Segedunum Roman Fort stands at the easternmost point of Hadrian’s wall overlooking the Tyne. The interactive museum and Roman ruins are well worth a visit.
Wallsend, in North Tyneside marks the end of Hadrian’s wall and one of the most northerly spots in the Roman empire. It is a small town which is also known for shipbuilding and coal mining.
You will find Segedunum Roman Fort next to the Swan Hunter shipyards over looking the river Tyne. It is the most excavated Roman fort along Hadrian’s Wall. You can see the walls of the complete fort laid out in front of you. The name Segedunum means Strong Fort.
When my son was little we would go to Segedunum all the time. The exhibitions change regularly and they often have events on. We went for the Roman market a few years ago which was really enjoyable.
Currently if you are a resident of NE28 you can visit Segedunum Roman fort for free. The offer is valid until 31st March 2020. You just need to bring proof of your address. This applies to two adults per household but kids under 16 are free. It is a great offer so we took advantage of it.
Outside Segdenum Roman fort stands a statue of a Roman centurion. The statue marks the end of Hadrian’s wall which ran for 80 Roman miles or 73 modern miles from Wallsend to Cumbria.
It is also the start of Hadrian’s Wall Path, a national walking trail which follows the path of the wall. You can get your walking passport inside Segedunum.
The centurion, known as Sentius Tectonicus is 8ft 8 inches tall and is made from the same steel as the Angel of the North. His name comes from an inscription found close by that shows a centurion named Sentius supervised building a section of the wall.
From the outside you get a good view of the viewing tower that overlooks the Roman ruins. You can also see the shipyards beside the river.
When you enter Segedunum you find the ticket desk. When you have paid you are given a map which shows you the fort layout and tells you more about the museum.
The ground floor of Segedunum Roman Fort contains a gift shop and entrance into the museum and viewing gallery. We opted to start at the top and took the lift up to the viewing gallery. I recommend getting the lift up and walking down unless you want to walk up ten flights of stairs.
From the top you get amazing views across the remains of the fort. On the other side you can see Swan Hunters ship yard and Tyne. In front of the windows a video plays showing the changes in the fort over the years. You can easily stand looking at the view for ages.
Segedunum is a museum with a number of different galleries. We went downstairs from the viewing gallery and began with the third floor Strong Place gallery.
The gallery is fascinating as it showcases the history of Segedunum and the surrounding area. There are models of some of the famous ships built on the river Tyne.
Wallsend has a history of shipbuilding and is best known for building RMS Mauretania. This ship held the Blue Riband for the fastest Atlantic crossing for 22 years. Other famous ships built here are the RMS Carpathia which helped rescue survivors from the Titanic and the Turbinia, the first ship powered by steam turbine.
This gallery also has changing exhibitions. When we were there the exhibition focused on the affect World War I had on North Tyneside. It was a poignant exhibition that showed how the loss of life in a meaningful way.
The current exhibition is Borderline Funny which shows Hadrian’s Wall in cartoons which sounds interesting.
The ground floor is home to the Roman Gallery which bring the fort to life. It focuses on Segedunum’s place in the Roman empire and on Hadrian’s wall frontier. It gives an insight into Roman life with recreations of the Headquarters building, the commanding officers house and the calvary barracks.
There is plenty to interest kids with dress up costumes and props and interactive games. There are lots of facts about Romans and the history of the area and it makes fascinating reading for both young and old.
Outside you can wander around the excavated fort. You can see the outlines of the walls of all the buildings. Most Roman forts are similar to this but Segedunum is the only place in the Western Roman Empire where you can see the whole fort laid out.
Each building has a sign next to it which tells which gives more information about the building and its use.
There is also a reconstructed bath house on the site but sadly this is currently closed. It is well worth a visit but it may be a while until it reopens as it needs repairs and the funding is not currently available.
If you have kids there is also a playground and herb garden on the site which is a lovely place to sit in sunny weather.
Read more: Housesteads Roman Fort
I have been to Segedunum many times without realising part of the museum extends to the other side of the road. If you go out the gate at the end of the fort and cross the road you will find the remains of Wallsend B Pit from Wallsend Colliery and also a reconstructed section of Hadrian’s Wall.
During the late 18th Century Wallsend was a coal mining centre with seven pits in operation. Wallsend B Pit is one of several shafts going into the colliery. Inside the walls there would have been haystack boilers that produced the steam to power the engines. The pit closed in 1847 and a concrete cap seals the shaft.
Read more: The Mining Institute, Newcastle
Just beyond the Wallsend B pit you can find the reconstruction of Hadrian’s wall. This overlooks an 80m stretch of the remains of the wall. It is interesting to see and gives you a feel for how impressive the wall must have been.
There is a cafe, Evan’s on the Wall, on site. They provide locally sourced food with daily specials as well as salads, sandwiches and jacket potatoes. Kids also have a range of kids meals to choose from.
We didn’t try the cafe as we went after lunch but the food does look nice and the prices seem reasonable.
You can use the cafe without having to pay the entrance fee so if you are passing and feel peckish why not pop in?
It is really easy to get to Segedunum via public transport. Wallsend metro station and Wallsend bus station are both within walking distance.
Free parking is available outside the museum.
Segedunum Roman Fort
Segedunum Roman Fort is open between 10am and 5pm daily from 1st April – 30th September.
From 1st Octber – 31st March it is open from 10am to 3pm Monday to Saturday except during half term when it is open from 10am to 4pm.
More information: https://segedunumromanfort.org.uk/
Season tickets are also available – these are £14 for adults, £10 for concessions.
Have you been to Segedunum? Let me know what you thought below.
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