England is compact and getting to Hadrian's Wall is relatively straightforward thanks to great public transport networks – choosing where to start is the difficult part! Unless you're walking the full coast-to-coast trail, there are various starting points depending on how much time you have and the historical sites you want to see. The easiest place to start is Newcastle in the east or Carlisle in the west, as these cities are well connected to the rest of the UK and Europe by road, train, bus and air.
If you're self-driving, you’ll need to exit onto the A69 road which runs east to west between Carlisle and Newcastle. You can drive to Newcastle on the A1 motorway or to Carlisle on the M6, both of which connect the Midlands in the south to the Scottish border in the north.
If you don't fancy driving, the coach is an affordable option. The National Express and Megabus run daily coach services to Newcastle and Carlisle from many cities in the UK including London, Manchester and Leeds. You can then take the Tyne Valley Railway or 685 bus to travel into the heart of Hadrian’s Wall region (but more on that later).
The train is more expensive than the coach, but it's quicker. You can jump on a train to Newcastle or Carlisle from London, Birmingham and Newport in the south, and Glasgow and Edinburgh in the north. Once you’re in Newcastle or Carlisle, you can transfer to the Hadrian's Wall Line operated by Northern Rail, which services several towns and villages on the outskirts of Northumberland National Park. You can't see much of the wall from the train, but you'll catch glimpses from the window every now and then.
You can also take Tyne Valley Railway which connects Newcastle and Carlisle via Brampton, Haltwhistle and Hexham stations which skirt some of the popular sections of Hadrian's Wall. Visit the National Rail for current information on routes and fares.
Newcastle is the closest airport to Hadrian’s Wall with many domestic and international flight routes. However, if you’re travelling from Dublin, Belfast City or London Southend, you can also fly into Lake District Airport and transfer to Carlisle via bus or train.
The best way to explore Hadrian’s Wall is on foot along the Hadrian’s Wall Path. This way, you'll see more historical sites and the most preserved sections of the wall up close. You can also cycle on Hadrian’s Cycleway; however, you’ll need to dismount and hike to see the wall and its surrounding landmarks.
If you don’t fancy walking the full 73 miles (it's a fair distance!), the local bus is a great option. You can hop on and off the hourly 685 bus service that runs from Newcastle to Carlisle via the most popular places in the Hadrian’s Wall region.
There’s also the AD122 Hadrian’s Wall Country Bus (not-so-coincidently, the bus number is the year Hadrian’s Wall was built), which runs from Hexham Bus Station to Haltwhistle Rail Station via the main attractions along Hadrian's Wall, including the Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre.
AD122 Hadrian’s Wall Country Bus route:
Hexham Rail Station
Chesters Roman Fort
Housesteads Roman Fort
Once Brewed (for Steel Rigg)
Roman Army Museum
Walltown and Greenhead
Please note the AD122 bus is a seasonal service that operates from spring (usually around the Easter period) through early autumn.
Our Hadrian’s Wall tours