Housesteads Roman Fort featuring stairs on the left and center, stone ruins left of the stairs and towards the back of the photo.

Housesteads Roman Fort from above (Tamala Malerk)

Stretched across 73 miles of land mostly filled with sheep, is Hadrian’s Wall, an Ancient Roman fortification that dates back almost 2000 years. The most adventurous of outdoors people can hike and camp along the Hadrian’s Wall Path. Non-adventurous types, like me, can follow Google Maps in a car and check out various sites along the wall.

My spouse and I stopped at several spots that were closed or just completely covered in mud and water and currently un-walkable before we made our way to Housesteads, the most complete Roman fort in Britain.

Housesteads Roman Fort is located in Hexham and has a parking lot on-site for ease of travelers, but you still have quite the uphill hike to the actual fort and museum. It’s worth the hike. The museum features a seven-minute introductory video to tell you about the fort and the Roman army. Kids can play dress-up in the museum and dress up as soldiers. Families as a whole can enjoy the few Roman artifacts onsite. Outside, be careful when walking around the fort; it can be slippery.

Sign featuring a small area map with a red star noting where patrons can find Twice Brewed Inn which reads “you are here.”

Twice Brewed Inn Sign ()

Twice Brewed Inn is just down the road from Housesteads and you will definitely want to stop in for some food and a pint (or two) after walking around the fort. My spouse loved the steak and ale pie, and I went a bit lighter with a delectable brie, bacon and cranberry toasty, which I followed up with their cherry cheesecake. All three meals I can recommend. They do beer flights and tastings for those who drink, and my husband now has a new favorite t-shirt featuring the brewery.

Turkey, Brie and Bacon Sandwich with Fries

Turkey, Brie and Bacon Sandwich with Fries (Tamala Malerk)

Sycamore Gap Tree is just down the road from Housesteads Roman Fort. You can walk the few miles from the Roman Fort to the area, or you can drive a mile to the carpark from the Twice Brewed Inn. No matter which path you choose, I recommend fueling up before you go. We chose to drive to the carpark. The tree was 15 meters tall and unfortunately, it was discovered that the tree had fallen, or was possibly cut down, in September 2023. It was the most photographed area in the Northumberland National Park. Even without the tree, however, the path is worth the walk. It is treacherous though. We had to climb up wet medieval stones, and even the flat part of the path was, in true English fashion, wet and muddy. My arms and legs were sore that night as someone who doesn’t climb on a regular basis.

Writer in center of photo. They are wearing a long black winter coat, beanie and scarf. They are surrounded by muddy grass and slippery stones.

Walking to Sycamore Tree Gap ()

Good to Know: If, like me, you are visiting numerous English Heritage sites such as Housesteads, it may benefit you to purchase an annual membership or an overseas visitors pass, even if you aren’t staying for a long time. A joint annual membership for myself and my spouse costs 120 pounds per year and includes admission to 400 sites across Europe, free parking at sites with car parks, free admission for up to six kids per adult and free or reduced admission to special events at the sites. An overseas visitors’ pass covers admission to over 100 sites and costs 90 pounds for 9 days for both of us. My spouse and I visited Housesteads (40 pounds for both of us), and Stonehenge (46 pounds for both), along with one or two other sites. The visitors’ pass would have covered the costs for just those first two visits.

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Tamala Malerk is a writer and editor with Stars and Stripes Europe. She has been with SSE since April 2022 writing articles all about travel, lifestyle, community news, military life and more. In May 2022, she earned her Ph.D. in History and promises it is much more relevant to this job than one might think.

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