Most of us can’t make it to Stonehenge to celebrate the summer solstice and the first weeks summer.
But the North of England is privileged to have a stunning World Heritage Site of its own – Hadrian’s Wall, which is at its most spectacular during the summer months.
Places such as Housesteads, Chesters and Birdoswald Roman Forts and Corbridge Roman Town tell the story of Roman life, signifying epic history and offering stunning views. These sites like really lend themselves to some of the enigmatic traditions linked to the summer solstice.
In ancient times, the summer solstice signalled a change in seasons and it held great significance for the ancient Romans, when, in the days leading up to the longest day, they celebrated the Vestalia festival, which paid tribute to Vesta, the goddess of the hearth.
Caroline Sinclair, from English Heritage, said: “The Summer solstice is the high point of the summer where we celebrate the longest day of the year and we’re lucky to have this stunning World Heritage Site on our doorstep. In this summer of the great British holiday it offers a great opportunity to take a closer look at all that Hadrian’s Wall has to offer. We’ve got thousands of years of history right here and set in the glorious Northumberland countryside, we couldn’t ask for much more!
“Hadrian’s Wall has recently played host to the Olympic Torch and the beacons to celebrate the Queen’s jubilee and later on this summer will host the connecting lights project as part of the Cultural Olympiad. All of these events put this ancient Roman monument on the world map. It’s a truly historic and cultural icon, just like Stonehenge.”
With the brand new museum recently opened at Housesteads, along with a series of live action and hands on events taking place throughout the summer, visitors will be able to step back in time and explore the story of England at English Heritage’s magnificent Roman sites. All of the Roman properties are open daily from 10am-6pm.