Hadrian's Wall crosses Britain from the Roman fort of Segedenum in Wallsend at the mouth of the Tyne to the Solway Firth in the West. On this journey through Northumberland and Cumbria, the Wall crosses some of England's wildest and most beautiful countryside. But it is also a journey back in time from Newcastle, with its brilliant night-life of bars, pubs, clubs, theatre and music back to the Roman fort at Vindolanda, where fragments of letters give a glimpse of life in Roman times. On the way you will pass the remains of the Industrial past such as the shipyards at Wallsend, and old medieval castles such as the massive castle at Carlisle, where you can hear the echoes of the Border Reivers who raided and terrorised the border area between Scotland and England.
Hadrian's Wall is a world heritage site, and is part of the international "Frontiers of the Roman Empire" world heritage site. This currently consists of Hadrian's wall and the Upper German Raetian Limes. The Hadrian's Wall trail allows people to walk the full length of the Wall and provides some great facilities for visiting Hadrian's Wall. There are now alot of campsites and hotels, excellent visitor information, good public transport and new museums and art galleries. The quayside in Newcastle and Gateshead have been transformed over the last 20 years to an exciting thriving area full of bars and with the amazing Sage Concert hall and Baltic art gallery. For many visitors walking the Wall, the high-light is the magnificent countryside between Chesters and Birdoswald Fort, in particular where the path snakes along the dramatic crags around Housesteads.
In recent years the main developments have been the opening of the Great North museum, with it's outstanding displays on Hadrian's Wall, as well as big improvements to the Tullie House museum in Carlisle. The latest exciting developments are the new museum and visitor centre at Housesteads Roman fort, this will bring to life the lives of the civilians who lived in the settlements next to the Roman forts. As well as this, excavations continue to unearth new finds at Vindolanda, which continues to shed new light on life in Roman Britain.
Hadrian's Wall can also be explored by bike, with many good cycle routes in the area. For anyone up for the challenge and wanting to bike the Wall, Hadrian's Wall cycle Way covers 174 miles from Ravenglass in Cumbria to the Roman fort of Arbeia in South Shields. The route follows the whole northern frontier of Roman Britain, as Roman forts covered the Cumbrian coast as well as the Wall itself. In some parts (especially between Hexham and South Shields), the cycle Way veers from the Wall in order to pick a more interesting route along minor roads, on it's way passing through Vindolanda and Corbridge (both of which are just to the South of the line of the Wall).
The frontier of the Roman Empire was huge, stretching for about 4,000 miles. It crossed Europe roughly along the Rhine and Danube to the Black Sea, then along the Euphrates and through the Syrian desert to the Red sea and finally across North Africa to the Atlantic coast of Morocco. In many places the remains of this frontier can still be found, but the most famous part of this immense frontier is Hadrian's wall itself.
The Emperor Hadrian's work in building the Wall is described by the Roman Chronicles thus:
"Thereupon, having reformed the army of the Rhine in regal manner, he set out for Britain where he put many things straight and was the first to build a wall, eighty miles in length, by which Romans and barbarians should be divided."
The remains of the Wall still stand as a reminder of the greatness of the Roman empire.