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Visit Arbeia, South Shields Roman Fort

Please note: Arbeia is now closed until 28 March 2022, except for pre-arranged groups.

A Hadrian's Wall World Heritage Site.

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

It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with the finest full-scale Roman reconstructions in the country and showcases some of the most significant finds from that time.

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 summertime, Arbeia usually plays host to some fantastic events with Roman re-enactments, live music and activities guaranteed to entertain children and adults of all ages.

2022 is an exciting year for Hadrian's Wall as it marks 1900 years since the building of the wall. An exciting year-long festival, Hadrian's Wall 1900, will take place with activities and events at various sites along Hadrian's Wall including Arbeia. 

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.

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

Closed from 27 September 2021 until 28 March 2022, except for pre-arranged school groups.

Admission

Admission is free, donations are welcome.

A small charge may apply for TimeQuest, please check. 

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.

Facilities

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

Dogs are allowed on to the site.

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