Hadrian’s Wall Walk – With its postcard-perfect panoramic views and historic Roman remains, Hadrian’s Wall is one the most epic paths you can hike on.
The defensive barrier runs from Wallsend to Bowness-on-Solway on Scotland’s east coast, and hiking the 135 km wall from end-to-end will take around a week.
An excellent way to soak up the vibe and dive into its rich history is to plan your route to take pit-stops at some of the incredible Roman ruins that are dotted along the way.
From famous forts and bathhouses to viewing towers and granaries, we reveal five of the most striking roman ruins that should be on your Hadrian’s Wall must-see list.
Best Roman Ruins You Will See on Hadrian’s Wall Walk
Hang out at Historic Housesteads
Ask any local for their advice on the best Hadrian’s Wall hotspot and they will most likely reply with Housesteads Roman Fort.
After All, this ancient landmark is probably one of the most famous Roman Forts in Northumberland, if not Great Britain.
The imposing fort is perched high above Hadrian’s wall, and a trip there will transport you back to an era when around 800 soldiers manned the barracks.
Prepared to be wowed by the artifact-filled interactive museum, discover more about the Roman Empire at a screening in the mini-cinema, and take a gander at some of the oldest toilets in the country.
You can head to the visitor’s center to view a detailed 3D interactive map of the site and chat with the friendly and knowledgeable staff about Housestead and its intriguing past.
A new North-West Frontier exhibition showcases the life of the Roman cavalry through film and interactive displays.
There is a small admission fee for adults and children, while National Trust Members get free access to the grounds.
Facilities are plentiful with car-parking, a gift-shop and a small cafe available on-site.
An Archeologists Dream: Vindolanda Roman Fort
Another must-see spot — and the only one where you’ll witness archaeologists uncovering Roman treasures right before your very eyes — is Vindolanda Roman Fort.
Constructed around 122 AD, these barracks were filled with a treasure-trove of pristine personal items which archeologists compared unearthing them to a lottery win.
The artifacts are in such great condition because they were protected by a thick layer of concrete which created oxygen-free conditions to preserve all manner of items including weapons, brooches, tablets, bags, combs and woven cloth.
Wandering the ruins will give you a strong connection to the 1000+ soldiers and slaves who once lived here.
The fort’s newly refurbished museum displays many of the archaeological finds, including an ancient wood-inscribed writing tablet which recorded some of the more personal details of the soldiers and commander’s lives.
Open all year round, Vindolanda Roman Fort does require a small entrance fee, but visitors will have access to a cafe, the museum, the souvenir shop and parking facilities.
Arbeia Roman Fort: Step into a Roman World
Arbeia Roman Fort shines a bright light on Roman culture through its beautiful restorations and reconstructions of original Roman buildings.
The large fort once housed soldiers who guarded the River Tyne entrance.
It was also a river supply center which played a vital role in sustaining troops who were stationed along some of the 17 forts speckled along Hadrian’s’ wall.
It’s here you can marvel at the foundation of some of the earliest granaries in the United Kingdom, take a stroll through the luxurious commander’s office and explore the barrack blocks that come complete with reconstructed beds and furniture.
Excavations are ongoing, and many of the findings are displayed in the on-site museum.
There is also a special interactive TimeQuest exhibition which unravels some fascinating Roman secrets.
Other highlights include a well-preserved chainmail suit and live-action events held throughout the summer months.
The fort and Museum are open from the start of January to the middle of September, and admission is totally free of charge.
Check Out Chester’s Roman Fort
One of the more tranquil spots is Chester’s Fort, which lies on the pretty banks of the North Tyne.
This fort has a large bathhouse, steam rooms, and clubhouse, which once served as a place of rest and relaxation for tired soldiers.
An amazing collection of rare objects await you in the on-site museum, while Chester’s tea room provides a quaint spot to sip on a cup of tea and enjoy a scone or two.
Kids of all ages will be kept entertained at an interactive game experience called Chester’s Fort Takeover, which will get you racing through the ruins on a fun adventure.
Visitors can choose to become an English Heritage member to receive free access to 40 hotspots, including Chester’s Roman Fort, several other historic places along the walls, as well as one-off events.
Non-members will be required to pay a small admission fee to access the fort, and family discounts are available.
You can choose to drive to your chosen Roman ruins and significant parts of the wall that is on your list, but the best way to truly absorb the history and magic of the wall is to hike it.
You can book Hadrian’s Wall Walking Holidays which range from 3 to 10 days in length, and include accommodation, a detailed guidebook filled with a personal itinerary, essential information, waterproof maps and images.
It’s an easy way to explore the best Roman forts, and have everything planned for you before you arrive.
At The End of the Wall: Segedunum Roman Fort
Last but certainly not least on the list is Wallsend Fort, which gets its name from being the last fort on the east end of the wall.
Also known as Segedunum Fort, this wall is the most complete excavated site on the wall. Unliked Chesters Roman Fort, Wallsend features fully reconstructed Roman baths.
There’s also a reconstruction of the wall which sits just the other side of the main road, and visitors are allowed to climb on it in order to get a true feel for its size.
For birds-eye views of the wall and its pretty surroundings, head up to the top of the impressive 35-meter high viewing tower.
The extensive museum is worth a visit too, as the interactive exhibits tell a vivid story of Roman and pre-Roman times.
Special events are held through the year including fireworks, reenactments and kids fun days.
Check the official website to find out more information on opening hours, and what is on during your trip.
The fort and museum are open year round and there is an admission fee for adults, while concessions are available and children under 16 get in free.
The fort houses a small cafe, and a souvenir-filled gift and frequent lectures and reenactments are held through the year.
So don your best hiking boots, clean your camera lens and get ready to explore one of the most magnificent walls in Europe.
It’s time to steep yourself in the rich history of the area and get lost in a long-gone era.
These five Roman ruins are arguably highlights of Hadrian’s Wall and will impress even the most knowledgeable history-buffs.
Enjoy your trip.
Photo credit from Flickr