As with most things travel these days I saw a picture on Instagram from someone I was following-I think it was North Idaho dad-shortly before we visited England in August and I immediately added a place called “Hadrian’s Wall“to our itinerary because of the curious ancient rocky rubble and sheep-filled hillsides that looked quite unlike anything I imagined our trip to England would be. I had booked our trip last minute and I was only thinking about London with its scones, tea, platform 9 and 3/4’s, giant toy stores and maybe waving at the queen. I forgot about England’s bigger picture-the vast history that came before all this. And I love how as we visited the country we became enthralled in story upon story of histories of things we love in our daily lives. (We visited pottery factories, a football museum, Shakespeare’s house and Edinburgh too.)
Hadrian’s wall is about a 5 hour drive from London and we visited a section of the wall called Houstead’s Roman Fort on our drive between York and Edinburgh (Almost right in the middle of another 5 hour drive) and we explored the site for quite a few hours. We ate lunch and visited the little museum at this site before we hiked over to see the ruins. It was quite windy even in August and you can see we were thankful for the warm layers we packed.
But it is such a magical place. The kids loved learning about the ancient ruins and “flying” on the wind that blustered over the grassy hills in giant puffs that seemingly lifted them off their feet.
This wall goes on for miles and miles and we tried to follow it for a little while but we were worried about going too far and getting stuck in dark wet weather. We had a lot of stormy weather for a few days on this trip in August. Thankfully we had good light when we snapped a family picture here. (This one even made it on our Christmas card!)
I’d love to go back and hike the whole 84-mile route one day. I think we all fell in love with this beautiful place.
And it’s incredible that even though this wasn’t an amusement park or a fancy entertainment stop, we all think of this place as one of our favorites on our England trip. I know when I shared this place on Instagram, a lot of people talked about it fondly and maybe a few wrote it down for their upcoming England trips, just like I did after seeing a pic from North Idaho Dad.
And maybe one day we’ll go back. I totally hope so! And many next time we’ll see a different part of the wall.
Have you ever had an unexpected stop that became the highlight of your trip? Or maybe have you been to Hadrian’s Wall? I’d love to hear! (Especially if you’ve done some of the 84 mile route!)