Hadrian's Wall cuts straight across Britain from the Roman fort of Segedenum at the mouth of the Tyne in the east to the Solway Firth in the west and on its way through Northumberland and Cumbria, the Wall crosses some of England's wildest and most beautiful countryside. It is a journey not just through Britain, but also back in time from the busy city streets of Newcastle, with its brilliant night-life of bars, pubs, clubs, theatre and music back to the ancient Roman fort at Vindolanda, where fragments of letters give glimpses of life in Roman Britain. On the way you will pass the remains of the Industrial heritage, such as the shipyards at Wallsend and old medieval castles like the massive castle at Carlisle where you can hear echoes of the Border Reivers who for ages raided and terrorised the border zone 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, which consists of Hadrian's wall and the Upper German Raetian Limes. Hadrian's Wall trail allows people to walk the full length of the Wall and provides some great facilities for visiting Hadrian's Wall. The tail has bought a great increase in the number of campsites and hotels, excellent visitor information, good public transport and new museums and art galleries. The improvements aren't limited to the Wall however, the quayside in Newcastle and Gateshead has been transformed over the last few decades to an exciting arena full of bars and restaurants, along with the amazing Sage Concert hall and Baltic art gallery. For many visitors the high-light of their visit won't be the towns and cities, but the magnificent countryside, especially where the path snakes along the dramatic crags around Housesteads Roman fort.
In recent years their have been many developments, one of the biggest was the opening of the Great North museum, with it's outstanding displays on Hadrian's Wall, along with big improvements to the Tullie House museum in Carlisle. The latest exciting developments have been for a new museum and visitor centre at Housesteads Roman fort, which brings to life the lives of the civilians who lived in the settlements next to the Roman forts. As well as this the displays at Vindolana have been improved with, 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.