Tours

Roman Birdoswald (Banna) Fort on Hadrian’s Wall

Roman Birdoswald (Banna) Fort on Hadrian’s Wall 

“The protector of horses, mules, and cavalry. Epona was one of the non-Roman goddesses to have been wholly adopted by the Roman Empire” – Ancient Origins. 

  • An immersive in-depth tour of Birdoswald Roman fort (Banna) and museum that will transport you through 1000s of years of history.
  • Learn all about the Stone Hadrian’s Wall and the Turf Hadrian’s Wall and how Birdoswald interacted with life on Hadrian’s Wall and the Maiden Way (a Roman road) and other Roman roads.
  • Your journey into the past will start at the Courtyard of the Roman Fort of Birdoswald, where Catherine will tell the story of how the Romans came to the North of Britain and began to conquer the local Celts.
  • Find out about who were the different peoples who came to the area and which languages were spoken through to the times of early Christians and the fearsome local Reivers up until the present day.

N.B.: Reference will be made to King Arthur, St. Patrick, Sir Walter Scott and other important historical personalities. Warning: ghost stories may crop up during the course of the tour!

P.S.: If you are particularly interested in an aspect/feature of Hadrian’s Wall, please let Catherine know in advance and Catherine will endeavour to tailor the tour to your interests.

Highlights:

  • Hear the story of how Birdoswald Fort played an important part in understanding how life developed after Roman rule ended.
  • See the excavators in action (during the English Heritage/Newcastle University excavation season).
  • Walk along a fantastic stretch of Hadrian’s Wall still standing today.

The detail:

2 hours                                                        Group reductions – just ask!

Gentle walk site – Easy walk*

An English Heritage admittance fee will apply.

(Entrance is free to English Heritage members.)

Parking:

Yes. Large car park suitable for cars, buses and coaches. (This is an English Heritage car park where you pay to park in advance and reclaim the money from English Heritage when you buy a ticket at the site entrance desk.)

Special equipment:

Suitable clothing & footwear for all weather conditions.

Waterproofs – please bring in case of inclement weather.

*Accessibility:

Some parts of the site and museum are accessible for wheelchair users.

‘Lumps and bumps’: Please be aware that the ground is uneven in places. Please contact Catherine for advice. Please note that Catherine conducts the tour so that it is good for everyone’s pace.

Dogs: Dogs (on a lead and well-behaved) are allowed on the English Heritage site.

Availability:

All year (however Birdoswald Fort is closed during some parts of the year according to English Heritage opening and closing times). Please contact Catherine for more details.

https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/birdoswald-roman-fort-hadrians-wall/

Advance booking is required.

Languages spoken by Catherine: English, Spanish, Italian, French, Latin.

Roman Vindolanda Fort and Museum

Roman Vindolanda Fort and Museum 

“the written word has taught me to listen to the human voice…life has thrown light for me on the meaning of books” These are Hadrian’s words about writing and books (Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar). 

Learn how the world famous ‘writing tablets’ were discovered, what they were and how Vindolanda interacted with Roman and local life on Hadrian’s Wall. Your journey into the past will start at the main West Gate of Roman Vindolanda, where Catherine will tell the story of how the Romans came to the North of Britain and began to conquer the local Celts.

The incredible story of Roman Vindolanda continues up to the present day as many amazing artefacts are still being found each year. Hear all about the personalities, languages and stories attached to those amazing artefacts.

Highlights:

  • Hear the fabulous story of how “Britain’s Top Treasures” (as voted by The British Museum) were discovered.
  • See the Vindolanda excavators in action (during April-September excavation season).
  • See the delights of Roman artefacts (and newly-discovered artefacts) in the Vindolanda Museum.

P.S.: If you are particularly interested in an aspect/feature of Hadrian’s Wall, please let Catherine know in advance and Catherine will endeavour to tailor the tour to your interests.

