London’s hidden Roman baths have reopened to visitors

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London’s hidden Roman baths have reopened to visitors
Tickets for guided tours of the Roman baths have been announced. Image: Corporation of the City of London

One of the most fascinating discoveries of the ancient city of Londinium is reopening its doors to visitors.

Billingsgate Roman House and Baths were built around the year 150, and rediscovered by chance in the middle of the 19th century. In this former public bath, the inhabitants of the City would have once met to acclimatize to the heat of the tepidarium before going to caldarium where they would be massaged with scented oils. (Everything sounds good, although the tepidarium the experience sometimes involved painful hair removal.)

The Roman house and baths have been closed to the public for a time, but tickets for guided tours have now been announced, with time slots from April 2 to June 25 currently on sale.

The public baths were built around AD 150 and discovered in 1848. Image: City of London Corporation

The Roman remains were discovered in 1848, when construction workers were digging the foundations for what would become the Coal Exchange on Lower Thames Street. At the time, the Illustrated London News hailed it “A discovery of the greatest interest to the London antique dealer”. Today, an office block sits atop the ancient ruins – another example of how the London of yesterday sits alongside its modern counterpart.

In February 2022, two stunning Roman mosaics were revealed at a site near London Bridge, in what was likely once a posh inn on the outskirts of Londinium.

Billingsgate Roman House and Baths guided tours, £11.37/£9.21

Last updated March 21, 2022

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