Roman Sites and Roman Ruins in Britain and the UK

Our guide to the very best Roman ruins and Roman sites in Britain will help you discover the fabulous Roman remains still on offer in the UK today.

There are numerous Roman sites in Britain, some are world famous and explored by thousands of tourists every year, while other UK Roman ruins are left ignored and forgotten, sought only by diehard Roman-history fans. Our comprehensive map of Britain's Romans sites will help you explore them all.

From the moment they invaded in 43AD through to their eventual withdrawal around 410AD, the Romans stamped their authority on Britain through military fortifications, Roman-style cities, civic buildings and great monuments. This archaeological legacy can still be explored across the United Kingdom, from the famous Roman Baths of Bath to Hadrian’s Wall and almost everywhere in between.

Our guide to the Roman sites of the UK and to the UK's Roman ruins can help you discover all of these places and more. Simply explore the interactive map of Roman Sites in Britain above or take a look at what’s on offer below.

Remember, you can shortlist the Roman sites in Britain as you explore Trip Historic, allowing you to build your own itinerary and free guidebook to put together your perfect UK Roman sites tour. You can also explore our global Roman Sites page.

Roman Sites and Roman Ruins in Britain and the UK: Editor's Picks

Photo by scalespeeder (cc)

1. Portchester Castle

One of the best – if not the best – Roman sites in the UK, Portchester contains the country’s only intact set of Roman walls. Built during the third century AD, Portchester is the country’s only example of a Roman fort whose walls still stand complete up to around six metres. Definitely one not to miss.

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Portchester Castle in Hampshire offers a fantastic insight into various periods of British history and originally dates back to the Roman era.

Built during Roman times, probably in the third century AD, Portchester Castle is the country’s only example of a Roman fort whose walls still stand complete up to around six metres.

Over the centuries, Portchester Castle has been renovated and rebuilt many times and its use has altered to suit the needs of its owners. In the eleventh century, parts of Portchester Castle were rebuilt into a Norman keep and in the fourteenth century Richard II transformed it into a palace. Like their Roman predecessor, both of these incarnations served a defensive function.

Yet, during the Napoleonic Wars, the role of Portchester Castle changed, as it became a prison for around 7,000 French prisoners of war. This change was due in large part to the reduced importance of Portchester Castle as a defensive structure following the building of the Portsmouth Royal Dockyard by King Henry VII.

Today, Portchester Castle is run by English Heritage who offer audio tours and exhibitions about the site as well as children’s activities.

Photo by Alun Salt (cc)

2. Hadrian’s Wall

Probably the best-known of the Roman ruins in Britain, Hadrian’s Wall was a vast defensive structure spanning 73 miles and built under the rule of Roman Emperor Hadrian between 122 and 130 AD. Actually made up of a number of sites, Hadrian’s Wall is probably the most famous of the UK’s Roman sites. Today, many areas can be explored, giving an insight into this 73-mile ancient fortification.

DID YOU KNOW?

Hadrian’s Wall is a magnificent remnant of Roman Britain and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Built under the rule of Roman Emperor Hadrian between 122 and 130 AD, it took six legions to complete this once 73 mile wall – 80 miles by Roman measurements. At the time of its completion, Hadrian’s Wall would have been between 13 and 15 feet high, made of stone and turf and would have stretched east to west from the River Tyne to the Solway Firth.

The purpose of Hadrian’s Wall was once thought to have been as a fortification to keep out the Scots, but today historians believe it was a way of monitoring movement between the north and south in an attempt to consolidate the Empire.

Large sections of Hadrian’s Wall remain intact in northern England and these are surrounded by various Roman monuments, forts and other ruins. There are several ways to visit all of these sections and sites, notably as part of the National Trail, which is a signposted walk, by bus, by bicycle and via tour groups. The 15 metre section pictured above is known as Planetrees and is quite central along the trail.

Other key sites along the Hadrian's Wall trail include Corbridge Roman Town, Chesters Roman Fort, Arbeia Roman Fort, Birdoswald Roman Fort, Vindolanda, Segedunum Roman Fort and Housesteads Roman Fort.

This site features as one of our Top Ten tourist Attractions in the United Kingdom. To view the all the Hadrian's Wall sites on a map click here.

Photo by Historvius

3. Roman Baths - Bath

One of the most popular of all Roman sites in the United Kingdom, the Roman baths of Bath contain the remains of this ancient bath house as well as other artefacts, finds and displays from the ancient Roman town of Aqua Sulis. The Romans Baths were built around 44 AD - vast and lavish, the baths were able to accommodate far more people than just the residents of this town and were intended as a place for people to visit from across the Empire. Today, the Roman Baths offer an incredibly comprehensive insight into the lives of the ancient Romans in the town and around Britain. The site looks quite small from the outside, but it is actually vast and a visit can last several hours.

DID YOU KNOW?

The world famous Roman Baths complex in Bath, UK, contains an incredible set of thermal spas and an impressive ancient Roman bathing house.

First discovered in the nineteenth century, the Roman Baths are one of the best preserved ancient Roman sites in the UK and form a major tourist attraction.

Among the best known ancient baths in the world, the Romans Baths were initially built as part of the town of Aqua Sulis, which was founded in 44 AD. Vast and lavish, the baths were able to accommodate far more people than just the residents of this town and were intended as a place for people to visit from across the Empire. As with other bath complexes of the time, the Roman Baths at Bath were a focal point for the town, a place to socialise and even a religious site.

It is unsurprising that the Romans chose to build such magnificent baths in this location. The area benefits from hot springs from the Mendip Hills, which arrive at the Roman Baths at a temperature of 46 degrees Celsius and rise due to enormous pressure. In fact, prior to the Romans discovering these springs, the Celts dedicated this phenomenon to the Godess Sulis. The Romans equated Sulis with their own deity, Minerva, and kept the original name, calling the town Aqua Sulis – the waters of Sulis.

Today, the Roman Baths offer an incredibly comprehensive insight into the lives of the ancient Romans in the town and around Britain. The site looks quite small from the outside, but it is actually vast and a visit can last several hours.

One of the first things one sees upon entering the site is a view from the terrace above the Great Bath. Overlooked by nineteenth century statues of various Roman icons, this is the centrepiece of the site and a first glimpse into what lies ahead. Later on in the tour, visitors arrive at the Great Bath, where it is possible to stand right alongside the water. There are even costumed characters on site to create an authentic mood and entertain young children.

The sacred spring is next along the tour. Visible through a floor to ceiling window, visitors can view the original spring of hot water, which was dedicated to Minerva due to its believed healing powers. The spring was also a place of worship and the place where people threw coins, curses, wishes and prayers. Many of these messages can be seen at the Roman Baths and range from the humorous to the sinister.

The Temple and the Temple Courtyard were sacred places at the Baths from the late first century until 391 AD, when the Temple was closed by Emperor Theodosius as Christianity rose to become the Empire’s state religion. Walking through the Temple Courtyard, videos are shown to demonstrate what this once magnificent site would have looked like and how it was used. It is also here that one can see the gilded bronze statue of the head of Minerva.

Amongst the other sites at the Roman Baths, there is a comprehensive museum dedicated to exploring the lives of the ancient Roman citizens of Bath and an ancient drain used as an overflow system. Around the Great Bath itself, visitors can explore the numerous saunas, swimming pools, heated baths and changing facilities at the site.

Audio tours, available in English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Japanese and Mandarin and are included in the ticket price or visitors can join one of the hourly guided tours. The audio tour includes sections by the famous author Bill Bryson, and there are also children’s audio guides. You can even download the audio tour in advance from the Roman Baths official website.

Photo by David Spender (cc)

4. Fishbourne Roman Palace

Containing the remains of a huge Roman palace complex, Fishbourne is one of the most interesting Roman sites in the UK and contains not only ruins, but interactive displays and reconstructions. Built on the site of a Roman supply compound, Fishbourne was a vast and impressive development which would have been built for the very highest echelons of Romano-British society.

DID YOU KNOW?

Fishbourne Roman Palace in West Sussex hosts the remains of a huge Roman palace complex which was constructed in the 1st century AD.

Built on the site of a Roman supply compound, Fishbourne Roman Palace was a vast and impressive development which would have been built for the very highest echelons of Romano-British society. It is one of the largest Roman palace complexes to be discovered and is bigger than Buckingham Palace.

Over the next two hundred years Fishbourne Roman Palace was further renovated, including the addition of an array of intricate mosaics, many of which can still be viewed.

In the late third century Fishbourne Roman Palace was struck by fire and there is no evidence that the site was re-built beyond that date. The remains lay lost and forgotten until their discovery in the 1960s.

Today, Fishbourne Roman Palace is run by the charity Sussex Past and is open to tourists and educational groups. Visitors can view audio-visual displays, artefacts and reconstructions of the site as well as viewing the remains of the North Wing, which are protected under a covered enclosure.

There are many extremely well-preserved mosaics in Fishbourne Roman Palace, including the famous Dolphin mosaic.

The site also contains a reconstructed Roman garden, designed and planted according to archaeological and historical evidence, as well as a museum examining Roman horticultural techniques.

Various events and performances are held at Fishbourne Roman Palace throughout the year, with details available on the official website (see links).

Photo by davehighbury (cc)

5. Bignor Roman Villa

One of the most popular Roman remains in Britain, Bignor has some of the most amazing Roman mosaics in the UK as well as practical, hands on activities for kids. The villa site was developed over two centuries before it was abandoned, probably after the Roman withdrawal from Britain. Re-discovered in the early 19th century, it is now enclosed in Georgian buildings which are themselves worthy of note.

