Last Updated on
This is the place to search for places and things of interest to visit in Britain, by name, location, type, keyword – or just have a browse. It is a growing directory – well over 700 entries as of February 2020. Most entries have links for further information.
The remains of Isurium Brigantum, a significant Roman town between the 2nd and 5th centuries AD, lie largely under the charming village of Aldborough ('old borough'). Little of the Roman town is visible - small sections of town wall and a couple of good mosaics. There's a small museum, and it's a pleasant stroll round the site, but people expecting to see a great deal might be disappointed.
Arbeia Roman Fort stood guard on the south bank of the Tyne, guarding the sea route to Hadrian's Wall. The fort is situated in what is now a residential area, with a primary school opposite. It was originally built in the 2nd century AD and, with variations and rebuilding (the fort was destroyed in the late 3rd/early 4th century, for example), was occupied until the Anglo-Saxon period. There is a good museum, reconstructed gateway and living quarters (which are a bit tatty) and the excavated outline of the fort.
The remains of a Temple of Mithras, the Persian god of light and truth, stands near what is left of the Roman fort of Brocolitia, or Carrawburgh, on the route of Hadrian's Wall. It was built in the 3rd century and subsequently desecrated, probably by Christians. There was once another temple nearby, dedicated to Coventina, a local water goddess, and a nymphaeum – a monument dedicated to nymphs - but nothing is to be seen of these now.
Situated in a beautiful, but defensive, spot on the south bank of the river Eamont, next to the long-abandoned Roman fort of Brocavum. Brougham Castle saw action in the wars between England and Scotland, and was captured by the Scots. But kings stayed here and it was one of the formidable Lady Anne Clifford's favourite castles - she died here in 1676. The ruins are fascinating - impressive and unusual gatehouse - plenty to explore and in spring the stonework is covered in aubrietia. A tiny museum displays a couple of Roman grave markers - and at least one was re-used when building the castle.
Chanctonbury Ring is an Iron Age hillfort, constructed c6-400BC, though actually in use since Neolithic times. It was probably not a fort, nor ever occupied, but more likely a religious site or, possibly, animal enclosure. 2 Romano-British temples have been found on the hill (they are not visible). In 1760, Charles Goring of nearby Wiston House planted a ring of beech trees around the hill; these, or their descendents, are still there. The hill was used by the army during WW2. There are several other prehistoric sites nearby. Chanctonbury also has a number of legends associated with it - most notably variations of the story that the Devil appears if running seven times anti-clockwise (or backwards) round the hill, alleged links with witchcraft (young ladies sleeping out on the hill are more likely to conceive), UFOs as well as suggestions that the hill is haunted and claims that spending the night on it is an unpleasant experience. Nonetheless, there are great views from the top.
The excavation of Fishbourne Roman Palace by Barry Cunliffe in the 1960s caused a sensation. It is the largest Roman residence north of the Alps, with the largest collection of in situ mosaics in the UK and the earliest garden discovered so far anywhere in the country. The palace dates from the 1st century AD and underwent various alterations in its time until it burnt down in c270AD. The first occupant was possibly Togidubnus, a local British pro-Roman tribal chieftain.
Managed by the Sussex Archaeological Society.
Hardknott Roman Fort was built in the 2nd century AD, probably by men of the 4th Cohort of Dalmatia, to protect the trade route across the fells to the vital port of Ravenglass. The ruins, which consist of well-marked layouts of most of the principal buildings and bath house, are in a truly dramatic spot. Access is not for the faint-hearted, whether by foot or road. If the latter, the drive through Wrynose Pass onto Hardknott is one of the best in the Lake District; also accessible from the Duddon Valley or Eskdale. The views can be fabulous.
The post code is a guide only. You will need a map and are also advised to check the weather. If driving, ensure your car has plenty of fuel and a good clutch. The roads are very steep and single-track with passing places. Take refreshments with you and a waterproof coat, even if in a car. Allow sufficient time - especially if planning a circular route. There is very limited parking by the fort and there are no facilities whatsoever.
Discovered during excavation work for the new Guildhall Art Gallery, the remains of the Roman Amphitheatre date from the 2nd century AD. It had a capacity for an audience of 7,000 watching animal fights, executions and gladiatorial contests. The ruins of the eastern entrance, including sections of wooden drains, are displayed in an innovative way, underneath the art gallery - which is where you need to enter to see the amphitheatre.
Roman Dere Street once crossed the river Tees at the modern village of Piercebridge. The remains of the Romans' first bridge, a little downstream from the current one, can be seen; park in the car park of the George Inn and take a footpath at the far end. Most of the Roman fort that stood here in the 3rd century is buried under the village, but a portion of the eastern edge and ditch can be seen. Take a footpath on the northern end of the current bridge.
Though substantial in their day, not much remains of the Roman baths at Ravenglass, but the ruins are amongst the tallest Roman structures surviving in Britain. The bath house served a nearby fort which guarded the important Roman port.
Follow a tarmac track just outside Ravenglass.