Roman London

London was founded as a settlement by the Romans, in 43-50 AD. They first bridged the Thames at the shortest point, where the modern day London Bridge now stands. They named it Londinium.
The camp there was later expanded into a busy port, with ships arriving to supply the armies that were intending to conquer the whole island. When their early town was attacked and burned down by the warrior Queen Boudicca, in 61 AD, they rebuilt it, with a stone wall acting as a defence against the warlike English tribes. At its peak, the new city was home to 45,000 inhabitants, making it the largest in Britain.

If you are interested in seeing what remains of the Roman city, there are some established exhibitions. But just wandering around some areas of The City of London will reveal fascinating remains of Roman buildings still standing; former fortifications, places of worship, and living accommodation.

Close to The Museum of London, you will find the Barbican, a housing and entertainment complex. A road runs down one side of this, aptly named London Wall. In this area, you will find many examples of Roman stone and architecture.


This was once a huge fortified bastion.

Between London Wall and St Paul’s Cathedral, you can see these Roman remains, in Noble Street, EC2.

Close to the Tower of London on Tower Hill, this huge wall remains, showing how far the defences extended close to the River Thames.

In Wallbrook, EC4, you can visit the remains of the Temple of Mithras, now housed in a new exhibition, called The Mithraeum..
This is free to enter, but places on the tour must be booked in advance.
https://www.londonmithraeum.com/visit/#book-your-visit

If you are planning a visit to London to enjoy the sights and history of that city, make sure to take time to see the oldest remaining parts.

66 thoughts on “Roman London

  1. Like the way new construction is built around the ruins, saving the ruins, and making them history to be preserved. In the US many historical sites get bulldozed and authorities assigned to protect them are paid off and new construction leaves no evidence that anything else was ever there. One of my favorite historical periods to study is post Roman Britain inspired by reading all of Jack Whyte’s Camulod Chronicles historical fiction series.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. (1) When in London, do as the Romans did…
    (2) The sad truth is that these resilient vestiges of the early Roman settlement of Londinium may outlive the modern buildings.
    (3) Gaius Suetonius Paulinus wanted to build a wall early on, but he had opposition from the open borders crowd.
    (4) “Boudicca’s husband, Prasutagus, was the king of the Iceni, a people who inhabited roughly what is now Norfolk.” Do you have any Iceni neighbors?
    (5) Londinium > London > Londonistan?
    (6) “What do the ruins say?” (Ragnar, who resembled Ernest Borgnine; slightly misquoted in 1958)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ruins/runes. Nice ‘The Vikings’ mis-quote, David. 🙂
      The lands of the Iceni did indeed encompass Norfolk. Also Suffolk, Essex, and Cambridgeshire. There are lots of Iceni artifacts in local museums.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I feel like I have been on a tourist trip with you the past week Pete. These posts are so very enjoyable to read, and honestly everything you wrote here, I never knew about 😊 Thanks for sharing this! Great post, and I guess I am adding even more things to my list of things to watch in London: I might never leave now😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ooh, that sounds awesome! Looking forward to that already Pete! Nice😊😊
        P.S…Quick question, did you get a notification I left a comment? Someone just told me she didn’t get a notification. I know Vinnieh had that same problem at some point, so I just thought I would check 😅

        Liked by 1 person

              1. I just googled that. I’m glad to hear the results were good, as actually the description I just read made me get a bit of shock.
                I’m hoping you won’t need surgery Pete. Will keep my fingers crossed for you. Please take good care 😊

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Thanks, Michel. I will have to have eye surgery at some stage, or the cataracts will make me blind. Like those ‘white-eyed’ characters in historical films! Then I would never be able to see to blog!
                  The Glaucoma is manageable with daily eye drops, fortunately.
                  Best wishes, Pete.

                  Liked by 1 person

  4. My Latin classes sparked a real interest in Roman history in me. This is fascinating to me. I really enjoy seeing old structures. In the states, people are quick to demolish and rebuild.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In medieval times, many stones were taken from the Roman Walls to rebuild other parts of the city. But since I was a child, all those remaining Roman structures have been preserved by law.
      Glad you enjoyed the post, Maggie. 🙂
      (I never studied Latin.)
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s fascinating seeing the old parts of London so intermixed with the new parts of London. My parents took me to Roman parts of London/England when I was 12 as Dad is from England. Of course, at 12 I couldn’t have cared less but now I am fascinated. Do you have to pay to see these ruins? Are most of them fenced off so that they can’t be damaged?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They are not fenced off, and many have information signs that are helpful. I don’t think anyone would consider damaging them. There is no charge for any of the places shown in my post, and the amazing Museum of London nearby is free to enter too. This contains wonderful artifacts from the earliest times, and is highly recommended. 🙂
      https://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/museum-london
      Outside of London, there are many other great Roman sites to see, which I will feature in another post soon.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

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