The ULTIMATE Guide To The Hadrian’s Wall Path Walk

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The ULTIMATE Guide to the Hadrian's Wall Path Walk!

“The Hadrian’s Wall Path is probably on the bucket list of many a hiker. It’s simply iconic, not just because of the wall that’s been built across the country, but because so much of it is in-tact. All the while the wall endures the local countryside, which is simply beautiful. Oh, and how can I forget the  vast array of incredible places to stay, regardless of your budget. This really is a walking heaven if there ever was one”

Route Overview

The Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail, although being up there as one of the most popular walking routes in the UK also manages to be surprisingly quiet. If walking from East to West you will start from the city of the port city of Newcastle, famous for its industrial past, and now a thriving commercial hub in the North. Bars, cafes and accommodation aplenty. 

A far cry from the landscapes which will be underfoot in a few days time. As you work your way through the cities, walking along the River Tyne, you will leave its banks before working your way up to higher ground, and towards the Old Military Road. This old Roman road will start to slowly take you towards the central features of the Hadrian’s Wall Path, from Chollerford to Carlisle. 

The middle section defines the walk itself with amble opportunities for sightseeing, simply sublime views, and of course an excellent choice of places to eat, drink and rest your head. 

The historic city of Carlisle will make a great stopping point for some, but others who want to enjoy the entirety of the walk will move towards Bowness-on-Solway at the end of the walk. This quaint little Cumbrian village sits overlooking a Nature Reserve, and its peaceful atmosphere is a distinct contrast to the busy start of your walk.

Hadrian's Wall Path 7 Day, 8 Night Itinerary

1st Night – Arrive in Newcastle

Staying in Newcastle city center, Wallsend, which is a few miles out of the city center or Whitley Bay are popular choices for most walkers, depending if you want to start from the Coast, or the beginning of the wall at Wallsend

Stay in Oaktree Lodge, Whitley Bay

Click here to visit their booking page

2nd Night – Walk from Newcastle to Heddon on the Wall

Your 2nd night will see you located in the small village of Heddon-on-the-Wall, before you start taking on the old Military Road the following day.

Stay in Hadrian’s Barn, Chollerford

Click here to visit their booking page

3rd Night – Walk from Heddon on the Wall to Chollerford

On your 3rd night you will be staying in Chollerford, a short distance from where the Battle of Heavenfield was fought in 633 or 634. The now quiet town is the perfect rest place prior to taking on the best of the Hadrian’s Wall Path.Stay in The George Hotel, Chollerford

Click here to visit their booking page

4th Night – Walk from Chollerford to Once Brewed

Your 4th night will see you descend from the route at Walltown Crags to Once Brewed. Accommodation is a little sparse here, but a few options exist. Stay in The Twice Brewed Inn, Once Brewed

Click here to visit their booking page

5th Night – Walking from Once Brewed to Gilsland

Gilsland will be your home for the 5th Night of your walk. This charming village is home to the Samson Inn, an excellent pub and accommodation worth your attention

Stay in The Samson Inn, Gilsland

Click here to visit their booking page

6th Night – Walking from Gilsland to Lanercost

Lanercost is a little patchy with accommodation options – most requiring transfers. I suggest the Belted WIll Inn who will always help with transfers to and from the trail.

Stay in Belted Will Inn

Click here to visit their booking page

7th Night – Walking from Lanercost to Carlisle

The walled city of Carlisle needs no introduction. Lots to see and do here, especially since this is a shorter day of walking.

Stay in Abberley House, Carlisle

Click here to visit their booking page

8th Night – Walking from Carlisle to Bowness on Solway

With poor accommodations on the last section, and many of the best B&B’s in Bowness on Solway now closed for business I frequently accommodate my clients in Midtown Farm B&B who will assist with transfers to and from Bowness.

Stay in Midtown Farm Bed and Breakfast, Transfer to Bowness On Solway

Click here to visit their booking page

Wrapping it all up

I’ve provided you with some helpful links to booking.com (they are an affiliate, which means If you book with them I receive a small commission). Luggage transfer can be booked separately through Hadrian’s Haul which you can find here.

