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How to visit Hadrian's Wall while traveling by train Edinburgh to London?

We will travel by train Edinburgh to London but would love to stop and see anything of the wall that we can, and still get to London by evening. Can you please advise us on how to book our train tickets (meaning, where should we get off?), and what sites would be easy to get to from train station? (by taxi or even walking! would rather not rent a car or hire a guide b/c of budget.) But if anyone has a fantastic plan involving a guide or car, we are open to those suggestions too. We just need to start the morning in Edinburgh and end in London by evening! Thanks so much.

Posted by
841 posts

An option, get off Newcastle and take local train to Hexham.
Get a taxi to Chesters fort its only about 4 miles away.

Its approx 40 mins journey time to Hexham and trains run about every 45mins each way

Or between April and Oct, the AD 122 bus runs Hexham-Chesters and beyond

Posted by
87 posts

What time of year will you be there? In past years, from Easter to October you could break the Edinburgh-to-London train trip at Newcastle and take the Northern Line train from Newcastle to Haltwhistle or Hexham, then catch the AD122 bus which connects the Hadrian's Wall sights with the train stations in Haltwhistle and Hexham. We did this a few years ago and were able to see both the Vindolanda and the Housesteads sites along the wall during one day, and then return to Newcastle to catch the London train. Both Vindolanda and Housesteads were excellent stops; Vindolanda for its incredible museum, and Housesteads for its iconic view of the wall. The AD122 bus access is described in Rick's current England guidebook.

The website at http://www.visithadrianswall.co.uk/ has a link to the AD122 bus but at the moment it's not working; I hope that is just because the bus doesn't run at this time of year, and not an indication that it has been discontinued. When the link it working, it gives detailed schedules for the AD122 bus which are essential to know for your planning purposes since you would need to make appropriate train connections with the bus.

Posted by
35 posts

Thanks for the help! I am now wondering if it would be best to rent a car to get our family from Edinburgh to London. We really want to see several sites on the wall, and it sounds like we would be hopping from one form of transit to another. Wondering if parking is easy at the sites? I really like to list you gave of ones to visit!

Posted by
3661 posts

Once you start talking about renting a car, the cost of a guide driving you may become more feasible. You'll just have to do the numbers.

Last May, I stayed in Haltwhistle and had Peter Carney tote me around. I was his only customer that day and he did what I wanted to do and threw in a couple of extras he thought I should do. It was a very enjoyable and educational day. Go to the link to see if he could arrange something for you from the east end of the wall. BTW, at about 75 miles, it's not all that long, or that far by car from one end to the other.

Based on my experience in early May, parking was easy every place we went except Durham. But not knowing when you will be traveling, it could be very crowded.

Posted by
35 posts

Thank you, we will look up Peter Carney. I haven't researched cost of renting a car--I am concerned that the logistics will be above our skill level! ;-) A guide would be nice, although starting at Edinburgh and dropping us in London might not be on anyone's list. But any advice you can give us about best stops would be great. Thank y'all so much!

Posted by
2109 posts

The most practicable way would be to hire a car from Edinburgh, drive through Northumberland, see the Wall, then return the car in Newcastle for the train down to London.

https://www.virgintrainseastcoast.com/

A journey entailing trains from Edinburgh to Hexham, a bus to the Wall, a bus back to Hexham, then onward to Newcastle and London might be possible but would need careful planning. It certainly doesn't allow you the freedom of option 1.

Posted by
1878 posts

Edinburgh to London is over 400 miles and seven hours according to Google maps. (Think San Jose, CA to L.A., or almost that far). Not sure about drop fees, but you should check into it before committing. If you could splice in an extra day part way and near the wall, renting a car there, that would be better. Then return the car and take the train the rest of the way. The train along this route is a very very efficient way to cover a long distance.

Posted by
3661 posts

I noticed on Peter Carney's website that he will do a Newcastle pickup, for an extra fee, of course. So another option would be to train from Edinburgh to Newcastle. Do a Carney tour from Newcastle and back. Then on to London from Newcastle. I certainly wouldn't want to drive to any lodging in London.

If you decided to do that, you'd need to figure out what to do with your luggage. Check it at Newcastle? See if there's room in the boot for it?

BTW, Rome2rio says it's about 1.5 hours by train from Edinburgh to Newcastle and about 2.75 hours from Newcastle to London. Those would be rough estimates assuming no glitches. If you're a fan of the TV series, Vera, you'll be able to see the bridges on the Tyne that are so often seen in the show.