Train services provide a brilliant way of getting to Hadrian's Wall. There are fast intercity trains to both Newcastle and Carlisle, making travelling to Hadrian's wall quick and easy, even for just a weekend trip. This is especially true as they connect to the frequent train services from Newcastle to Carlisle. Travelling just South of the Wall these link to Hexham and Haltwhistle for the AD122 bus.
*** Cheap train tickets ***
There are currently some very cheap train fares to Newcastle from both London and Edinburgh.
Book well in advance and be flexible with your travel dates to get the cheapest train fares. Cheapest fares can be difficult to find, the easiest site I've found is thetrainline.com using their Best Fare Finder. Click the link below and look for the Best Fare Tab.
The fastest train service from London to Newcastle takes just over three hours, while trains from Newcastle to York can take about an hour. Taking the train from Newcastle to Durham, with it's beautiful cathedral, will take you only 20 minutes. Heading north by train from Newcastle, Edinburgh can be reached in about an hour and a half, the train taking a scenic route along the coast via Berwick.
The London to Newcastle (and Edinburgh) train route is now run by Virgin Trains East Coast . Virgin are saying that they will improve the current service with refurbished trains and stations as well as improvements to the catering. They also seem to be offering some very competitive fares - so check out their website for the latest deals.
The fastest trains from Carlisle get to London in about three and a quarter hours, but most take about four hours. You can also get a train from Carlisle to Windermere in the Lake District in a little over an hour. Glasgow can be reached in about one hour twenty minutes.
The Newcastle to Carlisle train Service will get you right into the heart of Hadrian's Wall. Check carefully as not all the trains go all the way to Carlisle from Newcastle, or stop at all the stations on the way. The most useful stops are Hexham (for Hexham Abbey and good bus services to the wall), Haltwhistle (a pretty small town, from where it's a pleasant 2 mile walk up Haltwhistle Burn to the Wall) and Corbridge (for Corbridge Roman town).
For anyone wanting to avoid flying, then getting the train to Hadrian's Wall from Europe is now much simpler and quicker. The Eurostar trains for Paris and Brussels now go from London St Pancreas station in London. This is right next door to Kings Cross station, allowing for easy transfers to the train to Newcastle (you'll need a short tube journey to Euston if you're heading to Carlisle). For European rail fares, as well as interrail passes check out the web site.
Buying cheap train tickets
When buying long distance train tickets always buy as far in advance as possible as last minute tickets can be hideously expensive. For example a single ticket to London can cost as little as thirteen pounds, however a standard open single - which might be all that's available on the day - costs over a hundred pounds.
The best place to buy the ticket is on the internet - Finding the cheapest fare can be quite complicated. When you are looking don't forget that buying two singles usually works out much cheaper than buying a return, however sometimes a cheap day return can be cheaper than the single. Another (but time consuming) way to find a cheap ticket is to look at splitting the trip, so if the train goes from London to Newcastle you may get a cheaper ticket by buying a ticket to an intermediate destination, and then a second (on the same train) from this station to Newcastle.
Finally don't forget that as Rail and Air tickets are usually priced for singles, there's no reason why you shouldn't mix different routes and operators - and don't assume the train will be cheaper than flying.
Tips for travelling by train
When travelling by train always make sure that you get on the right train; if you don't then it's likely that you have to buy another ticket (even though the route is the same). So if your train is late and you hop on the next one to London you could be in for a very expensive time, as you will may well end up having to pay the full fare (over a hundred pounds).
Similarly, if you book and pay by credit card and plan to pick them up at the station make sure that you take the credit card with you as well as the reference. This is especially important to remember if you are booking someones elses tickets. If you turn up without the credit card then you will probably have to buy a new ticket (at the full price) and you may not get a refund on the other ticket (as cheap fares are often non refundable).