This weekend County Durham will be facing an invasion of fully armed Roman soldiers.

Foot soldiers and cavalrymen – along with their barbarian rivals – will be setting up camp at Binchester Roman Fort, near Bishop Auckland.

Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th July will see spectacular re-enactments of ancient battles as part of Binchester’s annual Roman Festival.

The battles – between Romans and barbarians – will be staged by re-enactment societies such as Roman Antiqua and The Mercenaries.

Visitors will have the chance to learn about Roman military skills such as archery and using catapults and slings.

Barbaratus the cavalryman will be showing off his horsemanship and visitors will also have the opportunity to talk to Roman traders and artisans.

The site of Binchester Roman Fort has recently been renovated, with a new timber building erected to cover the remains of the fort’s bath house.

The building’s interior has been decorated with impressive murals in an attempt to recreate the atmosphere of a Roman bath house.

This weekend, visitors can also enjoy guided tours of excavations currently being carried out at the fort.

Durham County Council’s principal archaeologist, David Mason, said, “Our Roman Festival is a fantastic family day out and a great opportunity to find out what everyday life was like for the Romans.”

Activities and demonstrations are scheduled to begin at 11.00 am on both the Saturday and Sunday and the programme will be repeated at 2.00 pm.

To learn more please go to or telephone 01388 663 089.

Dating back almost 2000 years, Binchester Fort – known in Roman times as Vinovia – was one of the most important military bases in the north of England.

In addition to the impressive bath house, the site includes the remains of an upper-storey underfloor heating system and the remnants of a commanding officer’s house.  

(The featured image shows the remains of a Roman bath house on Hadrian’s Wall.)


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