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Advice for getting from Newcastle to the site?
Topic Started: Mar 1 2013, 11:15 PM (965 Views)
meghanb
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Hey everyone (hopefully I've put this in the right place)! I'm coming to Vindolanda for the first time in April, and am super excited! However, I'm from Canada, and this is my first trip overseas by myself. I'm flying into Newcastle, and wanted to know anyone's recommendations, advice, etc on how to get from Newcastle to the site (I'm staying in the Hedley Centre). My mum and I have done some research into it, but we'd like to hear advice from the people who know the place the best :) Any tips are really appreciated!
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Justin-T
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Hi Meghan, congrats on your first visit. I've dug at Vindolanda before using public transport to get there, and its not too hard.

I think your best bet is train from Newcastle (I think there's a train from the airport to the station in Newcastle, if not, get a cab) to Hexham, then catch the excellent AD122 bus from Hexham to the site. The bus stop is right outside the station, 50 meters from the platform. The bus will drop you in the main visitors car park, leaving you a shortish walk (5 mins?) around (or through) the site to the Hedley.

Check bus times leaving Hexham (google "ad122 bus schedule", but it looks like the 2013 one isnt out yet?) and buy an appropriately timed train ticket online in advance, will be much cheaper than getting it on the day. For the bus you just pay the driver on entry.

You'll have a great time!

If you need more details, just ask.
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Badger
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Welcome!
The AD 122 bus schedule may change from year to year, but in general there is only one bus leaving from Newcastle in the AM. It departs right in front of the Main Train station. In the past it has left around 9am. After that the bus just shuttles between the central parts of the wall all day.

So....if you can be in Newcastle by 9am you can be delivered to the west entrance of the site about an hour later as previous poster mentioned. Be sure to beg Colin for the chance to snooze earlier than the regular check in time.

But if that fails, say your flight is not first thing in the am, you can always do one of these things.

Train to Hexham and take AD122 bus.

or

Train to Bardon Mills and walk about 2 miles.

I have done it different ways.

Depends a little on how light you travel and what the weather is. And on whether you need a few supplies in Hexham. Hedley center does provide most all you would be wanting.

Any questions on gear? Put it to the Elders of the Tribe!

Badger
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Badger
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Oh, I failed to mention that there is indeed a train/subway from the airport to Newcastle central train station. It is cheap and a better option than taxi. But if I recall, the automatic ticket vending machine does not take plastic or bills! I end up having to buy some kind of trinkets or candy bars from the airport shoppes! A good idea to have a few one and two pound coins in pocket if you have some from previous trips.

Badger
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Terry S
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Further information on getting from Newcastle Airport to Vindolanda - as TW mentioned, there is a frequent Metro service from the airport direct to Newcastle Central station. However, there is only one AD 122 bus a day from outside the station, leaving at 0930 and arriving at Vindolanda at 1109.
If that isn't possible, get the Metro to Newcastle Central and walking a short distance to the Main Line platforms, you can get a reasonably frequent train service to Bardon Mill station. This is the train that terminates at Carlisle, a few stops further on. It's a wee bit of a walk to Vindolanda from there, so a taxi from the station is your best bet. It's only a couple of miles or so, but it's mainly uphill. It's lovely countryside all around, so you should enjoy the last part of your epic journey!
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snowglobe
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http://www.northumberland.gov.uk/idoc.ashx?docid=2150a273-3b65-4bd8-a46c-173f95af0d98&version=-1

This is the new 2013 timetable, as my fellow digger Terry says its just the one bus from Newcastle. All suggestions work and Badger has made his way to the site this way since the Romans left! Travel light, there's a great laundry & drier at the Hedley so no need to pack much plus you get the diggers Tshirt as a prized item to wear. My personal get there option is Haltwhistle rail station (if you can't get the AD122 from Newcastle) and the bus leaves for the site just outside the door, there's a Sainsburys store if you need any items if there's a wait for the AD122 back up the road plus the chance to visit the "centre of Britain stone" !
The bus will drop you at the West Gate of Vindolanda, you have two options: walk down the lane along side the site ,the road drops into the valley then on your right you'll see the Vindolanda sign. My option is walk through the site and museum to reach the Hedley, you get in free as by now you should have a" Friends of Vindolanda" membership .
Edited by snowglobe, Mar 3 2013, 06:41 AM.
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Justin-T
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It's clear from this thread that "omnes viae Vindolandam ducunt"!
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Terry S
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Another alternative Meghan (and less complicated if you can't get on the 122 at Newcastle) - from the Central station at Newcastle, get on the Carlisle train as previously directed and instead of getting off at Bardon Mill, get off at Hexham and there are 5 AD 122s between 1218 and 1728, which take you direct to Vindolanda. These run (well, drive) from the station itself.Take a copy of Pete's 122 timetable from Hexham. If you miss one of the buses and have a little wait before the next one, Hexham is a canny little place, with a big Tesco supermarket, to wander around.
Welcome to Northumberland!
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Justin-T
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And all the roads are circular! Terry, that's the same suggestion I had in my first post. :D
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Terry S
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Well spotted Justin. My brain must be circular.
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meghanb
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Wow, thanks everyone! Mum and I are still discussing the different possibilities for me getting there, but this is definitely incredibly helpful.

