Housesteads Roman fort is currently closed but we hope to reopen on 3 December for pre-booked visits. From Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 3 December we will be keeping a selection of our sites open for local visitors and Members. These sites all have large outdoor spaces, and they can be opened in a way that protects the health of all our visitors, staff and volunteers. We have additional safety measures in place at all of our sites including social distancing, enhanced cleaning and limits on visitor numbers. You will need to book in advance in order to visit, and we ask everyone to please bear in mind the government’s latest advice on essential journeys before you plan your visit. To find out which sites are open, how to book tickets and what to expect when you visit click on the links below. We hope to resume our normal winter opening times from 3 December, and will update you when we have more news. If you have a booking for while we are closed you will be automatically refunded within 10 working days.
What you need to know
We've made some changes to help keep you safe, and things might be a little different when you visit. Here's everything you need to know.
Construction of Hadrian's Wall begins. The fort at Housesteads, known as Vercovicium, is built.
138Hadrian's Great Defences
The Wall is completed at the end of Hadrian's reign and is garrisoned by nearly 10,000 men. Housesteads is one of 15 forts along the Wall.
Find out more about the history of Housesteads
The neighbouring Antonine Wall in Scotland is abandoned. Housesteads is garrisoned by the Tungrians, an infantry cohort of about 800 men, for the next two centuries.
Late 2nd-3rd CenturiesFort Renovations
Major building work takes place at the commanding officer's house, the granaries and other fort structures.
Read a description of Housesteads
Early 3rd CenturyDutch Soldiers
Additional garrison units from Frisia (north-east Holland) join Housesteads.
Late 3rd CenturyReduced Numbers
The garrison is reduced in strength, the barracks are transformed, and the settlement outside the fort is abandoned.
5th CenturyAfter the Romans
Immediate post-Roman activity at Housesteads is indicated by a 'cist' burial in a water tank close to the north curtain wall.
Late 16th Century'House Steads'
Part of 'House steads' is reported as belonging to Nicholas Crane of Bradley Hall.
Late 16th Century'Ranke Robbers'
The area becomes a notorious lair for rustlers and thieves, chiefly the Armstrong family. Antiquary and traveller William Camden avoids the site for fear of the 'ranke robbers thereabouts'.
The Revd John Hodgson carries out the first excavations at Housesteads.
19th Century to PresentOpen to Visitors
The fort forms the highlight of John Clayton’s ‘Roman Wall Estate’.
Learn more about the history of Housesteads Roman Fort