Recently my good friend Simon and I went up to Cumbria to visit Hadrian’s Wall and places of interest nearby. We planned to follow Hadrian’s Wall from Cumbria to the beginning of Northumberland. We deliberately missed out Carlisle Castle, as we felt that this would probably take up most of the time on our day trip and wanted to see as many places as possible. It was great weather and we set off at 07:45am, completing the drive from home to Lanercost Priory in about two and a half hours with a service station stop.
Before I write about Lanercost Priory and the other places we visited, I want to say that most places were well sign posted and on Google Maps (providing that you could get a mobile phone signal). Two things should be noted:
- Romans like to build things on the top of hills – so good mobility is required. Carparks are short or long up-hill walks from places of interest. Some places have free car parking whereas others you have to pay. Once you’ve paid for parking in one carpark, you are covered in most others using the same ticket. But I would still encourage you to check that you are covered with your ticket. If in doubt, ask English Heritage Staff who will be able to tell you.
- Most sites are looked after by English Heritage, with some places being free entry and other places being paid entry. English Heritage don’t do an all-day ticket that covers the admission fees to all charged places of interest that they run. So you have to pay per place, and this means that the cost can quickly add up.
1. Lanercost Priory
|Lanercost Priory is an architecturally beautiful Priory complete with traditional working church. The Priory’s beauty is increase by the sunlight.
Inside the church I didn’t take any photos out of respect. But in the centre of the room is a ginormous plane-glassed window which gives a superb view of the priory.
Essential Info and plenty of photos below:
- A Priory & Church. Priory dates back to the 13th century.
- Highly Recommended.
- Admission Fee: £4.60 with gift aid (£4.10 without)
- Opening Times: View Here
- Cafe: It has a Cafe but it is expensive, so avoid.
- Gift Shops: It has plenty of them which were overpriced.
2. Banks East Turret
Along Hadrian’s Wall at each Roman mile was either a Turret, Milecastle or Fort (written in order of size from smallest to largest).
|Bank East Turret gives a good indication of the width of Hadrian’s Wall, being approximately eight to nine feet wide. Hadrian’s Wall would have stood at sixteen to twenty feet tall, but unfortunately there is no place where the wall remains intact. People took it down to build smaller walls and other buildings sometime after Hadrian had built it.
Out of all the turret’s we came across, Banks East Turret is the Turret that had most to see. It has free admission and parking and has an exquisite view of the landscape.
Essential Info and photos of Banks East Turret are below:
From Banks East Turret we drove to Birdoswald Roman Fort. Along the road were a few tiny turrets that aren’t worth stopping for, just slow down the car and take a glance out of the window on the way past.
3. Birdoswald Roman Fort & Museum
At Birdoswald Roman Fort & Museum is were we saw Hadrian’s Wall at it’s tallest. It’s a good opportunity to get a good photo of the wall. It costs £6.80 with gift aid (£6.10 without gift aid) for entry to a tiny museum that we walked around in 5 minutes and is totally overpriced. It has a paid carpark, but the ticket can be used at other sites throughout the day. It has toilets and a reasonably priced Cafe. The place features foundations and although they are mildly impressive, they are nothing when compared to Vindoland Roman Fort & Museum.
Rather than paying for entry, you can walk around the outside of the fort for free and see the foundations over a small wooden fence. Below are Essential Info and photos:
- Remains of a Roman Fort, mostly foundations only.
- Cautiously Recommended: We would recommend walking around the outside of the Fort and looking in. Admission fee too expensive and not value for money.
- Admission Fee: £4.80 with gift aid (£6.10 without)
- Opening Times: View Here
- Car Parking: Paid, but can use ticket across other sites throughout the day.
- Cafe: Reasonably priced. Well worth stopping here for a drink and cake.
- Gift Shops: One small gift shop.
In Part 2, I’ll be writing about and sharing more photos of: Bridge Over River Irthing, Milecastle 48, Poltross Burns Milecastle, Walltown Quary & Vindoland Roman Fort & Museum.