DID YOU KNOW?

Bignor Roman Villa is a large Roman villa site on the Bignor estate. Situated in West Sussex, the Bignor Roman Villa complex hosts the remains of a 3rd century ancient Roman home.

The site was developed over two centuries before it was abandoned – probably after the Roman withdrawal from Britain.

Today, Bignor Roman Villa contains some of the best preserved Roman mosaics in Britain, as well as the remains of the villa complex which include several living rooms, a bathhouse and even the underfloor heating systems employed by Roman engineers.

Bignor Roman Villa was discovered in the early 19th century and is enclosed in Georgian buildings which are themselves worthy of note and have recently been restored.

Photo by Alun Salt (cc)

6. Caerleon Roman Fortress

Home to the notable ruins of a 1st century Roman legionary barracks, Caerleon ranks among the best UK Roman sites. Among other things it contains the remains of a 6,000-seater amphitheatre.

DID YOU KNOW?

Caerleon Roman Fortress is home to the impressive remains of a first century Roman legionary barracks, fortifications, amphitheatre and baths. In fact, they are said to be Europe’s only such barracks on display.

Built in approximately 75AD, the Caerleon Roman Fortress was known as Isca and would have been home to the Second Augustan Legion. Spread over 50-acres, it would have housed approximately 5,000 people and was in use for some 200 years.

Today, the well-preserved ruins of Caerleon Roman Fortress offer a fascinating insight into life at a Roman fort on the edge of the Empire. Amongst the highlights are its grand bathhouse, 6,000-seater amphitheatre begun in 90AD and the L-shaped barracks themselves.

The nearby National Roman Legion Museum contains a number of fascinating exhibits detailing finds and artefacts from the site.

Photo by Bert Kaufmann (cc)

7. Vindolanda

One of the best known forts along Hadrian’s Wall, Vindolanda contains an array of interesting Roman ruins as well as an excellent museum. The structures at Vindolanda range from a pre-Hadriatic baths complex to post-Roman mausoleum and church, demonstration of the lengthy period for which the site has been occupied. It remains one of the most popular Roman sites in the UK today and is visited by huge numbers of tourists every year.

DID YOU KNOW?

Vindolanda was one of the main Ancient Roman wall forts of Hadrian’s Wall, the 73-mile barrier built by the Emperor Hadrian from 122 AD.

However, Vindolanda is thought to have been inhabited by the Romans from 85 AD, following the victory of the Roman Governor Agricola at the Battle of Mons Graupius, well before this iconic wall was built.

Prior to functioning as a wall fort, the initial role played by Vindolanda was that of a fort guarding the supply route known as Stanegate, which ran from east to west.

Today, Vindolanda remains very well preserved and there is much to see. The structures at Vindolanda range from a pre-Hadriatic baths complex to post-Roman mausoleum and church, demonstration of the lengthy period for which the site has been occupied (up to the sixth century AD, well after the Romans had left).

Amongst other sites found at Vindolanda are military offices and barracks dating to the Severan period and numerous sites from the third and fourth centuries including houses, workshops, a Praetorium, a temple and more baths.

In addition to the reconstructions and excavated elements, there are also several replica sites on display, including a great timber and stone model of a section of Hadrian’s Wall and several Roman buildings such as a house and a shop, really bringing the experience to life.

For those wanting to see what else has been found at the excavations, the Vindolanda museum offers an array of artefacts including one of the country’s biggest ancient leather collections. It’s a testament to the high level of preservation of Vindolanda that a delicate material such as leather has survived so well. Writing tablets have also been well preserved and, while many of these particularly rare finds are now at the British Museum, some are always on display at Vindolanda, offering a fantastic insight into the lives of its former residents through their written words.

Photo by Glen Bowman (cc)

8. Corbridge Roman Town

Containing the remains of ancient granaries, houses and markets, this Roman archaeological site was once a thriving Roman settlement. Before the construction of Hadrian’s Wall, Corbridge was the site of several forts but once the wall was complete, Corbridge began developing into a town. Today, it’s open to visitors and certainly among the largest roman remains in Britain to explore.

DID YOU KNOW?

Corbridge Roman Town was a thriving Ancient Roman settlement near Hadrian’s Wall, yet it was occupied before this iconic wall was built. In fact, before the Emperor Hadrian built his famous 73-mile barrier, Corbridge was the site of several forts. However, once Hadrian’s Wall was complete, Corbridge began developing into a town.

Today, visitors can explore the roads and remains of Corbridge Roman Town which include some well-preserved granaries, houses, workshops and markets. Corbridge Roman Town is an English Heritage site.

Photo by phault (cc)

9. Housesteads Roman Fort

One of the best preserved forts along Hadrian’s Wall, this archaeological site has loads to see, including the ancient fortifications and houses. Built in around 124 AD, Housesteads Roman Fort housed around 1,000 troops and remained in use until the fourth century. It is one of many forts to be found among the Roman sites in the United Kingdom.

DID YOU KNOW?

Housesteads Roman Fort, originally known as 'Vercovicium', is one of the best preserved and most important of the forts along Hadrian’s Wall.

Built in around 124 AD, Housesteads Roman Fort housed around 1,000 troops and remained in use until the fourth century.

Visitors to Housesteads Roman Fort can see the various stages of architecture of this Roman fortification including the well-preserved remains of its four gates and curtain wall, a hospital, latrines and, of course, a section of Hadrian’s Wall.

Managed by English Heritage, Housesteads Roman Fort also has a museum with a model showing how this imposing site would have looked in its prime.

Photo by portableantiquities (cc)

10. London Roman Amphitheatre

One of the lesser-known British Roman sites, the remains of this amphitheatre lie tucked away in the Guildhall Art Gallery. While little is left to see, it has been turned into an interesting exhibition and is therefore worth a look.

DID YOU KNOW?

The London Roman Amphitheatre was discovered in 1988 and remains the only known Roman amphitheatre in the city. Believed to have first been built in 74 AD, the London Roman Amphitheatre was probably extensively renovated in the second century, in around 120 AD.

At its peak, the London Roman Amphitheatre would have been able to seat up to 6,000 spectators and would probably have hosted brutal gladiatorial matches. At this time, London - then Londinium - had a population of some 20,000 to 30,000 people.

Today, visitors can see the remains of some of the walls of London Roman Amphitheatre, some original wooden drains and two small chambers which might have functioned as the waiting rooms for the gladiators or even the wild beasts that performed in the arena.

Once a month, the curator of the London Roman Amphitheatre hosts a guided tour of the site. Otherwise, it is part of the Guildhall Art Gallery and entry to the site is included in the gallery ticket.

Photo by Loz Flowers (cc)

11. Lullingstone Roman Villa

Built in the 1st century AD, Lullingstone Roman Villa is one of many UK Roman sites which give an insight into the lives of the Romano-British elite. Today you can explore its ruins as well as artefacts, videos and interactive displays.

DID YOU KNOW?

Lullingstone Roman Villa is a fine example of a 1st Century Roman villa. Built roughly 50 years after the Roman conquest of Britain, Lullingstone Roman Villa was home to the wealthier elements of Romano-British society.

A villa stood on the site for over 300 years before its eventual destruction and abandonment. Today Lullingstone Roman Villa is operated by English Heritage and boasts a number of impressive mosaics and even evidence of early Christian worship in Britain, with the remains of an ancient Christian chapel.

Other features at Lullingstone Roman Villa include Roman artefacts, video recreations and interactive attractions for children such as Roman board games and costumes.

Photo by Brron (cc)

12. Verulamium

Located today in modern St Albans, Verulamium was one of the most important Roman cities in Britain. Formerly the tribal capital of the native Catuvellauni tribe, Verulamium was conquered by the Romans during their invasion of the island in 43 AD. Visitors can still see the remains of the Roman walls, as well as the impressive Roman theatre - one of the few Roman theatres in Britain to have survived. As well as the site itself, Verulamium Museum stands on St Michael’s St, with displays of Roman everyday life.

DID YOU KNOW?

Verulamium was a prominent Roman settlement near modern day St Albans in England. Formerly the tribal capital of the native Catuvellauni tribe, Verulamium was conquered by the Romans during their invasion of the island in 43 AD.

By 50 AD, Verulamium had become a major Roman town, and as such was a prime target during the revolt of Boudica in 61 AD, when the town was burnt to the ground. However, never ones to be perturbed, the Romans crushed the revolt and re-built Verulamium, and it remained a central Roman town for the next four hundred years.

The Roman remains at Verulamium consist of a variety of buildings - a basilica, bathhouse and part of the city walls to be found in Verulamium Park, but the most impressive are the remains of the roman theatre which lie across the road from Verulamium Park.

As well as the site itself, Verulamium Museum stands on St Michael’s St, with displays of Roman everyday life. There are some impressive murals and mosaics and a variety of interactive displays.

Photo by jeff_leigh (cc)

13. Chester Roman Gardens

Perhaps in contrast to the above, this pretty reconstructed Roman site is made up of a number of Roman finds and artefacts gathered from various sites in Roman Chester. One of the most tranquil places on our list of Roman Sites in the UK.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Chester Roman Gardens are a small garden and park complex close to Chester Roman Amphitheatre which contains a number of Roman finds and artefacts gathered from various sites in Roman Chester.

Originally built in the early 1950s, the gardens were re-designed in 2001 and now provide a scenic spot to browse the Roman ruins and generally relax.

The Chester Roman Gardens contain a range of remains from local Roman sites, including columns from the Roman gymnasium and carved fascias from the Deva Victrix Roman fortress.