And if you require some maps and guidebooks be sure to check out the book depository. 

If you need help booking why not check out our booking service.

No Good? Here's some more itineraries

Through a few years of putting together Hadrian’s Wall Path Itineraries, I thought it was time to share that information with you. Below is a Google Map, featuring accommodation which I frequently book for my clients. This tried and tested accommodation is of a great standard, and will certainly enhance your walking experience.

I currently don’t deal with campsites, but please don’t hesitate to ask if you would like me to add campsites to the interactive map. I will do my best to accommodate if I get enough interest in providing this service.

Our Itineraries

Below are a list of itineraries I frequently book for clients with estimated daily milages. This should help you to put together your own booking. 

Hadrian’s Wall 4 Days, 5 Nights

 Travel: Travel from Home to Newcastle
Day 1: Walk from Newcastle to East Wallhouses – 21 miles
Day 2: Walk from East Wallhouses to Once Brewed – 22 miles
Day 3: Walk from Once Brewed to Newtown – 17 miles
Day 4: Walk from Newtown to Bowness-on-Solway – 24 miles
Travel: Travel from Bowness-on-Solway to Home

Hadrian’s Wall 5 Days, 6 Nights

Travel: Travel from Home to Newcastle
Day 1: Walk from Newcastle to Heddon-on-the-Wall – 15 miles
Day 2: Walk from Heddon-on-the-Wall to Chollerford – 15 miles
Day 3: Walk from Chollerford to Gilsland – 21 miles
Day 4: Walk from Gilsland to Carlisle – 19 miles
Day 5: Walk from Carlisle to Bowness-on-Solway – 15 miles
Travel: Travel from Bowness-on-Solway to Home

Hadrian’s Wall 6 Days, 7 Nights

Travel: Travel from Home to Newcastle
Day 1: Walk from Newcastle to Heddon-on-the-Wall – 15 miles
Day 2: Walk from Heddon-on-the-Wall to Chollerford – 15 miles
Day 3: Walk from Chollerford to Once Brewed – 13 miles
Day 4: Walk from Once Brewed to Lanercost – 13.5 miles
Day 5: Walk from Lanercost to Carlisle – 13.5 miles
Day 6: Walk from Carlisle to Bowness-on-Solway – 15 miles
Travel: Travel from Bowness-on-Solway to Home

Hadrian’s Wall 7 Days, 8 Nights

Travel: Travel from Home to Newcastle
Day 1: Walk from Newcastle to Heddon-on-the-Wall – 15 miles
Day 2: Walk from Heddon-on-the-Wall to Chollerford – 15 miles
Day 3: Walk from Chollerford to Once Brewed – 12 miles
Day 4: Walk from Once Brewed to Gilsland – 9 miles
Day 5: Walk from Gilsland to Lanercost – 7 miles
Day 6: Walk from Lanercost to Carlisle – 11 miles
Day 7: Walk from Carlisle to Bowness-on-Solway – 15 miles
Travel: Travel from Bowness-on-Solway to Home

Hadrian’s Wall 8 Days, 9 Nights

Travel: Travel from Home to Newcastle
Day 1: Walk from Newcastle to Heddon-on-the-Wall – 15 miles
Day 2: Walk from Heddon-on-the-Wall to Corbridge – 9 miles
Day 3: Walk from Corbridge to Chollerford – 10 miles
Day 4: Walk from Chollerford to Once Brewed – 12 miles
Day 5: Walk from Once Brewed to Gilsland – 9 miles
Day 6: Walk from Gilsland to Lanercost – 7 miles
Day 7: Walk from Lanercost to Carlisle – 11 miles
Day 8: Walk from Carlisle to Bowness-on-Solway – 15 miles
Travel: Travel from Bowness-on-Solway to Home

