Monday, November 28, 2011

Visiting Hadrian's Wall

Visiting Hadrian's Wall

by IanSmith

You don't need to study history to realise that the Roman Empire spread far and wide in its heyday. Not everyone however realises that there remains today a remarkable remnant of how far they got in the UK.The Romans lived and worked in the far north of England. What is left is known as Hadrian's Wall.

A holiday in the north of England would not be complete without a visit to Hadrian's Wall. Before explaining where to find this incredible construction it is worth taking a moment to put it into perspective.

Hadrian's Wall has been standing for 1800 years, built by the Romans not only to defend themselves against Scottish attacks but also to make it plain they were there to stay.It might be hard to believe now but the Roman Empire stretched from Iraq to the North of England, which is around two thousand five hundred miles.

Built by hand the wall was named after Emperor Hadrian and it took over twenty thousand workers including slaves as well as soldiers to build it totally by hand. It covers over 70 miles from beyond Carlisle in the west to Wallsend in the east, which is beyond Newcastle.Th wall was left to rot by the Romans when their empire began to decay in 383AD, but by then it had been occupied for a remarkable 250 years.

Go to Hexham, north of Newcastle to find the best maintained 10 mile section of the Wall. By the way this part of Hadrian's Wall is the UK's largest classical ruin, and one of northern Europe's most impressive antiquity sites.

If you really enjoy history then stay at the Langley Castle Hotel. It's not quite as old, nevertheless it is over 750 years old, with the turrets, seven foot thick walls, spiral staircases, and stained glass windows to wonder at. It has its own history having again been built to control the aggressive Scots.

Ancient Roman forts should also be on your itinerary and are easy to visit to give you some idea of how the Romans lived. It is really difficult to believe that where you now see sheep grazing on and around the wall that it was once a real hive of military activity. If you are visiting Northumberland you must go to Hadrian's Wall.

As a last thought the Roman tried to build and hold a wall in Scotland called St Antonines Wall but it was undefendable.