Just a two-minute stroll from the back door of Holmhead on Hadrian’s Wall are the spectacular remains
of Thirlwall Castle and from the back gate at Holmhead, you step directly on to two National Trails; The Hadrian’s Wall Path and The Pennine Way.
Just over half a mile east along the trail is The Roman Army Museum – with many interesting displays and a 3D film – where you can immerse yourself in the life of a Roman soldier.
About 7 miles along the trail, or a short car or bus journey will get you to Roman Vindolanda the only place on Hadrian’s Wall to see archaeologists at work uncovering Roman life before your eyes! In the museum, you can see The Vindolanda Tablets. Voted Britain’s Top Treasure – these precious postcards from the past have been preserved by history to be rediscovered by you today.
Ten miles east on the Hadrian’s Wall trail is Housesteads-the most complete Roman fort in Britain. Set where Hadrian’s Wall climbs to the top of a dramatic escarpment, there are some stunning views to enjoy from the walls of this ancient fortress. At the other end of the dramatic central section of the Hadrian’s Wall Trail-about 15 miles away is Chesters. Built almost 2000 years ago to house a Roman army garrison guarding the nearby bridgeacross the River Tyne, Chesters Roman Fort is the best preserved Roman cavalry fort in Britain.
Walking west from Holmhead Cottage on Hadrian’s Wall, the terrain is a little gentler and within 3 miles, you can visit the remains of the milecastle at Poltross Burn. A little further and you an see the remains of the original Roman bridge which crossed the River Irthing at Willowford. Nearby is one of the longest continuous stretches of remaining wall-just after Birdoswald -the remains of an extensive Roman Fort.
About 10 miles west on the trail is the beautiful setting for Lanercost Priory– an Augustinian monastery founded in 1169 and which has witnessed a wild and turbulent past. It is an Anglican church and regular services are still held in the Priory, as they have been for almost 850 years.
All the major Roman sites along Hadrian’ s Wall are accessible on the AD122 bus – a service which runs from Easter to late October. Use the service to reach the attractions or simply to make your return journey after a walk along the Wall. The AD122 stops in the centre of Greenhead-just half a mile from Holmhead.