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Thursday, 11 August 2016

Hadrians Wall: My favourite spots

Growing up in Wallsend only a mile or so from Segedunum, The final fort along Hadrians Wall, Roman Britain has always been an interest of mine. My wife and I recently took our 3 kids on a trip along some of my favourites spots along the wall.

We decided to take the Go North East AD122 bus (named after the year Emperor Hadrian visited Britain to begin construction of the wall) as it stops at all the places we wanted to visit.


We started at the Roman Army Museum at Walltown. This is brilliant museum which has a mixture of artefacts from Roman Britain as well as replicas of Roman Army equipment. There is a 3D cinema which shows a short film about life on the wall. The film is brilliantly narrated by Brian Cox (the actor not the Professor) whose voice always lends a sense of gravitas to anything he does. There is also a great interactive school teaching you about the army as well as some basics in Latin.


Next we got back on the bus and headed to the Twice Brewed pub for lunch. I loved this pub, it had a great selection of ales and I liked the look of a few dishes on the menu, They also had board games which kept the kids entertained. Mrs Cool went for the local sausage sandwich with chips and tomato relish. Sam liked the sausage sandwich but wasn't impressed that her chips were frozen chips. I ordered the gammon steak with poached egg and pineapple chutney. I was really impressed with my lunch. The steak was a big portion, it was a proper poached egg not just a microwaved one you sometimes get and I had homemade chunky chips (much to Sam's annoyance).


After lunch and a couple of pints (I wasn't driving after all) we decided to walk to our next stop, Vindolanda. The walk is around 1.7 miles and as we had 3 kids with us it took us about 3/4 of an hour. It was some much needed exercise after a calorific lunch and we were treated to some amazing views including the spectacular Sycamore Gap.


Vindolanda is a working archaeological site and there is so much to see and do you could easily spend several hours here. As this was just a short trip for us we had a quick look round (we've been before so we knew which bits to visit again). The kids enjoyed exploring the reconstructed milecastles and there is a nice walk down to the stream which passes by a reproduction of a Temple of the Nymphs.


When we were finished at Vindolanda we hopped back on the AD122 and headed for Chesters Roman Fort. By this point we were all getting a bit tired and were in need of a sugary pick me up so we headed to the tearoom. They had a great selection of cakes and we all had a hot chocolate to warm us on on a rainy British summers day.


After we were finished our cakes we headed out to look at the site. On a sunny day Chesters Roman Fort is one of my favourite places to visit, on a cold rainy day like this day not so much. We still enjoyed looking around the excavated fort and stopped to meet the various farm animals that live on site.

We all loved our day out exploring the wall and I think we are incredibly lucky to have something as historically significant as Hadrian's Wall so close to home. After a very tiring day we got back on the AD122 which took us to Hexham where we could catch our bus back to Newcastle.

Well, that's all for now.

S


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