Hadrians Wall 9 Days, 10 Nights

Travel: Travel from Home to Newcastle
Day 1: Walk from Newcastle to Heddon-on-the-Wall – 15 miles
Day 2: Walk from Heddon-on-the-Wall to Corbridge – 10 miles
Day 3: Walk from Corbridge to Chollerford – 10 miles
Day 4: Walk from Chollerford to Once Brewed – 12 miles
Day 5: Walk from Once Brewed to Gilsland – 9 miles
Day 6: Walk from Gilsland to Lanercost – 7 miles
Day 7: Walk from Lanercost to Carlisle – 12 miles
Day 8: Walk from Carlisle to Burgh-by-Sands – 9 miles
Day 9: Walk from Burgh-by-Sands to Bowness-on-Solway – 5 miles
Travel: Travel from Bowness-on-Solway to Home

Map of the Route (Plus, Accommodation Options)

Getting to / From the Trail

Traveling to Newcastle on Tyne

Newcastle is well linked to most major airports in the UK, with few stops or transfers if using public transport. To reach the start of the Hadrian’s Wall Path. A direct train can be caught from Glasgow, or London, whichever you choose. Visit the Trainline at www.trainline.com to book your tickets and view train times.

Traveling onward from Carlisle

From Bowness-on-Solway you will need to use the local Bus to reach Carlisle. From outside the King’s Arms you can catch the 93 towards Carlisle, which takes approximately 50 minutes. Once in Carlisle you can use the train to easily reach Newcastle, Manchester or Glasgow booking your tickets at the Trainline.

When is the best time of year to walk the Hadrian's Wall Path

I generally recommend walking the path between April and June, and in September and October. At these times of the year, the weather is generally mild, with limited risk of very hot or wet days, or other severe weather. During these months the ground is more likely to be dry, conditions are safe, and any risk of erosion and damage to the underlying archaeology is reduced considerably.

Over these periods, accommodation along the Hadrian’s Wall Path is open, bus services and other transport links are running regularly, and access is good. Avoiding busy school holidays in August also means that there are less likely to be large crowds, or sold-out hotels and inns.

Whenever you decide to walk Hadrian’s wall trail, note that weather is sure to be unpredictable, and plan for the worst but enjoy the best!

Highlights of the Hadrian's Wall Path

Housesteads

Housteads is the Hadrian Wall’s more dramatic preserved Roman forts. From the dramatic escarpment of the fort, you can see the Northumberland National Park in the distance. Furthermore the Fort takes you back to the Roman Empire. Perhaps enjoy strolling through the barracks and hospital. Then check out the ancient loos, and enjoy the interactive on site museum.

Lanercost Priory

Lanercost Priory is a beautiful historic build, yet the Augustinian Lanercost Priory was not always trouble-free. You may be interested to know that it’s close proximity to the Hadrian’s Wall meant it endured frequent attacks during the Anglo-Scottish wars. Furthermore it was also a resting place for the sick King Edward in 1306-7. Still, there is much to see from the 13th-century church still standing strong.

Sycamore Gap

The Sycamore which fills Sycamore Gap was designated as England’s Tree of the Year n 2016 by the Woodland Trust. It was also a feature in the movie ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’ which starred Kevin Costner, Alan Rickman, and Morgan Freeman. Furthermore the Gap, makes for an ideal photo location, and a great stop. Interestingly it also escaped damage in 2003 when a helicopter carrying well-known TV presenter Alan Titchmarsh crashed a few meters away.

Birdoswald Roman Fort

Birdoswald Roman Fort really deserved some time spend within its confines. It’s the last significant remain you will come across towards the end of the walk (East to West). The highlights include wonderfully preserved defences. Moreover Birdoswald fort is the only site on the Wall at which a significant occupation in the Post-Roman period is proven. It’s one of the best-preserved forts along the Wall.

Interested in exploring the Hadrian’s Wall Highlights? Why not have BookMyTrail plan your perfect walking holiday along this spectacular path.

What other companies offer walks on the Path?

BookMyTrail is a great choice of company to use if your looking to walk the route alone. However if you are a part of a walking group I suggest one of the companies below.

Contour’s Walking Holidays

Contour’s Walking Holidays was founded in 1996 and boasts the largest offering of UK based self-guided walking tours. Within that offering, they sell Hadrian’s Wall self-guided walking tours to customers from around the world. Contours provide excellent personally visited accommodation options in 3-4 star mid-priced accommodations, along with maps, guidebooks and discounts for repeat customers.

