visited the area the year after he walked on the moon.