Explore in Hexham
Explore Hexham's historic centre with a visit to the awe-inspiring abbey, delve into the dark history of the ferocious Border Reivers at the Old Gaol, or just stroll its along narrow streets and enjoy the atmosphere of the vibrant market place.
Hexham Abbey - Town Centre, Market Place
Visit the majestic Abbey, a place of Christian worship since AD674 and Hexham's historic centre.
Explore the unique Night Stairs, Anglo Saxon crypt and experience the special qualities that keep the Abbey at the heart of the town.
Hexham Old Gaol is the earliest recorded purpose-built prison in England, built 1330-1333. It was built for the Archbishop of York, to hold his prisoners. Explore crime and punishment in the Middle Ages, and meet the Border Reivers, members of local English and Scottish Surnames – families – who fought and raided across and along the Border in the 1500s.
Moot Hall Gallery - Town Centre, Market Place
This was where the Archbishop’s bailiff lived and worked. He held courts here to try the prisoners from the gaol.
Today the ground floor is a popular art gallery space, and the first floor hall is hired out to groups and individuals.
The Market Place:
Markets have been held in Hexham for centuries, the Market Place is at the heart of Hexham and at the heart of the Market Place is The Shambles.
This covered market was built in 1766 by Sir Walter Blackett and now a listed building housing regular market stalls 6 days a week. The Market Place was also the site of the Hexham Riot in 1761.
Hexham Parks and Tyne Green
A walk in the park is an important part of any visit to Hexham. From the formal gardens of Hexham House to a ramble by the river at Tyne Green, Hexham offers an experience to suit all ages and every season – link to Parks and Playgrounds page.
Queen's Hall - Town Centre, Beaumont Street
Queen’s Hall Arts Centre boasts a 350-seat theatre and two galleries.
It has an all-year-round programme of the best international and national artists from music, drama, dance, exhibitions, film, comedy and non professional shows. The building is shared with Hexham Library, the Exchange Café and theatre company Théâtre Sans Frontières.
Hexham Railway station opened in 1835 and is one of the oldest purpose built railway stations in the world built to link the lead mines of the North Pennines to the Tyne docks at Blaydon.
A gift to the town from Henry Bell, local wool merchant and tanner in 1912.
It celebrated the opening of the Abbey Grounds as a public park and remains the centre piece for many of the events which take place in the town throughout the year.
The Priory Gatehouse
The large stone archway on Cowgarth leading off market Street is all that remains of the main Priory Gateshouse where the cannons defended the priory of Hexham against closure by Henry V111’s men in 1536.
Gibson’s Pharmacy, Fore Street (now Poundstretcher)
This amazing ornate shop frontage was carved by a Belgian refugee in 1916. The original furnishings and contents of the pharmacy are now in the Science Museum in London!
The Old Grammar School
Hexham’s grammar school was founded in 1599 and moved to this beautiful whitewashed listed building on Hallgate almost 90 years later in 1684.
Discover Hexham’s Hidden History
This booklet offers a choice of 3 short self-guided walks taking you around the town centre and highlighting the history all around you, helping you to spot unusual details on building and other curious reminders of the town’s past. Colourful interpretation panels illustrate the town’s history through the ages, and plaques on the walls mark sites of particular interest.
Just on the edge of the town centre and enjoyed by people of Hexham for generations, Dukeshouse and Swallowship Woods allow you to explore miles of interconnecting paths down to the edge of the Devil's Water – a perfect walk for children and dogs!
Hexham Racecourse is now Northumberland's only racecourse. Perched on Yarridge Heights high above the historic market town, Hexham Racecourse has been the home of National Hunt racing in Northumberland for well over a century.
The site's natural amphitheatre of sloping grass below the stands provides superb viewing.
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