The United Kingdom is a land filled with thousands of years of history spanning a multitude of cultures. One of these is the Roman Empire, who ruled over the British Isles for over a hundred years starting in A.D. 43. Eventually the Romans left England around the fifth century A.D., as noted by the BBC, but not without leaving us with a wealth of historic sites and ruins.
I’ve already shared where to see Roman ruins in France and also Etruscan ruins in Italy, but for those looking for an Italian or Roman-themed vacation and aren’t quite able to make it to the famous boot-shaped country you can find plenty of history in England. These are a few of favorite sites to see for the Italophile in all of us.
You knew I had to talk about this one. Hadrian’s Wall is the single most visited tourist attraction in all of Northern England and was named a UNESCO World Heritage site back in 1987. The ancient wall was constructed early in the second century (122 A.D. to be exact) and extends for 73 miles between the River Tyne and the Solway Firth. English Heritage has a terrific timeline of the rich history of the wall in addition to historic events that take place at the site throughout the year.
The British Museum
You’ve got to start somewhere and there’s no better place than the British Museum. British Airways writes here that the museum plays host to an incredible 7 million objects in its collections. That makes this museum one of the largest in the world! Don’t forget that what we know today as London was originally a Roman settlement dubbed Londinium, so it’s no wonder there are so many Roman artifacts in this massive collection. You can see bronze busts of the Roman emperor Hadrian, ancient Roman mosaics and much more to whet your appetite for antiquity. The Museum of London also has some terrific pieces and exhibitions. However, if you can only make it to one, make it the British Museum if for nothing other than its sheer size and scope.
Lullingstone Roman Villa
This awe-inspiring Roman villa was constructed during first century A.D. and is suspected by some to have been a vacation home for Roman governors during the occupation. The site has something for everyone, from art-lovers to kids. Parents will be wowed by the heated bath-suites, house-church and beautiful mosaics, and kids will be entertained by getting to try on period-accurate Roman costumes and recreations of traditional board games. It’s no wonder the Telegraph called Lullingstone one of Britain’s 50 best secrets.
With nearly 500 years of Roman rule, there are more forts, historic sites, statues and artifacts than you can shake an ancient spear at. You don’t have to go to Italy to satisfy your interest in the rich history of the country and you’ll be amazed by how much you can find right in England’s backyard.
Which of these Roman ruins would you visit on your trip to England?