Hexham Northumberland Travel and Tourism Information
When Country Life magazine named Hexham England’s favourite market town, it just confirmed what locals had long known.
Indeed, Hexham with its abbey, houses and shops nestled around a market square, Medieval gaol – the oldest purpose built one in the country – and 14th century Moot Hall, is certainly one of Northumberland’s most picturesque places to live and visit.
Enveloped in the comforting embrace of the surrounding hills and nestled on the banks of the River Tyne, this ancient town is also a great base from which to expore Hadrian’s Wall Country.
But there’s plenty to see and do in Hexham itself before venturing out in to the countryside.
The centrepiece of the town is the 12th century Hexham Abbey. But there has been a church on the site for at least 1,300 years since Queen Etheldreda made a grant of lands to Wilfrid, Bishop of York, in around 674AD. Victorian and Edwardian alterations followed, but much of the original Anglo Saxon crypt remains to be explored.
You will discover all there is to know about Hexham’s turbulent and bloody past at the Old Gaol just off the Market Place. The story is dominated by the fabled Border Reivers, lawless gangs of plunderers, kidnappers and rackateers who held sway in this part of England and into Scotland from the 13th-17th centuries.
Next to the Old Gaol is the 14th-15th century Moot Hall under whose arch you enter the Market Place with its mix of independent shops and cafes. A thriving twice monthly farmers’ market is held here selling a plethora of fresh, seasonal, local produce, most of it from within a 50-mile radius of the town.Hexham’s Medieval streets with their mix of high street names and antique and curio shops radiate off this central hub, waiting to be explored.
Hexham isn’t just about history, however. The town also has a thriving cultural scene based around The Queen’s Hall Arts Centre with its varied programme of dance, drama and European cinema.
A stroll along the River Tyne is a must or why not make a day of it at Hexham Racecourse, voted the best small racecourse in Scotland and North East England in 2010? Northumberland’s only racecourse (boundary changes having seen Gosforth move out of the county into Tyne and Wear), it is perched on Yarridge Heights high above Hexham and offers not just magnificent racing but breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
Where is Hexham?:
See the map on our Northumberland maps page.