The detail:

2-3 hours – easy/medium*                        1-25 people (group discounts available)

Gentle walk around site and museum      (depends on size of family/groups)

Parking:

Yes. There is a large car park suitable for bicycles, cars, buses and coaches. There is no cost to park here and it belongs to The Vindolanda Trust.

Dogs:

Only assistance dogs can be allowed on the site at Vindolanda site and museum. Please contact Vindolanda for more advice about this at www.vindolanda.com

Special equipment:

Suitable clothing & footwear for all weather conditions.

Waterproofs – please bring in case of inclement weather.

*Accessibility:

Some parts of the site and museum are accessible for wheelchair users.

‘Lumps and bumps’: There is a good pathway around the whole site but be aware that the ground is uneven in places. Please be aware that there is also a steep hill leading down to the museum/café/gift shop. Please contact Catherine for more advice. Please note that Catherine conducts the tour so that it is good for everyone’s pace.

Availability:

All year. Certain days of the year the Vindolanda site and museum are closed. Please contact Catherine for more details.

Advance booking is required.

Languages spoken by Catherine: English, Spanish, Italian, French, Latin.

Roman Chesters Fort (Cilurnum) and Museum

Roman Chesters Fort (Cilurnum) and Museum 

“Add to this the arresting of an occasional roisterer or pickpocket, the racket of a man who always likes to hear his own voice in the bathroom, or the enthusiast who plunges into the swimming-tank with unconscionable noise and splashing.” (Seneca) 

Let me take you and show you around 1000s of years of history at Chesters Roman Fort and Clayton Roman Victorian Museum. 

Chesters Roman Fort (Cilurnum) is built on a breath-takingly beautiful part of the North Tyne in sight of the river. This fort was built to guard the prestigious Chesters Fort Roman bridge and Roman road that went across it (the Military Way). The site is a wondrous place and is stunning to see. Discover the partially excavated turma cavalry block which was constructed for the Northern Spanish (Asturian) Roman cavalry unit. This was deliberately built extending out in barbarian territory beyond Hadrian’s Wall. Learn how the Roman cavalry fort functioned and how Chesters Roman fort and village interacted with life on Hadrian’s Wall.

Discover the amazing Roman strong-room where you can walk down and stand below its ceiling within the headquarters (the nerve centre) of the fort. You will be able to marvel at the fantastic stonework which has survived for over 1900 years.

View the best-preserved Roman military auxiliary troop bathhouse also still standing on the northern banks of the river Tyne. Wander amongst the different bathhouse rooms and discover the different functions they played for a cavalry Roman soldier and his unofficial (next-door) family. Find out about how many skeletons were found here when the bathhouse was first excavated!

The John Clayton Museum, created in Victorian times, is a sight to behold. It is jam-packed with Roman artefacts and inscriptions…so much so it is worth coming back time and again to understand how much is on show here. One of my favourite artefacts is the shrine to Coventina. A Celtic water goddess worshipped by locals and Romans alike. Let me tell you the fascinating story about how Coventina’s shrine was first discovered by John Clayton and his men in the Victorian age.

Highlights:

  • Hear how the Roman Cavalry operated on Hadrian’s Wall and all about the amazingly preserved Roman Bridge at Chesters on the Tyne River.
  • Walk through and experience the various cold, hot and tepid rooms of one of the most complete Roman Bath houses in Roman Britain beside the beautiful Tyne River.
  • See the delights of a whole host of Roman artefacts, inscriptions and much more in the Clayton Victorian Museum at Chesters.
  • Hear all about the Victorian Gentleman called John Clayton and how he helped to preserve Hadrian’s Wall for future generations.

The detail:

2 hours                                                          1-25 people (group discounts are available)

Gentle walk around site and museum – easy*     per Family (depending on size of family/groups)

Parking:

There is a large English Heritage car park suitable for cars, buses and coaches. (This is an English Heritage car park where you pay to park.)

Special equipment:

Suitable clothing & footwear for all weather conditions.

Waterproofs – please bring in case of inclement weather.

