How to Explore Hadrian's Wall by Tyne & Wear Metro

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How to Explore Hadrian's Wall by Tyne & Wear Metro

5 Reasons to try this day out 
  • It's inexpensive 
  • No booking required 
  • Easily accessible by public transport 
  • A full day out for all ages 
  • Suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs 

Hadrian's Wall on Tyneside 

Three Museums. Two Forts. One Wall (& One Epic Day Out). 

If you are looking for a low-cost full day out with hands-on activities where you may learn a thing or two as you help celebrate 1900 years since the building of Hadrian's Wall, this post is for you. 

Hadrian's Wall is an exciting World Heritage Site and people travel from all over the world to visit and learn about it's history. We are so lucky to have it on our doorstep. 

This post will share how you can enjoy and learn about Hadrian's Wall across three Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums venues in one day.

Segedunum Roman Fort & Museum, Great North Museum: Hancock and Arbeia Roman Fort are all within easy walking distance of a Metro Station and are easy to visit together in one day. 

They will offer a real understanding about the history of Hadrian's Wall with activities, a chance to see real artefacts and re-constructions and easy to digest information boards. 

With new and permanent exhibitions and a range of exciting events planned across the year, this day out is perfect for all ages from tots to teens and it's a day out that adults will enjoy too rather than it being 'just for kids'. 

Find out more about Hadrian's Wall on Tyneside here:

An Accessible Day Out 

This day out is accessible for wheelchair users, pushchairs and people with additional needs. Please read the guides below for more information. 

Travel with Tyne and Wear Metro

We travelled with Tyne and Wear Metro for this day out and it was super easy. We covered a lot of ground and it was both quicker and much less hassle jumping on a train than navigating traffic / finding parking spaces and travelling over the Tyne by car. 

All of the venues we visited were within easy walking distance of a Metro Station. We took advantage of the free parking at Wallsend Metro Station at the start of our day out but it would be just as easy to start your journey by bus or train if you don't live close to a station. 

Many Metro Stations are part of a wider transport hub with multiple travel connections. 

Pop Pay As You Go with Google Pay 

You can now pay for Metro journeys with Google Pay on Android. I used this method and it was quick and convenient (simply tap your phone in and out of each station) with no fears about losing your ticket/queuing for a machine. It automatically charges the correct fare for you. 

You save 85p on a paper day ticket when you use Pop Pay As You Go (Google Pay or Plastic Smart Card). If you are an infrequent Metro user like me, it is 100% worth downloading a Pop Card to your phone in advance. Even if you just use the Metro once a month or for days out like I do, you'll make a good saving across the year. 

You can top up online or in the station. Find out more / check set up instructions here. 

Kids Go Free 

Up to three under 11s travel for free with every fare paying adult. They don't need a ticket / to be added to yours. The saving is instant & automatic. If you need to go through a gated station, simply use a wide-access gate, there are stickers showing you the way. We did this with Jack (who is 11) and it worked really well without a hitch. 

Find out more about Kids Go Free here. 

What About Teens? 

Harry (15) and Dee (12) don't qualify for the 'kids go free' offer. For them, we purchased a child day ticket which is suitable for young people aged 12-15 and allows unlimited travel on Metro, Shields Ferry and Local Rail Services (Sunderland to Newcastle) for £1.50 each. I honestly thought this was a really good price. 

We don't live in Tyne and Wear, but if we did, I'd apply for a Junior Blue Pop Card for them which offers a further discounted fare. 

Proud mam moment as I noticed Harry was watching a video about Roman History in Britain on the Metro as we travelled between venues. 

Our Itinerary 

I would recommend checking each venue's website for up-to-date opening hours when making your own plan. You could visit the venues in any order depending on where is a convenient starting point for you and don't need to follow our exact itinerary.

We enjoyed this day out on a Sunday which meant that some of the venues had slightly reduced opening hours. It was easy enough to plan in advance though. 

Our itinerary was as follows: 

  1. 10am - Visit Segedunum Roman Fort in Wallsend. No need to book, admission charges apply for adults. Under 16s and those living in an NE28 postcode are free (see their website for pricing info). 

  2. 11:30am - Catch the Metro from Wallsend Metro Station to Monument Station in Newcastle (or change from Monument to Haymarket). 

  3. 12noon - Visit Great North Museum: Hancock including lunch in the cafe (there is also an indoor picnic area available during school holidays or you can use the grass/benches outside). Free to visit, no need to book. 

  4. 1:30pm - Catch the Metro from Haymarket to South Shields. 

  5. 2pm - Visit Arbeia Roman Fort. Free to visit, no need to book and also dog-friendly. 

  6. 3pm - Catch the Metro from South Shields to Monument then Monument to Wallsend OR you could catch the Shields Ferry from South Shields to North Shields then catch the Metro from North Shields to Wallsend. 

