Like many, if not most my knowledge of the Romans is limited to a few lessons at Primary School which is longer ago then I care to remember. One of the main things that I did remember was that the Romans built Hadrian’s Wall. So whilst on a recent break in Northumberland my husband and I decided that it would be the perfect opportunity for us to go and visit We are both National Trust members which meant that our visit to Housesteads Roman Fort was included in our membership fee. The site itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site and managed jointly by the National Trust and English Heritage (therefore if you are an English Heritage member entrance is included in your membership fee too).
We arrived just before lunch and to be honest the weather was not too bad for the middle of December. Granted it was overcast but it was dry and that was the main thing. The friendly guy on the reception explained that it was a 1/2 mile walk to the museum with a 1 in 4 gradient. Being (relatively) young this didn’t pose too much of a problem and it was appreciated that we were made aware of it before we started our jaunt.
The museum was small but had a lot of original artefacts inside. In fact, some of the artefacts are so well preserved it’s hard to believe that they are nearly 2000 years old. A small cinema is at the back of the museum playing a documentary on loop showing how the fort would have looked in its day, explaining that over 800 people would have lived there at one time and what each building would have been used for – very interesting.
The fort and wall are sights to behold. Again, they have stood the test of time. Nearly 2000 years subjected to extreme weather and some of it is still standing. It’s true what they say – things used to be built to last. We could have spent longer here but unfortunately the rain and wind got the better of us and we had left our waterproofs in the car. Because you can’t just ‘nip back and get it’ I highly recommend that if you ever visit ensure you take everything you need or may need with you.
Looking like a pair of drowned rats we wandered back to the car via the gift shop, I do love a good gift shop. Here we bought souvenirs for friends and family. Shame we did not plan our trip better and organise our visit for the summer months, but hey ho it was great to see such a well known piece of history in its glory!