Roman Sites in Scotland

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From the incredible Bearsden Bath House and the eye-opening Bar Hill Fort to the astonishing Croy Hill Scotland's Roman ruins are absolutely mind-blowing places to discover. There are other top Roman ruins of Scotland to discover including Kinneil Roman Fort, Trimontium Museum and Ardoch Roman Fort, which is one of the best known of the Roman ruins of Scotland. Wherever your travels take you, we've compiled a fantastic selection of Roman sites in Scotland with our editor's picks followed by a few hidden gems you won't want to miss.

What are the best Roman Sites in Scotland?

1. Bearsden Bath House

The Bearsden Bath House was a second century Roman bath complex which would have served one of the forts of The Antonine Wall. Today, the remains of the Bearsden Bath House - located innocuously in the middle of a modern housing estate - represent some of the best of this Roman military structure. The Antonine Wall was itself a defensive wall built almost two decades after Hadrian’s Wall and representing some of the further incursions made by the Romans in the UK.

2. Bar Hill Fort

Bar Hill Fort was one of the forts along The Antonine Wall, a second century Roman defensive wall in Scotland. Today, visitors can still discern parts of Bar Hill Fort - once this wall’s highest fort - including its bath complex. It is also a double treat for history buffs, as there is also a nearby Iron Age fort.

3. Croy Hill

Croy Hill was the site of one of the Roman forts of the Antonine Wall, a vast second century defensive barrier in Scotland which ran from West Kilpatrick to Carriden, along what is now Scotland’s central belt. The wall was constructed to control trade and offer protection from the more aggressive of the Caledonian tribes; it was built in just two years. The Antonine Wall would continue to be occupied until the late 160s AD when the Romans began to retreat to its more famous counterpart, Hadrian's Wall. Today, visitors to Croy Hill can still make out two beacon platforms and a defensive ditch which would have formed part of the original fortifications.

4. Kinneil Roman Fort

Forming part of the Antonine Wall, Kinneil Roman Fort was one of the mile-castles built to protect the borders of the Roman Empire. Visitors can view part of the roadway and a partial reconstruction of the line of the wall. A number of artefacts from the site can be viewed in Kinneil Museum. Kinneil Roman Fort is part of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site. A visit to Kinneil Estate is also not complete without taking the opportunity to explore the surrounding parks, woodlands and ponds.

5. Bothwellhaugh Roman Fort

Bothwellhaugh Roman Fort is the site of a Roman fort, now located within Strathclyde Country Park in North Lanarkshire, Scotland. It is east of where the South Calder Water flows into Strathclyde Loch. The fort is a scheduled monument.

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6. Trimontium Museum

Unfortunately no upstanding stones remain of the Roman fort at Newstead, but visitors to the Trimontium Museum in nearby Melrose can still get a tangible insight into life in the Roman frontiers through a wide variety of artefacts and reproductions. A guided walk run by the Trimontium Museum also points out visible features in the landscape of Newstead, such as the ploughed-out rampart and the amphitheatre, to give visitors as much of a sense of the former structure as possible.Trimontium is thought to have been occupied by the Romans three times, with a garrison that numbered between 2000 and 5000 at any given time. First between 80 and 105 AD, then in around 140 AD as a support centre when Hadrian's successor Antoninus Pius brought an army back into Scotland, and finally from the desertion of the Antonine Wall in the 160s AD until the withdrawal of the army in around 185 AD. After this, the fort was no longer an occupied stronghold, but may have been visited by troops inspecting the buffer zone north of Hadrian’s Wall.

7. Ardoch Roman Fort

Ardoch Roman Fort, also known as the Braco Fort or Alavna Veniconvm is a well preserved - many say exceptionally preserved - fort in Scotland. The earthworks include six foot high ditches although there are now no remaining wooden or stone structures at the site.