We have visited Tyne & Wear Museums a lot over the years and know them well. On this trip, we mostly only visited the new/Hadrian's Wall exhibitions. It would be very easy to spend longer and enjoy some of the other exhibitions and galleries they have have on offer at each venue but I'd struggle to spend any less time than we did today. 

It's a tiring but very interesting day. We all really enjoyed ourselves. 

Wallsend Metro Station to Segedunum Roman Fort - 3 minute walk 

Haymarket Metro Station to Great North Museum: Hancock - 5 minute walk 

South Shields Metro Station to Arbeia Roman Fort - 13 minute walk

Visiting Segedunum Roman Fort  

Metro Station: Wallsend 

Hadrian's Wall Events at Segedunum (check website for further info):
  • Building the Wall Exhibition (until 1 October)
  • 11 April - Design Your Own Roman Boots (included with admission - drop in activity)
  • 18 April - Design Your Own Roman Dagger (included with admission - drop in activity) 
  • 18 April - Meet Victor the Veteran and learn about life as a Roman Soldier (included with admission - drop in activity) 

We have a real soft spot for Segedunum and although we have visited many, many times, we always find out something new on every visit. We didn't explore the full museum today so please do read my full guide to visiting here.

Don't miss the small children's playground overlooking the fort if you visit on a nice day or a trip to the viewing tower for the best views of the Tyne, Fort & beyond. 

The Roman Gallery on the ground floor is always worth a visit. Here you will find lots of interactive fun including the chance to be a Roman doctor, Roman dress up and a chance to try lifting and building like a Roman. 

Here is Harry explaining to Steve how the Roman Empire finally collapsed with the help of this map too. 

We discovered that Steve wouldn't make the cut as a cavalryman in the Roman Army. 

All of these activities were a fun introduction to our day. 

Then we popped upstairs to 'Building the Wall' which is a brand new exhibition in Galleries 1+2 sharing the practical and logistical challenges involved in building Hadrian's Wall (mostly the stretch from Newcastle to Wallsend). 

The exhibition is really interesting and broken up into little sections with easy to read information. You can learn about how water was used, the different jobs needed to build, the shapes of stone used and why, the different tools used, some of the challenge and more. 

There are objects and artefacts to see which bring the information to life too.

We all really enjoyed this space and it's worth a visit if you'd like to learn something a little different about Hadrian's Wall. The exhibition is based on a lot of recent research. 

There are some hands on activities in this space including a Roman Puzzle, a LEGO challenge (which definitely inspired Jack who built his own Milecastle) and a brilliant water wheel which children can use themselves to help understand how water can be used to move things and how it may have been used in Roman times. 

Harry, Dee and Steve really took some time to digest and chat about everything in here. 

Before we left, we noticed a sign saying there was a life size replica of the height of the wall as part of Segedunum. It's not on the same site but it's just a very short walk away (leave the museum gates, turn left, walk along the road for a little bit and cross at the traffic lights. You will see the wall in a gated area. Access is for Segedunum ticket holders only). 

Wow I lived in Wallsend for around 10 years and didn't know this was here! Every time we visit Hadrian's Wall I say someone needs to do this as it would be good to see the scale of the wall in real life so I am super pleased that such a thing exists and we got to see it. 

This reconstruction actually shows how tall the wall would be at it's shortest point. It's still really impressive. It overlooks the real wall's ruins and you can climb up and take in the views for yourself. It's a bit of a hidden gem. 

Great North Museum : Hancock

Metro Station : Haymarket / Monument 

Hadrian's Wall Events at Great North Museum (check website for more info): 

  • 13 April - Hadrian's Wall FREE Family Fun Day
    Activities include Marley the Roman Pony on the Front Lawn, Meet Roman Re-enactors the Time Bandits, Make a Roman Mosaic, Sample Roman Food & Drink, Make a Votive Offering & more. Drop in event. 
  • 1 July - 1 September - Wall in Motion Exhibition 
    A new spectactular & immersive digital projection on a monumental scale which will respond to the geographical and cultural narratives resonating from the Roman artefacts in the museum. Brought to us by NOVAK, who have worked on projects at Lumiere, the Singapore Night Festival and more. 

Again, there is a lot to explore and enjoy at Great North Museum beyond Hadrian's Wall, you won't want to miss the Mouse House if you're visiting with under 5s. You can read my full guide to visiting here. 

On this occasion, and as we were having a day out based around Hadrian's Wall, we stuck with the permanent Hadrian's Wall gallery. 

In the heart of this gallery is a huge model of Hadrian's Wall which really gives you some perspective on how long it is. We had fun spotting Wallsend where we had just been plus a few of the other Roman sites we had visited along the model. 

There is a fun Hadrian's Wall interactive game to try too. 

As well as a gallery packed with artefacts, models and interactive screens. There is lots to see from Roman coins to jewellery, weapons and every day objects. It really gives you a feel for life along the wall. 

