Caerleon Things to Do

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  • Things to Do
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  • Things to Do
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Most Recent Things to Do in Caerleon

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    The Amphitheatre

    by ettiewyn Updated Apr 26, 2012

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    This is the only fully-excatavated amphitheatre in the UK and thus is an important attraction. However, it was only discovered in 1926 - before that, only a big mound was to be seen which was believed to be the round table of King Arthur! Only when archaeologists decided to finally find out what was under the mound, the amphitheatre lying underneath was revealed.
    It was probably constructed in 90A.D. and its size is 41m x 56m. What can be seen today are of course only the remains, originally, the earth embankments were about ten meters high and stands made of wood were fixed upon them. Altogether, the amphitheater seated six thousand people!!!

    Besides the bath, the amphitheater was the other major means entertainment for the legionaries living in Caerleon. It is supposed that men fought against animals here (there still were wolves and bears in Wales at that time), not men against men.

    So far I had only been to two amphitheatres (in Xanten and Trier, both in Germany) so I was very interested in this one. It was a great visit, in part because our guide was so good (he had a degree in history and Roman history was his favourite subject) and made everything very vivid.
    From the numbers I had read before, the place looked smaller than I had expected, but I found it fascinating nevertheless. You can see the structure of the theatre very clearly (for example the different entrances), and also a niche where there was an altar to a Roman goddess (see picture 5).

    Admission free!
    Opening times: April to October daily 09.30am to 05.00pm, November to March Monday to Saturday 09.30am to 05.00pm, 11.00am to 04.00pm on Sunday

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    The Roman Baths

    by ettiewyn Updated Apr 22, 2012

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    The baths were built at around 85AD and they were very splendid in their heyday - consisting of cold and hot baths, an outdoor swimming pool and an exercise area, as well as heated changing rooms! This was where the legionaries met in their free time, to relax and care for their personal hygiene, but the aspect of chatting and socializing was equally important.
    A model shows how the buildings originally did look like (picture 2).

    You can see the remains of the outdoor swimming pool, which is now covered for protection. It is possible to walk around it on a wooden boardwalk, and there are also a few things on display that were found here, like the dophin head in picture 5. There is a kind of lightshow projected onto the swimming pool, showing water and Romans swimming in it - it is done quite nicely.

    What I really liked was that there were many replicas of Roman things that you could touch, for example sandals, cosmetic articles, a helmet and locks with their keys that you could try out. It was very nice to be able to touch things and feel their texture and weight instead of only seeing them like in a museum! I was very impressed by the weight of the helmet, I cannot imagine how these men were able to walk for days and to fight wearing them!

    Audioguides are provided, but I did not use one because our tour guide guided us around.

    Admission free!
    Opening times: April to October 09.30am to 05.00pm daily, November to March Monday to Saturday 09.30am to 05.00pm, Sunday 11.00am to 04.00pm

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    National Roman Legion Museum

    by ettiewyn Updated Apr 21, 2012

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    This museum has all kinds of Roman things on display that were found in and around Caerleon. It is only small, but there is lots to discover - there are so many interesting artifacts, from military things to everyday household goods and jewelry, tombstones to floor mosaics, religious icons to toys.
    There is also information on how the legion system worked and how Caerleon looked like in Roman times. And even the bathroom looks very Roman :-) I also liked the small shop very much, there were many interesting books about Roman history in Britain.

    Picture 1: One of the impressive mosaic floors shown in the museum
    Picture 2: A tombstone of a legionary - he died in Germany.
    Picture 3: A Roman piggy bank! I find it amazing how little some things have changed in two thousand years
    Picture 4: This ante fix was manufactured in the legionary brickworks, it shows dolphins as a symbol of prosperity.

