Exploring the Remains of Roman London

People used to stay in the area along the Thames even before the 1st century but it was only after the Romans came to Britain in 43 A.D. that a proper settlement was established by them, called Londonium. However, this settlement was destroyed as a result of the battle in 61 A.D. and the Romans decided to make Londonium a planned town. All through their stay in London, the Romans continued building Londonium but when they left in the 5th century, Londonium started to decline and the influence of the Empire waned. However, despite the decline plenty of Roman London still exists and is a great place to visit to see either a still-standing structure or sites dug by archaeologists. Some of the existing remnants of Roman London include the following.

London Wall: Many sections of the London Wall built by the Romans in the 2nd century, are still visible near the Museum of London, the Barbican and the London Wall road. Of all the still existing Roman ruins, these are perhaps the best as the wall was built out of Kentish ragstone so that it could serve as a defensive measure. It was one of the most ambitious construction projects in all of Roman Britain. It continued to be expanded and modified by future generations even after the Romans left the country as it formed the boundary of the city.

St Bride’s Church: Modern wedding cakes have been inspired by the steeple of this church which has an intense history, more than what anyone can imagine. The remains of a Saxon church that was built on top of an even older Roman building, lie under the church’s crypt. However the only remnant now is a Roman decorated floor, which according to local legend and the claims of St Bride itself was the foundation of one of the first Celtic Christian churches in Britain.

Temple of Mithras: This temple is believed to be a place of worship for one of the mystery religions of the empire. The excavation of a site in Walbrook was started by Museum of London Director W.F. Grimes in September 1854. Even as early as 1890, plenty of Mithras artefacts were found in the area but evidence regarding the building that was later unearthed by Grimes was first uncovered after the London Blitz. The excavation is still continuing and the site is closed and as  such you can only see something from the street.

Most visitors to London prefer to stay at a Hotel in Paddington Station because of its strategic location that provides easy access to most attractions of London and also the advantages of staying close to Paddington station.

St. Magnus the Martyr Church: Situated near the original alignment of London Bridge between the City of London and Southwark, St Magnus the Martyr itself does not have a Roman foundation just as other parts of the city have. There is a unique artefact in its porch. A piling from the Roman docks dating back to 75 A.D. is bonded to a corner of the porch.

Amphitheatre Under the Guildhall: The headquarters of the City of London is also connected to the ancient Roman town as under its basement is the foundation of an erstwhile amphitheatre. This venue was built around 70 A.D. and in the 2nd century, it was renovated so that it could seat thousands of people for watching gladiatorial matches, dramatic productions, public executions, animal fighting and public speeches. During work on the Guildhall Art Gallery, the walls were discovered in 1988. You can visit the place if you make a trip to the Guildhall.

If you stay at Park Grand Paddington Court London Hotel on your trip to London, you will be able to enjoy luxurious accommodation with the best of facilities and also a superior location close to most attractions of the city.

Watling Street: The Romans had left behind a legacy of making magnificent roads and one of these is the Watling Street in London. Although the original road was built between Canterbury and Wales, only a short portion of the road leading to St Paul’s Cathedral still exists. A major battle had also taken place on this area between indigenous Britons, led by warrior queen Boadicea and the Romans. The remains of the original Roman road lie buried under the street but by walking on the street you can get a feel of a Roman centurion walking on the same path.

Roman Fort: Surprisingly, the remains of London’s Roman Fort are situated in an underground car park. The fort dates back to 110 A.D. and by that time London had become the most important city in Roman Britain. The fort was built over a apace of 5 hectares, sufficient for housing 1,000 soldiers. Its design is similar to the forts around Hadrian’s Wall. Rising to a height of over five metres, the stone walls were reinforced by an urban bank at the rear. There was a ditch in front of the wall and all along the walls, there was a plethora of stone towers placed at even intervals. It used to house ceremonial guards and not a permanent regiment. The only remains of the fort that can still be visited today are of the western gateway. This is where the west-to-east thoroughfare would have entered the fort, and you can still see the remains of the turret and guardroom.

Museum of London: If you wish to see other remains of Roman London that have not been mentioned above, you can visit the Museum of London and check its collection. The Roman collection in the museum has artefacts from excavations all over the city, covering a period from 50 to 410 A.D. including items such as marble, tiles, busts, metal work and even leather bikinis. The museum is open every day from 10 AM to 6 PM except from Dec. 24 to 26.

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