Located on the south bank of the River Tyne, Hexham is a historic market town located a stone’s throw from Hadrian’s Wall. It’s home to one of the oldest prisons in the country and a centuries-old abbey that reflects the tumultuous history between England and Scotland.
Things to do in Hexham
Learn about the people and events that have shaped the region at the Hexham Old Gaol, which is said to be the oldest purpose-built prison in England. Dating back to 1330, it held prisoners captured during the Scottish Marches before they were tried in the nearby Moothall Court Room. Today, the gaol houses exhibits showcasing archaeological finds, costumes and textiles, as well as armour from the 15th century.
In the heart of Hexham is the Hexham Abbey, which took its current form in the 12th century on the site of a 7th-century Benedictine abbey. It’s one of the earliest seats of Christianity in England and is renowned for its peaceful cloisters and Saxon crypt constructed using stones from an ancient Roman fort. Highlights of the abbey include the 8th-century Acca’s Cross, the Frith Stool and the Flavius Stone.
A short drive north of Hexham lies the remains of Cilurnum, a Roman-built cavalry fort and one of the best-preserved fortifications on Hadrian’s Wall. It was excavated by John Clayton in the 1830s and many of his discoveries are now housed within a museum designed by the renowned British architect Richard Norman Shaw.
Getting around Hexham
Hexham is a 30-minute drive from Newcastle upon Tyne and Newcastle International Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe and the Middle East. Regular trains connect to the Hexham railway station and the town centre is compact enough to explore on foot.