During the school holidays, this museum provides an indoor picnic area which is super handy if you're on a budget. Sometimes the location changes so ask for details on arrival. 

There is also the option of the Hancock Cafe which has a small menu with kids lunch boxes, sandwiches, cookies and a few specials on offer. This Easter they have hot dogs (£2.50) and nachos (£2.95).

We all enjoyed a sandwich, snack and drink for just over £25 for 5 of us which was good value. The sandwiches are freshly prepared and the bread was super soft. Service was good and the cafe was spotlessly clean. If you'd just like a quick sandwich or coffee, it's worth popping in to break up your day. 

Arbeia Roman Fort 

Metro Station : South Shields Metro / Ferry Terminal

Hadrian's Wall Events at Arbeia Roman Fort (see their website for further information) : 

  • The Lost Fort Exhibition (until 2 October)

  • Crafty Romans FREE Craft Packs to collect from the museum (drop-in) 
    13 April - Plant Your Own Roman Herbs 
    20 April - Make Your Own Roman Dagger 
    1 June - Decorate a Horse Chamfron 
    27 July - Design Your Own Roman Boots 
    3 August - Make a Roman Coin from Clay 
    10 August - Design a Roman Tile or Coaster 
    17 August - Make a Roman Wall Decoration from Wool 
    24 August - Have a Go at Cleaning and Sorting Artefacts 
    31 August - Make a Roman Crown and Staff
We first visited Arbeia back in 2021 and I am kicking myself for not visiting earlier. Honestly it is such a gem and somewhere I'd urge you to visit. You can read my full guide to visiting here. 

Our visit kicked off with 'The Lost Fort' exhibition which is a new addition to the museum. It is only small but it's interesting and shares evidence found at the fort which suggests there was a settlement here in the Hadrianic period that predates the Antonine fort the area is known for. 

I love how our local museums are continously using and sharing new research and the conclisions they come to. They have real artefacts on display in this museum too and it's always astonishing to me when I am looking at something that is almost 2000 years old. 

There is a small dress up area. Clearly, you're never too old for dress up. We couldn't believe how heavy this chain mail armour was! Try it for yourself, you might be shocked. 

Although not directly part of Hadrian's Wall, Arbeia really brings history to life. The fort was used as a supply base for the Roman Army and housed up to 600 troops. It's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to some brilliant Roman reconstructions which allow visitors to see how soldiers of various ranks would have lived. 

You can walk around the Commanding Officer's House and Barrack Block - the differences in lifestyle are stark. 

As a family we love Roman History so this was always going to be a winning day out. The kids all really enjoyed it, as did myself and Steve. They were engaged throughout (which isn't the easiest of tasks with older kids) and we all left learning something new. 

I think visiting three venues and travelling between Metro helped to give structure to our day with some time in a museum, followed by relaxing time and the train and repeat. Rather than it being a big full-on day out where we are constantly on the go if you get what I mean. 

I hope some of you follow in our footsteps and enjoy it just as much as we did. 

How Much Will This Day Out Cost? 

  • Entry to Segedunum = £5.95 per adult (with donation), Under 16s and NE28 residents go free 
  • Entry to Great North Museum = FREE
  • Entry to Arbeia Roman Fort = FREE 

  • Adult Pop Pay As You Go Day Saver Metro Ticket (using Google Pay) = £4.85 
  • Child Aged 11 Or Under Metro Travel = FREE (see t&cs)
  • Teen Day Saver Metro Ticket (non-Tyne &Wear resident) = £1.50 

Explore Hadrian's Wall by Tyne & Wear Metro Q&A 

Can I take my dog? 

Pet dogs are welcome to travel by Metro and visit Arbeia Roman Fort. Pet dogs are not permitted to visit Great North Museum or Segedunum. 

Do I need to book? 

No booking required for any of the exhibitions / activities / galleries / transport mentioned in this post. 

How long does this day out take? 

We were out of the house from around 10am-4pm. 

Can I take a pushchair? 

Yes, the Metro, stations, venues we visited and routes we walked from the station to venue were all accessible. 

Where can I buy a drink? 

There is a cafe at Great North Museum, refreshments are available to purchase from the shop at Arbeia Roman Fort. 

Are there toilets? 

Yes, every venue has toilets including accessible & baby change 

I need to ask a question about tickets? 

Here are the various ways you can get in touch. 

Can I use Apple Pay to pay for Metro Tickets? 

Not at the moment, I would recommend non-Android users order a Pop PAYG card which offers the same savings. 

Does my child need a Metro ticket? 

Children aged 11 and under to not require a ticket when travelling with a fare paying adult (up to three children per adult). Young people aged 12+ do require a ticket/use their POP card. 

Where can I find a Metro map to plan my day? 

You can download a map here. 

Where can I check opening hours? 

Please use the following links: 


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