I'm struggling with how (or whether) to manage to squeeze a short stop at Hadrian's Wall into an already over-sheduled trip to the UK.
Rick seems to recommend the bits of it near Once and Twice Brewed (and I'm tempted to go there if only to get the t-shirt and/or take a selfie with the town signs), but our time is very tight. We will be driving north from Durham through Newcastle upon Tyne, and even the relatively short detour west to the wall around the recommended area is hard for me to justify, especially given the trade-offs and context (if we spend a portion of a day doing this, we have to drop something else, and those cuts are painful).
Personally, I love heaps of historic rocks, even when they aren't terribly impressive by themselves visually. But I worry that my dear wife, who tolerates a lot of my crazy travel priorities, will be expecting The Great Wall Of England (or The Great Wall Of Scotland, depending on which side you're standing on), and will just give me That Look when we show up and gaze upon it. After all, I will be dragging her through a good chunk of the UK, and leading her through stone circles, barrows, bombed out husks of old cathedrals, ruins of abbeys, cairns, and all sorts of piles of rocks that without some explanation, one could easily interpret as just some farmer's effort to clean up his field. There's a good chance she's going to stare at the better-restored parts of Hadrain's Wall and turn to me and ask, "OK, so where is it?" despite my efforts to prepare her for its subtleties.
To my point: on our very short trip to the UK, I'm thinking that the several-hours-long detour to the best parts of the wall isn't worth the time it would cost us. I figure if the best part isn't going to wow us, and if it's really going to end up just being a "OK, we can check that off our list" experience anyway, is there a lesser part of the historic wall that's a lot closer to the A1? Close enough for just a quick stop - even if it's now just some chain-link fence in a Tesco parking lot with a plaque ("on this spot once stood...")?
I know, I feel like a creep even considering this, but I have a sneaking suspicion that some folks make the trek out to Hadrian's Wall and secretly think to themselves, "that's it? hmmm...maybe I should've spend the afternoon in Harrods..." (I know you're out there, though few Ricknics would openly admit it here). And for the record, we do have some time scheduled for her to visit Harrods, so it's not entirely about rocks and ruins all the time (just a lot of it).