After knocking out on the plane and dropping off our bags at the hostel, we decided to do what any sane and sleepy individual would do – look for miles and miles of wall to admire.
Time/Location: August 26, 2014 – Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England (Northumberland)
- Breakfast @ Grainger Market
- Hadrian’s Wall
- Dinner @ Dabbawal
Breakfast @ Grainger Market
In anticipation of a long day at the walls (and of being sleepy), we went in search of food before catching our bus out to Hadrian’s Wall. Grainger Market is hodgepodge of clothes, food (ready to eat and raw produce), and tourist shops. It’s a little strange and not the most interesting to go through, but we found ourselves a nice cafe area and I ended up picking up a Cornish pastry @ the French Oven.
The real highlight of our day – the wall comparable to China’s great wall :).
How to get there:
- Go to the Newcastle Bus Station and buy yourself a combination ticket for the X84/85 and AD122. Also grab a timetable here.
- Hop on the X84 and take it all the way to end of the line
- Hop on the AD122, which takes you along the wall to different stops.
- Time things well – the bus only comes every hour or so, and you’ll need at least an hour (or more) per fort you see.
First stop: Chester’s Roman Fort
- Known for the baths, has 1 of 2 bridges that actually crosses the river
- Beautiful views of the river + fields, though it’s actually located on private property so you can’t explore too much
Second stop: Houstead’s Roman Fort
- Known for having the longest excavated wall
- Take more time for this fort – there is a pretty long hike up a hill to get to the fort in the first place, and the ruins/wall are pretty expansive. Enjoy the gorgeous countryside, w/ the rolling hills and sheep, but watch out for poop!
Pro Tip: Each stop you take = $$ that you have to pay to get in. There are several combination packages you can take advantage of, but it’s only worth buying if you visit more than 2 places. Be careful which places you choose as well; there is a difference between National Trust and English Heritage sites, and both of the organizations own different areas along the walls.
Dinner @ Dabbawal
We had a hard time finding a good place to eat, so we picked out something we hadn’t had in a long time, and enjoyed some Indian street food.
- Lentil soup
- Sweet potato chaat w/ chutney
- Lamb curry
Conclusion: Newcastle is a nice pit stop (considering the airport and closeness to Hadrian’s Wall) but not too much to see. People said the Quayside area was nice, though we didn’t get to see it. The city itself is quite pretty, and the architecture is open and interesting. We heard it’s a huge party city, to the point that there’s a “Geordie Shore” series, a knock off of Jersey Shore but w/o the working out, just the partying :P.