*Accessibility:

Some parts of the site and museum are accessible for wheelchair users. Please be aware of the lumps and bumps around the site. There is a good pathway around some of the English Heritage site but please also be aware that the ground is uneven in places. Please contact Catherine for more advice.

Availability:

English Heritage Chesters Roman Fort is closed during some parts of the year according to English Heritage opening and closing times. Please contact Catherine for more details and advice. For further information please check Chesters Roman Fort and Museum – Hadrian’s Wall | English Heritage (english-heritage.org.uk)

Dogs:

Dogs (on a lead and well-behaved) are allowed on the English Heritage site.

Advance booking is required.

Languages spoken by Catherine: English, Spanish, Italian, French, Latin.

Roman Housesteads (Vercovicium) Fort  and Museum

Roman Housesteads (Vercovicium) Fort  and Museum 

“Show me the apartment that lets you sleep! In this city sleep costs millions: carts clattering through the winding streets, curses hurled at some herd stuck in a traffic jam would rouse a dozing seal or an Emperor” (Juvenal Satire 3) 

Come on in-depth tour with Catherine of Housesteads (Vercovicium) Roman fort on Hadrian’s Wall and museum that will transport you through thousands of years of history.

Learn how the Romans built their fort on this dolerite rock/cliff face and how the Roman soldiers and the villagers, living just outside the fort, interacted with life on Hadrian’s Wall.

Your journey into the past will start at the bottom of the hill climbing the steep slope of Housesteads (Vercovicium).  Catherine will tell the story of how the Romans came to the North of Britain and began to conquer the local Celts. The views from Housesteads Fort, built directly on Hadrian’s Wall are astounding in every direction! Come and experience Roman life and how it developed up until the present day.

Highlights:

  • Hear the story of how Roman soldiers lived on Hadrian’s Wall through the seasons.
  • See one of the Roman Empire’s most complete Roman Military Toilets and how it worked.
  • See the fabulous and awe inspiring 360 degree/all-round views of Hadrian’s Wall.

P.S.: If you are particularly interested in an aspect/feature of Hadrian’s Wall, please let Catherine know in advance and Catherine will endeavour to tailor the tour to your interests.

The detail:

2 hours                                                        1-25 people (group discounts are available)

  • Gentle walk up the very steep slope to the fort site and museum. This is a medium walking level and can be difficult for some. Wheelchairs cannot get up the main access slope very easily – alternatively you can drive up and park near the EH museum once special access is obtained from the National Trust/English Heritage teams in advance. (Please contact Catherine for further advice.)

Dogs:

Dogs (on a lead and well-behaved) are allowed on this English Heritage site.

Parking:

Yes. Large car park suitable for bicycles, cars, buses and coaches. (This is a Northumberland National Park car park where you pay to park on entry. Northumberland National Car Park all day tickets can also be purchased here – these can be used at other Northumberland National Park Car Parks in the Hadrian’s Wall area e.g. Steel Rigg Car Park, Walltown Country Park Car Park, Housesteads Car Park, The Sill Car Park.)

Special equipment:

Suitable clothing & footwear for all weather conditions.

Waterproofs – please bring in case of inclement weather.

*Accessibility:

Housesteads (Vercovicium) Roman Fort site and museum are not accessible for wheelchair users unless special entry is gained from English Heritage to drive up to Housesteads Museum in advance. There is a special parking place at the top of the hill for wheelchair users. Please be aware of the ‘lumps and bumps’ nature of the site and that the ground is extremely uneven in places. The walk up to the fort and museum is very steep so please contact Catherine for advice. Please note that Catherine conducts the tour so that it is good for everyone’s pace.

When the fort site gets wet with rain it becomes extremely slippery so please wear adequate footwear to protect yourself. Strong walking boots with grip are recommended.

The National Trust Housesteads site at the bottom of the hill beside the main car park (owned and maintained by Northumberland National Park) can be accessed by wheelchair. There is also a café and children’s play park in this area. Toilets for the main site can be accessed here. 

