Often considered to be one of the best introductions to National Trail walking in the UK, the path runs alongside the remains of Hadrian's Wall from coast to coast. Join it at Newcastle River Tyne on the East Coast and Solway FIrth, west of Carlisle on the west coast. Hadrian’s Wall is the finest surviving frontier work from any part of the classical Roman empire.
By Rail: Situated on the East Coast main line, Newcastle upon Tyne railway station is one of the busiest in Britain. London (Kings Cross) can be reached in 3 hours, and is easily accessible for other parts of the country too.
By Car: Newcastle upon Tyne is reached via the A1 and will take just over 5 hours from London.
B&Bs, Hotels and Inns (3*). A bespoke trip with 5* hotels can be devised, but includes some taxi transfers at the beginning or end of some days.
The tour includes transfer of luggage as stated. The tour information pack provided to you contains luggage tags from Compass Holidays. Your name and the hotels used throughout the holiday will be on these tags. They should be fixed to the luggage. In the morning the luggage should be left at the reception for collection. Luggage is collected after 9.30am and delivered to the next hotel before 4.30pm.
This grade of this tour is moderate.
- Wallsend (or Newcastle upon Tyne depending on accommodation availability)
- Bowness on Solway
Daily Distance Range
- Minimum:8 miles / 13 km per day
- Maximum:14.5 miles / 23 km per day
This tour runs for 10 days, 9 nights and 8 days walking but can be extended or decreased by changing the daily distance.
This tour is available from April until October.
What is included in the tour
- Accommodation at the stated category with breakfast
- Luggage Transfers
- Full Tour Pack
- Smartphone App with GPS routes
- 24-hr emergency helpline
What is NOT included in the tour
- Lunch, Dinner & Drinks
- Entrance to attractions
- Buses and/or Ferries unless otherwise stated
- Tourist Taxes where applicable
Arrive in Wallsend. Stay overnight
Please note due to limited availability of accommodation at the start of the route in Wallsend, we likely use accommodation in Newcastle. Instructions will be provided to get you to the beginning of the tour, which may include the use of the Metro. The cost of this is not included in your tour.
A: Wallsend to Newburn (11.5 miles | 18.5km)
If you have time before setting off take a close look at the remains of the Roman fort of Segedunum which marks the beginning of the route. This is a multi award-winning site, with reconstructions of a Roman Bath House and an excellent interactive museum. The trail heads out following the walls of the ancient Roman fort of Segedunum and on to Newcastle upon Tyne with vistas of the elegant Tyne Bridges and of the Newcastle skyline including St. Nicholas Cathedral. Walk out of the city alongside the river. There is plenty of evidence of present and former industrial activity. As you get to the old village of Newburn, the countryside really begins to open up.
Stay overnight in Newburn. Luggage will be transferred.
B: Newburn to East Wallhouses (9.5 miles | 15km)
Begin the day by heading uphill to Heddon, where you can examine a good surviving section of the wall. The National Trail follows beside the road, often along the vallum, the ditch created as a defensive feature when The Roman Wall was built. After about 1 mile, you soon come off the road to follow the footpath by its side. Look out for remains of Vindobala Fort and the reservoirs around Welton which are good for birdlife.
Stay overnight in East Wallhouses. Luggage will be transferred.
C: East Wallhouses to Chollerford (9 miles | 14km)
From East Wallhouses, continue along the roadside path. Near to the end of the walk, you pass Heavenfields where Oswald King of Northumberland defeated the Welsh hordes in 633 AD. Continue into Chollerford with its handsome five-arched stone bridge from 1775. Or take footpaths down to the River Tyne to examine the foundation stones of the original Roman bridge which are well preserved.
Stay overnight in Chollerford. Luggage will be transferred.
D: Chollerford to Once Brewed (12 miles | 19km)
The Wall landscape begins to change now. Higher, wilder, unimproved pasture, expansive views, the Roman Vallum and north ditch is unmissable. From Wall-mile 35 the classic picture postcard “switchback” comes into view; take your time, it’s tougher than you might think. On a fine day there is little protection from the sun but enjoy the breeze against your face, if you are lucky you might catch the fragrance of wild thyme. Pause to reflect on the sheer achievement of the Roman engineers and builders, but also our Victorian forebears, so instrumental in establishing our interest in conservation. Not much has changed since the Victorian times.
Stay overnight in Once Brewed. Luggage will be transferred.
E: Once Brewed to Gilsland (8 miles | 13km)
The Wall climbs to its highest point over Winshields Crags, before descending to the delightfully named Bogle Hole. Downsteps through Thorny Doors and up Cawfields Crags with excellent views onto the Pennines. The way passes by Great Chesters and Magnis (Roman forts), passing Greenhead, the ruin of Thirlwall Castle and in another mile or so crosses the Cumbria / Northumberland border on the River Irthing at Gilsand.
Stay overnight in Gilsland. Luggage will be transferred.
F: Gilsland to Walton (8 miles | 13km)
View the Roman site called Birdoswald, where you can see the longest continuous remaining stretch of Hadrian's Wall. Explore the extensive remains of the Roman fort and discover interactive displays, artefacts and a model of the wall in their fascinating exhibition. Cross the River Irthing into Cumbria, and follow the trail to Banks and another signal tower turret. You can then turn off to visit Lanercost Priory which has a café.
Stay overnight in Walton. Luggage will be transferred.
G: Walton to Carlisle (11.5 miles | 18.5km)
By now the lack of masonry won’t concern you. Spotting the humps and bumps in the ground; Vallum here, Wall ditch there, the buried Wall even, will be second nature. It’s all World Heritage Site, however, and just as important as the classic calendar shots of the Whin Sill. Being nearer to sea-level the gradients are gentle, the climate is also kinder and the occasional woodland a welcome diversion from the more open aspect of Northumberland. It all seems to go hand-in-hand with preparing you for the Solway estuary beyond Carlisle, because that is a section not to hurry.
Stay overnight in Carlisle. Luggage will be transferred.
H: Carlisle to Bowness-on-Solway (14.5 miles | 23km)
With barely a gradient worth mentioning the walking should be comfortable today, but don’t hurry, enjoy the expansive vistas into Scotland as they come into view. Save for the welcome sounds of birdlife, the River Eden and Solway estuary marshes offer peace and solitude and a time to reflect on your journey as you near your destination, Bowness-on-Solway (or Trail’s-end as some have dubbed it). Segedunum to Maia, fort to fort, a Roman odyssey, but we hope that the landscape will have revealed to you some of its many other stories.
Stay overnight in Bowness-on-Solway. Luggage will be transferred.
Depart Bowness-on-Solway after breakfast
The correct clothes are important to ensure comfort during each walk. We suggest avoidanything with seams and buttons in sensitive areas. Clothing should take moisture from the body to the outside. Sweatshirts, thin pullovers and breathable jackets are ideal companions during the cooler days. Take light, waterproof jackets and trousers in case there is rain. On hot days we suggest a cap or hat and sunglasses to protect from the sun.
- The Roman fort of Segedunum
- St Nicholas Cathdrel at Newcastle
- Heavenfields where Oswald King of Northumberland defeated the Welsh hordes
- Thirlwall Castle
- Lanercost Priory
- Maia Roman Fort