Remains of Roman Britain can be found everywhere, from walls left in our cities to forts and villas in the countryside.
Why not explore your local area and stumble upon a historical site you haven’t visited? Here are nine of our favourite Roman sites from around the country.
1. Wroxeter Roman City, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
Established around AD 55 as a frontier post, Wroxeter Roman City was named ‘Viroconium’ after the local British tribe of the Cornovii was subdued, and their capital was moved from the Wrekin to Wroxeter.
At its peak, it is thought to have been the fourth largest settlement in Roman Britain, with a population of more than 15,000. It became one of the first archaeological sites in Britain to become a tourist attraction open to the public.
2. Temple of Mithras, Carrawburgh, Northumberland
Hadrian’s Wall is scattered with interesting sites, including the Temple of Mithras at Carrawburgh Roman Fort.
The soldiers built the Temple to the god Mithras around AD 200, which was destroyed around AD 350. Mithraism was a Roman religion inspired by a god originally worshipped in the Eastern Empire.
Three altars found were dedicated by commanding officers of the unit stationed here, the First Cohort of Batavians from the Rhineland. The Temple is free to visit.
3. Brading Roman Villa, Isle of Wight
Brading Roman Villa was discovered in 1879 and dates from the 1st century, although the best-preserved building is the West Range, built around AD 300.
Roman artefacts found at the site tell us a high-status owner owned it.
Don’t miss the breathtaking mosaics displaying a variety of subjects, conveying the owners’ wealth and education. The largest mosaic features the mythical Medusa, often used in art to ward off evil and protect the home.
4. Verulamium Theatre, St Albans, Hertfordshire
Verulamium was one of the largest Roman cities in Britain, with lots remaining today to explore.
You can visit the remains of the town and city walls in Verulamium Park, the Hypocaust (a central heating system built around AD 200), and a theatre, which claims to be a unique example in England, being a theatre with a stage, rather than a tradition Roman amphitheatre.
Built in about AD 140, the theatre initially would have been used for anything from religious processions to wild beast shows. By about AD 300, after some redevelopment work, it could seat 2000 spectators.
Don’t miss the museum, filled with treasures and mosaics.
5. Aldborough Roman Town, Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire
Aldborough was the ‘capital’ of the Romanised Brigantes, the largest tribe in Britain at that time.
After the Romans subdued the Brigantes tribe, the fort there was replaced with a town known as Isurium Brigantum,
Today you can see a town wall with its defensive towers and two mosaic pavements, once part of a Roman townhouse. The museum contains a range of pottery and other items, giving an insight into Roman life.
6. London Wall
The Romans built the London Wall to protect what was then called Londinium, their strategically important port on the River Thames.
Built around AD 200, the wall was around 2.5 miles long and marked the city’s boundaries.
Parts of the old wall can still be found around the city, from Tower Hill to Blackfriars, and are (where accessible) free to view.
7. Richborough Roman Fort, Kent
Richborough, or Rutupiae, was founded by the Romans after they invaded Britain in AD 43.
Rutupiae was the major British port due to its position near the mouth of the Stour.
The most prominent ruin of Roman Richborough is the walls of the 3rd century fort, which formed part of defences against sea-borne raiders along the coast, known as the ‘Saxon Shore’.
The site sits on what was once a small island or peninsula, which separated the Isle of Thanet from the mainland of Kent. Read more about our excavations of the site.
8. Roman Town House, Dorchester, Dorset
This site is the only example of a fully exposed Roman townhouse in the country. It was built around AD 307, quite late during the Roman occupation.
The Roman Town House sits on the grounds of County Hall in Dorchester, in what used to be the Roman town known as Durnovaria. It was discovered by Drew and Collingwood Selby and excavated between 1937 and 1938. The Roman Town House Project is currently underway.
9. Hardknott Roman Fort, Cumbria
Built between AD 120 and 138 to protect Harknott Pass, these are the ruins of the Roman fort known as Mediobogdum.
The site includes ruins of a bathhouse, parade ground and tribunal, lengths of four Roman roads, areas of Roman quarrying and three cairns.
The Fourth Cohort of Dalmatians garrisoned the fort, an infantry unit 500 strong. It was evacuated during the reign of Antoninus Pius (between AD 138 and 61) but re-occupied at some time during the mid-2nd century before being finally abandoned by the end of the 2nd century.
Don’t miss the impressive views when you visit Hardknott Roman Fort. The fort has an altitude of 800ft with a beautiful (and strategic) view over the River Esk.
What have we missed? Let us know your favourite Roman sites in the comments below.
I like visiting Chester (Deva). The walls are a brilliant walk….
Hi, wonderful article. what about the Roman ruins near Whitebrook, Monmouthshire, Wales?
Corbridge Roman Town,
Habitancvm Roman fort and Robin of Risingham,
Petty Knowes Roman cemetery and Bremenivm Roman fort,
Chew Green Roman forts and camps
Caerleon Roman Remains near Newport South Wales are the best I have visited, with the Fortress,Baths and Ampitheatre
Im sure your right but its not England 🙂
What about colchester.? Englands first Roman town.
Fascination abounds – I worked in the golden age of schools in the 70’s when history teachers could model their own curriculum. Primary schools do this well – Key Stage 3 have become much more inhibited – having to cover so much in less time.
Thank you I need to get these sites on my very big to do list
How about adding another nine – there’s plenty more to choose from, especially in the North.
The mosaics at Fishbourne Roman Palace in West Sussex are spectacular too!
Can’t believe that you have Leicester’s Jewry Wall and Roman remains out of your list. Very disappointing.
I think its more interesting reading about things you dont know not those you are comfortable with.
The Roman city walls at Silchester ( Calleva Atrebatum) in Hampshire are intact and most impressive
Caerwent (Venta Silurum) is a must
Portchester Castle near Portsmouth must be on everyone’s list. It is an intact walled castle that has survived throughout history to the present day.
Welwyn Roman Baths under the A1(M) in a vault.
The Roman Bath House at Ravenglass, Cumbria.
We lived in Nottingham back 1999 – 2001 – we miss ALL the sights of Roman Britain – made it to Hadrian’s Wall but missed the turn off to Hardnott by ..that much.. would you believe .. that much – to have been so close and yet miss it was a tragedy – it was not an easy place to get to and if we ever should make it back to Britain it will be a long way to go again.
Terry T :-)) New Zealand