Availability:

All year. Housesteads Fort and Museum, however, are closed during some parts of the year according to English Heritage opening and closing times). Please contact Catherine for more details.

For more information:

Housesteads Roman Fort – Hadrian’s Wall | English Heritage (english-heritage.org.uk)

Advance booking is required.

Languages spoken by Catherine: English, Spanish, Italian, French, Latin.

Roman Corbridge Fort (Coria) and Town

Roman Corbridge Fort (Coria) and Town 

“When we consider the abundant supplies of water in public buildings, baths, pools, open channels, private houses, gardens and country estates, and when we think of the distances traversed by the water before it arrives, the raising of the arches, the tunnelling of the mountains and the building of level routes across deep valleys, then we readily admit that there has never been anything more remarkable than our aqueducts in the whole world.” (Pliny the Elder) 

  • Come on an in-depth tour of Corbridge (Coria) Roman Fort and Town and its English Heritage Museum that will transport you through thousands of years of history with Catherine.
  • Learn how the fort functioned with Roman auxiliary and legionary soldiers and how Corbridge Roman fort and town interacted with life on the Stanegate (the original Roman Frontier Road) and Hadrian’s Wall.
  • Your journey into the past will start beside the Museum, on the Stanegate, where Catherine will begin to tell the story of how the Romans came to the North of Britain and began to conquer the local Celts. Enjoy an experience leading you through the ages up until the present day!

Highlights:

  • Hear how Corbridge (Coria) Roman Fort and Town operated on the Stanegate and Hadrian’s Wall beside the Tyne River.
  • See the amazing Roman granaries and fountain on the Stanegate (a main Roman Road and the first ‘frontier’ road in Roman Northern Britain).
  • See the delights of amazing Roman artefacts, legionary armour, inscriptions, altars, jewellery and much more in the English Heritage Museum at Corbridge.

The detail:

2 hours                                                        1-25 people (group discounts are available)

  • Gentle walk around site and museum – easy*

Parking:

There is a large English Heritage car park suitable for bicycles, cars, buses and coaches. (This is an English Heritage car park where you pay to park.)

Special equipment:

Suitable clothing & footwear for all weather conditions.

Waterproofs – please bring in case of inclement weather.

*Accessibility:

Some parts of the site and museum are accessible for wheelchair users. Please be aware of the lumps and bumps around the site. There is a good pathway around some of the English Heritage site but please also be aware that the ground is uneven in places. Please contact Catherine for more advice.

Availability:

English Heritage Corbridge Roman Fort is closed during some parts of the year according to English Heritage opening and closing times. Please contact Catherine for more details and advice.  Corbridge Roman Town – Hadrian’s Wall | English Heritage (english-heritage.org.uk)

Dogs:

Dogs (on a lead and well-behaved) are allowed on the English Heritage site.

Advance booking is required.

Languages spoken by Catherine: English, Spanish, Italian, French, Latin.

Magna – Roman Fort and The Roman Army Museum

Magna – Roman Fort and The Roman Army Museum

“No place stands on its own, and Carvoran has always been part of a much wider community, which has exerted considerable influence upon it. From being a cog in the framework of the Trajanic frontier, and then a part of Hadrian’s new wall, Carvoran (Magna) eventually fell into the hands of the spreading Blenkinsopp estate (rather than equally nearby Thirlwall or Walltown), and now it is owned by those who control its sister fort at Vindolanda.” (Robin Birley 1998)

