I studied Classics as an undergraduate, and it’s still one of my true loves. Give me some Greek myths or a bit of Roman history and I’m happy. My focus has always been on the literature and history, rather than architecture and archaeology, but I do love me a good ruin. So when we happened to be just minutes away from Hadrian’s Wall when staying in Newcastle this weekend, I couldn’t resist the chance to check it out.
Roman Britain has never captured my imagination the way that Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece have; it always seemed a bit bleak and cold (which I think it probably was) and rather than poison rooms, incest and intrigue, the history we learnt about our more direct ancient ancestors was mostly just warring with the Scots and painting ourselves blue. So far, so very British, right? That said, there are some impressive ruins and landmarks in the UK; the Roman Palace at Fishbourne was one of my favourite ever school trips.
I wouldn’t say that Hadrian’s Wall joins the ranks of the most exciting day trips you can take; what was once probably a pretty impressive wall is now more of a pile of old stones (or at least, it was in the section that we saw). That said, there is always a bit of a thrill knowing that people have been standing where you stood for almost 2000 years. It’s no mean feat to build something that lasts that long, so it does deserve a bit of reverence. It’s supposed to be an amazing walk to follow the whole thing, although at 174 miles it was a bit much to contemplate on a slight post-wedding hangover!
After the obligatory posed photo, we wandered back to Heddon-on-the-Wall for a drink and eventually back to our cottage for a slap up roast dinner cooked by yours truly – so all in all, it was a rather cosy and wholesome day. And that’s one more thing ticked off the bucket list! Are there any places that you’d really like to see in the UK? I’m still yet to visit the Roman Baths in, well, Bath, and I’d love to do the Harry Potter train journey.