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Britain's Roman Heritage

(Tour code: BRH17)Travel through Britain’s incredible Roman past

Travel through Britain's incredible Roman past, on a historical tour filled with fascination. Discover the ancient Roman village of Vindolanda, the stunning Roman Baths of Bath, and the grand Roman Villa at Chedworth, on a tour that explores the influence of Britain's Roman heritage.


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Tour Highlights
  • Lumley Castle
  • The Hadrian's Wall Line
  • Vindolanda
  • The Roman Army Museum
  • Bristol
  • The Roman Baths
  • Chedworth Roman Villa
  • Specialist guest speaker
What’s Included (Full details)
  • Standard Class Rail
  • 4* Hotel Accommodation
    Breakfast Every Day
    Evening Meals
  • Optional Bag Concierge

Itinerary & Map

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Departure Times

On many of our UK & Ireland tours, you may check in at the first hotel on your itinerary anytime after 14:00; your Tour Manager will be available between 16:00 and 18:00. However, if you are arriving later, you can meet your Tour Manager before dinner from 19:00.

Rome's British Conquest

Rome's British Conquest

One of Rome's most famous leaders, Julius Caesar, led the invasion of Britain - known to the Romans as 'Britannia', or 'the land of tin' - in 55 BC. Whilst the initial invasion underestimated the might of the Celtic forces, a subsequent attempt in 54 BC was more successful, and for a few months, the Roman forces occupied fought their way through Britain, conquering tribes along the way. After three months in the country, Caesar ordered his soldiers back to the continent to suppress an uprising in Gaul, and the attempt to control Britain's vital mineral resources was put on hold. It wasn't until 43 AD that Emperor Claudius managed to successfully conquer the nation. After landing at Kent, the Romans began a battle that would last for over 30 years, as they used both military force and soft power to take over the country, bringing roads, technology, culture and language to the indigenous people.

The influences of Roman culture can still be seen today in Britain - from the remains of Roman baths (some of which we explore), to elements of modern English derived from Latin - including 'exit' and 'pedestrian' - and even the shape of our coins.

Lumley Castle
Day 1

Lumley Castle

Our tour begins when we meet at Lumley Castle, a 4-Star hotel set in a magnificent estate, surrounded by breathtaking parkland. Having welcomed guests for more than six centuries, the hotel has an elegant atmosphere steeped in history, yet also benefits from modern conveniences, including complimentary Wi-Fi and an on-site restaurant.

On arrival, your Tour Manager greets you, and after time to settle in, tonight we enjoy dinner together as a group.

  • Dinner
Day 2

The Hadrian’s Wall Line and Vindolanda

After breakfast today, we begin our exploration of Roman life, as we travel to Haltwhistle on the Hadrian's Wall Line. Passing through many pretty former Roman towns and villages, as the railway skirts the route of Hadrian's Wall, with parts of the ruins sometimes visible from the train. We also pass the edge of beautiful Northumberland National Park, enjoying fabulous scenery during our scenic journey.

Construction on the Wall first began during the reign of Emperor Hadrian in 122 AD and represented the northern limit of the Roman Empire, spanning from the River Tyne on the shores of the North Sea to the Solway Firth on the western Irish Sea. The Wall was manned by heavy fortifications every few miles and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.

On arrival in Haltwhistle, we transfer by coach to the nearby Roman Army Museum, based at the former Carvoran Roman Fort. Here we explore Roman history, with exhibits dedicated both to the discoveries made in the region, and to nearby Hadrian's Wall. The Museum has a wonderful exhibition dedicated to showcasing the lives of the Roman soldiers who were posted along the Wall and exhibits how their daily lives would have passed by whilst serving under Emperor Hadrian.

After lunch together, we then visit the Roman village of Vindolanda, adjacent to the Roman Army Museum. Believed to be older than Hadrian's Wall itself, the uncovering of Vindolanda began more than 40 years ago, and excavation of the site continues to this day. This incredible site includes an ancient village and a garrison for Roman soldiers, and is famed as the discovery site for the Vindolanda Tablets - the oldest handwritten documents in Britain.

The garrison here is thought to have been auxiliary infantry or cavalry units, rather than the more traditionally associated Roman legions. The Fort has also seen many iterations during the course of the Roman Empire's history in Britain, having originally begun life as a wooden fort before later being renovated into the stone buildings that are on show today. In later years, the grounds around the Fort were expanded into a self-governing village, or Vicus, with evidence suggesting there was a large butchery and a Roman Bath building here. After an introduction to the site from an expert archaeologist, we return to Lumley Castle by coach.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Roman Baths
Days 3-4

To Bristol and the Roman Baths

After breakfast today, we transfer by rail to Bristol, checking in to the 4-Star Bristol Hotel on arrival. On Day 4, we continue our discovery of Britain's Roman past, with a visit to the Roman Baths at Bath. One of the best-preserved examples of the traditional Roman bathhouse - a place for socialising and politics in the Roman era. The Baths here consist of four main areas; the Roman Bath House, the Roman Temple, the Sacred Spring and the on site Museum. Originally a shrine built by the Celts, the myths surrounding the discovery of the hot springs here are said to stem back to 836 BC. The Roman's however began construction on the Bath House in 60-70 AD and continued expansion and renovation of the next three centuries although the original bath buildings were lost after the collapse of the Roman Empire having fallen into a state of disrepair.

The Museum houses many artefacts from Roman history, ranging from a large amount of coins to various effigies of Roman Gods - thought to have been added to the Sacred Spring as offerings by the Bath's many patrons. Over the centuries, additions have been made to the original bathhouse, including the Grand Pump Room and the visitor's entrance, which we discover on a guided tour

  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Roman Baths
Guest Speaker
Day 5

Chedworth Roman Villa

Today we are accompanied by our expert guest speaker to Chedworth, one of Britain's largest and grandest Roman villas, in the midst of the Cotswold countryside. Built over the course of two centuries, from the 2nd to the 4th, the villa is one of the most extravagant remaining examples of its kind in the nation. A large building, with a substantial courtyard, the villa contains an elaborate dining room, mosaic flooring and two bathing areas, one that is likely to have been a wetroom and the other a sauna. First discovered and excavated in the 19th century, it was in the early 20th century that the site was acquired by the National Trust. The villa contains a number of buildings that are thought to have been the components of a working farm, there is also an impressive on site Nymphaeum, a spring-fed pool dedicated as a shrine to the water-nymphs. Nearby to Chedworth Villa, there have also been excavations of religious buildings, with many of the artefacts found here, including altars, coins and stone carvings, displayed in the on site museum. During our time here, we enjoy a special guest speaker talk on the history of Roman Britain.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Return Home
Day 6

Return home

After breakfast, you are free to depart at your leisure.

  • Breakfast
Guest Speaker
Guest Speaker

Patrick Ottaway

Based in York, Patrick Ottaway has worked at three universities and published numerous books during his 35-year career in archaeology. The former Head of Fieldwork at York Archaeological Trust, Patrick's academic interests focus on the history of the Romans in Britain, especially in Yorkshire, and the history of York itself. As an expert in Roman history, Patrick is ideal for providing insight into the artefacts and antiquities we encounter on our incredible historical holiday.

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