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Short side trip to Hadrian's Wall

We are driving from Edinburgh to York during our trip to the United Kingdom. We will be leaving Edinburgh around 9am and would like to be to York around 4pm. I want to stop at Hadrian's Wall and am trying to decide between Housteads Roman Fort or Vindolanda with a possible short walk from Steel Rig toward Sycamore Gap. I will be traveling with my two teenage daughters so need to avoid historical site overload.

Posted by
3392 posts

You can easily do have plenty of time.

Posted by
5678 posts

I like Housteads. It's got a small museum and then you walk up this hill to this great fort. When I visited the remnants of US hurricane was sending fairly frequent showers across the north, and I will always remember huddling down with my umbrella near the officer's latrine. :) Have you explored this website? I also Chesters which was a bit smaller than Housteads and so might appeal to your teens. It's great to do even a short walk of the wall.

Posted by
6670 posts

We visited Housesteads and Vindolanda the same day with no trouble, but as a day trip from Durham. They're close together but are very different places. Housesteads is on the wall itself, ruins of a fort with a very (as I recall) small museum. Vindolanda is a mile or so south of the wall, ruins of a good-sized town with a much larger (though not oversized) excellent museum. Housesteads is better for scenery, the feel of the wall itself, and enough sheep to put you to sleep if you tried to count them (don't). Vindolanda is better for understanding what life was like, what was going on, etc. Nothing like examining a pair of 1800-year-old sandals to connect you with the past.

So my suggestion -- take the girls to Housesteads and see how interested they get in the history, then to Vindolanda if they're up for it.

The Via Michelin website estimates about 4 1/2 hours driving between Edinburgh and York on the A!, a fast road, and that's probably an underestimate of the time. With only about 3 hours leeway you may have trouble experiencing the wall as you'd want to, but it's worth a try.

Posted by
16894 posts

Looks like you've had some relevant advice. Houstead's fort is well worth the visit. I also looked at some driving times through and got Edinburgh-Vindolanda = 3 hours and Vindolanda-York = 2.5 hours.