The centre of Roman living 2,000 years ago, Wroxeter was once the fourth largest city in Roman Britain. Inspired by our recent trip to the forts of the north and the spectacular Hadrian’s Wall, we decided to explore some Roman sights a bit closer to home.
The setting for the television series ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’, the property spans across only a fraction of the former city grounds but is still a decent walk around with clear markers of the various buildings that made the city run. As anyone who has seen anything about the Romans will know, they LOVE their baths. Take a walk through the grounds and you will find some of absolutely mammoth sizings with the underfloor heating channels still intact making for an unusual sight of higgledy piggledy stacks of brick laid out like a game across the under-layer.
Split into two sections over what was once the main Roman road through the city the dominating feature of the main site is a mammoth wall. Leading on to what was once the baths this thing is huge! I definitely reached the top though… The largest freestanding Roman wall in the country, it has earned the nickname the Old Work.
Leading off from this giant entrance are the remains of the bathhouse, ready for you to wander though. In its day, this was filled with hot and cold rooms where Wroxeter Romans could indulge in all sorts of bathing magics, it even had an outdoor pool! Something about the British weather got this one filled in pretty quickly though, I wonder why.
Step across the road and you can take a look around the building you probably saw on the drive up. A TV celebrity, this was built in full Roman style and is modelled after a town house that once stood in Wroxeter. Incredibly yellow but complete with its own terrace and bath suite, feel free to wander through the various rooms to get a real feel for how the Romans ACTUALLY lived. My favourite part was the shop built in to the house. A Roman Gregg’s, we channelled our inner shopkeeper for a spell.
One thing I have to say, these guys knew how to live in style! Raised up on a mound to protect the ancient remains that lie below, the house is a slice of Roman living. Sat just below are remains of columns from the original Roman Forum. Like the one in Rome, this was the centre of life in the city and was one of the grand buildings created on a visit from Emperor Hadrian when he visited Britain on a tour of his empire and decreed that the colonies should make an effort to live more of a Roman lifestyle.
Step back across the road and you can wander through the exclusive marketplace, reserved for only the top sellers of high quality produce. Set off the main through-way, the hall compromises of a main area surrounded by lots of smaller rooms. Even in the cold, the grounds were a great walk-around, but with a few hours of sunlight left, another destination was on our hit list!
Having checked off our English Heritage visit for the day, we were off to the National Trust’s Attingham Park. With acres of beautiful land to explore and just a few minutes down the road, this was the perfect place to take advantage of our dual membership.
Although the building itself is closed during the winter months, the grounds offer the perfect place to explore with a deer park and WWII walk to enjoy, not to mention the beautiful gardens. As you enter, a beautiful courtyard is the perfect place for tea, if you can’t wait to get to the mansion tea room that is! As winter visitors, we were treated to the courtyard lit up with strings of Christmas lights and a lovely Christmas tree sitting as the star of the show in the centre, smaller trees dotted around.
Ready for more? Why not check out the English Heritage Challenge so far for more of my adventures checking out the UK’s historical sites. Midlands based? Take a look at some of my other day trips in easy reach of the Midlands here and be sure to check back again soon for the latest!