8. Watling Lodge

Watling Lodge was a Roman fortlet on the Antonine Wall in Scotland. It was located near what is now Lock Sixteen on the Forth and Clyde Canal in Falkirk with neighbouring forts at Rough Castle to the west and Falkirk to the east. There was also a fort at Camelon to the north. There was also a Roman temporary camp found a short distance south of the site.

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9. Battledykes

Battledykes is a Roman Camp established slightly to the north of Forfar, Scotland. According to Hector Boece, Pictish chiefs met at a castle by Forfar Loch to plan how to repel the Roman armies, who invaded several times between the 1st and 4th centuries AD. Eventually, the better equipped Romans prevailed, to be displaced again by the Picts. The Romans established a Roman Camp at Battledykes, approximately three miles north of Forfar; this camp was assessed to have held 50,000 to 60,000 men. From Battledykes northward the Romans established a succession of camps including Stracathro, Raedykes and Normandykes.

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10. Deers Den

Deers Den is an archaeological site at Kintore, Scotland in Aberdeenshire. The site has mesolithic remains, Iron Age artefacts and is a known Roman Camp.

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Full list of Roman Ruins in Scotland

As well as these more famous entries, we’ve scoured the archives to showcase an in-depth list of 34 Roman Sites in Scotland including more hidden sites such as Pennymuir Roman camps, Raedykes and Stracathro. Our advice? Don’t ignore them, because the full list of Scotland's Roman ruins can be among the very best to visit! That's why we've gone beyond the top ten and brought you a selection of these hidden gems below.

Bertha (Perth)

Bertha was a Roman fortress north of the site of modern Perth, Scotland, at the confluence of the rivers Almond and Tay. It is half a mile east of the modern farm of "Berthapark" and is a scheduled ancient monument.One source contradicts the view that Perth was a corruption of the fort's name. According to this source, the name "Bertha" was originally used by medieval Scots historians, such as John of Fordun and Walter Bower, who did not know the original name for the site and who adapted a version of "Perth" - "Berth". The Romans probably called the site "Tamia", after a native name for the River Tay. In early medieval times the abandoned site was still used for ceremonial purposes by Pictish and Gaelic kings, when it was called "Rathinveramon".The fort was a supply base built around AD83 to support the occasional Roman expeditions into north-east Scotland. At that time, it was at the highest navigable point on the Tay. It's thought possible that the site was re-used on three occasions up to the 3rd centuryThe 9-acre (36,000 m2) site was identified in the 18th century. It has been damaged by river erosion and by ploughing, but excavations in 1973 revealed a ditch 11 feet (3.4 m) wide and 5.5 feet (1.7 m) deep. Immediately within the ditch was a wide berm over 30 feet (9.1 m) wide and this was backed by a turf rampart averaging about 21 feet (6.4 m) wide.

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Blatobulgium

Blatobulgium was a Roman fort, located at the modern-day site known as Birrens, in Dumfriesshire, Scotland.

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Bo'ness

Borrowstounness (commonly known as Bo'ness ( boh-NESS)) is a town and former burgh and seaport on the south bank of the Firth of Forth in the Central Lowlands of Scotland. Historically part of the county of West Lothian, it is within the Falkirk council area, 16.9 miles (27.2 km) north-west of Edinburgh and 6.7 miles (10.8 km) east of Falkirk. At the 2011 United Kingdom census, the population of the Bo'ness Locality was 15,100.

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Cadder

Cadder (Scottish Gaelic: Coile Dobhair) is a district of the town of Bishopbriggs, East Dunbartonshire, Scotland. It is located 7 km north of Glasgow city centre, 0.5 km south of the River Kelvin, and approximately 1.5 km north-east of Bishopbriggs town centre, sited on the route of the Forth and Clyde Canal. There is a Glasgow council housing scheme of a similar name, generally pronounced Cawder, in the district of Lambhill some 3 miles (5 km) to the south-west along the Canal, which was built in the early 1950s. Similarly, within Cadder, there is Cawder Golf Club, which also uses that original pronunciation.

