Discover Britain’s History: Dreaming of a journey through the rich history of Roman Britain? Why not start planning a trip through ancient roads laid some 2,000 years ago, which provide a glimpse of historical sites along the way? Many of these old paths can still be followed today, making for unique road trips to pique the interest of any history buff.
The Romans ruled Britain for nearly four hundred years and built more than 3,000 kilometers of roads connecting the early settlements and the impressive fortress. Most of the original roads have been paved and replaced over the centuries, but there are still certain routes where you can follow in ancient footsteps for an authentic Roman journey. From the famous Ermine Street connecting London and York, to the Fosse Way, the longest route from Exeter to Lincoln, these roads link towns and cities with a rich Roman heritage – if you want to delve into Britain’s unique and colorful history. want.
Roman road trips: Discover Britain’s History Along its Oldest Routes
- Ermine Street
Length: 311 km
London to York
Ermine Street, connecting London to York, was one of the major Roman routes through England and remains an important route into modern times. If you want to revisit this Roman journey, you should start at Bishopsgate. Here, parts of the original street can be found in the now very trendy neighborhoods of East London, including Shoreditch and Stoke Newington.
Continuing north from the capital, Ermine Street roughly follows sections of the modern-day A10 and A1, a route that passes important Roman towns and cities, including Royston, Godmanchester, and Lincoln. If you’ve been dreaming of exploring the attractions of the city of Lincoln’s Cathedral, add historic sites such as the Roman North Gate’s Newport Arch, Lincoln Castle, and the medieval Bishop’s Palace to your century-long itinerary.
You can continue down the ancient route to your finishing line in York, home of York Minster, a site that has been admired since the 7th century, at the Jovik Viking Center in the sights, sounds, and smells of Viking-era York before stepping in.
- The Fosse Way
Exeter to Lincoln
For a long Roman road trip across Britain, dream up the longest remaining Roman road, the Fosse Way. Built to connect Exeter to Lincoln, it’s possible to drive nearly end-to-end on the original Roman roads, passing through spectacular scenery and a selection of historic sites along the way…
Exeter, a gem of the southwest of Britain, is the starting point of the Fosse Way. Begin this history-themed road trip by exploring Exeter Cathedral and the city’s medieval underground passes, or by following the trail to the city wall – portions of the wall are some 2,000 years old.
Further down this route, Bath has many historical attractions, without which no Roman road trip should be. Imagine walking through the Roman Baths, one of the best-preserved Roman sites in the world, coupled with places to explore, the historic steps. Another ancient settlement stop-off is the Cotswold Town of Cirencester, a place that makes a dream come true when visiting a Roman amphitheater. Look forward to delving further into British history at nearby Rodmarton Manor, a great historic home and garden of the Arts and Crafts movement.
The route passes through Leicester, a city filled with centuries of heritage, before ending in the Midlands city of Lincoln. An itinerary here might include seeing the grand spire of Leicester Cathedral or the 14th-century wooden-beamed Guildhall, once a police station and now a museum. Leicester is also home to the archaeological gem of the Gray Friars, the final resting place of a former medieval priest and royal – a story told in great detail at the King Richard III Visitor Center.
- Watling Street
Dover to Wroxeter
Used by ancient settlers and Britons to travel between the major settlements of Canterbury and St Albans, and later connecting Dover to Woroxeter in Shropshire, the route traveled through modern Westminster and the A2 and A. It can be followed through 5 roads.
If you’ve been dreaming of exploring this ancient route from start to finish, you can expect to marvel at the coastal city of Dover. Its breath-taking white cliffs have served as a symbol of arrival in Britain for many centuries, while the imposing 12th-century Dover Castle has helped shape history since its construction, warding off invaders in medieval times. Has stopped and played a key role in both. world War.
The Roman road then leads to the historic cathedral city and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Canterbury. The city offers a plethora of attractions spanning centuries; From the splendor of Canterbury Cathedral to the ruins of St. Augustine’s Abbey and the Roman Museum.
Once in London, future explorers can explore a section of the road that still exists, close to Mansion House Underground station, and visit London’s Roman Amphitheater. Here, it’s easy to close your eyes and see the capital as Londinium was a major commercial center during the Roman era.
Formerly the fourth largest city in Roman Britain, Wroxeter traditionally marks the end of this historic route. And it’s never been easier to imagine the Romano-British era when you discover Woxeter Roman City, where you can walk through the remains of a Roman bathhouse and experience a renovated townhouse dating back 2,000 years.
A branch of Watling Street continued to the walled city of Chester, where you can see Roman footprints again under Eastgate and Eastgate Clock, which is located at the original entrance to the Roman fort of the god Victrix. Other unmissable historic places to plan on a Roman-themed itinerary include the family-friendly Diva Roman Experience, scheduled to reopen in September 2021 after a renovation, as well as Chester Cathedral and the largest Roman amphitheater in Britain.
- Ermin Way
Gloucester to Silchester
If you prefer a short Roman adventure, plan a road trip along the Ermine Way. Although the official road begins in Gloucester, about an hour away by car is the Fort and Baths of Caerleon, the only permanent Roman base in Wales. The itinerary may also include a visit to Cervante Roman Town to see the impressive remains of Romano-British houses, markets, and temples.
The next stop along this well-trodden path is the town of Cirencester, often referred to as the capital of the Cotswolds. Once a busy Romano-British settlement, it was later featured in the Domesday Book and is home to an authentic ancient amphitheater, as well as a sea of fascinating Roman artifacts in the Corinneum Museum.
The route then heads into the Hampshire village of Silchester, where you can explore the original Roman city walls as well as the nearby amphitheater.