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Hadrian's Wall Vindolanda - Family day out.

Beth
December 12, 2021

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What I loved about it:

For me, the highlight was meandering through the peaceful Roman Gardens. I wasn’t expecting to find such a beautiful spot amongst a Roman Fort site. The kids loved looking at the bones that had been dug up and which now sit in the Vindolanda museum at Hadrian’s Wall. For my husband, the highlight was witnessing history being brought back to life; it is incredible what has been dug up during the archaeological digs, but fascinating at what has been found. A real history lesson for the whole family.

Location:

Hexham NE47 7JN

Suitable for:

Families, couples and history buffs of all ages.

Value for money (out of 10):

9

Website:

Planning your day out at Vindolanda, Hadrian's Wall.

We stopped off at Vindolanda on a recent trip over to the Lake District. Situated just off the A69, it was the perfect place to call in for a picnic and break up the journey. To be honest, we didn’t think we would be staying all that long. But as soon as we entered through the museum, it became clear we would be here a lot longer than planned…

What is Vindolanda?

Vindolanda is one of Europe’s most important Roman archaeological sites, situated just one mile south of Hadrian’s Wall. The site is owned by the Vindolanda Charitable Trust. Excavations take place on a yearly basis, and over time have uncovered some truly amazing artefacts which are displayed in the sites museum. This was the part we found particularly interesting during our visit. Everything you see in the museum came from the excavation site just yards away.

But it isn’t just the fort you will find here. There is also an activity centre which is really geared at the kids, a café, museum and gift shop. As well as this you can potter around the peaceful Roman gardens, soaking up the history that really feels alive at Vindolanda.

The museum displays objects discovered during the excavations. I don’t know about you, but it really blew my mind that the objects I was viewing, came from the very site I had just been standing on. From leather shoes and jewellery to military equipment and pottery, it is simply amazing the history that has been uncovered here. Great for my son’s age, as he had been learning about the Romans at school, which led to me think this would be the perfect place for a school trip.

Our son gravitated towards the bones and skulls, as a typical boy would I suppose. Normally this kind of stuff doesn’t appeal to me but I also found it all very fascinating. I would recommend a visit to the museum with slightly older children. (My son is eight and I would say this was young enough; our five year old wasn’t quite so interested in the museum part.)

As you leave the museum, you make your way through the gift shop and café, before stepping out into the Roman gardens. This is where we probably spent most of our time aside from explore the fort.

The café is designed to make you feel like you could be in Italy, all very authentic and in keeping with the rest of the site. We purchased a take away coffee from here and sat outside on one of the picnic benches. On this particular occasion we had our own picnic lunch, so sat here to eat and take in the beautiful garden space.

The whole site felt pretty relaxed and there was plenty of exploring to be done. An activity centre is located in the garden and was great for our children. It was engaging and really painted a picture of what life would have been like for Roman children.

Then of course there is the Fort. The visible stone fort dates back as far as the third century and the remains include the fort walls and the headquarters building. Remains of the complete settlement lie just west of the fort and include buildings lining what would have been the main street. These buildings include shops, houses and a bath house.

Use the postcode NE47 7JN but if you are wanting to head to the main car park, make sure you follow the brown signs once you are about a mile away. We actually followed the sat nav completely which led us to a smaller car park which in fact was closer to the museum entrance. I actually preferred doing it this was around and would recommend this, however if you would rather go for the lager, main car park, stick to the signposts.

Vindolanda is an accessible site, only guide dogs permitted.

You can book your tickets online to save up to 5% off the entry costs.

Online prices, correct of 2021, are:

Adult: £8.30

Child: £4.75

Under 5’s free

Family ticket: £23.75 for two adults and three children.

We didn’t book online so paid £25 for a family ticket.

Opening times vary on season but as a guide, up until 31st October you can visit between 10am and 5pm. Last admission 4pm.

From 1st November and over the winter, opening times are 10-4pm with last admissions at 3pm.

We will definitely be returning and this time give ourselves plenty of time to explore the Vindolanda Roman Fort site.

RECOMMENDATION

This is a Girl About recommendation. This means that it was not gifted in return for a review but paid in full by me (if a cost was applicable) and the venue had no idea that I was visiting. We only recommend places we absolutely love, and places that we know you’ll love too!
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Beth
December 12, 2021

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