Things to do | Heritage | Roman Britain

Roman Britain

Step back nearly 2,000 years

View towards Steel Rigg from Hadrian

Hadrian's Wall

View towards Steel Rigg from Hadrian's Wall in Northumbria, Hadrian's Wall, near Haltwhistle, Northumberland, England / Rod Edwards

The Romans colonised Britain nearly 2,000 years ago and their influence can still be seen today. Step back in time with us to a land of pagan gods, tribal warfare and awe-inspiring architecture…

Looking out over the waist-high stone wall at the green Northumberland fields in the distance, it is easy to imagine proud Roman soldiers gazing out at the same view centuries ago. After all, while the Romans undertook countless projects during their time in Britain, Hadrian's Wall is truly an incredible feat. It reaches 15 feet high and spans 80 miles across Britain from South Shields in the east to Ravenglass in the west. The wall was not built to keep the Scots out of England, but rather it served as a Border and Customs agency to control the flow of goods north and south. Today, much of the traffic comes from hikers, bikers or riders of the Hadrian's Wall Country Bus .

But it wasn’t all about work for the Romans, so it’s no surprise that they created a magnificent temple and bathing complex around Britain's only hot spring, located in the aptly named World Heritage City of Bath . This was the place in Roman Britain for rest and relaxation - a tradition that you can still experience today at Thermae Bath Spa .

If Bath was for relaxation, York was selected for serious work. Known then as Eboracum, York was the political heart of the Roman Empire during two periods 100 years apart and two Roman Emperors lived and died here. Although today not much remains of the era, pieces of the Roman walls remain intact, including the Multangular (ten-sided) Tower in the city's Museum Gardens. Chester has a complete Roman city wall, wrapping two miles around the city. From here it is possible to see remains of Britain's largest Roman amphitheatre.

While nothing much remains of the Roman city of Londinium, the Museum of London's huge Roman Collection has over 47,000 objects which were recovered during building projects in the Capital .