What To See In Newcastle: Hadrian’s Wall, And The Borders

During this stage of our road trip through England and Scotland, we are traveling from Newcastle to Edinburgh. If you are wondering what to see in Newcastle, plenty of options exist!

In between, we passed Hadrian’s Wall and noticed some similarities between another famous wall with the history of this one. After a few kilometers, we cross the border and are already in Scotland.

We are starting to feel like the weather has gone crazy (rain, sunshine, rain, sun, clouds, etc.). In this area called “The Borders,” we visit Jedburgh Abbey and Melrose Abbey and finally arrive in Edinburgh around 5 p.m.

What To See In Newcastle In The Morning?

During the morning in Newcastle, we visited the two cathedrals, the castle and the Grey Street area (where the new and old area’s mix).

As usual, we got up very early to take advantage of the weather and found the castle closed.

St. Nicholas Cathedral

In Newcastle, one of the cathedrals near the castle is St. Nicholas Cathedral.

This building was constructed between the 14th and 15th centuries. And what is most striking is the tower, which was once used as a lighthouse!

So when you see a tower with such a distinctive shape, it has most likely been used as a lighthouse.

newcastle cathedral

The cathedral opens at 7 AM and is free of charge.

Newcastle Castle

The Newcastle Castle, although its name might lead us to believe it is a new castle, dates back to the 12th century.

What happened is that it was built on the ruins of the previous castle, which dates back to 1080, and the habit of calling it Newcastle (new castle) stuck.

What we can see of the castle that day was not much. The Black Gate from the 13th century has been preserved, as well as some interior buildings such as a chapel.

castle newcastle

The castle opens at 9:30 AM from Tuesday to Sunday.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria: A Beautiful Place to See in Newcastle

St. Mary’s Cathedral or St. Mary’s. St. Mary’s is the Catholic Cathedral of Newcastle, and it is located in front of the train station.

It was built by one of the most famous Victorian architects of the time, the same one who designed the interior of the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. Admission is free of charge.

st mary's cathedral newcastle

Grey Street: Neighborhood to Visit in Newcastle

Grey Street is the one that connects the old neighborhood with the new one. It is a beautiful area, and it feels like you are strolling through a city from the 1920s.

At the beginning of this street is the Grey Monument, a recognized figure from the 18th century who advocated for peace.

It is a column about 40 meters high with the statue of Charles Grey on top. It was sculpted by the same sculptor who made the statue of Nelson in Trafalgar Square, Edward Hodges Baily.

grey street newcastle

Adjacent to the monument is Grainger Market. It is the most popular market in Newcastle and opened in 1835.

Another area I really liked is the Quayside, where we had dinner the previous night, and you can also see the different bridges of the city.

Touring Hadrian’s Wall: A Must-See Close to Newcastle

Hadrian’s Wall is approximately 120 kilometers long and was used for over 250 years as a defense against the “free men.”

It was used to defend the northern frontier of the British Roman Empire from the Scots, who were never conquered by the Romans.

Newcastle - adriano wall

Along these 120 kilometers, there were towers, castles, and everything necessary to defend the empire from coast to coast.

You can visit the wall as part of your road trip or on a guided tour from Edinburgh.

Heddon on the Wall

We made several stops along the road following the wall.

But the places we liked the most were Heddon on the Wall and the Temple of Mithras, even though we did not have them on our list. We saw a parking lot in the middle of nowhere with a payment machine for parking, and we decided to stop. There was a path that led us to the temple.

Newcastle - Adriano Wall

Housesteads Roman Fort

But the most interesting, from my point of view, is Housesteads Roman Fort. It is the most complete Roman fort in Britain.

Construction began about 1900 years ago as a fortress on the frontier of the Roman Empire. Today known as Hadrian’s Wall, it is declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. You can join a group tour here.

At Housesteads Roman Fort, there are spectacular views, and you can explore the ruins on your own or join guided tours that depart at different times and are free of charge.

Newcastle - Hadrian's Wall

The recommended way to visit the museum is first to see the museum and the explanatory video (in English) and then see the outside. It is fascinating and a way to learn about the history of the country you are visiting.

Another curious thing we saw during our walk along Hadrian’s Wall was the number of people walking along it with backpacks on their shoulders as if they were on a pilgrimage. Make sure you wear a good pair of walking shoes during your visit!

In some cases, you would see large groups or entire families, but most of the time, you would see single people, couples, parents, and children.

newcastle - adriano wall

We saw that there was a way to do it on foot, but they often went along the edge of the road.

As we could not remain in doubt, we asked, and they told us that it was traditional to walk along Hadrian’s Wall, and in this way, they learned about their own history.

After we visit Hadrian’s Wall, we head towards The Borders, the region located on the Scottish side of the border.

Where to Stay in Newcastle

Choose a place that corresponds to your interests and intended experiences, considering aspects such as closeness to attractions, dining alternatives, and the ambiance you seek. Find accommodations in Newcastle here.

The city center is convenient for attractions, shopping, restaurants, and nightlife. Quayside has beautiful river views and a lively environment. Jesmond is a popular residential neighborhood with Victorian homes and a laid-back atmosphere.

More to See from Newcastle to Edinburgh: The Borders

In the Borders, we only visited Jedburg Abbey and Melrose Abbey, as we saw that we could get to Edinburgh Castle in time.

This area, which honestly deserves a longer visit because it is very beautiful, seems like it’s straight out of a fairy tale.

Small villages surrounded by lush greenery everywhere you look, majestic churches and abbeys now in ruins, stately homes, and castles – that is what you will find in The Borders. No doubt you have to be around for more than a day or two.

newcastle - jedburg

Jedburgh Abbey

This medieval abbey is in ruins. Only the skeleton remains. It was founded in 1138 and has always been linked to royalty; King Alexander III was married here.

Before entering Jedburg Abbey, visit the museum. We visited the gardens after touring the abbey.

newcastle - jedburg abbey

Entrance is included in the Explorer Pass.

Melrose Abbey

Melrose is a charming village surrounded by mountains. On the outskirts is Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott, a famous writer of historical novels (1771-1832).

We visited Melrose Abbey, one of medieval times’ largest and wealthiest abbeys. Still today, we can see sculptures of saints, demons, and the famous pig playing the bagpipe among its ruins.

Here is buried King Alexander II and the heart of Robert of Bruce.

newcastle - melrose

Entrance is included in the Explorer Pass, open from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM.

After this intense and diverse day, we arrive in Edinburgh. We checked in and explored the city, but I will tell you about this in a future post, focusing solely on Edinburgh.

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