The no-tour, DIY Itinerary for Hadrian’s Wall

[For why walking Hadrian’s Wall is a great idea, and why planning it yourself is an even better idea, read my post here.]

Truly, planning this inn-to-inn through-hike yourself is very doable and adds immeasurably to the pleasure of your trip. Here’s our full itinerary to get you started.

We walked west to east, because the weather is supposed to be better that way. I’m not sure that’s true, but it’s encouraging to think so. You can walk faster or slower than we did, of course. I think our pace was just about right, although if I were planning it again, I’d do an extra day in Once Brewed to have time to see the Vindolanda museum.

Day before the walk: Redeye flight from Washington, DC to Edinburgh, landing mid-morning. Then we boarded the next train to Carlisle, where we strolled around until our bus departed for Bowness on Solway. (This bus does not run on Sundays. Plan accordingly.) We enjoyed dinner in the King’s Arms and a night in the excellent Wallsend Guest House.

Fresh and perky on the morning of Day 1.  

Day 1: Walked 15 miles into Carlisle, with a stop at the Greyhound Inn in Burgh by Sands for a midday pint (or sure, you could have a cup of tea). We stayed at the Abbey Court Guest House. Delicious Indian takeout was just across the street, fortunately, since I don’t think I could have walked a step farther.

Cheers, mate.

Day 2: Walked 10 miles into Newtown, with a stop at the Stag’s Inn in Crosby-on-Eden. (The guide book said this lovely old pub from the 1700s was closed, but the new proprietors are making a go of it–be sure to stop in!) We stayed in Hadrian’s Wall Studio, a converted garage (much nicer than that sounds!) behind one of the path’s many self-serve snack stands, where you choose your snack then pop your quid into an honesty box. Genius. We sat at the picnic table in the sunshine sipping the beers they left for us in the mini fridge, then slept like Roman stones in the king-sized bed.

Day 3: Walked 9 miles into Gilsland. Maybe 9 miles as the crow flies? My FitBit thought it was 11 miles, and it certainly felt like 11 miles, but whatever. We lunched under an ancient oak tree with provisions we’d picked up in Carlisle, then walked into Gilsland for dinner at the Samson Inn and a great night’s sleep at our B&B, Hollies-on-the-Wall, with breakfast cooked to order and delivered to our room in the morning. They even had a washer and dryer, so we freshened up our togs.

Day 4: Walked 8 miles into Northumberland National Park and into the scenic heart of the wall path. We lunched overlooking the crags, then the sky opened up and we squelched our way to the Twice Brewed Inn, where absolutely everyone on the wall converged for the night. Really, you must stay here–it has the feel of a ski lodge, complete with a drying room for wet gear, good hardy meals, their own microbrews, and a great breakfast in the morning.

Turret, cat stairs, loch, walled farms, the wall skirting the crags and distant hills, and my beloved walking partner. This photo just needs a sheep, cow, and a stile to be the ultimate Hadrian Wall photo.  

Day 5: Walked 13 miles to Chollersford, past the iconic tree at Sycamore Gap. I’m happy to report that tree looks very healthy and ready to stand guard for at least another hundred years. After lunch right on the wall and a long look around Housesteads Fort, we walked to the George Hotel, an old stalwart on the Tyne River. Did I order the sticky toffee pudding? You know I did.

England’s “Tree of the Year” in 2016.

Day 6: Walked 10 miles to East Wallhouses, with a stop at the cozy Errington Coffee House in Corbridge. Perfection. When we reached the Robinhood Inn, the proprietress said it appeared to be near the end for Queen Elizabeth II. Indeed, as we enjoyed an excellent meal in the pub that evening, the barman called out: The Queen is dead. Long live the King.

Day 7: Walked 9 miles to Newburn, through a quaint little town called Heddon-on-the-Wall. We arrived in Heddon at noon, just as the church bells rang for the deceased Queen, along with the rest of the church bells in England, we were told. We lingered over lunch in the welcoming Three Tuns Pub until we were warm and (mostly) dry, then walked on to the Keelman’s Lodge, also on the Tyne River.

Lots of these fellows on the trail. This trekker, cleverly carrying his lodging with him, was spotted in Newcastle.

Day 8: Walked 12 miles on Hadrian’s Way (no longer called the Hadrian’s Wall Path in this stretch, since it doesn’t hew so closely to the remains of the wall), along the Tyne River through bustling Newcastle. We ate our packed lunch on a bench overlooking the many bridges. At mid-afternoon we reached Segedunum, the museum and fort marking the east end of the trail at Wallsend. After a bus ride back into Newcastle to pick up our bag from a local Stasher location, we boarded a train for Edinburgh, looking forward to a celebration dinner and a stroll on the Royal Mile–but that was not to be. In what was the only logistical hitch of the trip, we sat on the train for six hours as a rare rockslide was removed from the train tracks. We finally fell into our hotel bed about 1am, glad for a few hours of sleep before our flight back to DC the next morning.

Did you walk Hadrian’s Wall? How did it go? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments.

Thanks for reading, and by the way, I love comments. Bookmark for more on travel, minimalism, books, public transportation, and hikes. For daily postcards from, well, wherever we are, subscribe to

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