  • Come and be delighted by the award winning ‘Edge of Empire’ short 3D film which reveals Roman life on the North West Frontier in imperial times. The museum has just been remodelled (Winter 2023) and there is plenty to see and experience here.
  • There are various artefacts on display and sometimes loaned artefacts from different collections. There are interactive displays and films regarding life in the Roman Army in which to immerse yourself.
  • Everything is under cover at the Roman Army Museum with a brand-new café where you can eat and drink while watching the weather across the Magna fort site. There has been a complete reworking of the exhibition space outside of the mini-cinema. This area now focuses on Julia Domna and the Severan dynasty. The Roman religion museum exhibit space has also been reworked. There is a temporary exhibition looking at animals. There is a new area for the gift shop also available from the beginning of 2024.
  • Magna and The Roman Army Museum, owned and controlled by The Vindolanda Trust, is undergoing a new lease of life. There are big plans afoot for excavation of the fort of Magna. The excavations started in 2023. The Vindolanda Trust excavators (professional and volunteer excavators) have found some amazing artefacts at Milecastle 46 which lies on Hadrian’s Wall at the back of Magna fort. I would love to be able to show you this amazing museum and tell you more about the fort, itself, and what it is currently giving up in terms of its secrets. I would love to show you around as I have lived a stone’s throw from the fort since 2007. I know and love this area extremely well. There is a great deal to tell you and show you here!

Highlights:

  • 3D Eagle Eye ‘Edge of Empire’ film showing life in Roman Times on Hadrian’s Wall
  • Interactive displays regarding Roman Army Life
  • Artefacts on loan from other collectors/museums and from Vindolanda, itself.
  • Exhibition on Julia Domna and the Severan dynasty (new for 2024)
  • Roman religion and artefacts on display
  • Brand new café for 2024
  • Brand new gift shop 2024
  • Temporary exhibitions
  • A visit to Magna fort site and to Milecastle 46 on Hadrian’s Wall

The detail:

2 hours                                                        1-25 people (group discounts are available)

  • Gentle walk around site and museum – easy/medium*

Parking:

There is a large FREE car park suitable for bicycles, cars, buses and coaches. If you park in the Northumberland National Car Park at Walltown to see more of Hadrian’s Wall. There is a separate payment for this NNPA (Northumberland National Park Authority) car park almost opposite the RAM/Magna carpark.

Special equipment:

Suitable clothing & footwear for all weather conditions.

Waterproofs – please bring in case of inclement weather.

*Accessibility:

Some parts of the Magna site are accessible for wheelchair users. Please be aware of the lumps and bumps around the site. (Please check with Catherine for further details.) The RAM Museum is accessible for wheelchair users.

Availability:

Please contact Catherine for more details and advice and you can also check www.vindolanda.com

For further information as regards opening times.

Advance booking is advised.

Dogs: Only Guide dogs are allowed here.

Dogs (on a lead) and off the lead (if well-behaved) can be walked at Walltown Country Park, Northumberland National Park, Hadrian’s Wall. There are some very good dog walks here. (5 minutes from The Roman Army Museum/Magna Fort site)

Languages spoken by Catherine: English, Spanish, Italian, French, Latin.

Day long Car Tour along Hadrian’s Wall and The Roman Forts

An amazing day long Car Tour along Hadrian’s Wall and The Roman Forts – an example of a one day tour

How long is the day? Around 6-7 hours – whatever suits you. Just let me know. I go at your pace. 

Start of the day

Our day begins around 9am/9.30am where I pick you up from your hotel or B&B or from a train station* (Newcastle, Carlisle, Hexham or Haltwhistle). If you are coming into Newcastle on a cruise ship* I can come and pick you up from the cruise docks or where the cruise shuttle-bus leaves you e.g. Tynemouth. If you have your own transport, I can meet you at the pre-agreed Roman fort site. I can also pick you up from Newcastle airport. *

Driving Tip

One of the main benefits of me driving you around this area is that I know the well-known and hidden places to go and look at in Hadrian’s Wall Country. I am fully paid up for all different car parks. Having lived in the North East for nearly all my life I know how to watch for the various weather systems which come into the different valleys in the region. I can show you places along the Wall which are not even widely known by locals.

