Newcastle offers a fantastic base for exploring the historical wonders of Hadrian's Wall. Stretching across the rugged landscape, Hadrian's Wall stands as a testament to the might and ambition of the Roman Empire. While there are several places near Newcastle that provide excellent vantage points for viewing the wall, three stand out as the best options: Segedunum Roman Fort, Chesters Roman Fort, and Housesteads Roman Fort. Whether it's the panoramic views from Segedunum's tower, the riverside backdrop at Chesters, or the commanding vistas from Housesteads, each of these locations offers an opportunity to connect with the Roman Empire's legacy and immerse oneself in the remarkable story of Hadrian's Wall.
Segedunum Roman Fort, located in Wallsend just a few miles east of Newcastle, is an ideal starting point for an exploration of Hadrian's Wall. The fort itself offers a fascinating insight into Roman military life, complete with reconstructed gateways, barracks, and a museum. From the fort's viewing tower, visitors can take in panoramic views of the surrounding area, including a clear sightline to the wall as it snakes its way across the countryside. The tower provides an excellent opportunity to grasp the scale and magnitude of the wall, while also appreciating the strategic importance it held for the Roman Empire. It is open daily from 10am-5pm until September, then daily 9am-3pm. Adult tickets are £6.95 with children under 16 go free.
Strong Place Gallery tells the story of the landscape at the end of Hadrian’s Wall, and how the site around Segedunum has been shaped over 2,000 years, not just by the Romans but by significant periods of coal-mining and ship-building. Nearly 1400 years after the Romans left, in the 18th century, the site became famous for its coal mine. One hundred years later, it was the place where Swan Hunter shipyard was building and launching some of the greatest ships in the world.
Chesters Roman Fort, situated approximately 22 miles west of Newcastle, is another must-visit destination for anyone seeking a captivating view of Hadrian's Wall. This well-preserved fort offers a glimpse into the lives of Roman soldiers stationed along the wall. The fort's commanding position on the banks of the River Tyne provides a picturesque backdrop for viewing the wall. Visitors can follow a short trail that leads from the fort to a vantage point where the wall gracefully stretches into the distance. The tranquility of the surroundings, combined with the awe-inspiring sight of the wall snaking across the undulating landscape, creates a truly memorable experience.
Explore the new exhibition displaying nearly two millenia of keepsakes, including one of the Wall’s earliest souvenirs, the Rudge Cup. Made around 130AD, the Rudge Cup is a small bronze bowl with the names of five forts inscribed on it and an illustration of the wall. It is thought to have been made for a high-ranking soldier or civil official who was stationed on the Wall. The Rudge Cup will join a host of keepsakes from the Wall, including a large replica bust of Hadrian, a piece of the wooden fort at Carlisle and a tin filled with scavenged fragments, which were discovered on a visit to Chesters in 1891, according to the handwritten note attached to it.
For those willing to venture a bit farther, Housesteads Roman Fort is an outstanding option. Situated around 30 miles southwest of Newcastle, Housesteads is widely considered one of the most iconic and well-preserved forts along Hadrian's Wall. The fort's strategic location atop a steep ridge offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. From here, visitors can marvel at the sweeping vistas that encompass the wall as it winds its way through rugged hills and valleys. The combination of the fort's rich historical significance and the stunning natural scenery makes Housesteads an unforgettable place to experience Hadrian's Wall. Open daily 10am - 4pm, prices start from £9.50 for an adult ticket.
Head over to Housestead Museum to explore some more of what life on the northern frontier of the Roman Empire was like. Find out how the Romans built the fort as well as the vicus, a civilian settlement which developed in its shadow. See the fort brought to life in our film with stunning recreations of the original Roman buildings, and meet Felix, the character who guides younger visitors around. The fascinating collection of Roman finds give you a snapshot of life 2,000 years ago. See Roman altars, dedication stones, jewellery, tools and weapons, all excavated from the fort. Look out for the impressive winged statue, Victory, a wonderful example of classical sculpture found lying in the landscape around the fort.
If you are unable to travel to see Hadrian's Wall from Newcastle there are tour operators who can take you for full or half day tours to the wall. Join Ancient Britain on their award winning full day (approx. 7 hours) guided tour that transports you back 1900 years to a time when Hadrian's Wall was occupied by the Romans and home to the Celts. Your local guide, dressed in authentic costume will weave a narrative from both sides of the wall. Book your space here.