Segedunum Roman Fort – Review for families

Experience the North East's Roman history at the Wallsend fort and museum Segedunum

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What is it?

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Segedunum was a Roman fort, which has been excavated and is now open to the public as a Roman Fort, Baths and Museum attraction. Find it in Wallsend, Newcastle. The SatNav postcode is NE28 6HR. Segedunum is easily accessible by bus and train. It’s a 3-minute walk from Wallsend Metro Station.

Best for:

5 – 8 / 9 – 12 / 12 +

OK for:

Babies / Toddlers & Preschool, though please bear in mind that this attraction is much better for school aged children.

Cost

£ – Adult tickets cost £5.50 but children under 16 go free.

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What’s on offer

Pons Aelius was a Roman settlement near what we know now as Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Home to Hadrian’s Wall and an estimated 2000 Romans, much of the fort is now hidden under The Castle Keep, which Newcastle was named after in the year 1172AD. As a result of Newcastle’s fascinating Roman history, there are plenty of historical attractions to enjoy and learn about at the excavated fort, Segedunum.

There’s the Roman Gallery, which documents what life was like for the Roman soldiers and contains plenty of artifacts and information for budding archaeologists about how everything was found out as well as an audio, visual and interactive display sharing the story of the area.

There’s also a reconstruction of a Roman Bath House, which is the only one in the UK and based on original remains found in Chesters Bath. Families can also visit a section of the real Hadrian’s Wall and a reconstruction that shows what the wall may have looked like 1800 years ago.

Segedunum shows films in a small theatre and computer interactives, which are available with subtitles. It also hosts special exhibitions and family learning activities throughout the year, including re-enactments and dress up sessions for youngsters. Make sure you check the website or call reception to see what’s on and when. Like most attractions, there is a coffee shop and a gift shop, which sells local souvenirs.

The site most has level access and is therefore pushchair friendly, though the Hadrian’s Wall section reconstruction is only available via a flight of steps. There is a free car park for visitors, which you can access from Buddle Road. If you get tired or need a rest, benches can be found in the museum, the bathhouse, the Roman garden and on the path leading towards the Colliery and Hadrian’s Wall sites.

The site has several male, female and accessible toilets, including an accessible shower and baby changing facilities. The baby-changing facilities can be found to the rear of the ground floor reception area.

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Highlights

The highlights of a visit to Segedunum include the fact that the museum is clean and well-organised, with lots of information for children to gobble up. It’s been preserved well and school children are always spellbound by the interesting history, interactive-ness of the museum (something TripAdvisor users praised highly) and the activities obviously designed to keep them engaged.

The museum overlooks the River Tyne and the fort has great views from the Tower.  Also, many of the signs in Wallsend (particularly at Wallsend Metro Station) are written in English and Latin to celebrate the areas history!

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What to watch out for

  • The Roman Bath House undergoes necessary maintenance renovations from time to time. Please check the website to ensure it is open before your visit.
  • It opens at 10am, which is quite late if you hope to walk along some of Hadrian’s Wall in the same day. It also closes early on Sundays. Check the website for up-to-date opening times
  • Don’t take toddlers here and expect them to be as engaged as an older child would be. 

MFM tips:

  • If you and your family have an interest in the history of the North East, Vindolanda is definitely the ideal place for you to visit.
  • Don’t plan more than 3 hours here.
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What the owners say

“In AD122 the Emperor Hadrian ordered a mighty frontier system to be built across Britain to defend the Roman Empire from the barbarians to the North.

The result was Hadrian’s Wall, a 73 mile barrier stretching from the River Tyne in the east to the Solway Firth in the west. Segedunum, which means ‘Strong Fort’, was built to guard the eastern end of the Wall, and housed 600 Roman soldiers.  It stood for almost 300 years as a symbol of Roman rule and a bastion against barbarian attack.

Today, Segedunum is once again a major site on Hadrian’s Wall. It is the most excavated fort along the Wall with surviving foundations of many buildings and part of the Wall itself.  There is a large interactive museum plus full-scale reconstructions of a bath house and a section of Wall.  The 35 metre high viewing tower provides outstanding views across this World Heritage Site.”

Visit the official Segedunum website

Read more MFM guides to the North East of England…

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