Housesteads Roman FortHousesteads has it all: magnificent ruins, a museum and truly spectacular views. This iconic (yes, we know, that’s an overworked word but when you get here you’ll see what we mean) site was kind of an afterthought; like Chesters, it formed the second part of the ‘grand plan’ for the frontier and was an addition to Hadrian’s Wall.
High on a dramatic ridge, the best preserved of all the Roman forts along Hadrian’s Wall. See excavated remains of all the different types of buildings within a typical fort on view – barracks, headquarters block, commanders’ house, granaries, hospital, toilets and a complete circuit of walls. Surrounding the fort itself is a fascinating Roman military landscape including the civilian settlement, the temple area, parade ground, cultivated fields and Roman roads.
Hadrian’s Wall itself runs across the north side of the fort from where there are dramatic views across the Northumberland landscape into ‘barbaricum’ – where the barbarians lived! It is easy here to feel you are truly on the edge of one of the mightiest Empires the world has seen, with the might of Rome in evidence all around you.
The museum at Housesteads re-opened this year after a major transformation. Explore the story of the fort and its garrison through dramatic film footage including reconstructions of the original Roman buildings. A fascinating collection of finds is now on display including altars, jewellery, tools and weapons. At one stage the fort was garrisoned by troops from part of what is now Holland – they brought their own distinctive style of cooking pot with them!
Younger visitors can meet ‘Felix’, a character of the fort who will guide them round the museum – they will also find the soldiers’ ‘loo’ in the fort - a fascinating insight into life 2000 years ago!
The site is owned and managed jointly by English Heritage and the National Trust. Light refreshments, books and souvenirs are available at the visitor centre and the museum.
1 Apr - 30 Sep: 10am-6pm daily;1 Oct - 28 Oct: 10am-4pm daily;5 Nov-28 Mar, Sat-Sun 10am-4pm
24-26 Dec and 1 Jan ClosedAdmission: adults £5.00, concessions £4.50, children £3.00. Free entry to National Trust members (01434) 344363
Sat Nav: NE47 6NN
Hadrian’s Wall Country Bus AD122.
There is a twenty minute walk from the car park up a steep hill to the fort, taking you past the temple area, parade ground, ancient field systems and the civilian settlement that lay outside the fort walls.
Other things to do
A short hop west on the bus from Housesteads will take you to the Northumberland National Park Centre (also a Tourist information Centre) at Once Brewed. Here you will discover more about the landscapes of Hadrian’s Wall Country and find out more information on what there is to do in the area