Access Information

Plan your visit

Arbeia, South Shields' Roman Fort

Arbeia, South Shields' Roman Fort

What is at Arbeia Roman Fort   

Step into the fort and immerse yourself in the world of the Romans right in the heart of South Shields. Explore inside the full-scale reconstructed Roman buildings including the West Gate, Commanding Officer's house and a soldier's barrack block, and see one of the finest collections of finds from Roman Britain all found in and around Arbeia.

Entrance to the museum and fort site is free. 


Well behaved dogs are welcome on the fort site. Arbeia is a World Heritage Site so we insist dog owners observe our guidelines. Click here to read our Guidelines for dog-owners visiting Arbeia. Assistance dogs can accompany their owner at all times. A bowl of water is available upon request and complimentary dog treats at reception. 

Getting here and parking 

Arbeia South Shields' Roman Fort is located between South Shields town centre and the sea front at the top of the Lawe Top. Visit our getting here web page for more information.

Guided tours 

Guided tours for a minimum of 10 people can be booked for a small charge and need to be booked three weeks in advance. Please contact the museum to arrange this by calling (0191) 277 1409 or by emailing


There is no public telephone available. Please approach staff at reception to order taxis or if you need to make an urgent phone call and they will assist you.  

Pre-visit information 

The pre-visit information is currently under revision. Please contact the Museum ahead of your visit, by calling (0191) 277 1409 or by emailing

Fire alarms 

The fire alarms have voice evacuation sounders and visual flashing lights in the museum, TimeQuest and reconstructed buildings. If you will require assistance exiting the site in the event of a fire alarm please inform a member of staff on your arrival.

Toilets and baby changing facilities 

The male toilets are on the end of the museum building nearest the West Gate with the female toilets on the other end near to the Garden Room, as is the accessible toilet. Baby changing facilities are available in the female accessible toilet, there is also a pull chord alarm. 


Breastfeeding is welcomed throughout the museum. Download Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums Breastfeeding Commitment document for more information.

Eating at Arbeia 

Arbeia doesn't have any permanent refreshment facilities, you can buy cold drinks and snacks in the shop.
You are welcome to bring your own picnics and other refreshments and eat them on our lawn or in our picnic area.   
A pop up cafe does operate at certain summertime events however, please check the website in advance of your visit. 


There is a range of seating across the fort including a wheelchair accessible area with picnic tables and benches. 

Wheelchair accessibility on site 

A wheelchair is available for visitor use. Please ask a member of staff who will be able to assist.  

The paths around the site are narrow which may restrict access for larger motorised mobility vehicles, please ask a member of staff for assistance. 

Getting around


There is a perimeter fence surrounding Arbeia, South Shields' Roman Fort with the main gates situated on the Baring Street side opposite Hadrian Primary School. 
The approach to the main entrance to the museum building entrance is flat tarmac and concrete. There is a short flight of steps leading to the building as well as an accessible ramp to the right. The doors entering the museum are heavy double glass swing doors. There is also a set of these doors exiting the building on the other side which takes you to the main fort site. 

The Fort Site  

The surface around the fort is generally flat but uneven and can vary from grass to gravel. The main paths throughout the site remains are original Roman roads covered with gravel and stones so please take great care when exploring and making your way to the reconstructed buildings. 

There is a level path to the remains in the north part of the fort, and a viewing platform over the central remains. 

Directly outside the museum building is the Herb garden which has flat level access and bench seating. The Garden Room next to the museum building is accessed through push handle doors which open outwards. The Garden Room is flat with level access. 

Reconstructed buildings 

There is flat level access around the Commanding Officer's house and barrack block but some of the floors are uneven. 

The reconstructed West Gate has three floors. There is a single step up into the ground floor of one of the Gate towers. The next two floors are accessed by a steep, narrow wooden staircase inside. Regrettably, there is no wheelchair access inside the reconstruction but video views and images of the interior are available in the Commanding Officer’s House. 

The Barrack Block is accessed along a flat gravel path and all on ground level. Viewing of the barrack rooms is accessible from the doorways. Some of the rooms can be entered but the ground within is uneven and the lighting levels are low. 

TimeQuest is accessed via a small set of steps but there is a flat access route if needed. Please speak to a member of staff for guidance. Inside TimeQuest there is a short section of steps leading to the interactive excavation area. 

The Museum 

Inside the museum building is flat level access.  

Resources for visually or hearing-impaired visitors

Assistance Dogs 

We welcome assistance dogs. Please let us know if you require anything for the dog whilst in the museum. 

Resources for families

Sensory Backpacks  

The South Tyneside SEND Youth Forum has designed, created and distributed Sensory Backpacks to cultural venues across South Tyneside. The backpack contains resources that can calm, entertain and soothe visitors who may find coming to the museum a little overwhelming. Contents of the backpack include: noise cancelling headphones, a sea animal toy, a light-up fan, pop it, Lego, a stress ball and theraputty.

We have two Sensory Backpacks available on loan from the museum reception desk from June 2024. A form of ID must be used as a deposit to borrow a backpack. 

We are here to help

All staff attend training including customer care, diversity and disability awareness. They are here to help you enjoy the time you spend in our venues. 

If there is anything that we can do to make your visit more enjoyable please contact us, we will be happy to assist you.