10am: Roman Army Museum/Magna Fort (the sister site of The Vindolanda Trust):  Towards 10am we drive to The Roman Army Museum/Magna Fort to spend about 60-90 minutes there. This museum is under cover and is a fascinating place to start your Hadrian’s Wall Day. There is the Edge of Empire Film (lasting 17 minutes long) which introduces you to Roman Military life (from the eyes of an imperial eagle) on Hadrian’s Wall. Once we have viewed the film, we then see the rest of The Roman Army Museum. If we have time and the weather is good, we can have a look at the Magna Fort Site itself. The Vindolanda Trust started to excavate here in 2023 and many interesting artefacts have already been revealed here.

The Roman Army Museum/Magna (which has just been remodelled over Winter 2023) has a café and a well-stocked bookshop/gift shop where we can stop for a tea or coffee to absorb what we have just seen.

11/11.30am: I then drive you along the anti-Jacobite Military Road (B6318) explaining different features and the history of Hadrian’s Wall. I am also really happy to talk about different periods of history beyond the Romans: Anglo-Saxon, Viking, Christian, Norman and so on. I stop at a variety of places along Hadrian’s Wall to explain how it functioned as a military barrier 1900 years ago and I also talk about its afterlife. How Hadrian’s Wall becomes part of our countryside throughout the ages.

The landscape in which Hadrian’s Wall is set is absolutely beautiful. We can see sheep, cattle, wild flowers and many different types of birds and amazing vistas in every direction. It’s even fun negotiating the different types of lock on various gates and stiles when visiting Hadrian’s Wall!

Midday: Lunch can be obtained at different places. There is The Twice Brewed Inn (a good restaurant and pub); the café at The Sill, Northumberland National Park or the Lepidina café at The Vindolanda Trust. Depending on what time you would like to have lunch…we go to Vindolanda Roman Fort and Museum around noon. I leave plenty of time for our visit to Vindolanda as it is one of the best places to see ongoing excavation during six months of the year.

Vindolanda Roman Site started off as a Pre-Hadrian’s Wall Fort and I explain what this means when we are on site. We start the tour at the West Gate of Vindolanda (the main entrance where the big car park is) and we work our way around the fascinating archaeological site of the fort and fort village (vicus). I cannot wait to show you around this site where there were, at least 9 forts, during the time of The Roman Empire in Britain. Vindolanda has had a very long life in times past and excavators have found artefacts up to about the 9th century CE. There are many stories to be told about the forts and the different people who lived there over the ages.

This takes about 45 minutes – sometimes longer. It also depends on the weather on the day which can be very variable in Northumberland!

Vindolanda Museum/Chesterholm Museum

We then walk down into the dip of the valley behind the fort where The Vindolanda Museum is situated alongside its bookshop, gift shop and café area. The Museum is in a very attractive setting. The Museum is known as Chesterholm as it used to be a small cottage for the Birley family who are the main force behind the Vindolanda Trust. The Museum (now extended several times over) is also home to several of the famous Roman Writing Tablets. The Tablets were voted Britain’s Top Treasure by experts at The British Museum in 2003. I will be explaining how the tablets came to be excavated. There are also some stunning artefacts in the museum – both military and domestic – which were all excavated on site at Vindolanda. I also explain why Vindolanda is able to find/excavate so many wonderful artefacts and put them on display in the museum.

Lunch can be taken at the Vindolanda Café (either inside or on the outside terraces if the weather is good). Again, it is good to stop to catch our breath and have a bite to eat.

We then spend up to an hour or more (the choice is yours) in the Vindolanda/Chesterholm Museum. There is lots to see. In fact, there is so much to see we could easily spend a day there!

3/4pm: If there is time and it has been pre-agreed: after visiting Vindolanda Roman Site and Museum, we can then move over the English Heritage Housesteads (Vercovicium) Fort and Museum which is just down the road (about 10 minutes by car from Vindolanda). The site is in the hands of The National Trust and English Heritage. Once parked at Housesteads there is a walk of 10-15 minutes up a steep hill to the fort itself. The Fort is part of the Hadrian’s Wall fort system. I explain how the Roman auxiliary fort worked and what took place in the different buildings inside the fort. Apart from seeing the magnificent Hadrian’s Wall itself with its marvellous 360-degree views…another highlight which must not be missed is its very well preserved military latrine.

