Portfolio - Issue 5 - Autumn 2018 - Page 53



FOCUS ON
Its winding cobbled streets and
traditional architecture within the town
centre gives you a peek into Hexham’s
history. Once home to Vikings in 1300,
the town now boasts an eclectic mix of
buzzing art and culture, independent
shops and markets as well as a number of
quality eateries.
Hexham Abbey stands proudly as the
town’s keystone. This place of worship
was founded by the Northumbrian Saint
and Bishop Wilfrid in 674 and is still a
popular attraction today thanks to its
well-preserved grounds and features such
ISSUE 05 : AUTUMN 2018
as its beautiful stained-glass windows.
This traditional town oers an
abundance of history, including England’s
rst purpose-built prison, Hexham’s Old
Gaol. Built under the order of Margot
and William Melton, the Archbishop of
York, in 1330–33, it held prisoners from
Hexhamshire and, in the 16th century,
from the English Middle March, before
their trial in the Moothall Court Room
nearby. Take a tour around the building
and learn about its famous inhabitants
including in depth tales of the crimes and
prison activity.
The town’s arts and culture scene
boasts many galleries and the Queen’s
Hall Arts Centre, a magnicent Victorian
building, provides the stage for
international music, drama and dance
artists.
Hexham Racecourse, which has been
in the town for 128 years, remains as a
key attraction. As with many of Hexham’s
features, the racecourse also holds an
interesting history, and is one of the key
factors which has helped the town
develop into what it is today. Although
there is evidence to show that there was
racing in Hexham in 1793, it was early
1890 when a small group of local
inuential gentlemen decided that an
eort should be made to reintroduce
racing. The group turned to local
businessman Charles Henderson to
facilitate the launch. Based on a hill
overlooking the town, visitors to the
racecourse can also enjoy views on the
rolling countryside.
Throughout the year, celebratory
events are held including its Hexham
Book Festival, farmers market, ‘spook
nights’ and bonre night - with its
popular Christmas market rounding up
the year with over 70 stalls with the
outstanding backdrop of Hexham Abbey.
The visiting Santa's reindeer in the park
make this the perfect family day out.
The town is also a starting or centre
point for several other activities,
including walking, cycling, golf or visiting
parks or gardens. It’s close by attractions
include Hadrian’s Wall and keen climbers
can visit Peel Crag, a popular walking
spot not far from the infamous Sycamore
Gap, with views overlooking Crag Lough.
53

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