Although the weather wasn’t perfect I decided to head on up to Northumberland anyway. It was a rather dull, cool, dreary day but I had been promising myself this trip for ages and so off I went. It took me about an hour to drive from my home in Richmond, North Yorkshire up the A68 to Corbridge. From there I followed the A69 in the direction of Carlisle, passing Hexham and eventually turning right and up through the village of Wall and on to Vindolanda. Overall the journey took me about an hour and a half. I arrived at 11.30 am.
I paid my £10 entrance fee, bought a guide book £3.99 and then sat in the reception area and did some reading before setting off to explore the site. I was particularly interested in the reconstruction of a section of wall and turret which has been built to show what the original wall may have been like. There is also a reconstruction in timber too. The museum at the bottom of the hill is excellent and contains examples of the incredible writing tablets discovered at the bottom of a bonfire which the Romans had used to burn rubbish. Fortunately hundreds survived the fire and provide an amazing insight into life at Vindolanda.
I walked back to my car for lunch at 1.30 pm and then returned to go on the guided tour at 2 pm. The gentleman ( called Mike ) who took us round did a great job explaining the history of the place and pointing out all of the key areas. I am glad I stayed for this. Most informative.
I left at 3.15 pm and drove the seven miles to the Roman Army Museum. Entrance to this was included with my ticket. Although it is fairly small the museum is excellent. Superb displays and several excellent film shows about life in the Roman Army and Hadrian’s Wall.
By 5 pm I was ready to head for home. I had thoroughly enjoyed my day out in the wilds of Northumberland. I didn’t have time to walk along the wall or visit any of the other sites. In fact I could have spent longer here. Vindolanda and The Roman Army Museum requires a full day to do it justice.
Next time I will be visiting Housteads and walking along a section of the wall too but I’m going to pick a nice sunny day in the summer.
Find out more about life in Ancient Rome by booking a Roman Workshop Day for your school.