One of the most fascinating finds from the ancient city of Londinium has reopened to visitors.
Billingsgate Roman House and Baths in the City of London — an extraordinary subterranean find dating back to around AD 150 — is available to visit on guided tours on Saturdays from now until November.
Rediscovered by chance in the mid 19th century, these are the ruins of a private house and adjoining baths which would've been used by particularly wealthy inhabitants of Londinium. Bathers would have have acclimatised to the heat in the tepidarium before moving to the caldarium where they'd be massaged with perfumed oils. (Sounds lovely, although the tepidarium experience would sometimes involve some painful hair-plucking.)
The Roman remains were uncovered in 1848, as construction workers dug 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 antiquary." Today, an office block sits atop the ancient ruins.
Tickets for slots from 22 April to 25 November 2023 are now on sale — costing £11.55 for adults and £9.38 for concessions.
The ruins are not to be confused with the 'Roman Bath' in Surrey Street near Temple, which is not actually Roman at all.
In February 2022, two stunning Roman mosaics were revealed on a site near London Bridge, at what was once likely a posh inn on the outskirts of Londinium.
Billingsgate Roman House and Baths guided tours, April-November 2023