A Roman fort and bath house – which dates back to 75 A.D. – has now reopened to the public.

The remains of Binchester Roman Fort, near Bishop Auckland, had been closed due to the rebuilding of the visitor centre that surrounds the fort’s bath house.

A new timber structure now provides the almost 2,000-year-old remains with better protection from the elements.

In addition, the visitor centre’s interior now replicates the original inside of the baths, with detailed murals mimicking what the Romans would have seen as they enjoyed a soak. A new reception building has also been created.

Binchester – known in Roman times as Vinovia – was one of the most important Roman military bases in northern England.

As well as the impressive bath house, visitors to Binchester can see Britain’s only intact remains of a Roman upper-storey underfloor heating system.

The site also includes the remnants of the commanding officer’s house. In the fort’s bath building, the Roman masonry still stands over two-metres above the original floor level.

Binchester 2
The new visitor centre at Binchester 

Durham County Council’s cabinet member for tourism, culture, leisure and rural issues, Cllr Ossie Johnson, said, “Binchester offers a fascinating insight into what life was like for the Romans of County Durham and is an important part of the county’s cultural offer.”

“These improvements will greatly enhance the experience for visitors, helping us remain connected to our past but also helping to secure the site’s future as a visitor attraction.”

Binchester Roman Fort is open seven days a week, from 11.00 am to 4.30 pm in June, between 10.00 am and 4.30 pm from July to September, and from 11.00 am to 4.30 pm in October.

To learn more about Binchester Roman Fort, please go to www.durham.gov.uk/binchester.

(The images in the article show Dr David Mason, principal archaeologist at Durham County Council, inside and outside the new structure covering the bath house at Binchester.)   

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