Also contained in the Chester Roman Gardens is a hypocaust - the underground heating system used by the ancient Romans. A number of signs dotted around the gardens give useful explanations to visitors.

Photo by Legis (cc)

14. Welwyn Roman Baths

One of the more hidden places on our map of Roman sites in Britain, Welwyn Roman Baths can be found in a specially built vault under the A1 motorway. Excavations took place before the motorway was constructed and efforts to preserve the baths resulted in the construction of the chamber and an access tunnel. Visitors can view the remains of the small bath complex, information on the Roman approach to bathing and on the lives of those who lived in Roman Britain.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Welwyn Roman Baths complex houses the remains of a Roman bathhouse dating back to the 3rd century AD.

Originally part of a larger Roman Villa, the Welwyn Roman Baths are housed in a unique environment - an underground chamber built nine metres below the A1(M) motorway.

Excavations took place before the motorway was constructed and efforts to preserve Welwyn Roman Baths resulted in the construction of the chamber and an access tunnel.

Today visitors to Welwyn Roman Baths can view the remains of the small bath complex, information on the Roman approach to bathing as well as an exhibition detailing the history of the site and other relevant archaeological finds from the local area.

Photo by Smudge 9000 (cc)

15. The Roman Lighthouse

The Roman Lighthouse in Dover is a ruined first century AD Roman tower which is one of the best-preserved of its kind anywhere in the world. The original structure was 24m tall and consisted of eight storeys of which only four remain. Today it sits directly alongside the Saxon church of St Mary-in-Castro, which is constructed from Roman materials.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Roman Lighthouse in Dover is a ruined first century AD Roman tower which originally served to guide shipping into the ancient Roman port of Dubris. Today it is one of the best-preserved of its kind anywhere in the world.

The original octagonal structure was 24m tall and consisted of six to eight storeys of which only four remain today. The Roman Lighthouse has also been repaired and reconstructed over the centuries with the uppermost masonry being mostly medieval.

Today the Lighthouse sits directly alongside the late Saxon church of St Mary-in-Castro, which is itself constructed from Roman building materials.

Roman Sites and Roman Ruins in Britain and the UK: Site Index

Photo by Magnus Hagdorn (cc)

Aesica Roman Fort

Aesica was one of several UK Roman Forts build along the line of Hadrian’s Wall. It is thought to have been constructed in the early 2nd century - and today it’s remains sit directly alongside a modern farm complex. The original fort had three main gates with double portals and towers at each corner of the fort. At some point the western gate was completely blocked up. Today the fort remains reasonably well preserved by the standards of the sites along Hadrian’s Wall, which itself is probably the most famous Roman site in Britain. A Roman bathhouse has also been found a short distance to the south of the fort, around 100 yards away.

DID YOU KNOW?

Aesica was one of several Roman Forts build along the line of Hadrian’s Wall. It is thought to have been constructed in the early 2nd century - probably around 128 AD. Today it’s remains sit directly alongside a modern farm complex.

Unlike other forts along Hadrian’s Wall, Aesica is actually located to the south of the Wall, but stands next to foundations that were prepared for the broad wall. The original fort had three main gates with double portals and towers at each corner of the fort.

At some point the western gate was completely blocked up. Today the fort remains reasonably well preserved by the standards of the sites along Hadrian’s Wall, with a number of the external walls still visible along with the outlines of many of the internal buildings.

A Roman bathhouse has also been found a short distance to the south of the fort, around 100 yards away.

Photo by Storye book (cc)

Aldborough Roman Site

Aldborough was originally the capital and stronghold of the Brigantes, who controlled vast swathes of Northern England, before becoming Romanised in the first century AD.

DID YOU KNOW?

Aldborough Roman Site contains the remains of the Roman town of Isurium Brigantium as well as an interesting museum looking at the history of the settlement.

Before the Roman occupation, the region in which modern Aldborough stands was ruled by the Celtic Brigantes. The Brigantes were one of the dominant tribes of the Iron Age in Britain, controlling the area which is now Yorkshire and Lancashire. At the time the Aldborough area was a Brigantian settlement called Iseur, however the Romans built their own settlement here and named the town Isurium Brigantium.

After the Roman invasion of Britain the Brigantes were initially compliant with Roman rule; 'Brigantia' became a client state. Indeed it was the Brigantes Queen Cartimunda who handed over a major adversary of Rome, the Catuvellauni chieftain Caratacus.

After Cartimunda divorced her husband, Venutius, in favour of his armour bearer, Venutius rebelled, and the Brigantian territories descended into civil war. Cartimunda was rescued by Roman aid. Soon after, however, the Romans took advantage of the unrest to take control of the region. In AD71, Petilius Cerialis, the Roman governor of Britain, subjugated the local population and established Isurium Brigantium as the headquarters for controlling the regional population.

In the beginning Isurium Brigantium would simply have been a fort, with a civilian population inhabiting the perimeter of the town. During the second century, the military capacity of the town was much reduced, and it established itself as a civilian centre. Approximately 55 acres in area, Isurium Brigantium was surrounded by a significant stone wall, reaching 12 feet in height, and in some parts, having a depth of 9 feet.

However, the town seems to have diminished during the later Empire period, and with the withdrawal of Roman troops from Britain much of the original Roman town suffered.

Today, very little of the original Roman town remains, except for an area which is managed by English Heritage.

The entrance to Aldborough Roman Site is through an area close to the original Roman south gate. Visitors immediately arrive at the Aldborough Roman Museum, which has on display fascinating architectural finds from the town.

Some parts of the southern wall remain intact, as well as the foundations of two defensive towers. Visitors can also follow the path through the gardens to view the highlight of the site, two magnificent mosaics. The mosaics date from the second or third century AD, and were discovered in the nineteenth century, the first by accident when a calf was being buried by an innkeeper. This mosaic has sustained some damage, and depicts a lion resting under a tree. The second remains well preserved, and shows an eight sided star in the centre.

In 2011, scientists using geomagnetic sensors located the remains of the Roman amphitheatre at Aldborough, under Studforth Hill, just outside the village.

Contributed by Chris Reid

Photo by MarchieCTID (cc)

All Hallows by the Tower

One of the oldest churches in London, All Hallows by the Tower contains Roman and Saxon remains as well as other interesting elements.

DID YOU KNOW?

The church of All Hallows by the Tower has a history dating back to Saxon times and ranks among the oldest churches in London.

Originally built around 675AD, the church of All Hallows was actually constructed on top of earlier Roman buildings, elements of which can still be seen today. Over time the church was renovated and reconstructed several times and the current incarnation mostly dates to the late 1940s after serious damage was inflicted during a World War II bombing raid.

The central position of All Hallows by the Tower saw it witness some of the most important moments of the city’s history. Standing alongside the Tower of London, the bodies of many inmates of that infamous prison were brought here shortly after their execution – including Thomas More. Other notable figures connected with the church included Samuel Pepys, who watched the Great Fire of London from the church tower in 1666.

All Hallows by the Tower even has an American connection, with William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, baptised here in 1644 and John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the United States, married here in 1797.

Today visitors can explore the rebuilt church above, along with the 7th century Saxon arch, and then delve into the crypt below ground to see historic remains, including Saxon coffins, stones from a Crusader castle linked to Richard the Lionheart and the mosaic flooring of the 2nd century AD Roman villa.

Within the crypt there is also a small museum examining the history of the church and of London. Largely ignored by the masses, the church of All Hallows by the Tower is one of London’s hidden gems and well worth a visit.

Photo by (cc)

Ambleside Roman Fort

A British Roman ruin located in the lake district, Ambleside Roman Fort dates from the 2nd century and are located on the shores of Lake Windermere. It served as a supply base to the larger fortifications at Hadrian’s Wall as well as being used to keep order in the local area. When the Romans first arrived in Britain and conquered the north of England an initial fortification was built here, however it was abandoned soon after. The site was later reoccupied by the Romans and a permanent fort was established early in the 2nd century AD.

DID YOU KNOW?

The remains of Ambleside Roman Fort date from the 2nd century and are located on the shores of Lake Windermere.

Built during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian, it served as a supply base to the larger fortifications at Hadrian’s Wall as well as being used to keep order in the local area.

When the Romans first arrived in Britain and conquered the north of England an initial fortification was built here, however it was abandoned soon after. The site was later reoccupied by the Roman military and a more permanent fort was established early in the 2nd century AD.

At its peak the Roman Fort at Ambleside could hold up to 500 men and it remained in use until at least the 4th century AD.

Today Ambleside Roman Fort is open to the public and run by the National Trust. Visitors can view the outline of the fort and its structures, while parts of the gates and sections of the fort walls are exposed, but the most significant surviving structures are the headquarters and granaries.

Photo by Thunderchild7 (cc)

Arbeia Roman Fort

Built around 160AD, Arbeia was a supply base and garrison which guarded the entrance to the river Tyne. Today, Arbeia has been partially reconstructed, allowing visitors to experience how this once-mighty fortification would have looked in its prime. It is one of many Roman ruins in Britain that gives an insight into Roman military fortifications.

DID YOU KNOW?

Arbeia Roman Fort was built in around 160 AD and guarded Hadrian’s Wall and the entrance to the River Tyne. One of many wall forts along the wall, Arbeia Roman Fort also acted as a military supply base.

Today, Arbeia Roman Fort has been partially reconstructed, allowing visitors to really experience how this mighty fortification would once have looked and felt. The museum of Arbeia Roman Fort houses original artefacts found at the site ranging from coins and gemstones to the country’s best preserved ringmail armour suit and several tombstones.