Once we have thoroughly investigated Housesteads Roman fort and some of its village (vicus) we will take a look at the Housesteads Museum which contains some interesting artefacts and inscriptions. There is also a short film there also examining life on Hadrian’s Wall in Roman times. The English Heritage Museum contains a gift shop and it is possible to get a carry-out hot drink and a snack there otherwise now is the time to walk back down the steep hill and stop for a hot or cold drink at the National Trust café at its centre there.

4/5pm (ish): I drop you back at your hotel/B&B/relevant train station.

*Depending on where I pick you up – there may be an extra charge involved. Please ask me for further details.

Car Tours along Hadrian’s Wall Roman fort sites and Hadrian’s Wall

Car Tours along Hadrian’s Wall Roman fort sites and Hadrian’s Wall

I can come and pick you up from your B&B, hotel and take you on a stunning tour of Roman Hadrian’s Wall sites. Alternatively, you can stay at our beautiful Hadrian’s Holiday Lodges which are set in a cosy Mediterranean courtyard garden.

Here is an example of a typical car tour day on Hadrian’s Wall:

9/9.30am I pick you up and starts the story of Hadrian’s Wall…how it is built and by whom. There is so much more to Hadrian’s Wall than it being a pile of stones. People came here from all over the known Roman Empire…Spanish, French, Italian/Roman, Syrian, Iraqi Marsh Arabs, Romanian, Swiss, Hungarian, Belgian, Dutch, German, North African…you name it they were here (even the local Celts too)!

10am Visit a museum/site – The Roman Army Museum (Magna) can be a good place to start. It is the sister site of the Vindolanda Museum. There is a fantastic 3D film of Roman life on Hadrian’s Wall there and it is a must see! The museum is incredibly interesting and the museum varies its collections and displays of Roman artefacts all the time.

Between The Roman Army Museum and other parts of Hadrian’s Wall there is lots to see and do. Walltown Crags, Cawfields, Steel Rigg and more places are fantastic spots to see and learn more about the amazing history of Hadrian’s Wall.

11.30am Visit Vindolanda to see the site where there are many different forts and where there has been constant excavation since the early 1970s. Vindolanda is a wonderous place and the artefacts/history is second to none. Vindolanda is also the home of the world famous Vindolanda Writing Tablets. These were voted Britain’s Top Treasure by experts at The British Museum. Catherine explains the history and reasons why this came about. The wafer-thin ink writing tablets were found by the late Dr. Robin Birley. Successive generations of the Birley family carry on his work up to the present day. We spend up to an hour looking at the Roman fort site and village (vicus) and then carry on into the marvellous Vindolanda museum in the beautiful Chineley Burn valley.

Lunch (any time between midday and 2 to 3pm) can be taken in the Lepidina café at Vindolanda which has outdoor terraces and is a very comfortable place in which to eat and chat. There are other places to eat nearby/locally…The Twice Brewed Pub; the café at The Sill (Northumberland National Park) and the National Trust café at Housesteads.

It is incredibly easy to spend at least 2 hours, if not more time, at Vindolanda – seeing the Roman auxiliary fort site and museum.

If there is time in the latter part of the day, we can move on to the English Heritage site(s) of Housesteads (Vercovicium) or Chesters or Birdoswald or Corbridge. The choice is totally yours! Please click on the links of the sites for further descriptions of these stupendous fort sites along Hadrian’s Wall.

