Set within the beautiful Tyne Valley alongside the River Tyne, market town Hexham is a delightful holiday base situated just a short drive west of Newcastle and within easy reach of Hadrian's Wall, Durham City and the Northumberland National Park. Hexham town centre is one of the prettiest in the North East and Hexham is a major centre for local produce, award winning independent shops and farmers markets in the North East. Green fingered types should definitely pay a visit to the fragrant garden and medicine chest that is Dilston Physic Garden. This beautiful open space, situated in Corbridge, blooms with over 600 medicinal plants and is open April to September. There are also courses in herbal medicine and flower essences.
Hexham Golf Club is a Gold Award Winner in the HSBC Regional Course Rankings, a rare honour! If you have played Hexham Golf Club you will need no persuasion about the merits of the course. If you haven t, you have a treat in store! A traditional parkland course on fast draining land, Hexham Golf Club is a tough enough test of golf to regularly host County events, yet is enjoyable for club golfers of all standards. The greens are regularly amongst the best in the County, and the views over the surrounding countryside are stunning.
Historic Hexham town boasts an outstanding selection of historic buildings including centrepiece Hexham Abbey, originally a Benedictine Abbey founded by Wilfrid around 674AD. Hexham Abbey today is mostly the 12th Century Augustinian priory church but there are Saxon treasures within including an old Anglo-Saxon Chalice in parts of the abbey wall and a Saxon crypt. Hexham Abbey features in Simon Jenkins' Thousand Best Churches in England. Hexham contains numerous medieval historic buildings. Hexham Old Gaol, England's first recorded purpose built prison, dates from 1333 and the spectacular Moothall Hexham entrance gateway was built around 1400AD and sits on the site of an earlier 'Court of Pleas'. Both the Moothall and Old Gaol in Hexham were part of a selection of buildings owned by the Archbishop of York who during this medieval period owned the Hexham area then known as Hexhamshire. The Hexham Town Trail guides you around numerous medieval, Elizabethan, Georgian and historic Victorian buildings in the town from Victorian swimming baths to an 18th century House of Correction.
Hexham Farmers Market was named the best in the UK by the National Farmers Union and Hexham was voted England's favourite market town by Country Life magazine. Markets in Hexham date back to 1222 and take place in the beautiful Market Place area, much smaller until it was enlarged in the 19th century, with the backdrop of Hexham Abbey.
Independent shops in Hexham centre situated along narrow cobbled medieval style streets which branch off from the central market place include award winning independent book shops, art shops, specialist local food shops and gift shops including a National Trust gift shop. The outstanding choice of Hexham restaurants features vegetarian restaurants and a great choice of character Hexham pubs serving fine real ales and local produce. The Allendale Micro Brewery is located just to the south west of Hexham and fine ales such as Allendale Best Bitter and Tar Barrel Stout from this brewery feature in Hexham pubs and in the monthly Hexham Farmers Market.
Hexham is also a top arts, festivals and leisure centre. The Queen's Hall Arts Centre in Hexham is a top spot for cutting edge drama, comedy shows, music and dance, children's theatre and activities and film. Also in the town centre, the independent Forum Cinema in Hexham shows a mix of mainstream and world cinema alongside great art exhibitions. Festivals in Hexham include the acclaimed Hexham Book Festival in April and May, the Hexham Abbey Festival in September and October and special seasonal themed markets in Hexham take place over the Christmas period. Hexham also boasts one of the North East's most popular racecourses. Hexham Racecourse is the home of National Hunt Racing in Northumberland and features a year round programme of top horse racing meets.
Hexham Abbey is one of England's great historic churches, founded over 1300 years ago by Wilfrid, Bishop of York who was presented with lands at Hexham by Queen Ethelreda. Hexham Abbey was one of the first sites to establish Benedictine rule in England. The Abbey is mostly today the remains of the Norman Augustinian priory church dating from between 1170 to 1250, but Saxon treasures also feature such as the spectacular Saxon crypt of Wilfrid's original Benedictine Abbey. Much later additions also form part of the abbey building including the Victorian east end and nave rebuilt in 1860 and very recently an additional St Wilfrid's chapel built in 1996 positioned at the east end of the north choir aisle.
Hexham Abbey is free to enter with donations welcome and an attractive Abbey Shop is located near the entrance. Hightlights during a tour of the abbey's interior include the spectacular Anglo-Saxon Chalice situated in the choir area. The Saxon Crypt is opened twice daily at 11am and 3.30pm. There is much to see in the abbey's interior stretching across several historic periods so guided tours, which are available for groups, are highly recommended. Call in at the Abbey shop for details.
Hexham Old Gaol, England's first recorded purpose built gaol dating from 1333, is an outstanding family friendly museum attraction in Hexham. A Reiver Raid film features inside alongside new hands-on displays which dig deep into the dark history of the old gaol. Family packs are available for this outstanding museum which is spread upwards across four floors. Hexham Old Gaol was in use right up to the 1820s and displays reveal details of the big gaol break from Hexham Old Gaol in 1538 and conditions in the Gaol during the Middle Ages including examples of the infamous stocks.
Prisoners would be taken from the Old Gaol to the nearby Hexham Moothall for trial and sentence. Hexham's Moothall gateway dates from 1400AD and together with the Old Gaol was owned by the Archbishop of York. Today the ground floor of the Moothall is an art gallery displaying work by local artists but it was still in use as a courtroom right up to the 19th century.
Hexham Racecourse is the home of National Hunt Racing in Northumberland and is also a top racecourse for Point-to-Point amateur horse racing. It takes full advantage of a natural amphitheatre of sloping grass below the stands to provide superb viewing of horse racing as well as the magnificent surrounding countryside. Excellent viewing areas are provided for people with disabilities, with lift access to all parts of the stands, as well as a special car park to view racing.
You ll enjoy a friendly atmosphere in a superb country setting at a day out at Hexham Races. The season runs from spring to autumn with several weekend and bank holiday fixtures, and popular evening meetings.
Wedding, conference and hospitality facilities at Hexham Racecourse are impressive. They are licensed to hold marriage ceremonies and are set in idyllic countryside surroundings. There is also an excellent catering service available with the capacity to cater for both large and small groups. Friendly event co-ordinators are on hand to ensure that the day goes as planned, whilst there are also racecourse rooms and boxes available for hire on non race days for conferences and seminars.
More information is available on their website which can be accessed via the link on the right of this page.
Corbridge (Coria) Roman Garrison Town to the east of Hexham was the longest occupied site along Hadrian's Wall established in the 80s and occupied up until the 160s. The town spread across 12 hectares around the military fort in a strategic position where several Roman roads, including Dere Street south to London, met. Corbridge was also the lowest point for crossing the River Tyne prior to the building of the bridge across the Tyne by the Romans in Newcastle.
Some of Britain's most treasured Roman finds have been found in the Corbridge area including The Corbridge Lanx, held at the British Museum in London, a spectacular silver platter discovered in 1735 which depicts the god Apollo and his twin sister Artemis. Finds like these and evidence of the group of temples and fountain located at Corbridge hint at the mix of cultures from across the Roman Empire and the Orient who lived here during the Roman occupation.
The Corbridge Museum, which displays numerous Roman finds from the town including the famous Corbridge Lion carving, sits alongside the extensive excavated remains of Corbridge Roman town which includes granaries, remains of the Stanegate road, the fountain and various officers, barracks and headquarters buildings.
The Corbridge Roman town site sits half a mile to the northwest of today's Corbridge town which boasts a wide choice of fine pubs, B&B accommodation and specialist shops.