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Camelon

Camelon (; Scots: Caimlan, Scottish Gaelic: Camlann) is a large settlement within the Falkirk council area, Scotland. The village is in the Forth Valley, 1.3 miles (2.1 km) west of Falkirk, 1.3 miles (2.1 km) south of Larbert and 2.6 miles (4.2 km) east of Bonnybridge. The main road through Camelon is the A803 road which links the village to Falkirk. At the time of the 2001 census, Camelon had a population of 4,508.

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Carpow Roman Fort

The Roman Fort of Carpow was situated at the confluence of the rivers Tay and Earn in what is now Scotland.It was a large fortress with an area of thirty acres occupied by two legions at different times, Legio II Augusta and Legio VI Victrix, and thus of solid, permanent construction using stone, brick and tiles.The fort was occupied from the late second century AD until the early third century AD. The site of the fort has not been comprehensively excavated but it is believed to have served as a naval supply depot for Roman forces in the central lowlands. Its occupation also coincided with the campaigns of Septimius Severus in the area.However, its site on the southern side of the Tay estuary is incompatible with its use as a base for Severan offensive operations to the north and, along with other evidence, it is more likely that the fortress was built under Commodus in 185 to support his campaigns.It has been suggested that the Carpow fort was the place named as "Horrea Classis" or "Poreo Classis" in the Ravenna Cosmography.

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Castle Greg

Castle Greg is the archaeological remains of a Roman fortlet near Camilty Plantation, approximately three miles south-east of West Calder, West Lothian, in Scotland.

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Castlecary

Castlecary () is a small, historic, village in North Lanarkshire, Scotland. It has long been associated with infrastructure, being adjacent to a bridged river, a Roman fort and roads, a nationwide canal, a Victorian railway viaduct, and a modern motorway. Castlecary is close to the town of Cumbernauld but like Dullatur and Luggiebank is not officially part of the town. Around 1725, the barony of Castlecary, with a population of just seventeen families, was disjoined from the parish of Falkirk, and annexed to Cumbernauld quoad sacra. Castlecary is also near Allandale which, though in the Falkirk council area, was built for Castlecary fireclay workers.

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Castlehill Fort

Castlehill was a Roman fort on the Antonine Wall in Scotland.

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Cawdor (Roman fort)

Easter Glacantray, an alleged Roman fort), is located near the small village of Cawdor (15 miles east of Inverness). It is alleged to be a Roman fort although there is a lack of archaeological evidence to support this claim.

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Elginhaugh

Elginhaugh Roman Fort was a Roman fort of the 1st century AD, located in Midlothian, Scotland.

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Glenlochar

Glenlochar (Gd: Gleann Lochair) is a hamlet on the western bank of the River Dee in the parish of Balmaghie in the historical county of Kirkcudbrightshire in Dumfries and Galloway. Glenlochar is located one and a half miles south of Balmaghie Kirk and 3 miles (5 km) north of Castle Douglas.

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Inchtuthil

Inchtuthil is the site of a Roman legionary fortress situated on a natural platform overlooking the north bank of the River Tay southwest of Blairgowrie, Perth and Kinross, Scotland (Roman Caledonia).

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Inverquharity

Inverquharity is a Roman fortlet in Scotland, close to the Highland Line about 5 miles (8 km) north of Kirriemuir, Angus.

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Normandykes

Normandykes (Grid Reference: NO 830994) is the site of a Roman marching camp 1 mile (1.6 km) to the southwest of Peterculter, City of Aberdeen, Scotland. The near-rectangular site, measuring approximately 860 by 510 metres (940 by 560 yd), covers about 106 acres (43 ha) of the summit and eastern slopes of a hill overlooking the River Dee and the B9077 road further south. Aerial photographs for Normandykes have been archived between 1947 and 1976. The camp is about 6 miles (10 km), or less than half a day's march, north of the Raedykes camp. It is possible that the actual route taken would have entailed one day's march, over a route likely chosen to avoid the Red Moss, a virtually uncrossable bog near the present day village of Netherley. Normandykes was first excavated in the year 1935 by Richmond and MacIntyre; construction is thought to date to the Antonine or Severan periods.

