Full disclaimer, I was in two minds about posting this due to the imminent lockdown here in England but I don’t want to a)forget to share it or b) take away the distraction of a good old round up for anyone who needs it. Please just be aware that information changes quickly and this should not be taken as anything other than a summary of the day. You may want to use this to plan a future trip but make sure that you visit the relevant websites for the most accurate information. These have been linked for you.
If you are reading this far in the future and have no idea what I’m on about, hello! I hope things are looking up!
Recently my dad and I decided to go for an ‘adventure’ day. We decided to head up to Hadrian’s Wall and explore some of the forts up there. We settled on three main spots, which we managed to do in one day.
The first place we stopped at was Vindolanda, an old Roman fort and active archaeological site. You do have to pay entry to this site but it is well worth it in my opinion. As well as an extensive set of remains, there is a museum, cafe, reconstruction temple and many more hidden gems.
When we visited, there was also an opportunity to ‘ask an archaeologist’ which was brilliant. We spoke to Penny about the discoveries at Vindolanda and the work they had left to do at the site. She thought they had at least another 150 years of discovering to do, which is pretty excited.
While we enjoyed it as two adults, I definitely think this is one that families would enjoy too. In fact, we saw lots of children there on the day!
For ticket information, opening times and additional information, you may want to check out the website at https://www.vindolanda.com/ .
Next, we went somewhere you don’t have to book but that can get pretty busy! Sycamore Gap is along the route of the original Hadrian’s Wall and is part of some of the rockier sections. It is also pretty infamous for the tree within in, which made it into Robin Hood and the Prince of Thieves.
It’s an easy enough walk to do with families but can get quite muddy. I ended up falling into a puddle at one point where it was so slippy but otherwise, it was great fun!
Finally, we decided to trek over to Housesteads, which is another Roman fort. This is now managed by English Heritage so was free to us as we are members. This is a smaller fort but still an interesting one, with lots to see and plenty of space to explore.
There is a museum and cafe on sight but it looked a little busy for us so we skipped it this time. However, there are plenty of boards around the site to fill you in on what life was like when it was a busy fort. There’s even a cute little trail with extra information for kids for what it was like to be a Roman soldier at Housesteads.
For more information, head to their website, which you can find here: https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/housesteads-roman-fort-hadrians-wall/plan-your-visit/
And there you have it! A busy but brilliant day exploring the area around Hadrian’s Wall and the history that survives it.