© Roman Baths
Julius Caesar attempted to invade Britain in 54BC, but it wasn’t until AD43 when Claudius was Emperor that Britain became part of the Roman Empire. Show Me has put together a list of the top ten places around the country where you can walk in the footsteps of the Romans.
Hadrian’s Wall was built between AD122-30. It stretches coast to coast from Wallsend-on-Tyne in the east of England to Bowness-on-Solway in the west. The Wall was built “to separate the Romans from the Barbarians” according to the person who wrote an account of Hadrian’s life.
Anyone feeling energetic can tackle the Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trust Trail. The trail is an 84-mile trek, but we’re not expecting you to complete all of it!
Tullie House Museum
Our first Roman museum is Tullie House Museum in Carlisle. It contains many items found along Hadrian’s Wall including everything from jewellery to altars from when the Romans arrived in Carlisle in the winter of AD72-3 to when they left.
Segedunum Roman Fort
At the eastern end of Hadrian’s Wall you’ll find our second Roman museum, Segedunum Roman Fort. Segedunum means ‘strong fort’ in Latin, a fitting name as it would have housed up to 600 Roman soldiers and acted as a strong hold against barbarian attacks from the north for about 300 years. It is the most excavated Fort along the Wall.
They even have a Roman stone toilet that you can see - we don’t know about you, but that looks very uncomfortable to us!
By the way, have you seen our article about the history of the toilet?
Lunt Roman Fort
Prepare for battle as you enter our next Roman museum, the Lunt Roman Fort in Baginton near Coventry. This is a partial reconstruction of the timber fort that stood here in AD60, and the most unique feature is its circular ‘gyrus’ - a cavalry training ring.
If the Roman army isn’t really your thing, you can discover what our Roman ancestors looked like with a fantastic forensic reconstruction of real Romans at the Yorkshire Museum, home to the Ivory Bangle Lady.
Research shows she was a wealthy woman who made her way to York from North Africa. Experts think she may have been an early Christian too.
Corinium was the second largest city in Roman Britain after London, but nowadays we call it Cirencester. The Corinium Museum lets you to experience life as a Roman (you can even dress up like one – if you want to make the costume at home, we have a handy guide) and marvel at Roman mosaics, engineering and artistry.
You can see the Corinium Museum's top ten treasures on their website.
Our sixth Roman museum, The Verulamium Museum, is in St. Albans in Hertfordshire. It sits on the site of Verulamium, one of the most significant towns in Roman Britain. The museum contains reconstructed Roman rooms complete with mosaics and decorated walls.
Fishbourne Roman Palace
Fishbourne Roman Palace in West Sussex is the largest Roman home in Britain and it has some magnificent mosaics for you to see including one showing Cupid riding on a dolphin.© Fishbourne Roman Palace/ Sussex Archaeological Society
If you like Roman mosaics, a marvellous one known as the Berryfield Mosiac was found at Firstsite in Colchester. It was unearthed by a gardener in 1923 as they were digging a hole to bury their weeds. It's decorated with lots of mythological monsters including something called a Pistrix – a sea monster with a dragon’s head and the body of a fish.
The Roman Baths
If you fancy getting your feet wet, Bath's Roman Bath are fed by natural springs of hot water, just as they were 2,000 years ago. Its four main features are the Sacred Spring, Roman Temple, Roman bath house and finds from the Roman city of Bath.
Our last Roman place is the Novium in Chichester.There you can see the remains of a thermae - a large, heated Roman bath. It was discovered by archaeologists working in the area between 1974 and 1975.
Once you've explored some Roman history in the museums, why not make an Ancient Roman Toga? Or bring the museum to you by investigating this Roman helmet from Canterbury Roman Museum.
- Julius Caesar attempted to invade Britain in 54BC, but it wasn’t until AD43 when Claudius was Emperor that Britain became part of the Roman Empire. Show Me has put together a list of the top ten places around the country where you can walk in the footsteps of the Romans.