Ardoch Roman Fort

Ardoch Roman Fort contains the well preserved earthworks of a Roman fort in Scotland, with ditches up to six foot high.

DID YOU KNOW?

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.

Photo by kenny barker (cc)

Bar Hill Fort

Once forming part of the Antonine Wall, this ancient military outpost was one of the most important defensive points along the wall. Today, visitors can still discern parts of the fort, including its bath complex. Among the less well-known UK Roman ruins, it is still worth a look.

DID YOU KNOW?

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.

Bearsden Bath House

Built in the 2nd century as part of one of the Antonine Wall forts, Bearsden can now be found among modern houses and is one of the more tucked-away of the places on our Roman Sites UK list. Today, the remains represent some of the best preserved of this Roman military structure.

DID YOU KNOW?

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.

Photo by John Phillips (cc)

Binchester Roman Fort

Binchester Roman Fort contains the remains of one of the largest Roman fortifications in Britain. Founded around 80 AD, the fort could play host to a considerable military force and was an important staging post for the Roman military in the region. Binchester Roman Fort remained in use throughout the Roman period and a large civilian settlement grew up around it. Today the Binchester site is open to visitors, who can explore its remains along with those of a Roman bath house within the complex.

DID YOU KNOW?

Binchester Roman Fort contains the remains of one of the largest Roman fortifications in northern Britain. Founded around 80 AD, the fort could play host to a considerable military force and was an important staging post for the Roman military in the region.

Evidence found at the site show that the fort also held cavalry units, with inscriptions showing that they tended to be very much multicultural in nature, with one such unit coming from central Spain and another from what is now Holland. Binchester Roman Fort remained in use throughout the Roman period and a large civilian settlement grew up around it. Indeed, locals continued to occupy Binchester Roman Fort for several centuries after the Roman forces departed. The modern-day village of Binchester is about 2 miles to the east of the site.

Today the Binchester Roman Fort site is open to visitors, who can explore its remains along with those of a Roman bath house within the complex.

Photo by TyB (cc)

Birdoswald Roman Fort

Situated alongside one of the best-preserved stretches of Hadrian’s Wall, Birdoswald was once home to over 1,000 soldiers. Even after the Romans left Britain, Birdoswald Roman Fort remained inhabited up to the fifth century AD. Today, the ruins include walls, gateways and workshops. One of many forts on our map of Roman Sites in the UK.

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Birdoswald Roman Fort is not only one of the most well-preserved of the wall forts of the iconic Hadrian’s Wall, it is also next to some of the best stretches of this 73-mile barrier.

At its peak, Birdoswald Roman Fort would have housed up to 1,000 soldiers who were there to guard Hadrian’s Wall. Even after the Romans left Britain, Birdoswald Roman Fort remained inhabited up to the fifth century AD and later, in the sixteenth century, a medieval fortified farmhouse was built there, succeeded by a regular farmhouse.

Today, visitors can enjoy the extensive remains found at Birdoswald Roman Fort, which include much of its defensive structures such as its walls and gateways as well as buildings such as granaries and workshops.

The Birdoswald Roman Fort visitor centre offers a further glimpse into life in Roman Britain, with a model of the Wall as it would once have looked and displays of artifacts found at the site. Uniquely, it is even possible to stay within the walls of Birdoswald Roman Fort as part of a holiday. It is under the remit of English Heritage.

Photo by skuds (cc)

Brading Roman Villa

Housed in a purpose built structure, Brading Roman Villa on the Isle of Wight was a 1st century Roman house and is an interesting example of Britain’s roman sites. Thought to have first been constructed in the mid-first century, it is believed that the villa was developed into a stone structure by the middle of the second century.

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Brading Roman Villa was part of an Ancient Roman farm on the Isle of Wight and is now an archaeological site and museum.

Thought to have first been constructed in the mid-first century, it is believed that Brading Roman Villa was developed into a stone structure by the middle of the second century. At this time, it would have benefited from a wealth of food and materials including wild boar, sheep, barley and wheat.

In the third century, Brading Roman Villa was severely damaged by fire and subsequently – but slowly - went into decline, partly due to ongoing barbarian raids.

Today, Brading Roman Villa is housed in a purpose built structure, where visitors can see its ruins, including walls rising up to one metre in height. Some of the highlights at the Brading Roman Villa are its mosaics, the largest of which portrays a mixture of religious, nautical and farming imagery and is located in room twelve.

The site of Brading Roman Villa is also dotted with the remains of the ancient farming buildings, which visitors can tour. One of the buildings contains the stone piles of what was an under floor heating system or “hypocaust”.

Photo by Mike Bishop (cc)

Bremenium Roman Fort

Bremenium Roman Fort was an important Roman outpost which was located beyond Hadrian’s Wall. This heavily fortified garrison stood for more than 200 years as the most northerly base in the entire Roman Empire. Unlike many forts of its type, Bremenium had thicker walls and included significant artillery emplacements - highlighting the fact this fort existed at the very fringes of Empire, essentially in enemy territory. Consequently, no civilian settlements grew up outside the walls and there seems to have been little or nothing of this nature at Bremenium. Though much of the original stonework has been plundered over the years, the remains of the Roman fort of Bremenium can still be seen.

DID YOU KNOW?

Bremenium Roman Fort was an important Roman outpost and garrison which was located beyond the major fortifications of Hadrian’s Wall, near modern-day Rochester in Northumberland.

This heavily fortified garrison site stood for more than 200 years as the most northerly base in the entire Roman Empire. The fortress operated as an outpost fort beyond Hadrian's Wall - a sort of early warning station.

Unlike many forts of its type, Bremenium had thicker walls and included significant artillery emplacements - highlighting the fact this fort existed at the very fringes of Empire, essentially in enemy territory. Consequently, no civilian settlements grew up outside the walls and there seems to have been little or nothing of this nature at Bremenium.

The first incarnation of Bremenium Roman Fort dates to around 80AD and was built by Julius Agricola, Governor of Britain in the late 1st Century. Recent research suggests it was built on top of a previous Iron Age settlement. A larger fort was built during the mid-to-late second century and this in turn was replaced in the third century AD. Its final phase was completed during the reign of Emperor Constantine, sometime in the mid fourth century.

Today the fort is part of the small village of High Rochester and within the ancient walls are a number of small structures including two 16th Century fortified farmhouses.

Though much of the original stonework has been plundered over the years, the remains of the Roman fort of Bremenium can still be seen. The west wall is the best preserved and consists of a 9ft high bank with stone facing, while one of the original gates can also still be seen. However much of the stonework has been plundered over the years for local buildings.

Photo by JohnFielding (cc)

Burgh Castle Roman Fort

The Roman Fort at Burgh Castle is one of the best preserved Roman sites in Britain. Built between 260 AD and 280 AD, the walls of this impressive fortification remain in remarkably good condition - they survive on three sides and stretch as high as four metres. Known as Gariannonum, Burgh Castle Roman Fort was originally built as part of the Saxon Shore defences, which were designed to act as a defensive system protecting against seaborne raiders from Denmark and Germany. Today the remains of Burgh Castle Roman Fort are truly impressive; both for their state of preservation and for the located, situated as it is on a low cliff above the Waveney estuary.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Roman Fort at Burgh Castle is one of the best preserved Roman sites in Britain. Built between 260 AD and 280 AD, the walls of this impressive fortification remain in remarkably good condition - they survive on three sides and stretch as high as four metres.

Burgh Castle Roman Fort - known as Gariannonum - was originally built as part of the Saxon Shore defences, which were designed to act as a defensive system protecting against seaborne raiders from Denmark and Germany.

The forts acted as naval bases and defended trading centres and local settlements. Other Saxon Shore forts in the area are also located at Brancaster and Caister-on-Sea.

The walls of Burgh Castle Roman Fort were Originally around four metres wide and stood as much as four and a half metres high. They were fortified further by projecting towers or bastions which were used for catapults and ballistae - adding further firepower to the fort’s defences.

After the end of the Roman period, the site continued to be used by the Saxons with evidence of the site being used at one time for a monastery and later as a Norman fortification.

Today the remains of Burgh Castle Roman Fort are truly impressive; both for their state of preservation and for the located, situated as it is on a low cliff above the Waveney estuary. The site is operated by English Heritage and as well as exploring the ruins themselves, the site has a series of interpretation panels exploring the history of Burgh Castle.

Photo by kevingessner (cc)

Caer Gybi

Hidden next to a medieval church in Holyhead, Anglesey, this small Roman fortlet is one of the most obscure Roman sites in the United Kingdom. It is thought that Caer Gybi was constructed to defend against pirates who were operating in the area and this smaller fortlet was probably an outpost of the larger Roman fort at Segontium.

DID YOU KNOW?

Caer Gybi in Holyhead contains the remains of a small Roman fortlet and naval base.

It is thought that Caer Gybi was constructed to defend against pirates who were operating in the area and this smaller fortlet was probably an outpost of the larger Roman fort at Segontium. It is believed that the Roman watchtower, which stood on the nearby Holyhead Mountain, served as the lookout post for Caer Gybi.

Although the construction date of Caer Gybi is unknown, it is believed that it was built in the late 3rd or early fourth century AD. The structure was made up of three defensive walls with circular watch towers at each corner. The fourth side of the fortlet fronted the sea and may have been a dock for the Roman warships which would have patrolled the area.

The Romans abandoned the region in the late fourth century AD and, by the 6th century AD, the site had been given to Saint Cybi who founded a monastery within the walls. The medieval Church of St Cybi still stands there today.

