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Visit Arbeia, South Shields Roman Fort

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New: Revolting Britons & Ruling Romans

What was it really like to live in South Shields under Roman occupation?

Head to Arbeia and hear stories of the grim, the gruesome and the glorious with new family based activities and exhibits. 

Just a five minute walk from South Shields Seafront is Arbeia Roman Fort, the most extensively excavated Roman military supply base in the Empire.

Built in AD160, this important site would have stood guard at the mouth of the River Tyne controlling the main port of entry to the Roman Empire in Britain. Originally built to house a garrison, Arbeia soon became an important military supply base for the 17 forts along the length of the mighty Hadrian's Wall.

Today, Arbeia is a fascinating place to visit and is a great insight into what life was like in Roman Britain. It combines the excavated remains of the original fort with excellent reconstructions of buildings.

Arbeia received the bronze award for Small Visitor Attraction of the Year at the North East England Tourism Awards in March 2020.

History comes to life

In fact, it is one of only a few places in the country where you can see brought-to-life Roman buildings. Climb the reconstructed West Gate, find out how the soldiers lived in their barracks and explore the much more luxurious home of the Commander.

Some of the impressive finds that have been found along Hadrian's Wall can be viewed in Arbeia's museum and with regular excavations taking place who knows what you may witness yourself!

And a must for the kids is Arbeia's Time Quest attraction, where they can dig for nearly-real finds and learn how archaeologists unravel the mysteries of the past.

Throughout the summer Arbeia plays host to some fantastic events with Roman re-enactments, live music and activities guaranteed to entertain children and adults of all ages. For more information see what's on in South Tyneside.

There's no need to leave your dog at home, as dogs are now allowed on to the site.

Please note: Due to Covid-19 there are some restrictions. Unfortunately the interior of the reconstructed buildings and TimeQuest are not currently open.

Did you know?

The Roman soldiers who were once based at the fort were mainly from Arabic countries hence the name Arbeia, the place of the Arabs.

Highlights

  • Climb the reconstructed West Gate for a bird's eye view over the site
  • See authentic furniture and frescoes in the Commander's Villa
  • Marvel at some of the fascinating discoveries in the museum

Opening times

Until 5 September:

Open Mondays - Saturdays, 10am - 5pm

7 - 27 September: 

Wednesdays - Fridays, 10am to 5pm
Saturdays - 11am to 4pm
Sundays - 1pm to 4pm
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays

Admission

Admission is free. Donations are welcome.

Facilities

  • Free car and coach parking nearby
  • Toilets
  • Gift shop

Access

  • Ramps
  • Accessible toilet
  • Wheelchair available
  • Facilities for deaf people and hard of hearing
  • Large print and Braille leaflets
  • Tactile interpretation points
  • Guide dogs welcome

Unfortunately, given the nature of the site, Arbeia is not fully accessible. For more details please visit Arbeia Roman Fort.

Location and contact details