    Free admission!
    Opening times: 10.00am to 05.00pm monday to saturday, 02.00pm to 05.00pm sunday

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    Roman Amphitheatre

    by Balam Updated Jan 19, 2010

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    Just outside the Old fortress walls of Caerleon is the remains of the Amphitheatre, it is the best preserved example in Britain.
    The site had been known since the Middle Ages as King Arthur's Round Table and until 1926 it was a circular earthwork which enclosed a deep hollow. It seems that the first excavations of the site were carried out by locals digging trenches into the structure and recovering stone for building housesn etc, The large ammount of Roman stone that has been used in buildings in the village is evidence of this.
    The first official excavations started in 1909 and they made some very exciting discoveries and also finding that the remains were well preserved, In 1926 the daily Mail sponsored the removal of some 30,000 tons of soil from the site and revealing more ofr less what we see today.

    Admission is free

    Opening Times
    April - October: Daily 09.30 -17.00

    November- March: Monday to Saturday 09.30 - 17.00, Sunday 11.00 - 16.00

    Roman Amphitheatre Roman Amphitheatre Roman Amphitheatre Roman Amphitheatre Roman Amphitheatre
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    tour the Museum

    by uglyscot Updated Mar 8, 2009

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    This museum is quite unprepossessing from the outside, but is a gem inside. The staff are helpful. There are activities for children, and exhibits are well displayed in labelled categories. I was fascinated by the skilled metalwork and the glass, and the precious stones that had been retrieved from the baths. The models of soldiers drew the children's attention, and in all the museum gives an excellent picture of Roman life.
    There are posters too to show how the army fought.
    Buy a token from the gift shop to help maintain this excellent museum, since entry is free. Or buy a guide book.Wheelchair access is available in the form of ramps.
    There is no cafe, but there are food outlets in the village.

    At weekends and in school holidays theapricorn Room is open forchildren to dress up.

    inside the museum cremation  and death keys and glass head outside museum The museum
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    see the Amphitheatre

    by uglyscot Updated Mar 8, 2009

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    It was just a week after visiting Verulamium's theatre that we went to Caerleon. It seems much bigger, perhaps because the seating stands are higher, and there is no stage area, so presumably it was a venue for wrestling, swordfighting or animal baiting. It is well worth visiting.
    Some believe it was the round table of the Athurian legends.

    between stands Caerleon amphitheatre the theatre Information board
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    visit the legion's barracks

    by uglyscot Updated Mar 8, 2009

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    The barracks are in a field near the comprehensive school and facing a rugby pitch. There are four double blocks of living quarters, ovens, and the latrines. A huge number of men could be quartered here, although living accomodation would have been rather cramped with 8 legionnaires sharing a room. A Roman Legion had about 5500-6000 men.
    The remains are not very high above the ground but clearly outline how the camp was set out.

    The latrines were built over ditches , and hygiene was provided by having sponges [moss?] kept in vinegar to wipe with.

    close up detail the barracks the ovens latrine
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    The Baths

    by uglyscot Updated Mar 7, 2009

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    The baths are beyond the museum and to the left. From the outside you do not expect such a large interior. The pool was large, and the heating ducts are visible. Some of the edging stones have foot prints on them.
    A recorded commentary explains the system, and there are posters and timelines to help.

    Entry free. A small gift shop is inside.
    The museum is open from 9.30- 17.00 from April to October
    From November to March
    Monday to Saturday 9.30-17.00
    On Sunday from 11.00 -16.00

    inside the baths. A drain cover? inside  the baths asun disc
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    Roman Baths

    by Balam Written Jun 28, 2013

    You can view the excavation of the Roman Baths displayed along with Written and audio information and projections and pictures of how it used to look.

    Entrance is Free!

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    Roman Legionary Museum

    by Balam Written Jan 19, 2010

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    The Roman Legionary Museum hosts a nice collection of artifacts found in the local area and further afield. There is a very interesting mock up of a Roman barrack room.

    Entrance is free

    Roman Legionary Museum Roman Legionary Museum Roman Legionary Museum Roman Legionary Museum Roman Legionary Museum
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Caerleon Things to Do

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