The architecture of Caer Gybi reflects other Roman defences of the time, many of which formed the "Saxon Shore" forts, and can still be seen in places such as Portchester Castle and Pevensey Castle. The construction even mirrors Roman sites further afield, such as the well-preserved Lugo Roman Walls in northern Spain.

Today, visitors to Caer Gybi can still view much of the original Roman defences, with walls standing up to 4m in places and at least one original corner tower.

Photo by Alun Salt (cc)

Caerwent Roman Town

Caerwent contains the fascinating remains of the Roman settlement of Venta Silurum. Particularly impressive are the ruins of the defensive wall, which rank among the best of their type of any UK Roman ruins.

DID YOU KNOW?

Caerwent Roman Town is the name of the collection of Roman ruins which formed part of the once buzzing Roman settlement of Venta Silurum.

Probably founded in the first century AD, Venta Silurum reached its peak in the second century and was home to a range of buildings and facilities. From the remains of houses, a temple and an amphitheatre to its impressive 17-feet high defensive walls, Caerwent Roman Town has much to offer.

There are information panels along the way and pre-booked guided tours are available on certain days.

Photo by Charles D P Miller (cc)

Cardiff Castle

A Norman castle built over the site of a Roman fort, Cardiff Castle contains the reconstructed remains of the original Roman defensive wall. With its good access to the sea, the site of Cardiff Castle was first home to a succession of British Roman forts, initially built in the mid first century AD.

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Cardiff Castle is a medieval complex comprised of a range of styles and with a diverse history. With its good access to the sea, the site of Cardiff Castle was first home to a succession of Roman forts, initially built in the mid first century AD.

In the eleventh century, the Normans built first a timber then a stone castle on the site of the Roman fortifications. The shell of the stone keep can still be seen and entered by visitors today and the reconstructed Roman wall is also visible.

Over the centuries, several aristocratic families - including the incredibly wealthy Butes - came to own Cardiff Castle, many of whom added to the complex. Under the Victorians, Cardiff Castle was expanded and renovated, creating a luxurious and grand complex with lavish, themed rooms adorned with incredible artwork and architectural features, all designed by famous architect William Burges.

Today, visitors can tour Cardiff Castle’s opulent apartments. Also located at Cardiff Castle is the military museum of the Royal Regiment of Wales as well as pretty gardens to enjoy.

Cawthorn Roman Camps

The Cawthorn Roman Camps are the remains of a late 1st / early 2nd century AD Roman military enclosure situated in the south of the North York Moors.

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The Cawthorn Roman Camps are the remains of a Roman military enclosure situated in the south of the North York Moors.

Today, little remains of the site apart from the earthworks which were constructed at the perimeter of the camps. The Cawthorn Roman Camps probably date from the late 1st and early 2nd centuries AD.

This article about the Cawthorn Roman Camps is a stub and is in line for expansion by our editorial team. You can help expand this information by adding comments below.

Photo by Andrew Michaels (cc)

Chedworth Roman Villa

A second century AD luxurious Roman Villa, the ruins of Chedworth today give just a hint of its former glory. One of several lavish Roman villas to have been excavated among the Roman ruins of Britain.

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Chedworth Roman Villa was a luxurious and vast home believed to have been built in around 120 AD, at which time this would have been a typical stately home.

Constructed with a central courtyard, Chedworth Roman Villa is comprised of a series of rooms containing several stunning mosaics, ancient relics and even bathhouses. Visitors to Chedworth Roman Villa can rent audio guides or have a guided tour.

Photo by Andy Hay (cc)

Chester Roman Amphitheatre

Chester Roman Amphitheatre is Britain’s largest known Roman amphitheatre. For those seeking Roman sites in the UK, this is one of the better known. However, the fact that little remains of this amphitheatre can mean it can be a bit of a let-down.

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Chester Roman Amphitheatre is Britain’s largest known Roman amphitheatre. Originally part of the Roman settlement of ‘Deva’ which was founded in around 79AD and is now modern day Chester, Chester Roman Amphitheatre would have been able to seat between 8,000 and 12,000 spectators.

Two amphitheatres were actually built on the site of Chester Roman Amphitheatre, both stone-built with wooden seating but each quite different in other respects.

At its peak, Chester Roman Amphitheatre was a place where Rome’s 20th Legion trained and where the people of Deva were entertained. More recent findings have suggested that it was also the site of gruesome shows where gladiators were chained and tortured. The exact activities which would have taken place are unclear and archaeologists are still exploring Chester Roman Amphitheatre.

Sadly, little has remained of this once great structure. Most of its materials were used to construct the Chester City Walls and much of it is buried under the modern landscape. However, the outline of the amphitheatre is clear.

Photo by Glen Bowman (cc)

Chesters Roman Fort

One of the most interesting Roman sites in Britain, Chesters Roman Fort contains the extensive and well-preserved remains of this Roman legionary outpost which made up part of the defences of Hadrian’s Wall.

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Chesters Roman Fort, originally known as Cilurnum, was built as part of Hadrian’s Wall, the famous 73-mile barrier constructed under the remit of the Emperor Hadrian from 122 AD.

The role of the 600 soldiers garrisoned at Chesters Roman Fort was to guard a bridge across the Rover Tyne which carried the wall.

With extensive well-preserved remains that include four main gates, an altar and shrine and several buildings such as a baths complex and the commandant's home, Chesters Roman Fort offers an illuminating glimpse into the lives of the soldiers who lived here. Within the sites visitor centre, there are also displays of artefacts found along Hadrian’s Wall.

Chesters Roman Fort is an English Heritage site.

Photo by gnomonic (cc)

Chysauster Village

Chysauster Ancient Village contains the ruins of an Iron Age settlement in Cornwall, which is operated by English Heritage.

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Chysauster Ancient Village contains the ruins of a late Iron Age and Romano-British settlement in Cornwall, which is operated by English Heritage.

It is believed that Chysauster was inhabited from about 100 BC until the 3rd century AD and was primarily an agricultural settlement. This late Iron Age village is believed to have been in use up until and during the Roman occupation.

Today the site consists of the remains of around ten ancient houses, each around thirty metres in diameter. To the south of Chysauster Village is an underground passage known locally as fogou whose purpose is unknown.

Set on a tall hillside, Chysauster boasts stunning views across the countryside and out to the sea.

Cirencester Amphitheatre

Little remains of this 2nd century amphitheatre which once held up to 8,000 people. However, it’s still worth a stroll by for those seeking Roman sites in the area. Among just a handful of amphitheatres on our map of Roman ruins in Britain.

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Cirencester Amphitheatre is thought to have been built in the second century AD and to have had a capacity of 8,000 spectators. The theatre of the major Roman city of Corinium, today known as Cirencester, Cirencester Amphitheatre would have attracted visitors from around Roman Britain.

Very little is left of Cirencester Amphitheatre, in fact only the earthworks are visible, although they do give an insight into the size of the former theatre. Cirencester Amphitheatre is an English Heritage site.

Photo by Annie Mole (cc)

Colchester Castle

Once the capital of Roman Britain, Colchester Castle is built on the remains of the famous Roman Temple of Claudius. One of the most hidden Roman sites in Britain, the remains of this temple can only be viewed on special tours of the castle.

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Colchester Castle is a beautifully preserved Norman stronghold with a rich history dating back to Roman times.

Built from 1076 (some say from 1069) and completed in around 1100, Colchester Castle was constructed under the order of King William I for use as a royal fortress.

Colchester Castle would go on to serve several other roles, including being besieged in 1215 by King John and becoming the site of interrogation and jailing of “witches” in 1645 by a self-proclaimed Witchfinder General called Matthew Hopkins. It was also a private home and a library at different times.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Colchester Castle is its keep, which is said to be the largest example of a Norman keep Britain. The grand size of this central tower is a legacy from Roman times as it was built on the foundations of a vast Roman temple known as the Temple of Claudius (said to date back to the 1st century AD). Colchester itself was Roman Britain’s first capital.

The Temple of Claudius has a dramatic story of its own, having been attacked by the forces of Queen Boudica. The people of Colchester then shut themselves inside the temple, only to be killed within two days.

Today, Colchester Castle is a museum open to the public. Guided tours are available and allow access to those who wish to view the foundations and remains of the Temple of Claudius.

Photo by Udimu (cc)

Crofton Roman Villa

Crofton Roman Villa in Orpington, London, contains the remains of an ancient house and farm complex originally built in the second century AD and occupied until around 400AD.

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Crofton Roman Villa in Orpington, London, contains the remains of an ancient house and farm complex originally built in the second century AD and occupied until around 400AD.

The villa formed the centre of a farming estate and was altered several times during its 260 years of occupation. Today the site has been partially excavated and visitors can see the remains of ten rooms as well as the original tiled flooring and the hypocaust under-floor heating system.

The site is very child-friendly and also includes displays and information as to the history of the complex and the Romano-British period.

Croy Hill

Little remains of this site, which was once part of the Antonine Wall, a vast second century defensive barrier in Scotland which ran from West Kilpatrick to Carriden. It is one of a number of Britain’s Roman sites which made up part of this famous defensive structure. Visitors to the site can make out two beacon platforms and a defensive ditch which would have formed part of the original fortifications.

DID YOU KNOW?

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.

Photo by Nick Bramhall (cc)

Dewa Roman Experience

Situated on the site of a Roman fort in the historic city of Chester, Dewa Roman Experience allows visitors a hands-on exploration of a Roman legionary base.

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Built on the former site of an ancient Roman fort, Dewa Roman Experience is a hands-on archaeological site containing the remains of this a Roman legionary base.

