Birdoswald Roman Fort - Hadrian's Wall

Things to see and do

Welcome to Birdoswald Roman fort

We have introduced limits on visitor numbers to help keep everyone safe, and you won’t be able to visit without your booking confirmation. If you’re a Member, your ticket will be free, but you still need to book in advance. To book your visit, click the button below.

Although things might be a little different when you visit, you’ll still be able to enjoy exploring the places where history really happened. And you’ll still be given a warm and safe welcome by our friendly – if socially distant – staff and volunteers.

Please click here for more information about the safety measures you can expect when visiting as well as our FAQs

  • Site and fort - All outdoor spaces will be open as usual and access to the wider stretches of Hadrian's Wall is also as usual.
  • Museum - The museum will be open with minor restrictions to the interpretation. Number of visitors at any one time will be monitored.
  • Café - Take away food and drink will be available. Card payments preferred.
  • Shop - The shop will be open.
  • Toilets - Our toilets are open as usual.
  • Summer Explorer Quest - This summer, from 18 July, take your family on a free fun adventure quest. Download your trail map here.
  • Face coverings - Face coverings must be worn in Birdoswald's indoor shop, café and all other indoor spaces. We won't be able to give you a face covering so please come prepared so you don't miss out.
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A father and son exploring the fort

Discover the fort

Explore the most impressive remaining defences of any fort along the Wall today. Follow the perimeter of the fort walls to find gates and watch towers, and be sure to stop off at the main east gate, which is the best preserved fort gate on Hadrian's Wall.

For over 300 years, Birdoswald was one of 16 forts built as part of the Hadrian's Wall frontier system. But the site has been occupied since and there's a further 1000 years of history just waiting to be uncovered too. Discover the remains of a Dark Age hall, a medieval tower house and stories of the infamous border 'reivers'.

A family getting hands-on in the exhibition

Step into the Roman story

March like a Roman soldier through a four meter high gatehouse to find the new exhibition. Get your head around the history of Hadrian's Wall with lots of hands-on fun and games.

Big and little kids alike can get creative with bricks to discover how the Wall was built. Take a quiz to work out what role you would have played in the Roman army and summon your troops with a signalling game as you find out about what the Wall was for.

You can even take a peek through a periscope to see the same view as the Roman look-outs, at the original height of the Wall. The exhibition is the perfect place to start if you're new to Roman history.

A view of the Irthing Valley

Explore the landscape

Look no further than the cliff edge to get a taste of the fort's surroundings. The vista over the Irthing valley will take your breath away. Once you've seen the view you won't be able to resist venturing out into the countryside beyond the Birdoswald - rugged and unchanged for centuries.

Lace up your walking boots and set out to see the impressive remains of all of the Wall's defining features. Nearby you'll find Harrow's Scar milecastle (a type of small fort), a turret (49b) and the Roman bridge abutment at Willowford.

Inside the cafe at Birdoswald Roman Fort

Grab a bite to eat

Fuel up after your adventure with a hearty Cumbrian dish or a Roman-inspired refreshment. Did you know that the Romans invented the burger? Sample this historical snack to top off your Roman experience - you won't find Roman burgers served anywhere else on the Wall.

If you're looking for something lighter choose from a selection of sandwiches and soups, or satisfy your sweet tooth with one of our cakes or desserts. We've got a whole range of hot and cold drinks to quench your thirst and plenty of children's options on the menu too.

Pull up a chair inside the rustic style café or kick back on a picnic bench outside. Peckish walker, cyclists and passers-by are welcome too. 

Get hands-on with the family

Dive into the story of Hadrian's Wall with the help of our life-sized illustrated Roman characters. Enjoy plenty of play and discover as you go - we'd recommend taking a turn on the have-a-go crane to find out what skills were needed to build the Wall.

Head out to the fort and get exploring with a clue-cracking quest. Have a go at replica Roman games and activities as you find out more about life at Birdoswald during the Roman era.

If you need it, take time out in the new family room. There's space to sit or feed, a sink to use as you need and Roman themed soft play to keep little ones busy.

'step into englands story