As another way of getting from Newcastle to the site, is taking a taxi/splitting the taxi fare with someone else another possibility? (it would the easiest, because it'd take me right from point A to point B). Is it really expensive, or just a bit more expensive than the other ways of getting there?

Also, Badger, for gear I think I've pretty well got what I need from reading past posts on gear recommendations, but if there's anything you or anyone else would suggest specifically for the April weather at the site, that'd be great!
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Badger
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A taxi seems rather....unadventurous. But not entirely impractical. If you are not arriving at a time where catching the AD122 in Newcastle works, you are looking at some combination of train/bus/walking. The advice to buy train tix ahead of time is quite sound...but not always possible with international travel. Flights get delayed for instance. One year my brother and I had to dodge that ##### Icelandic volcano!

So the cost of a taxi might not be much more than the cost of metro ticket + train to Hexham + AD122 bus. I inquired a couple of years ago about taxi from site to Newcastle airport and seem to recall 30 to 35 pounds. Not cheap but see above, and it would land you on the doorstep of the Hedley. Not sure if the price is the same going the other way, local cab companies may have different pricing than Newcastle.

As to gear, or "kit", since you should start speaking proper English....watch the weather forecasts and plan for a chill. Not that Canadians are much bothered by that. What part of Canada are you from? We have had quite a bunch from Edmondton in recent years...

Layers, lots of layers. The sun comes and goes, showers can be on and off.

My best tip is a comfy pair of hiking boots, then add a pair of rubber overshoes you can pull on and off on site. Our local farm supply store has some nice low ones that just cover the lower 3/4 of the hiking boot. Much lighter pack than wellies, which seem to be the gold standard.

Cheers

Badger
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Justin-T
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I was curious to know the rate for a taxi, because I'll be making the same journey at the end of June. There are online estimators, and it looks like the taxi rates are capped, so they should be reasonably accurate. I picked yourtaximeter.com and put in the postcodes for Newcastle airport and the Hedley, it came up with a fare of 60 quid (I guessed an arrival date and travel of Sat Mar 30th in the morning), plus 20p per 40 seconds. The travel time is supposed to be 45-50 mins according to Google maps distance calculator, so that would be an extra 15 quid (there are also "soiling fees" mentioned as possible extras, but you will be nice and clean on arrival :D ). Grand total of 75 GBP.

I've also done the rail/AD122 route and its truly not very hard. I just ran some dates through nationalrail.co.uk and you can get an Anytime Day Single (ie: not for a specific train on that day, so no worries if the flight is delayed a bit) from the Airport to Hexham (no changes of train needed) for 6 quid, 12 quid round-trip (called a "Return" ticket in the UK). The AD122 bus was about 5 or 6 pounds when I took it from Vindolanda back to Hexham last summer, will probably be about the same, maybe a pound more this year. Grand total of about 12-13 GBP.

So, quite a significant difference in cost. Also, I'm not sure what train & bus service is like in Canada, but people in Europe are much more used to using public transport to get around, and you'll find this bus is very clean, driven by friendly drivers and the trains are pretty good too and on time. I agree with Badger that the cab is less adventurous, but its really not that adventurous to do this specific train/bus combination. It would of course take longer to do the train/bus option (I'd guestimate 3 or 4 hours compared to 1hr via cab? That train runs every 30 mins or so, AD122 bus leaves Hexham every 60-90 mins), but you'll save a bundle and get some good cultural exposure at the same time. B)
Edited by Justin-T, Mar 6 2013, 11:03 AM.
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Badger
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Justin

You are probably correct. The amount I was recalling was from Vindo to the airport....and was given to me by the redoubtable Fiona who works at the Trust. She likely has a cordial relationship with the local cabbies. The only time I recall taking a cab over there was once when my brother and I missed the AD122 we needed to get back. We cabbed to Hexham and I recall it was 16 or 18 pounds.

I like the train option myself, but have done it a few times too jet lagged to appreciate the scenery!

Walking from Bardon Mills probably not a great plan. I pack light and even I would not fancy an uphill slog with all my stuff.....

Badger

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Justin-T
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Tim - The 75 quid may not be right, it was from one online source i found by a quick google.

Meghan - if you are seriously considering the cab option, I would call a taxi company based in Newcastle and ask them for a quote. You could even take the easy/expensive route on arrival, then the adventurous/cheap route on the return...
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