Annie, our Trails Product Manager, joins our Best of Hadrian’s Wall Trail holidays for a very Roman day out, walking along the Wall, visiting a Roman Site and Museum and enjoying a unique Roman banquet.
“Hadrian’s Wall was constructed by the order of Emperor Hadrian to “separate the Romans from the Barbarians” in the North of England and stretches for 84 miles from the east to west coast. It is the best known frontier of the entire Roman Empire and is a World Heritage Site.
The central section of the Wall is home to iconic places such as Housesteads, Vindolanda, Chester Roman Fort and Corbridge Roman Town, all of which are visited on HF Holidays’ Best of Hadrian’s Wall holiday. Combine that with wild and majestic landscapes as you walk along the Wall with crags, turrets, forts, barracks and milecastles and we think we have a winning combination.
I joined the group on their last day for breakfast at the Centre of Britain Hotel in Haltwhistle (our base for the 6 night holiday). It claims to be geographically the exact centre of Britain and has history going back as far as the Bronze and Iron Ages but is more famous for the first century AD when the Romans came to defend the northern frontier of their Empire. A really warm and enthusiastic welcome awaits from your host Christine and on arrival I could tell that the fantastic food served was a hot topic.
Fully charged with porridge and a great cooked breakfast we joined our driver to take us to the start of the walk. He was a chatty local full of information and a great Geordie accent. Bob our leader has led this holiday many times and is also full of information and all the guests had certainly learned a lot about Roman Ditches, The Berm, The Vallum, Milecastles and Turrets. I think they were all ready to take an A-level in Roman History by the end of the holiday.
Though the last day does not walk as much of the actual Wall as the previous days we still managed to pack a lot in, including St Oswald’s Church and the history of Heavenfield and St Oswald, Aydon Castle and Corbridge Roman Town. I think everyone was enthused by the ancient Roman culture and heritage which comes alive through all the amazing ruins and artefacts, but be rest assured these Roman museums, reconstructions and visitor centres are not piles of old stones and relics in old cabinets but really exiting insights into how it must have been like to live on the Roman frontier.
Back at the Centre of Britain Hotel we were given some sheets and garlands and tasked with producing an outfit for the Legion Roman banquet. The outfits really got us in the mood and the menu was amazing. The arrival of a Roman soldier to talk to us about what it was like to live in the Roman Army and to try on his various helmets and armour really gave the final night of the holiday a great atmosphere.