London was an important Roman settlement, known as Londinium. By the 2nd century, it had probably become the new capital of England, despite being ransacked by the warrior queen Boudica, rebuilding, suffering disasters and terrible fires, and rebuilding again. The London we know today was built on the bones of Roman Londinium.
Now you can see what happened to the city as it replaced Colchester as the most important place in Roman England, with the City of London throwing amazing events in October to bring you and your family face to face with the fascinating history of Roman Britain.
Produced jointly by the Guildhall and London’s Roman Amphitheatre, plunge into London’s dark Roman history. With events going on until the end of October, you’ll want to book a room at the Montcalm Hotel London to make sure you see everything that’s on offer!
Drama, Music and Dance
Fighting and entertainment were a big deal to Romans. Now you can experience them too. London’s Roman Amphitheatre, only discovered in 1988, is playing host to incredible experiences.
On the 20-21st of October, students from the Guidhall School of Music and Dance will present a new outdoor dance show ‘Blood Rite’. Inspired by the tales of Londonium. Free, with no booking required, this show will combine cutting-edge video projection and motion-tracking technology to show a modern audience what being a gladiator was really like.
Art and Exhibitions
See a gladiator’s skull back in the arena for the first time after centuries. Archaeologists think that the skull on display is the closest we have to finding a real gladiator’s skull, intact, in London. The free exhibition, running until the 29th of October, is named ‘Trauma’ and will show visitors for the first time what it was like for the fighters and the spectators who came to the arena.
Hallucinatio, in Leadenhall market, will be running from the 19-20 and the 23-24 of October. The market will be transformed into a 3D recreation of Roman London, complete with shops and streets. Running from midday to 3pm on the days listed, it’s a great way to introduce little ones to history.
Book into one of the hotels near London city and prepare for a mysterious journey underground, to the Dark Earth. Not much is known about this spooky event, happening from the 22-29th of October, but all you need to attend is a smartphone, a pair of reliable headphones, and a coat. Described as an “audio curiosity” and an “extraordinary immersive experience”, you’ll hear the sounds of a civilisation crumbling as the Empire of Rome fell.
For those who prefer a lighter walk, head to the City Information Centre on Monday or Friday at selected times til the 29th of October. You’ll be lead onto a walk that tours you around ‘the Roman London beneath our feet’, and see the Temple of Mithras, amphitheatre, fort, and ancient city walls that are hiding in the streets of England’s capital city.