The Roman fort site at Chester was a strategic base for the Roman army circa AD 50. Initially the site had been a small fort used to defend Chester’s harbour and crossing point of the river Dee during campaigns against tribes in Wales and to the north and east of Chester. The name ‘Deva’ in Latin means ‘Holy One’, and takes its name from the river.

The Romans based themselves at Chester temporarily in the beginning, as resources were diverted to dealing with the Boudiccan uprisings in AD 60. A permanent military presence was established soon after, however, as the Romans attempted to conquer Britain in its entirety. The Second Legion was later stationed in Chester, circa AD 78, but the legion was withdrawn in AD 87 to help defend the Rhine frontier.

The Romans set great store by fighting conflicts at sea – Chester’s excellent harbour was therefore ideally suited as a base, and was subsequently developed into a major military centre. Its importance was demonstrated when the Romans chose it as the intended point of departure for a planned invasion of Ireland, although the plan never came to fruition.

Circa AD 90 the fort was occupied by the Twentieth Legion, and the legionary depot was rebuilt with stone. The Twentieth Legion was involved in campaigns against the Picts in Scotland whilst stationed in Chester, as well as periodically being involved in refurbishment work until the Romans’ departure from Britain in the 5th Century.

Today, visitors to Dewa Roman Experience may immerse themselves in Roman Chester – the fort was excavated in 1991 and visitors can wander through the streets and explore archaeological remains.

The visit begins with a virtual trip on board a Roman galley. There is a museum on site, and visitors can also take part in a number of historical themed activities, such as trying on Roman armour, firing a catapult and creating a mosaic. Additionally there is a soldier patrol, where visitors may experience life as a soldier, preparing for battle and defending a Roman amphitheatre.

Contributed by Chris Reid

Photo by Historvius

Dover Roman Fort

The remains of the Dover Roman Fort represent all that is left of the ancient Roman fleet base which served the large Roman naval detachment which defended British waters.

DID YOU KNOW?

The remains of the Dover Roman Fort represent all that is left of the ancient Roman fleet base which served the large Roman naval detachment that defended British waters.

Known as the the Classis Britannica, the Roman British fleet was headquartered here the first half of the second century AD and the large fort built to defend it covered more than two acres. The fort was re-built around 130-140 AD before the entire complex was replaced in 270 AD by a newer ‘Saxon Shore’ fort.

Today very little remains of the Classis Britannica Fort but the ruins can be seen in the grounds of the Dover Discovery Centre, located next to Dover Museum.

Photo by Jim Linwood (cc)

Durnovaria

Durnovaria is the Roman name for what is now Dorchester. The Roman Town House in Durnovaria contains one of the best preserved Roman villas in Britain and dates back to the 1st century AD.

DID YOU KNOW?

Durnovaria is the original Roman name for what is now the English town of Dorchester.

Though Dorchester is best known for its Thomas Hardy connections, it remains an interesting town in its own right, having a number of museums dealing with such diverse topics as dinosaurs, Tutenkhamun and military history.

The best Roman ruins in the town are the remains of a Roman townhouse dating from the 1st century CE located on Northernhay behind the Town Hall.

Greenhead Roman Army Museum

Containing artefacts and replicas of Roman military equipment such as weapons, armour and chariots, this is an interesting place to visit for those seeking Roman sites in Britain. The museum is located next to one of the oldest Roman forts in the area, as Magna under the Romans and as Carvoran in the post-Roman era, though very little is known about this fort.

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The Greenhead Roman Army Museum displays a series of artifacts and replicas of Roman military paraphernalia from weaponry and armour to chariots and wagons.

Some of these objects are derived from the collection of Vindolanda, another Roman site which took over the administration of the museum in 1997.

Other displays at the Greenhead Roman Army Museum include an account of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, under whom Hadrian’s Wall was built, and a reconstructed barracks room.

The Greenhead Roman Army Museum is located next to one of the oldest Roman forts in the area. This fort was known as Magna under the Romans and as Carvoran in the post-Roman era. Very little is known about this fort – it is possible that its purpose was to defend an important road junction nearby.

A visit to the Greenhead Roman Army Museum includes a film about the fort which includes a reconstruction of what it may have looked like.

Photo by MarilynJane (cc)

Hod Hill

Once an Iron Age fort captured by Vespasian during the Roman invasion of Britain. The Roman Second Legion, led by the future emperor, was sent to subdue the region and captured a number of hill forts in the area. Little archaeological evidence remains of the subsequent Roman fort which was built here.

DID YOU KNOW?

Hod Hill is an Iron Age hillfort and one of the largest of its kind in Dorset. With its imposing size and ramparts, Hod Hill would have defended a village.

In 44 AD, it is likely to have been captured by the Romans during their invasion of Britain. The Roman Second Legion, led by the future emperor Vespasian, was sent to subdue the region and captured a number of hill forts in the area.

Evidence of Roman occupation of Hod Hill can be seen at the site in the form of the remains of a Roman fort.

Photo by Historvius

Kinneil House and Museum

Within the Kinneil Estate lie the remains of a Roman fort which once formed part of the Antonine Wall. This is certainly one of the more hidden Roman sites in the UK.

DID YOU KNOW?

Kinneil House and Museum, part of the Kinneil Estate, has a rich history spanning almost 2,000 years.

The Kinneil Estate holds a wealth of historic sites, including a Roman fortlet - part of the Antonine Wall - the ruins of a medieval church, a cottage belonging to inventor James Watt and Kinneil House and Museum.

Kinneil Museum
The Kinneil Museum is a good place to start your visit to the Kinneil Estate. Housed in the stables of Kinneil House, the museum details the history of the site, hosts a number of artefacts from the estate – some dating back to Roman times – and also includes an audio visual show.

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. 

Kinneil House
Kinneil House itself dates back to the 15th century and is open on selected days throughout the year (check official website for dates or contact Kinneil Museum). This historic house was the home of the Dukes of Hamilton and contains a wealth of interesting sights, including a number of rare renaissance wall paintings.

Kinneil Church
Just a short walk from Kinneil House and Museum lie the ruins of the 12th century Kinneil Church. Abandoned in the 17th century, Kinneil Church was also partially destroyed by fire leaving just the western gable and historic graveyard. The church bell can be seen in Kinneil Museum.

James Watt’s Cottage
James Watt’s Cottage, at the rear of Kinneil House, is the site where famous inventor James Watt worked to develop the steam engine. Watt was under the patronage of industrialist John Roebuck who lived in Kinneil House.

A visit to Kinneil Estate is also not complete without taking the opportunity to explore the surrounding parks, woodlands and ponds. You'll find more information on the Kinneil website - www.kinneil.org.uk.

Photo by pandrcutts (cc)

London Roman Fort

Like many Roman sites in Britain, this ancient fort has been mostly lost to the ages. However, certain sections can still be seen and the Museum of London also offers limited tours of what remains.

DID YOU KNOW?

The London Roman Fort was built in around 120 AD - around the same time as Hadrian’s Wall - to house the soldiers of Roman Britain’s most important town of the time, Londinium.

Covering around 12 acres in its heyday, the London Roman Fort would have been a square complex similar in architecture - but around three times the size of - forts such as those of Housesteads and Chester. It was probably home to around 1,000 soldiers.

The pin on the map shows the section of the London Roman Fort found on Noble Street, which would have been its southwest corner. Other parts of the fort are contained underground, notably in an underground car park nearby.

For information, ask the Museum of London, which also hosts tours of this site.

Photo by thetravelguru (cc)

London Roman Wall

Built between around 190 and 220 AD, this defensive wall protected Roman London. A number of remains can still be found today, but like many UK Roman Sites, a little imagination is needed to picture its ancient grandeur.

DID YOU KNOW?

The London Roman Wall was built between around 190 and 220 AD and stretched for about three miles from Blackfriars to Tower Hill. This defensive wall protected what was then the important Roman city of Londinium.

Prior to the building of the London Roman Wall, Londinium already had a fort, parts of which were now incorporated into the new wall.

Over the centuries, most of the London Roman Wall has been obscured by medieval additions and other development. However, there are some well-preserved parts which can still be seen today. The map highlights one of the more prominent remaining sections of the London Roman Wall, that at Tower Hill.

The Museum of London has more information on the London Roman Wall.

Photo by Historvius

Multangular Tower

The Multangular Tower is a third century AD ten-sided stone tower originally forming part of York’s Roman legionary fortress and now located in the gardens of the York Museum.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Multangular Tower is an imposing third century AD ten-sided stone tower originally forming part of York’s Roman legionary fortress and now located in the gardens of the York Museum.

The original Roman walls of York probably included eight defensive towers and were built in the late second or early third centuries AD. The tower has ten sides and is nine metres high. Originally there would have been three floors on the inside and a roof on top.

Today the Multangular Tower still forms part of the York City Walls. The lower half of the tower as it stands today contains the original Roman masonry while the upper half was reconstructed in the medieval period.

Photo by Historvius

Museum of London

Dedicated to the history of London, the Museum of London contains a wealth of information and artefacts about the city’s Roman past and also gives information on other UK Roman archaeological sites in London.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Museum of London explores the history of UK’s capital city through a series of exhibitions.

The contents of some galleries at the Museum of London are constantly changing, although there are nine permanent collections. These look at the development of the city since prehistoric times, through to Roman London, the medieval period, the Great Fire of London in 1666 and onwards, right up to present day.

Ranging from archaeological finds such as Roman ceramics to historic objects such as Oliver Cromwell’s death mask, the artefacts at the Museum of London offer an interesting and comprehensive insight into the city’s past.

There are also recreations of rooms and streets from different periods plus the chance to see an authentic medieval dungeon.

