Along the Way: Hadrian’s Wall

November 15, 2016
November 15, 2016 Hilary

Along the Way: Hadrian’s Wall


#hadrianswall20 days into what had already been an epic road trip we were headed to the stop I was most excited for: Hadrian’s Wall. I know that for some, what basically amounts to a crumbling brick wall in the middle of nowhere England might not be interesting, but for me, a history loving anglophile, this was an absolute dream come true! Built in AD 122, Hadrian’s Wall, was the North-west frontier of the Roman Empire for nearly 300 years!


I already knew this day was going to be great, but the icing on the cake, was when we accidentally came across a home once inhabited by Mary Queen of Scots on our way to Hadrian’s Wall. Ancient history and royalty, my perfect day!

Mary Queen of Scots House

ALONG THE WAY FROM Edinburgh to York… Jedburgh, Scotland

76.5 KM FROM Edinburgh

#maryqueenofscotshouseI do love a road trip, but I also love a nap, so it was pure luck that I woke up from my nap at the exact moment we were passing a sign that said: Mary Queen of Scots House. Of course we were stopping!! We soon discovered that we were in Jedburgh a little town 10 miles from the Scottish English border.

The boys weren’t as interested in visiting the Queen of Scot’s house, so they had a bite to eat while I looked around. The home contains what is said to be one of her two surviving death masks along with some other of her other items.

#maryqueenofscotshouseThere is no admission fee, but if you want to purchase anything at the little gift shop keep in mind that they only accept cash.

#jedburghabbeyJedburgh though small was a great place to take a break from the road. There were a number of interesting sites, one of which was the Jedburgh abbey, which looked absolutely beautiful! However, Hadrian’s Wall was calling, so we were on our way…

Hadrian’s Wall

ALONG THE WAY FROM Jedburgh TO York… Hexham, England

83.7 KM FROM Jedburgh

#hadrianswallThe challenge when visiting a site 73 miles (80 roman miles) long is working out where exactly to stop. Many parts of Hadrian’s wall are truly in the middle of the countryside, in disrepair, or inaccessible by car. Adding to the challenge were the many fences also made of stone. After all, making sure we were oohing and ahhing at the right wall was key! After doing a little research we decided the best place for our visit to the Wall was the visitor center and ruins of  Housesteads Roman Fort.

#housesteadsromanfortI was excited to discover that while most of Hadrian’s Wall is off limits there are sections where it is acceptable to stand upon or even walk along for a bit. Standing at and on such an important and ancient piece of history was an incredible feeling! The edge of an empire!


It’s quite popular to “walk” the Wall and I would have liked to, at least for a little while, but serious rain was threatening and after a few minutes the boys abandoned me for the shelter of the Housestead’s Museum.

##hadrianswallThe photographer in me wanted options, so we found another car accessible spot along the Wall, where I overcame my fear of “what might be in the grass,” cows, and bugs and ventured into the fields for a closer look and a few more snaps!


Maybe you’re not a history lover, but how about entertainment or movies? Hadrian’s Wall, although not a person, plays a major part in the movie King Arthur starring Clive Owen and Kiera Knightly, a personal favorite of mine. Standing on the wall looking north might bring to mind another favorite, Game of Thrones? Whether it’s an interest in pop culture, or a love of history, or both consider a visit to Hadrian’s Wall! Especially if it just happens to be “along the way…”

England Hadrian's Wall

Practical information: There is a charge to visit Housesteads and if you’re planning to “walk” the wall for any length, you’ll want proper hiking shoes. We didn’t join a tour, but did enjoy the museum’s short film about the Wall’s history, Emperor Hadrian, and the Roman soldiers who lived at Housesteads and built the Wall. Of course we stopped in the gift shop where we picked up a few mementos of our visit!

Next stop: York, England


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I love to travel & explore the world both near and far! I do my best to make the most out of life each and everyday! I have two boys and they are, at the ages of 13 and 18, world travelers and all around go along guys. There isnt anywhere I cant take them. It is my hope this blog will be a way to share the fun things Ive learned while on our many adventures together!

Comments (16)

  1. Thanks for this post. I have been told that my last name (Waugh) is derived from living next to this wall. I don’t know if this is fact, but it is fun to surmise. My father’s side of the family is Scottish in any case. It is wonderful to see these pictures.

    • Thank you! How interesting about your last name. Where names come from has always been a topic of conversation in our household. How neat to think yours came from such an important piece of history!

      • Unfortunately, we were not part of any Scottish clan and have no family tartan. I think it was a commoner’s name. We do have the two famous English satirists Evelyn and Alec Waugh from the early 20th century.

  2. Love Hadrians Wall, I’d love to go back. I stopped off on the way back from Edinburgh in the middle of nowhere and it was getting dark. All my photos had these orb like things in at Hadrians Wall. Very odd x

    • It’s definitely in the middle of nowhere… I bet the star gazing would be pretty great if you happened to get a clear night! What do you suppose the orbs were? Strange!

      • Definitely. I got worried we’d get lost there as it’s dark and remote but it is amazing. I have no idea. Was a bit eerie. All my other photos were clear just the ones there. There was no light either to reflect. My mum us convinced it’s spirits or something supernatural x

  3. We had a fabulous afternoon a few years ago at Housesteads and Hadrians Wall so it was lovely to read your post and look at the pictures. Unfortunately we had driving rain the whole time – even getting soaked through didn’t dampen our enthusiasm though!!

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