Hadrian's Wall turns 1,900: Everything you need to know about the year-long celebrations

A year of festivities is underway to celebrate 1,900 years of Hadrian's Wall. Credit: PA

What is the Hadrian's Wall 1900 festival?

A year of exhibitions, plays, crafts, talks and walks is underway to celebrate the 1900th birthday of Hadrian's Wall. (We don't think it looks a day older than 1,850.)

Organisers have already planned over 50 events which aim to transport participants back to the year 122AD - when the wall's construction began under the Roman Emperor Hadrian.

From fending off northern tribes to becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the story of this 73-mile icon is among the most fascinating in British history.

Join experts and enthusiasts to pay tribute with bunting, battle reenactments, light shows, a Japanese graphic novel and much more.

Here are some of the events we're most excited about...

Anna has spent more time walking along and talking about Hadrian's Wall than most...

Virtual wall walk from Bowness to Gilsland (24 January - 24 March)

Like walking tours but not the walking? How about this virtual tour along the Cumbrian section of Hadrian's Wall.

Starting on Emperor Hadrian's birthday, Anna Gray from Discover Lakeland Guided Tours takes you on a journey along the wall from Bowness-on-Solway to Gilsland and into the past.

The tour will be in three parts: 1) Bowness to Carlisle; 2) Carlisle to Banks; 3) Banks to Gilsland and will be presented on three consecutive nights on 24-26 January, 20-22 February and 22-24 March.  

All presentations will start at 7.00 pm (GMT). Find out more here.

Falx Manga (Japanese graphic novel) (24 January - 23 December)

One day in the first half of the second century A.D. a Roman soldier stationed at Hadrian’s Wall in northern Britannia meets a poorly-dressed boy... 

This is how Romy Segawa's manga series begins. The Japanese artist sets out to capture what life was like on the wall shortly after its construction in this graphic novel.

Available online from 24 January. Find out more here.

1900 Bunting Challenge (24 January 2022 – 23 September):

Organiser Lynne Barber has issued a call to arms to knit, crochet or sew 1900 flags of Roman-themed bunting. 

 ​Like candles on a cake, each flag will represent a year since the wall was built. They will then be hung at the replica section of Hadrian’s Wall at Roman Vindolanda in an exhibition between 22-30 October 2022.

Find out more here.

Either follow Lynne's template or design your own bunting... Credit: Lynn Barber

Gone To The Wall, an On The Move Theatre production (4 March)

Gone To The Wall is a brand-new play by On The Move Theatre written to celebrate the special anniversary.

It is a comical re-creation of how the Wall was conceived, the logistics of building it and the arrival of thousands of legionaries to the North of Britannia in the year 122.

Find out more here.

An enthusiastic cast from around Northumberland will bring this show up a hill and down a dale near you! Credit: 1900.hadrianswallcountry.co.uk/

Night Attack reenactment (27 August)

Here's one that will really take you back in time...

Many historians agree that the wall was fundamentally a military structure, designed to keep so-called "troublesome tribes" to the north from attacking the Roman Empire. 

To give people a feel for the time, English Heritage are staging a "a spectacular night attack on the Roman defences of Chester's Roman Fort".

Find out more here.

Festival of Saturnalia (17 - 23 December)

Saturnalia - noun

1. the ancient Roman festival of Saturn in December, a period of general merrymaking and the predecessor of Christmas.

From 17 to 23 December 2022, communities across the length of the wall will be invited and encouraged to deliver their own Saturnalia festivities in towns and villages along the wall by connecting with one another in this fun merrymaking event.

A Saturnalia inspired performance installation will travel the wall, visiting communities and adding to the celebrations. What could be more Roman than that?

Find out about the rest of the events here.