Welcome to Haltwhistle!
With more than 1000 years of history, Haltwhistle is a fascinating town and the geographical centre of Britain. It is a popular tourist destination and the main stopping point for visitors to Hadrian's Wall.
A town rich in heritage!
Haltwhistle is a small town in west Northumberland situated off the A69 main Newcastle to Carlisle road, 16 miles west of Hexham. It is a pictureque town with a rich border heritage.
Nestling beside the River South Tyne, Haltwhistle is the closest town to the stunning central section of the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage site and the Northumberland National Park, both of which are only about 2 miles (3kms) away.
Places of interest include : The medieval Holy Cross Church, Mr George's Museum of Time and the impressive Alston Arches viaduct. Nearby Hadrian's wall attractions such as The Roman Army Museum, Roman Vindolanda and Housesteads. Haltwhistle itself offers a variety of great places to eat, shop and stay with many independent establishments. The town is thus a favourite with walkers and cyclists.
Perfect base to explore Northumberland!
As a base to explore the magnificent surrounding area, Haltwhistle couldn’t be better positioned. Within one hour’s drive to the west are Carlisle, Gretna & South West Scotland. To the North are Kielder Water, Bellingham and the Scottish Borders. To the East are the historical attractions of the large town of Hexham, the Northumbria Coast and the city of Newcastle. To the south are the wonderful open spaces of The Northern Pennines and small settlements such as Allendale.
Rich in history
The area surrounding Haltwhistle has been populated since Roman times. One of the original spellings of the town's name Haut Whysile means high boundary.
The parish church is Holy Cross and is believed to date from the 9th century. Its earliest mention appears to be in a grant of 1178 by William the Lion of Scotland to the Abbey of Arbroath. The church also has a 7th century water stoup believed to have been used by St Paulinus.
In 1306 Edward I granted a charter to the town after his stay there on his way to fight the Scots.
During the medieval period, Haltwhistle like many other towns on the English-Scottish border, was subject to much feuding and raiding. A peel tower was constructed and several houses were fortified against these border raids. Many of these houses, known as bastle houses, still remain in Haltwhistle along with the peel tower which is now part of The Centre of Britain Hotel on Main Street.
In more recent centuries, the railway came to Haltwhistle in the 1830s with the building of the Newcastle to Carlisle railway. The railway is still in use today and makes good transport links to the cities of Newcastle and Carlisle. In 1801 the population was 453 and by 1851 this had risen to 1420. This dramatic increase in population can be said to be due to the coming of the railway and the industry that subsequently sprang up.
From the 18th-early 20th centuries Haltwhistle's industries included mining, farming, woolen mills, breweries, brickworks and limekilns.