South Shields' Arbeia Roman fort takes step back even further in time with spotlight on 'The Lost Fort'

A tourist attraction in South Tyneside is getting ready to step back in time – with a new ‘pop-up’ exhibition.

Evidence of an earlier Roman fort in South Shields
Evidence of an earlier Roman fort in South Shields

Arbeia, South Shields Roman Fort – a UNESCO World Heritage Site, – is preparing to reopen on Monday March 28 for the summer season with a new exhibition called The Lost Fort.

It explores tantalising evidence of a fort on the site which predates the stone fort of Arbeia, which was built about the year AD 163.

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The exhibition forms part of the Hadrian’s Wall 1900 festival – celebrating 1900 years since the building of Hadrian’s Wall began in AD 122.

Stepping back in time at Arbeia.

During the summer, visitors can also expect a varied programme of family friendly events at the fort, including: Boudicca: The Wheelabouts - an interactive event involving puppetry, sculpture and performance, Roman cavalry, infantry and civilian living history displays, and music performances.

Geoff Woodward, manager of North & South Tyneside Museums for Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, said: “We are delighted to reopen Arbeia for the 2022 season with this new Lost Fort exhibition

"The elusive remains of the first Roman fort at South Shields, which is known to exist from scattered pieces of archaeological evidence, presents an intriguing and captivating story.”

Cllr Joan Atkinson, deputy leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for culture and leisure, said: “Arbeia is a brilliant cultural and educational attraction that gives a fascinating insight into Roman Britain and the Roman occupation in South Tyneside.

“This new pop-up exhibition is particularly intriguing as it explores a structure that predates Arbeia and helps us to discover more about the important part the fort played in Hadrian’s Wall.

“Visitors are sure to enjoy a great day out while getting a real sense of what it would have been like on the site around 1,900 years ago.”

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Also on offer at the fort are free audio tours from GeoTourist, a personal tour guide to be used on the visitor’s smartphone.

Entry to the fort remains free and visitors are also encouraged to bring their own picnics and other refreshments to enjoy in the picnic area.

Arbeia also has a dog friendly policy.

For full details of opening times, events, and facilities available, go to