By Darren Griffiths
UK

Complete Guide and Tips for Walking Hadrian’s Wall in the UK

30th January 2024

Are you planning a walking holiday alone or with your family in the UK? A walking holiday doesn’t seem to be the first thing that comes to our minds, especially when one can go out for safaris and beach holidays and whatnot. In comparison, a walking holiday might sound less exciting but that is completely not true. 

In fact, a walking holiday is a great way to step out of your house, engage with the locals, and know about the weather, nature and even the history and region you are walking in. Walking counts as cardiovascular exercise, so naturally, it offers plenty of health benefits. 

While there are many locations in the UK for walking holidays, Hadrian Wall is one of the most popular ones. Since its opening in 2003, it has become a popular walking trail for both local and international walkers. 

The course of the trail follows northern Europe’s largest surviving Roman monument built by Emperor Hadrianus. This is also the first National trail that stays parallel to a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

If you are planning to walk Hadrian’s Wall, it’s essential that you have complete information about it, including tips that would help you cover the distance. 

Do Your Research

Even before you make plans for walking Hadrian’s Wall, you need to have thorough information about it. If you are planning to walk the entire route, you will need to walk 138 km or 86 miles. This should take you anything from four to 11 days, and the path stretches from coast to coast. Hence, it starts from Wallsend near Newcastle on the east coast and ends at Bowness-on-Solway on the west coast. 

The best part about the route is that you can start in any direction and you can still make the most of your walking holidays. But best of all, this is easily one of the best ways to see things differently in Britain in 2024.

Why You Should Walk This Route?

Hadrian’s Wall 2

Hadrian’s Wall is one of the most popular walking trails in the UK mainly because it stays close to the actual structure (the wall, that is) throughout the route. This offers a unique experience as you can witness and experience the grandness of the wall. Also, if you are a bit of a history enthusiast, you will find the wall dotted with various Roman settlements and forts that still exist. 

In terms of comfort, the route is not very challenging, so you can walk this trail even if you have never tried a walking holiday before. You will also find the National Trail acorn symbol throughout the route which allows you to follow the marked trail. This makes it difficult for you to get lost or take a wrong turn and that works if you are doing this for the first time. 

All along the route, you will also come across many cosy pubs, quaint villages, bustling market towns and stunning views of rural Northern England that will captivate your imagination. 

Best Time to Walk Hadrian’s Wall

The best part about walking holidays is that you can do them in any month, and each season will offer a different experience. However, when you are doing a long-distance walk, you’re going to want to keep track of the weather. 

May to October is the ideal time of year to walk this route. This allows you to make the most of the dry soil, extended daylight hours and pleasant weather conditions which together, can impact your walking holiday. One of the most important tips, however, is to make sure that you have the best walking shoes to offer you support and comfort throughout the journey. Because, let’s be honest, there’s nothing that’ll ruin your trip more quickly than having sore feet. 

List of sights and attractions on Hadrian’s Wall Route:

  • Segendunum Fort
  • The Gateshead Millennium Bridge
  • Winshield Crags
  • Northumberland National Park
  • Vindolanda
  • Birdoswald Roman Fort
  • Carlisle Castle

Accommodation and Services

If you have never tried a walking holiday before, Hadrian’s Wall is a great choice, because it offers ample accommodation options and services to make your holiday better. This includes various hotels, bed and breakfasts, hostels, guesthouses, Airbnb, and camping and glamping sites for a good night’s rest. Also, occasionally, you will come across grocery stores, local shops, honesty cafes and ATMs. However, be sure to withdraw sufficient funds when you are in large towns, just in case these services aren’t always available! 

Tips for Walking Hadrian’s Wall in the UK

Hadrian’s Wall 1

Plan Ahead

One of the important things that you need to keep in mind when you are planning to walk the Hadrian’s Wall is to plan ahead. This will allow you to prepare yourself mentally, physically and in many other ways, especially if you are doing this for the first time. You can keep track of the weather and look for the right information, which will allow you to try and be as ready as possible for anything unexpected that may pop up along the way!

Pack Right

If you are doing the entire length of the route, you will need to pack right. For this, you need to look for the best backpacks for hiking to help you make the most of your trip. 

Even if you are going during the dry season, you’ll need to prepare for anything that comes your way. Layered clothing is a must, along with waterproof clothing, light comfortable trousers, headgear, sunglasses, a whistle, a torch and even a mobile phone with a plug adapter/converter. 

Stay Hydrated

When you are packing, the most essential thing is to prioritise hydration throughout the tour. So, make sure you always have a full water bottle with you wherever you go! You’ll also stumble across plenty of cosy pubs on your trail, but try not to let this distract you – it’s important that you stay focused on eating and drinking healthily (or at least relatively so) while you’re on the go. 

Take Care of Your Feet

Your feet will be doing the most of the hard work, so before you head out on your big adventure, you need to get your feet ready. 

Trim your toenails both before and during your trip, otherwise, you’re going to end up with sore toes very quickly.  Take care of any blisters that you develop as you go and try rest your feet when you have the opportunity! 

Wear Walking Boots You’ve Broken Already

Brand-new walking boots might make you feel good (and look like a pro), but only to a certain extent. Wearing new shoes while covering long distances can be a disaster if you’re not used to them – you’ll end up with blisters and possibly even injuries. 

Also, you don’t necessarily need fancy walking boots. Some people are more comfortable in good sneakers, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, whatever you do, whether you choose boots or sneakers, just make sure you’ve walked them in before you start your trip. 

Eat Small Plates

Eating one heavy meal a day can make things hard for you, even if you feel like it’s more convenient in terms of time. Instead, you should choose to eat at least four to five smaller meals throughout the day, jampacked with protein and iron. This will provide you with enough strength and stamina to go on, and eating at regular intervals is the best way to fuel your body. 

Carry a First Aid Kit

A trail like Hadrian’s Wall is very easy even for the first timers. However, it is always a good thing to have a first aid kit ready in your backpack. You can use this when you have a splinter, dry skin, chapped lips and bug bites. At the end of the day, you never know what may happen, so it’s best to be prepared!