Some Hadrian’s Wall highlights…

  • 360-degree views of the momentous landscapes at Housesteads plus the most complete military toilet/latrine yet found in Roman Britain!
  • A fabulous military bath house at Chesters set in incredibly beautiful surroundings of the Tyne river. The Victorian John Clayton Museum at Chesters contains many interesting inscriptions and artefacts.
  • Stupendous views of Hadrian’s Wall looking across to the Hadrian’s Wall crags can be viewed at Birdoswald. Hear about the story of where the stone wall and the turf wall met on Hadrian’s Wall at Birdoswald. This is a unique place to see and experience this intriguing occurrence in the change of plans in the building of Hadrian’s Wall.
  • Hear about stories of the different Roman roads and frontiers in the area and how they link to the rest of Roman Britain.
  • Learn more about the personalities, cultures, nationalities, languages of the people in the area across the ages.

Your guided car tour finishes around 7-8 hours later. I can drop you back at your B&B, hotel, wherever you are staying in the area.

If you are coming into the area by train – I can pick you up at Newcastle Station, Hexham Station, Haltwhistle Station or Carlisle Station. (There will be an extra charge for Newcastle or Carlisle Station pickups. There is no extra charge for coming into either Hexham Station or Haltwhistle Station.)

There are many other places to see and experience the wild and, in places, contained beauty of the varying landscapes at Hadrian’s Wall.

I can take you to many sites which I know very well, as a local: Tullie House Museum at Carlisle; Brocolitia Fort/Mithraeum; Hexham; Corbridge Roman Town and Fort Site; The Great North Museum at Newcastle; Wallsend (Segedunum); South Shields (Arbeia); Bewcastle Roman Fort/Church/Anglo-Saxon Cross; Aydon Castle; Burgh-by-Sands; Bowness on Solway; Maryport (Maia) and many more places besides!

Price per day for car guided tour:

Bronze day half day tour package: 1 site plus Hadrian’s Wall features = £150 (per group)

Silver full day tour package: 2 sites plus Hadrian’s Wall features = £200 (per group)

Gold full day tour package: 3 sites plus Hadrian’s Wall features = £250 (per group)

N.B.: Prices will vary if hiring a larger taxi for a bigger group please ask for details

Pickup extra charge for Newcastle Central Station or Airport: £100

Pickup extra charge for Carlisle Main Station: £100

Pickup extra charge for Hexham Rail Station: FREE

Pickup extra charge for Haltwhistle Rail Station: FREE

Examples of 2-day, 3-day, 4-day* car guided tours:

Day 1: Roman Army Museum (Magna), Vindolanda, Housesteads and Hadrian’s Wall

Day 2: Birdoswald fort (Banna), Bewcastle fort, Carlisle – Tullie House Museum encompassing the story of the Roman forts at Carlisle*

Day 3: Maryport (Maia)/Senhouse Museum and the Solway Coast (Burgh-by-Sands, Beaumont, Bowness-on-Solway)*

Day 4: Great North Museum, Wallsend (Segedunum) and South Shields (Arbeia)*

Extra Day (for example) or can be substituted for another day*: Chesters (Cilurnum) fort and bridge, Corbridge (Coria) Roman Fort/Town and Corbridge ‘Modern’ village which has many historical features e.g. Roman, Saxon, Medieval, Stuart, 18th century, 19thcentury etc.

*Rest days can also be built in

If you are staying with our Hadrian’s Holiday Lodges we, Nigel and myself, can recommend many lovely local walks e.g. the Haltwhistle Burn; the Tipalt Burn; the Gilsland Hotel Spa wooded walk along the Irthing river; the walk from Birdoswald fort to Gilsland village encompassing one of the most complete and magnificent Hadrian’s Wall walks. It has many surviving features on Hadrian’s Wall which cannot be seen elsewhere. There are many more beautiful walks in this area which we can recommend and advise on.

Please let me know what your interests are and I can create a bespoke tour for your interests and requirements.

If you are in the area for a few or several days I can create tours lasting 2/3/4 and 5 days plus. I have undertaken many of these tours since I began as a qualified ITG tour guide in 2009. Please contact me for a pricing schedule for multi-day tours.

catherine@handyhistory.co.uk

Tel: +44 (0)7759 020885

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