The Hadrian Hotel is a traditional English pub situated in the north-east of England. Located in the village of Wall, four miles north of Hexham, and twenty-five miles west of Newcastle, the Hadrian isn’t a pub I can frequent on a regular basis. Located roughly 3700 miles from home, the Hadrian is a pub I’m only able to visit a few times a year, and yet I have probably had more pints in the Hadrian over my lifetime than any other pub, anywhere.
There’s something special about this pub, something that I struggle to explain. It’s not the collection of paintings and pictures by local artists, nor is it the ever-changing selection of real ales from Wylam and Jennings. I’m not sure if it’s the picturesque setting, or if it’s the staff and locals who make this place so special, or is it something else, I just don’t know.
Upon entering the pub, you notice the artwork hanging on any available wall space. Hand paintings of the area, like nearby Hadrian’s Wall, and the famous Sycamore Gap, are joined by photos of the village from years past. Even the place settings on the tables have an old photograph looking up through the village from the pub. It gives the pub a sense of community, a place where everyone gets together for a celebration, a night out, or a quick pint while out walking the dog.
I don’t know if I would consider myself a local, but no matter how much time passes between visits, whenever I make a return, I am always greeted with the same warm welcome. I’ve been hugged, kissed, high-fived, had my hand shook, and been slapped on the ass when I’ve come through the door, thankfully not all by the same person. It’s a feeling that means a lot, and a feeling that I’m sure other visitors experience, as the people either side of the bar have a genuine good nature and are always looking for a bit of banter.
The menu is what you would find at a typical country pub, with daily specials and homemade desserts. Without hesitation I would suggest the Gammon Steak, or perhaps the Steak and Ale pie, and for dessert, try the homemade crumble with custard. The selection of real ales from local breweries Wylam and Jennings is ever-changing, and always provides a choice of new experiences and old favourites. Try a pint of Wylam’s Gold Tankard, or a Cumberland Ale from Jennings, both of which are local favourites.
No matter how long I write, or what words I use, I will never be able to fully express my admiration for The Hadrian. It’s been a small part of my adult life, and provided me with memories (some fuzzier than others) that will last a lifetime. Should you ever have the chance to visit, find Davey, order a pint, and ask him about his trip to Canada, and maybe you too will see why this pub is so special.