Photo by juliagrossmann (cc)

National Museum Cardiff

The National Museum of Cardiff explores the history of Wales including the country’s rich Roman history.

DID YOU KNOW?

The National Museum Cardiff has a diverse collection ranging from art to natural history and archaeology.

The art collections at the National Museum Cardiff spans over 500 years and a range of countries.

Meanwhile, history fans can also head to the Origins gallery, which chronicles the history of man in Wales from the Stone Age to medieval times. Neolithic tombstones, Britain’s earliest human remains, Roman cups and medieval weapons are all on display in this interesting exhibit.

Photo by littlemisspurps (cc)

North Leigh Roman Villa

Believed to have once been a vast Roman villa containing at least sixty rooms, North Leigh Roman Villa is one of a number of such luxurious houses to have been found among Britain’s Roman sites.

DID YOU KNOW?

North Leigh Roman Villa was built in the first century in what is now modern day Oxfordshire, UK.

Archaeologists believe that North Leigh Roman Villa was once a substantial building made up of approximately sixty rooms, however all that remains today are its ruins.

The main feature of the site is its preserved brown and red mosaic floor, which is now covered and is almost complete. North Leigh Roman Villa is an English Heritage site.

Photo by Pengannel (cc)

Pevensey Castle

Built upon the remains of the Roman fort of Anderida, Pevensey includes elements of the original fortifications and is an example of multi-period Roman remains in Britain. It is one of many military sites to have been excavated among Britain’s roman ruins.

DID YOU KNOW?

Pevensey Castle is a Norman castle built upon the fourth century AD Roman fort of Anderida, the substantial remains of which are still visible today. Indeed, the main outer defensive walls of the larger Roman fortification have survived very much intact, forming a wider outer ring within which the main castle now stands. These Roman walls are among the very best Roman remains to have survived in the UK.

Pevensey Castle itself, found within the south-east corner of the Roman walls, mostly dates back to the Norman invasion of 1066. In fact, Pevensey was the site where William the Conqueror landed in Britain on 28 September of that year. There the Normans found the fourth century AD Roman fort, upon which they built the first incarnation of Pevensey Castle in timber. Pevensey Castle was actually the first castle that William built.

Later under the Normans, in the twelfth century, the timber castle was replaced by a stone structure, the beginnings of the Pevensey Castle we see today. With an imposing gatehouse, bailey wall and square keep, Pevensey Castle was a mighty fortification. So much so that, despite several attempts to breach its walls - most notably in a siege carried out Simon de Montfort against the sheltering supporters of King Henry III in 1264 - Pevensey Castle survived the medieval period.

Over the centuries, Pevensey Castle would continue to be reinforced several times, including in the sixteenth century and during the Second World War. Now a picturesque ruin under the remit of English Heritage, Pevensey Castle is open to visitors. Amongst its attractions are the remaining elements of the Roman fort, which includes the majority of the original outer walls and towers, as well as the medieval dungeons.

Photo by trenchdroid (cc)

Richborough Roman Fort

Originally named Rutupiae, Richborough marks the site where the Romans landed in Britain in 43 AD and is one of many forts on our Roman Sites UK map. Today visitors can view the remains of the fortifications, earthworks and more.

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Richborough Roman Fort, originally called “Rutupiae”, in Kent marks the site where the Romans successfully invaded Britain in 43 AD.

Known by many as the “gateway to Britain” and also Richborough Castle, Richborough Roman Fort is thought to have begun as a military stronghold for the invading Roman soldiers and developed into a civilian town and one of the country’s main ports. One reminder of the leisure facilities of this historic town can be seen around five minutes away in the form of the vague remnants of an amphitheatre.

When visiting Richborough Roman Fort, it is hard to believe that this now very much land-based site was a coastal defensive structure. However, in 2008, archaeologists discovered the location of the original Roman coast.

The impressive stone walls that still stand at Richborough Roman Fort are the remains of a wall fort built by the Romans in the late third century AD to protect against the Saxons. Visitors can also see remaining defensive ditches and the ruin of a first century triumphal arch.

Photo by AndyHay (cc)

Roman Ribchester

The modern day village of Ribchester is situated on the site of what was once a large Roman fort known as Bremetennacum Veteranorum. It is believed a first incarnation of Ribchester Roman Fort was built in 72AD as a timber fortification. This Roman fort would have housed a military garrison and would have been used to secure the local area. The fort was later rebuilt in stone, probably in the mid-to-late second century AD. Today, the remains of Ribchester Roman Fort and the Ribchester Roman Bathhouse can be seen alongside the Ribchester Roman Museum, which showcases the best of the history of the site.

DID YOU KNOW?

The modern day village of Ribchester is situated on the site of what was once a large Roman fort and settlement known as Bremetennacum Veteranorum. Today, the remains of Ribchester Roman Fort and the Ribchester Roman Bathhouse can be seen alongside the Ribchester Roman Museum, which showcases the best of the history of the site.

It is believed a first incarnation of Ribchester Roman Fort was built in 72AD as a timber fortification. This Roman fort would have housed a military garrison and would have been used to secure the local area as well as provide a strategic link to other Roman military fortifications in the area. The fortress was built at a crossing over the River Ribble, at a point where the Roman roads from Chester, York, and Carlisle converged. The fort was later rebuilt in stone, probably in the mid-to-late second century AD.

Excavations of Roman Ribchester have revealed ruins of the Ribchester Roman Fort itself, as well as uncovering the remains granaries, timber buildings, a kiln, roman bath house and pottery dating from 69 AD to the 4th century.

Today visitors can see the remains of the fort itself as well as the Ribchester Roman Baths. The interesting Ribchester Roman Museum contains many artefacts from Neolithic to Roman times and beyond as well as showcasing an interactive 3D model of 3rd Century AD Ribchester.

Photo by AndrewH324 (cc)

Segedunum Roman Fort

One of the forts making up Hadrian’s Wall, Segedunum is a great place to view the remains of the wall as it includes a 35m high viewing tower. There were several wall forts along the 73-mile stretch of Hadrian’s Wall, each garrisoned by Roman soldiers. From around 122 AD, Segedunum held 600 soldiers and was one of the eastern forts along the wall. One of the most interesting Roman sites in Britain.

DID YOU KNOW?

Segedunum Roman Fort was one of the ancient Roman wall forts of Hadrian’s Wall, the iconic UNESCO-listed barrier built under the Emperor Hadrian from 122 AD.

There were several wall forts along the 73-mile stretch of Hadrian’s Wall, each garrisoned by Roman soldiers. From around 122 AD, Segedunum Roman Fort held 600 soldiers and was one of the eastern forts along the wall. It would continue to perform this role for a period of around 300 years. After this time, the fate of Segedunum Roman Fort is unknown, except that it was built over in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries only to be uncovered from the 1970s onwards.

The interactive museum at Segedunum Roman Fort displays a myriad of finds excavated at the site of the fort including armour and weaponry. It also houses everyday objects including one very unique object - the only known Roman British stone toilet seat.

Visitors to Segedunum Roman Fort can view the remains of the fort itself as well as its reconstructed Roman baths. Segedunum Roman Fort is also a good place to see a section of Hadrian’s Wall, especially from atop the 35 metre viewing tower.

Photo by Charles D P Miller (cc)

Silchester Roman Town

Silchester Roman Town flourished from the mid-first century AD and was eventually abandoned.

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Silchester Roman Town is home to the remains of Calleva Atrebatum, a town which flourished under the Romans in the mid-first century AD. Built on the site of what had been an Iron Age trading hub, Calleva Atrebatum itself became a busy town crammed with shops, homes and several public amenities including a forum basilica, temples, public baths and an amphitheatre.

It is unclear as to when and why exactly Silchester Roman Town was abandoned. Estimates place its decline somewhere between 550 and 650 AD, much after the erection of the town walls in the third century and the end of Roman rule in the fifth century. Much has been made of the fact that no medieval settlement took its place.

Today, visitors to Silchester Roman Town can see its remaining ruins, those a mile and half walk of the walls and the amphitheatre. There is an audio guide to download from the English Heritage website. During six weeks of the summer, the main excavation site, run by Reading University, is also open.

Photo by Stuart (cc)

St Bride’s Church

Located in London’s journalistic heartland of Fleet Street, St Bride’s is a restored 17th century church, steeped in history and originally designed by Sir Christopher Wren.

DID YOU KNOW?

Located in London’s journalistic heartland of Fleet Street, St Bride’s is a restored 17th century church, steeped in history and originally designed by Sir Christopher Wren.

A succession of churches has existed on the site for over 1,000 years and the site’s history stretches even further into the past right back to the Roman era. Located in the heart of London, an early medieval incarnation of St Bride’s Church was destroyed during the Great Fire of London in 1666 before Wren’s design was built as a replacement. In more modern times St Bride’s Church was severely damaged during the bombing of London in the Second World War.

Today the restored St Bride’s forms a well-known part of the centre of London and visitors can not only see the church itself but also the underground crypt - including the Roman mosaic pavement - as well as the subterranean Medieval Chapel.

Photo by starsrus (cc)

The Antonine Wall

Built in 138AD, little remains of the Antonine Wall. However, a number of forts and other archeological sites have been excavated, though these remain some of the least visited of UK Roman sites.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Antonine Wall was a Roman defensive wall which ran from Old Kilpatrick to Carriden, along what is now Scotland’s central belt.

In 138AD, under the orders of Emperor Antoninus Pius, the Roman 6th and 20th legions began building The Antonine Wall. They would complete it a mere two years later, eighteen years after Hadrian’s Wall was built. The main function of The Antonine Wall was a defensive one - mostly to offer protection from Caledonian tribes - but it may also have served as a customs station.