They are a safe pair of hands for first-time walkers looking for an established business to help book up a walking holiday.

Book with Contours because – They have the best supplier relationships

Visit their website

Macs Adventure

Macs Adventure is a well know and trusted provider of self-guided walking and cycling holidays in the UK and beyond. They have a few offices dotted around the world but are based in Glasgow. Macs Adventures Hadrian’s Wall offering is similar to Contours in both price and materials.

Again, like Contours Macs are a safe pair of hands for customers looking for a reliable company to book up a walking tour.

Book with Macs Adventure because – They have the best customer service

Visit their website

Hill Walk Tours

Hill Walk Tours are a relatively new tour operator based in Ireland. They originally started offering walking breaks in Ireland and are slowly branching out from there. They now sell tours in Scotland and England too, and include the Hadrian’s Wall Path in this offering.

Hill Walk Tours have excellent feedback, and like Contours and Macs Adventure benefit from having a full team of individuals behind the scenes making the magic happen.

Book with Hill Walk Tours because – They visit all of their accommodations

Visit their Website

How hard is the Hadrian's Wall Path?

Any long distance walk should be assumed to be ‘difficult’, at least compared to a normal day on the hill. Why? Well because day 1-3 may be simple, however, the following days will be harder simply because your legs will wear as the days go by.

My advice to clients who want to walk their first long distance walk is to reduce your average milage to guage how hard, or easy you find long distance walking. It generally requries a different level of fitness to day walks, and that boils down to recovery time.

That being said, anyone with a reasonable level of fitness can walk the Hadrian’s Wall Path. It’s not an easy walk, with some hard hilly sections, particularly as you get to the main section of the wall.

As for terrain, the majority of the walk involves well worn, footpaths and grass. The only place where you will feel the strain of Tarmac (goodness I dislike walking on Tarmac)

Consider the extra distance to accommodations

Don’t forget, not all accommodations are based immediately on the trail. When picking an itinerary which quotes a 12-mile day, for example, add an extra mile onto that for getting to your accommodation. Now obviously not every accommodation is a mile from the trail, but this thinking will allow you to prepare for the distances involved.

Consider rain, wind and other generally ‘British’ weather conditions

That includes sunshine.

Seriously, perfect walking conditions are rare. If we are not having a heat wave in the summer, its raining, or windy. All of which make walking harder. Bring plenty of water on hot days plus sunscreen and light clothing.

As for rainy days, make sure you are adequately prepared with waterproofs and good quality walking boots.

How long does it take to walk the Hadrian's Wall Path?

The Hadrian’s Wall Path is an iconic Northern long-distance hiking route which takes you from Newcastle on Tyne in Northumberland, to Bowness on Solway in Cumbria. The route clocks up a total of 86 miles of hiking between the two coastlines, and for much of the route follows the Hadrian’s Wall Path, built on an order by the Roman Emperor Hadrian (117 to 138).

The route can be completed within just a couple of days, 4 if you wish. Quicker for those who want an ultra-run but how many days should you walk the path in?

Well really it depends.

If you are looking for a challenge walk which suits most walkers I suggest taking about 5 days to tackle the path, averaging 17.2 miles per day, which sure feels like a challenge when your taking on that distance for 5 consecutive days.

However for a relaxed stroll, at least for most, an 8 day itinerary is ideal. At 10-11 miles per day, on average you should have ample time to enjoy the forts, museums and highlights along the trail.

Moreover, stretching the days like this allow you to make early starts, for an early finish. Some accommodations along the route are particularly suited for relaxing overnight stops and Carlisle is well worth an afternoon of your time.

For those truley wanting to take their time, a 10 day itinerary at about 7-8 miles on average is ideal. The route will be completed in bite-sized chunks, but it will really allow you to soak up the sights and sounds, stopping where you wish, unburdened by ambition.

Which ever itinerary you choose, make sure too not feel like you need to rush. Most of my clients benefit from walking at a relaxed pace with time to soak it all in.

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