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I am trying to plan a 3-4 day hike along the Hadrian's Wall, so in particular I am trying to figure out:

  1. What is the most interesting part of the wall (best preserved and in the nicest setting I guess) that can be hiked in about 3 days (assuming moderate speed)?
  2. We will arrive by car. Where can we leave the car for the duration of the hike (so that it is easy to get back to it using public transport)?
  3. Is it possible to sleep on campsites on the way, or do we need to book B&B's?
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2 Answers 2

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I visited the wall last year. I didn't hike: we took the train to Newcastle, rented a car, drove across the country, spending a night at a B&B, and took the train back from Carlisle. There is bus service from Newcastle to Carlisle with stops quite close to the wall, so you can construct yourself a loop fairly easily. For example, you could take the bus to Haltwhistle and connect to a bus to Housesteads, a well-preserved bit of wall and fort. (We could have done it as a day trip but our English friends were all beyond shocked, as if we wanted to do a day trip to Antarctica, and we did have a 5 year old with us so we spread it over two days.)

I didn't go to Housesteads. I did go to a museum-y thing in Newcastle (Wallsend) and to Lanercost, where there's a lovely abbey and to Birdoswald which is very museumy. We also stopped at some random fragments like Heddon-on-the-wall. Here's a bit of the wall near Birdoswald.

Wall near Birdoswald

By the way, it was MUCH colder at Birdoswald than just a short way away at Lanercost Priory or in the town of Brampton. The wall runs along a ridge. Don't underestimate the warm clothing you'll need.

The National Trails site suggests it's a 7 day hike. The Wikipedia page breaks it into 6 segments which I expect are one day each. Chollerford to Carslile looks the most interesting 3-day stretch of that.

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My fiancé and I hiked the Wall last year. We took 9 days and walked the entire way, and we did a series of blog posts about it. I can't recommend this journey enough, it was amazing!

We were roughly following the trail laid out in the best book we could find on the path, which breaks it into 9 sections, and has tips on lodging and food at nearly every place along the way. Start your research here.

Chesters Fort

This is a pretty popular walk for Britons, so there are accommodations of all sorts all along the walk, from primitive camping to luxury hotels.

You could potentially park your car somewhere in Newcastle or Carlisle, and take the train or a bus back there on your last day. I don't know of any specific places, but both are sizable cities, and there should be safe parking near the train stations.

The absolute best parts of the wall are to be found near the Crags, right in the middle of the walk. The scenery is breathtaking, and this is a remote enough area that the stones weren't cannibalized for building castles and churches in the middle ages. Vindolanda is also near there, and it's both a well-funded museum of all things Roman and a live archaeological dig.

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