Binchester Roman Fort
Binchester Roman Fort gives you an insight into what life was like for the Romans in County Durham.
Explore the impressive remains of a Roman bath house with its amazing 1,700 year-old under floor heating system. Find out why taking a bath in Roman times was about more than just getting clean! Walk in the footsteps of the soldiers around the remains of the Commander's House - see if you can find the beast of Binchester among the ruins.
Binchester Fort is in the centre of County Durham, approximately one and a half miles north of Bishop Auckland. Car parking is available on-site and the fort is signposted from the A690 Durham to Crook road, from A688 Spennymoor to Bishop Auckland road. A section of the road running from Bishop Auckland marketplace to Newfield (Dial Stob Hill) is currently closed for essential works and a diversion is in place, so please use the A688/A690 to visit us. The diversion route is shown below:
- Adults £5.00
- Concessions £4.00
- Children £3.50 (under 4s free)
Binchester is now open following the building works following improvements to the site facilities including a new structure over the bathhouse and electricity on site for the first time.
- 9 June - 31 October: 11.00am - 4.30pm
- 1 July - 30 September 10.00am - 4.30pm
Groups must book in advance. Visits by groups and school parties may be available outside these dates by prior arrangement.
Note: Assistance Dogs only allowed on site.
The Binchester Guide Book tells the story of Binchester Roman Fort which began around 75 AD, over 1900 years ago. The booklet provides an introduction to the site and a visitor guide to an amazingly well-preserved site in parts where you can 'walk in the footsteps' of Roman legionary and auxiliary soldiers. You can buy a copy from Durham County Record Office Online Shop.
- Adults £7.00
- Concessions £6.00
- Children £5.00 (under 4s free)
2018 will see the Romans returning to Binchester Roman Fort at our ever popular re-enactment events. On event days, the programme of activities commences at 11.00am and is repeated at 2.00pm.
Monday 27 August
Roma Antiqua, supported by other elements of the Roman Army including Barbaratus the expert cavalryman, regroup for the final demonstration of the year. See demonstrations of archery, slingstaffs and firing of the full-size replica of the artillery catapult known as the ballista.
Visit the tented encampment and inspect the weapons, armour and equipment of Roman soldiers as well as the stalls of civilian traders and artisans. Join the guided tour of the site and be amazed by the size and importance of Vinovia and its magnificently well-preserved buildings.
Binchester (Vinovia) was founded around 80 AD and for a time one of the largest Roman military installations in the whole of Northern Britain. About 7 hectares in size it was large enough to have accommodated a battle-group formed of several cohorts of legionary infantry and one or more units of auxiliary cavalry. Even when it was reduced to 4 hectares around 160 AD it was still the largest fort in County Durham.
We know from inscriptions that the garrison of this later fort was a cavalry unit originally recruited in central Spain accompanied at some point by a unit of cavalry originating from the area we now know as Holland. The fort, which continued to be occupied down to the end of the Roman period, was accompanied by a large civil settlement around it. People continued to live in the fort for several centuries after Britain ceased to be part of the Roman Empire.
Public excavation 2009-2015
The fieldwork element of this project has now finished and work has commenced on the massive task of recording, cataloguing and analysing the vast quantities of finds and data recovered. The splendidly well-preserved portion of the extramural bath-building will be available for the public to view this year.
The site has been specially laid out with level access for people in wheelchairs and those with prams. An accessible toilet and parking bays are provided. The site has a shop, toilet and limited refreshment facilities.
Unfortunately dogs are not permitted on site apart from Assistance Dogs.
A school room, workshop activities and guided tours can be pre-booked in advance for school groups and small parties (up to 50).