Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail is a fascinating and rewarding cost to coast walk from the North Sea to the Irish Sea alongside the iconic Hadrian’s Wall (also called the Roman Wall) in Northern England. It is Britain’s biggest Roman archaeological feature and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Opened in 2003, the 135-km Hadrian’s Wall Path follows the course of the Roman wall closely along its entire length from Wallsend to Bowness on Solway and is one of Britain’s most popular long distance walks.
Hadrian’s Wall was a defensive fortification in the Roman province of Britannia, begun in AD 122 in the reign of the emperor Hadrian. It ran from the banks of the River Tyne near the North Sea to the Solway Firth on the Irish Sea, and was the northern limit of the Roman Empire, immediately north of which were the lands of the northern Ancient Britons. A significant portion of the wall still stands and can be followed on foot along the adjoining Hadrian’s Wall Path.
This Hadrian’s Wall Highlights itinerary takes in the best sections of the Path from Heddon to Walton in 4 walking days. If you have less time, we recommend our Hadrian’s Wall short break, while if you have two more days to spend, we highly recommend booking the full itinerary from Wallsend to Bowness.
- Hadrian’s Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Wild and beautiful landscapes
- A warm welcome and comfortable accommodation each night
- One of Britain’s most popular long-distance walks
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Note: Our default itinerary direction is East to West; when booking, you can opt to do it in reverse, which will not affect the tour price.
Day 1: Arrival Heddon on the Wall
Arrive in the charming village of Heddon on the Wall, located close to Newcastle. Newcastle is a major transport hub in the north-east of England and has excellent rail, road and air links from Scotland and the South of England. It also has an airport which serves many carriers.
Day 2: Heddon to Chollerford | 24 km / 15 mi
Today you will walk following Hadrian’s Wall through the Northumberland countryside where the Roman Ditch/Vallum can be seen. Past the hamlet of Harlow Hill, hike towards the landmark Robin Hood Inn, then on towards Chollerford, where sections of the wall can be seen. The bridge over the River Tyne at Chollerford was built in 1775 and is a short distance away from the original Roman crossing.
Day 3: Chollerford to Once Brewed | 21 km / 13 mi
Leaving Chollerford, the trail takes you past Chesters Roman Fort, you then enter Northumberland National Park passing the most complete sections of Hadrian’s Wall with a chance to visit Housesteads Roman Fort. Then you walk following the crags above Crag Lough through Sycamore Gap to Peel Crags and the very steep Cat Stairs finishing at Steel Rigg Peel Crags, close to the hamlet of Once Brewed.
Day 4: Once Brewed to Gilsland | 14 km / 9 mi
You could visit Vindolanda Roman Fort before you re-join the trail at Steel Rigg car park. The route continues with a climb over Winshields rugged crags and to the highest point of the trail at 345m with wonderful views over the countryside and some of Hadrian’s Wall’s best-preserved sections. You also pass the remains of Great Chesters and Magnis Forts, Walltown Crags and the impressive Walltown Quarry, the ruin of Thirlwall Castle. You will then cross the Cumbria/Northumberland border and walk on to the village of Gilsland.
- Walking for the day: 14 km / 9 miles ↑260m ↓355m
- Accommodation: Brooklands Gilsland or similar
Day 5: Gilsland to Walton/Brampton | 11 km / 7 mi
From Gilsland, the route follows a large section of the wall to the fort of Birdoswald. The wall continues on past Birdoswald, taking you down, passing Banks Turret on towards Walton.
- Walking for the day: 11 km / 7 miles ↑200m ↓250m
- Accommodation: Old Vicarage Walton or similar
Day 6: Departure
Local bus and taxi services connect Walton to Carlisle from where there are excellent transport links to both Scotland and the south of England.
What to Expect
Accommodations on this tour include a mix of welcoming B&Bs, guesthouses and 3-star hotels. They have been carefully selected for their location, atmosphere, cuisine and/or unique services. All rooms are private en-suite. Note that it is sometimes necessary to accommodate you a short walk away from the trail itself, as there is not always suitable accommodation close to the trail. Details will be given in your pre-departure info pack.
Click to view sample hotels for this tour
- The Ship Inn, Linden House Humshaugh, Hadrian Hotel Wall, Twice Brewed Inn, Vallum Lodge Hotel, Brooklands Gilsland, Old Vicarage Walton, Hadrian’s Barn
*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
Breakfast is included on all days. When no restaurant location is available on the route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. You can have dinner at the guesthouse you are staying at or at the village pubs and restaurants.
Difficulty & terrain
This itinerary is suitable for regular walkers. Most days offer 4-5 hours of walking. The first and second day are the most demanding and the third and fourth one being rather easy to moderate. The route is a mixture of paths, tracks and minor roads. Some of the paths can become very muddy and boggy and negotiating this terrain can be slow-going at times. Parts of the route cross main roads, so extra care should be taken at these points when crossing (read more about difficulty grades). The route is signed with white acorn signs and is easily navigable. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.
When to go
This trip is available from the beginning of March until the end of October. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date during the season.
Click to view travel options
By train or bus
- Arrival: Heddon/Wylam is easily reachable from Newcastle by local bus or taxi (25 min). Newcastle is a major transport hub in the north-east of England and has excellent rail, road and air links from both Scotland and the South of England. It also has an airport which serves many carriers. Check the Traveline or Trainline website for up-to-date travel information or use the Omio planner above.
- Departure: Local bus, train and taxi services connect to Carlisle from where there are excellent transport links to both Scotland and the south of England. You can check the Traveline or Trainline website. The 685 bus leaves from the centre of Brampton every hour. If you are getting the train from Brampton please note that the station is approximately 4 km from the centre of the town along a country road.
- 5 nights in private en-suite rooms (3-star hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses)
- 5 breakfasts
- Detailed journey documentation and practical information: Stedman Guidebook, National Trail waterproof map, A5 guide, Services information sheet (places to eat, banks, shops etc), AD122 bus timetable
- Luggage transfer from hotel to hotel on all walking days (one bag per person, up to 15 kg)
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative in Northumberland
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Personal expenses
- Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
- Any items not explicitly listed as included
Options, extras & supplements
- A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room (subject to availability); note that single rooms sometimes may be of an inferior standard to double/twin rooms
- This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
- Extra nights along the trail are bookable upon request