Rachel Recommends… Uncovering Our Roman Past

The Great Bath with Bath Abbey in the distance

I have to admit, I wasn’t always the most conscientious history student in school. The magnitude of what the Romans achieved went straight over my head as I was far more interested in learning the words to pop songs from Smash Hits magazine! However, a decade or so later I have a new found respect for our country’s Roman history.

The Magnificent Centrepiece of the Roman Baths

Originally known as ‘Aquae Sulis’, the city we now know as Bath was established as a spa by the Romans sometime around AD 60. The Great Bath was the magnificent centrepiece of the Roman bathing establishment where men would come to enjoy a luxurious warm swim with hot water direct from the Sacred Spring. When I was there earlier this year only ducks and pigeons braved the pool but there were plenty of tourists soaking up the relaxed atmosphere and leaning about the vast collection of Roman objects in the museum. The highlight of my visit was chatting to the costumed characters who really brought Roman history to life. They can be found around the Great Bath from 10am to 5pm during the peak season and every afternoon between 1.30pm and 4.30pm in the winter months.

The hand held audio guides are also a great way of understanding the people who lived and worked in Bath 2000 years ago, there are even separate audio guides for children and these are included in the admission price. A family ticket for two adults and up to four children will set you back £35 but you can easily spend a whole day here. Try and plan your visit on a day when there is a scheduled event at the Roman Baths to get even more for your money.

Roman remains in Chester

If unlike me you did pay attention at school or you’ve already some knowledge of Britain’s Roman history then you will probably enjoy uncovering the many Roman remains that can be found free of charge around the pretty city of Chester. This fortress city on the River Dee was one of the great military bases in Roman England and as a result Chester offers a treasure trove of Roman relics just waiting to be discovered amidst the modern day streets, shops and cafes. The hypocaust pictured above is in the store room of Miss Selfridge on Northgate Street! Similar pillars can be found in the basement of the nearby Spud-u-like restaurant too! Most of the time the managers of these stores are more than happy to let you see the relics so don’t be shy, just ask!

Chester’s Roman Walls

Plus, no visit to Chester is complete without a stroll along the two mile stretch of Roman walls that surround the city and this won’t cost you a penny either!

Housesteads Roman Fort, Northumberland

Housesteads Roman Fort, Northumberland

Of all the Roman sites I’ve visited, one of my favourites has to be Housesteads, the most complete Roman fort in Britain. It’s in an idylic location along Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland and the views on a clear day are simply stunning. Wear sensible footwear though, the atmospheric ruins are perched high on a ridge and the site covers around 5 acres! Housesteads is now in the hands of English Heritage and they recently opened a  new museum where you’ll find fascinating film footage, 3D models and a stunning collection of Roman finds. Well worth a visit, even if just for the fantastic photo opportunities of Hadrian’s Wall.

Rachel explores Hadrian’s Wall

There are loads more sites of significant Roman importance throughout Britain. Even if you’re not in to the history I urge to get out and explore them because places like Housesteads, Vindolanda, Fishbourne Roman Palace and many more offer a great day out in wonderful surroundings, better than an afternoon in front of the telly any day of the week!

All photos by Rachel Kershaw.

About Rachel Kershaw

Rachel Kershaw is 31 and lives in Newcastle Upon Tyne but is originally from Rochdale. With parents who have never even owned passports, it was inevitable that Rachel would fall in love with holidays in Britain. It was her genuine passion that saw her win the opportunity to be VisitEngland’s Fan in a Van in summer 2012 – an adventure that involved ten weeks on the road in a vintage VW camper blogging about everything from bungee jumping, hot air ballooning and surfing to visiting museums, zoos and numerous British eateries! What a lucky lady!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

If you have a product, service, tour or holiday related to British travel that you are looking to promote to a fast growing, highly targeted audience then the Backpacker Herald is the place for you.