Castle Hotels

Live the fairytale and stay in a castle.
View Properties »

Rent a Castle

Whether it's a folly for 2 or a fort for 20, try our castles for rent page.
Castles to Rent »

London's Roman Amphitheatre

By   |  Comments

After more than a hundred years of searching by archaeologists, London’s Roman Amphitheatre was finally rediscovered in 1988 hidden beneath Guildhall Yard. It was a quite surprising discovery as the amphitheatre was found within the old Roman city walls, whereas the majority of ancient amphitheatres were located on the outside.

The history of the amphitheatre is a rather tumultuous one. Built in AD70 as a simple wooden structure, the amphitheatre had a more substantial makeover in the early 2nd century taking its capacity up to 6,000 people. During this time the arena was used for public events, animal fighting, public executions and, of course, gladiatorial combat.

After the Romans abandoned Britain in the 4th century, the amphitheatre was dismantled and much of it used for building materials. It lay derelict and in ruins for hundreds of years, however by the 11th century overcrowding in London forced the reoccupation of the area. At first the buildings that steadily encroached onto the old amphitheatre were simple ones; mostly timber houses of a Viking trade settlement. Over time these buildings gave way to an institution that Londoners are now most familiar with; the first ever Guildhall. The site had once again become the centre of London.

Today, the first hint that you’re on the right route requires a quick glance down to the floor of the Guildhall Yard. Here you’ll notice an 80m-wide curved line of dark stone that follows the edge of the amphitheatre itself.

The actual remains of the amphitheatre are located around eight metres below the ground, buried beneath layers of ancient rubbish and rubble. To reach the remains you will have to buy a ticket to the Guildhall Art Gallery, where entrance to the amphitheatre’s remains is included in the price.

Once inside you’ll see the remains of the original walls, the drainage system, and even the sand which was once used to soak up the blood from wounded Gladiators. Oh, and just in case your imagination isn’t up to snuff, there is a rather impressive digital projection that fills in the gaps of the ruins!

Londons Roman Amphitheatre


Share and Comment!

Book Accommodation in London

Hotels A hotel icon   Historic B&B's A B&B logo   Apartments Cottages and Apartments Icon   Castle Hotels Icon for Castle Hotels

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like...

Great Fire of LondonThe Great Fire of London - The Great Fire of London started in Pudding Lane in September 1666.....
Picking PlaceSecret London - Discover the hidden and secret sites of historic London, including the few buildings that survived the Great Fire, Britain's smallest police station, the sites of the forgotten plague pits, discover the Roman city walls, etc...
HangingThe Execution Sites of London - London has witnessed some of the most famous executions in history, and although the death penalty in England was abolished in 1965, we've managed to track down some of London's most historic execution sites which we've marked on this interactive map.
London HotelHistoric Accommodation in London - Our selection of historic accommodation in London and the Home Counties, including accommodation in historic hotels, cosy inns, as well as bed and breakfasts - even boats on the River Thames!
London West EndLondon Theatre Breaks - From Les Miserables to Shrek The Musical, whatever your theatrical tastes we have something to suit! See some of the West End’s biggest shows with our theatre break packages – complete with tickets and a hotel stay. You can even add rail travel!
London Underground MapGuide to London Transport and Tubes - Our transport guide to help you to get around this fair city. Whether you intend to travel by train, bus and / or boat, our guide is full of useful information and links.