The Antonine Wall would continue to be occupied until the late 160s AD when, under Marcus Aurelius, the Romans began to retreat to its more famous counterpart. Whilst far less well-known than Hadrian’s Wall, the Antonine Wall is still a marvel of Roman engineering and many parts of it - and some of its approximately twenty forts - can still be discerned today. Amongst them are Bar Hill Fort, Croy Hill and the Bearsden Bath House.

The map for this site is located at the former Roman fort of Rough Castle, the earthworks of which can still be seen. This is also considered one of the most intact sections of the Antonine Wall, with a ditch and rampart both visible.

Photo by Eileen Henderson (cc)

Trimontium Museum

The Roman fort of Trimontium no longer stands, but the nearby museum uses artefacts and replicas to tell a story of a military power and the struggles that took place on the border with Scotland.

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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.

Derived from ‘trium montium’ (or ‘three mountains’), the fort of Trimontium took its name from its position nestled in between the three Eildon Hills. Its advantageous placing made it a perfect advance post for the Roman province, and its design was geared towards this purpose. Central earthen defences, crafted in the first century, were strengthened by four outer ditches at the end of the second century. The western annex was also given a series of wall and trenches for further protection. Supplies and men reached the fort from a series of roads that extended outwards from the fort, giving it a wheel-like appearance from an aerial perspective.

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.

Since the site was first excavated in 1905, a wealth of artefacts has been discovered charting the extensive use of the fort. Now housed in the museum, they include items ranging from shoes and tools to armour and arrowheads. As well as gaining an impression of the military prowess of the Roman army, visitors can see some of the finer details of daily life that help to bring the past to life.

Photo by Helen in Wales (cc)

Wales National Roman Legion Museum

An interesting museum dedicated to the history of Roman Wales, the Wales National Roman Legion Museum is certainly worth a visit for those seeking Roman sites in the UK.

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The Wales National Roman Legion Museum explores the history and legacy of the Roman Empire’s furthest outpost - Wales.

This small museum houses a range of artefacts including everyday utensils and pottery. Amongst its main highlights, the Wales National Roman Legion Museum has an impressive Roman gemstone collection, the remains of a 2nd-3rd century man together with his funereal items and coffin and a first century Roman tablet inscribed in ink - this latter item being the oldest recorded piece of writing in Wales.

Even the location of the Wales National Roman Legion Museum - on the site of a first century Roman fortress - is significant. The ruins of this fort are located nearby, but the museum also includes a recreation of what these Roman barracks would have looked like.

Also located within the museum complex are the remains of the impressive Roman baths, which formed part of the legionary barracks. The ruins of the bathhouse are now housed within a protective modern structure and include reconstructions of the baths as well as a detailed model of their original design.

During the holidays, children are also afforded the opportunity to dress up like Romans.

Photo by Alun Salt (cc)

Wall Roman site

Originally called Letocetum, Wall Roman site was a military staging post. Visitors can view the remains of this site as well as the museum. One of several Roman ruins in Britain managed by English Heritage.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Wall Roman site in Staffordshire houses the remains of what was a Roman military staging site, essentially an inn or “mansio” along the ancient route towards Wales.

Then known as Letocetum, the Wall Roman site was a convenient stop along this important military road.

Visitors to the Wall Roman site – now managed by English Heritage – can see the foundations of this Roman hotel as well as those of its Roman baths. There is also an on-site museum displaying finds from the Wall Roman site.

Photo by steve p2008 (cc)

Wroxeter Roman City

Once Britain’s fourth largest city, the remains of Roman Viroconium can be found just outside modern Wroxeter. The site contains some of the most interesting Roman ruins in the United Kingdom.

DID YOU KNOW?

Wroxeter Roman City is an impressive Ancient Roman site in Shropshire. It houses the remains of what was once known as Viroconium, at one time Roman Britain’s fourth largest city. In fact, Viroconium was initially a first Century garrisoned fort which evolved into a city.

Around 5,000 people lived in Viroconium at its peak and those who visit Wroxeter Roman City can learn about their lives through an audio guided tour as well as through the artefacts exhibited in its museum. However, perhaps the most evocative elements of Wroxeter Roman City are its ruins.

From the exercise hall to the bathing complex and walls, visitors can view the buildings in which its population of mostly traders and ex-soldiers lived, worked and were entertained. Most of Viroconium – there were two hundred acres of it in its heyday – still lies unexcavated, but that which can be seen offers a glimpse into what this great city would have looked like.

A fascinating aspect of Wroxeter Roman City is actually its existence at the end of Roman Britain and beyond. Possibly inhabited up to the sixth century, the ruins include sites erected and rebuilt after the Romans had left, yet in typical Roman style. This has led archaeologists to believe that those who lived in Viroconium after the Romans had left wanted to carry on living in the same way.

Wroxeter Roman City is an English Heritage site.

Photo by By Neil T (cc)

York City Walls

Impressive though they are, little of the original Roman walls of York remain today. However, the Multangular Tower is partly of original Roman construction and is one of the lesser known UK Roman ruins.

DID YOU KNOW?

The York City Walls are England’s most complete set of city walls and one of the city’s most popular attractions. Made up of structures built at different times of the city’s history, resplendent with four main ornate stone gateways known as “bars” and 34 towers and offering a great way to see the historic sites of York, these walls are an integral part of the city.

Roman Times
The first incarnation of the York City Walls were originally established in 71 AD during Roman times, built to protect the 9th Legion from the locals. This leads some to call them the Roman City Walls, but very little of the Roman walls remain. One structure which can be found is the Multangular Tower, an imposing third century AD ten-sided stone tower located in the gardens of the York Museum.

Anglo Saxons and Vikings
The Romans left Britain in around 400 AD, ushering in the Anglo Saxon age, during which time the exact fate of the York City Walls is unknown. However, there are some records from the time when the Vikings captured York in 866 AD, showing that the walls still existed but were in a bad state of repair. It is thought that the Vikings added to and strengthened the walls, although this too is uncertain.

The Normans and up to the 16th century
Renovated, fortified and extended under the Normans, the York City Walls continued to be added to up to the sixteenth century. Their gateways or “bars” were also used from the mid-thirteenth century onwards as a way to control who came in and out of the city, even as types of medieval toll booths to levy entry fees for non-freemen bringing goods to market.

English Civil War
In 1644, during the English Civil War, the Parliamentarians laid siege to the York City Walls, trying to capture the city from the Royalists. On 16 July 1644, the city fell to the Parliamentarians, but only after severe clashes which caused damage to the walls.

Georgian Times
However, some of the greatest destruction caused to the York City Walls was not committed by act of war, but by administrative action. In the nineteenth century, it was found that the upkeep cost of York’s walls was very high, especially as they were in a bad state of repair. As a result it was decided to demolish parts of the walls.

Amongst other things, both Skeldergate Postern and Micklegate barbican were destroyed, despite the fact that Parliament had not given the requisite permission for this action. Reconstruction was later undertaken to repair many of the demolished sections.

Victorian Additions
The Victorians also made their mark on the York City Walls, adding, amongst other things a further bar (Victoria Bar) and the Robin Hood Tower.

Modern Times and the Gateways
Today, visitors can walk along the York City Walls, which run for some 2.5 miles and enclose the historic part of the city. The main gates to see are Bootham Bar, Monk Bar, Walmgate Bar and Micklegate Bar, all mostly constructed in the fourteenth century with later additions. Micklegate is the most important of the gates, and is the site where Richard, Duke of York was beheaded in 1461 and his head was displayed.

Photo by By adactio (cc)

York Minster

Though obviously not of Roman construction itself, visitors to York Minster can visit the undercroft to see ancient Roman ruins. It is among the most hidden ancient places on our Roman ruins UK map.

DID YOU KNOW?

York Minster is a vast gothic cathedral – one of the largest in Northern Europe – officially known as The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of St Peter in York. The term “Minster” is attributed to the cathedral as it was a teaching church founded by the Anglo Saxons.

In fact, the first church built on the site of York Minster was a small wooden one constructed in the seventh century for the baptism of the Anglo Saxon monarch, King Edwin of Northumbria. This was soon replaced by a stone church, however this was destroyed in a fire in 1069.

It was the Normans who began building the basis of the York Minster which exists today. Begun in 1080 and completed in 1100, the Normans built a vast cathedral, the remnants of which can be viewed in the undercroft of the current cathedral together with the remains of ancient buildings from the Roman era.

Over the next centuries, York Minster was enlarged and renovated, much of the work being instigated by Archbishop Walter Gray. By 1472, the structure of York Minster was complete with the addition of the north and south transepts, the nave, the Lady Chapel, the Quire, rebuilding the collapsed central tower (this had to be supported once again in the twentieth century) and the western towers.

Since these major works, York Minster has changed little. Some reconstruction works had to be undertaken due to outbreaks of fire at the cathedral (one such fire being set deliberately in 1829).

There is much to see at York Minster. In addition to admiring its beautiful architecture and imposing proportions, one can visit the undercroft to see ancient Roman and Norman ruins and climb the 275 steps of the central tower for great views of the city.

Exhibitions within York Minster focus on the long and vibrant history of the site. Of particular interest is the section dedicated to Roman history, from the Roman barracks first establishment here to the life of Constantine the Great, who was declared Emperor in York. In addition to these displays, under foot are glass floors which reveal the ruins of the original Roman buildings.

As well as individual passes, there are various types of guided tours available (mostly for group booking) including a free guided tour of up to 1.5 hours which details the history of York Minster.