Spotlight On: Hadrian's Wall

    Marching 73 miles across the north of England, Hadrian's Wall is the former frontier of the Roman Empire and offers all sorts of opportunities for exploration.

    Discover treasure hoardes of exquisite objects, see how our ancestors lived in the remains of barracks and bathhouses, and walk along sections of the Wall itself through some of the wildest and most dramatic country in England.


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    Hadrians Wall Housesteads Roman Fort

    Housesteads Roman Fort on Hadrian's Wall is one of the best-preserved Roman forts in the country with ancient drainage, heating systems and latrines (aka communal toilets).

    Which bit of Hadrian's Wall should you visit?

    Housesteads Roman Fort - Once known as Vercovicium, this incredibly complete fort is set high on an escarpment with amazing views over the landscape. There's also an interactive museum and a mini cinema to take you on a journey through time.

    Corbridge Roman Town - Not all the sites on Hadrian's Wall were heavily guarded fortresses. Visit the largest collection of Hadrian's Wall artefacts which includes over 34,000 fascinating objects

    Chesters Roman Fort and Museum - Explore a riverside bath house and cavalry fort, discover the 'saviour of the Wall' John Clayton and stop off for afternoon tea in the Chesters Tearoom.

    Birdoswald Roman Fort - The perfect place to see the longest continuous remaining stretch of Hadrian's Wall, and features like mile castles and signalling towers which would have been built along it, within a short walk of the fort itself.

    Until 1964 when this suit of armour was discovered in the Corbridge Hoard, historians could not be sure how Roman armour was made.
    Guy Moody, Operations Manager Historic Properties North

    Guy Moody, Operations Manager Historic Properties North

    Why we love Hadrian's Wall

    "It's the surroundings that I like at Birdoswald, it's very atmospheric. Especially on winter days when it's really misty, you can feel like a Roman soldier looking out - it would have been a very similar experience." - Guy Moody, Operations Manager 

    "There are lots of reasons why I love Hadrian's Wall and my job. Each of the forts along the Wall is truly unique - once you've visited them all you build up a picture of life during Roman Britain." - Emily Railton, Marketing Manager

    "Being part of such an iconic site helps make for an incredibly rich experience. I love to hear about visitors' experiences - I enjoy listening to their stories of exploring the fort, walking the Wall, or how they were able to dress as a Roman soldier during the season's many different activities. They truly bring me back to Housesteads every season." - Craig Beckham, Historic Properties Steward - Housesteads Roman Fort

    Reconstruction drawing by Philip CORKE of Roman auxiliary infantry practising combat in the Drill Hall - Copyright Historic England

    Did you know?

    Hadrian's Wall was manned by auxiliaries who came from practically every province in the Roman Empire except Britain. Roman troops were all multilingual as they required a working knowledge of Latin and the language of the indigenous people who lived either side of the frontier, as well as their native tongue.

    Discover the history of Hadrian's Wall

    Experience Life at the edge of the Empire

    For over 300 years Roman Britain was a vibrant multi-cultural place, where the mighty Empire and indigenous culture collided. Their roads, religion and ruins are all part of a fascinating legacy which you can to explore today. 

    In September 2015, Roman legionary patrols and gladiators returned to four sites along the Wall for Hadrian's Wall Live. Don't miss your chance to be part of the event in 2016 along with a range of other Roman events at Hadrian's Wall. You can also discover more about what the Romans did for us all over the country by reading this chapter of the Story of England.

    Learn more about Roman Britain
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