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Pennymuir Roman camps

The Pennymuir Roman camps are situated southeast of Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland, near the Anglo-Scottish border, in the former Roxburghshire. The site, alongside the course of the Roman road known as Dere Street, consists of the remains of four Roman temporary camps, a linear earthwork and an area of rig. The site is also sometimes referred to as the Towford camps.

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Raedykes

Raedykes is the site of a Roman marching camp located just over 3 miles (5 km) NW of Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. National Grid Reference NO 842902. It is designated as a scheduled monument. A marching camp was a temporary camp used mainly for overnight stops on a long route between more permanent forts, or as a temporary base while on campaign in hostile territory.

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Rough Castle Fort

Rough Castle Fort is a Roman fort on the Antonine Wall roughly 2 kilometres south east of Bonnybridge near Tamfourhill in the Falkirk council area, Scotland. It is owned by the National Trust for Scotland.

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Seabegs Wood

Seabegs Wood was the site of a Roman fortlet on the Antonine Wall in Scotland.At Seabegs, the outline of Antonine's Wall, has lasted. Archaeologists from previous generations recorded this and stated that the ditch was deep and waterlogged.There is an underpass under the Forth and Clyde Canal nearby known locally as the Pend.In the 1890s, the Antonine Wall Committee of Glasgow Archaeological Society's cut several trenches across the Roman rampart. These uncovered its stone base. Subsequent excavations in 1977 found a Roman fortlet attached to the south of the Rampart. In 1981, a mound was examined but little has been discovered.

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Stracathro

Stracathro (Scottish Gaelic: Srath Catharach) is a small place in Angus, Scotland.

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Strageath

Strageath is a Roman camp near the River Earn in eastern Scotland. Strageath was one of a chain of camps that the Romans used in their march northward. Other notable camps in this chain are Ardoch, Battledykes, Stracathro, Raedykes and Normandykes.

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The Antonine Wall

The Antonine Wall was a Roman defensive wall, the remains of which can now be seen in Scotland.

Westerwood

Westerwood is an area in the north-east of Cumbernauld in North Lanarkshire, Scotland. Historically it was the site of a Roman Fort of which a video reconstruction has been produced. In the past two decades, new housing developments have been built around the Westerwood Hotel and Golf Course. The golf course, which was designed by Seve Ballesteros and Dave Thomas, is located on the north side of the town, close to Cumbernauld Airport. Westerwood Community Council was set up for local residents and a committee has been appointed. Neighbouring villages which are outside of Cumbernauld include Dullatur to the north-west and Castlecary to the east.

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Wilderness Plantation

The line of the Antonine Wall runs roughly parallel between the River Kelvin to the north and the Forth and Clyde Canal to the south.The site, like several others along the wall and beyond, was found by aerial photography, this discovery being reported in October 1965. Following this Wilkes excavated in that year and the following one. He approved of the term "interval fortlet" to describe this and other fortlets like Duntocher and Glasgow Bridge.The neighbouring forts to this fortlet are Balmuildy in the west and Cadder in the east.

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Ythan Wells

Ythan Wells, also known as Glenmailen, is the site of a Roman military camp, near the farm of Glenmellan, 2.1 kilometres (1.3 mi) east of the village of Ythanwells in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The site is a designated scheduled monument.Traces of two marching camps have been found at the site. The larger camp, covering some 42 hectares (100 acres) was discovered in 1785 by Col. Alex Shand. A smaller camp, extending to 13 hectares (32 acres) and partially overlapping the area of the first, was discovered by J. K. St Joseph in 1968. This smaller camp predates the larger and has been dated to the campaigns of Agricola.The site is situated at the headwaters of the River Ythan, where a series of natural springs supplies potable water, that was convenient for the large marching camp installed here by the Romans in the first few centuries AD.

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We’re constantly expanding this list of Roman ruins in Scotland and if you do notice any omissions then please feel free to contact us with further information and our editorial team will look to expand this collection further.