Hexham Abbey: A Timeless Treasure

Set in the Northumberland countryside lies Hexham Abbey, a powerful testament to centuries of rich history, faith and architectural beauty.  If you’re looking for a day trip that offers a blend of the past, the beautiful and intrigue, then look no further!  This captivating Abbey sits at the heart of the friendly market town of Hexham. While the town boasts many charming independent shops, cafes, and inviting restaurants (all worthy of exploration), today, we reflect on the fascinating history of the Abbey itself.

Foundations and Architectural Splendor

Hexham Abbey’s story begins in the 7th century, with the visionary Saint Wilfrid laying the groundwork for what would become a beacon of faith and learning.  Of Wilfrid’s Abbey, the Saxon crypt still remains to this day alongside the foundations of an apse.  The Abbey has witnessed periods of prosperity but also much turmoil.  Throughout this journey it has evolved and has been added to every century, culminating in the architectural marvel standing today.

The crypt is believed to be the oldest part of the building, built less than 250 years after the Romans left.  As was often the norm at that time, stones were taken from the local Roman forts to be re-purposed.  Many stones with Roman inscriptions and symbols are still visible to see in the crypt today.    


Navigating Turbulent Waters: Restoration and Renewal

Hexham Abbey weathered storms of turmoil and conflict, it’s story intertwined with the wider historical context.  From Viking raiders destroying parts of the monastery, to Norman rebuilding, periods of Scottish raiders attacking and setting fire to the building to the Reformation period and Dissolution of the Monasteries – the Abbey managed to survive.    

The latest and most recent changes to the Abbey were in 2014, when a £3million project was completed.  This restored the medieval monastery complex, reuniting all the buildings for the first time since the Reformation.  The works also included a major visitor exhibition, meeting and function rooms.  Today, visitors can marvel at the ‘The Big Story’ a fantastic addition to the Abbey with an interactive exhibition bringing this history to life.    

A Haven for All: Embracing Community and Heritage

Hexham Abbey remains a vibrant sanctuary and place of worship, focussing on bringing the local community together with regular services, music, and cultural celebrations. Whether attending a service, concert, or exploring its hallowed halls, visitors are enveloped in a welcoming atmosphere of serenity, reflection, inspiration, and of course the glimpse into Northumberland’s storied past.

Embarking on an Adventure: Family-Friendly Delights Await

For families seeking adventure and discovery, Hexham Abbey offers a myriad of engaging activities. The Big Story exhibition has touch screen information, models, displays, dressing up for the children and hands on activities.  

The Abbey itself has a number of artefacts and relics – the link below take you directly to their website which lists the ‘Top 10 Things to See’ such as the Saxon crypt, sculptures, painted panels and Roman tombstone.


Hexham Abbey - A Jewel of Northumberland

From the awe-inspiring architecture to the serene surroundings, Hexham Abbey captivates visitors of all ages. Its rich history and cultural significance make it a must-visit destination in Northumberland.  The Abbey stands as a timeless treasure, a testament to the enduring spirit of Northumberland’s heritage and faith. Its storied past, architectural splendour, and vibrant community make it a must-visit destination to discover the timeless charm of this beloved Northumberland landmark.

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