Colchester - Capital of Britannia
Britain’s oldest town through the ages
Colchester positively oozes history. The first Roman capital of Britannia boasts some of the most important archaeological remains surviving from Roman Britain. Walking through the historic town, we will find notable highlights, including the foundations of the massive temple of Claudius, the earliest and some of the best preserved Roman town walls, as well as an exceptional collection of mosaics and one of the earliest Christian buildings in the country. The city also preserves remains of two theatres and the only known Roman circus in Britain. Camulodunum is mentioned by Pliny the Elder, in what remains the oldest surviving reference to any town in Britain, thereby making Colchester the oldest recorded town in Britain. Camulodunum, meaning the fortress of Camulos, was the seat of the most powerful kings who ruled in Late Iron Age Britain, including Cunobelin. It is perhaps for this reason that Rome, in AD 49, established its first provincial capital here. In AD 60 the town was the prime target of the great revolt led by Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni, and the massacre of the town’s inhabitants took place in the temple of Claudius. Although the town was re-founded and rebuilt later in the 1st century, it was overtaken by the better placed London as the imperial capital.
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Day 1 - Colchester
We gather in Colchester for the start of the tour and meet in our hotel. Before dinner your expert Guide Lecturer, Peter Berridge, will give you an evening lecture on Colchester to set the scene for the tour that lies ahead.
|Hotel||GreyFriars Hotel, Colchester|
Day 2 - Colchester
With begin our exploration of the historic city of Colchester with its famous Castle, just a short distance from our hotel. In this historic setting, Peter Berridge will give a talk on Roman Colchester, from its role as the first capital to Britannia to the Boudiccan revolt. We proceed to an exploration of the castle, built on the foundations of the Temple of Claudius, the focus of so much of British ire against the Roman presence in Camulodunum. We then visit the Colchester Museum housed in the castle to see its fine iron age artefacts. Whilst in the Castle Park, we venture to the so called Duncan’s Gate, one of the two surviving gates belonging to the Roman wall before exploring the remains of the Roman theatre, one of two found in the city. After lunch, we venture to the Firstsite art centre to see the Berryfield Mosaic once decorating the triclinium of a 3rd century AD domus, restored to its former glory near where it was found. After viewing the Church of St John from the outside, we continue to see more sections of the well preserved Roman wall before viewing the Butt Road Church, first founded in the end of the 4th century. The ends with a visit to the Balkerne Gate, the 1st century AD gate which is the largest of its kind in Britain.
|Hotel||GreyFriars Hotel, Colchester|
|Meals included||All meals included|
Day 3 - Colchester
The day begins with a lecture on late antique and Saxon Colchester before we set off to St Botolph’s Priory, an erstwhile Saxon church transformed into an Augustinian priory in the Norman period by a follower of Anselm of Bec. From there we make our way to St Johns Abbey Gateway, where we have special access to this former Benedictine abbey built on the foundations of a Saxon church in the Norman period using Roman spolia. We proceed to the Roman Circus, the only one of its kind in Britain, where we meet Philip Crummy, the Director of the Colchester Archaeological Trust who will speak to us about the excavations carried out here. After lunch, we explore the Holy Trinity Saxon Tower, the only surviving Saxon building in Colchester, built re-using Roman bricks. After afternoon tea at Tymperleys, a stunning Tudor Tea House built in the end of the 15th century, we view the exterior of St Mary’s Church built against the Roman walls, allowing us to consider the development of the urban fabric in the medieval period. Our last visit takes us to the council chambers and to Moot Hall, the Norman remains of the historic Town Hall.
|Meals included||Breakfast, Lunch|
Tour dates & prices
Included in your cost:
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Local travel aboard a private air-conditioned coach
- Meals as per the itinerary, wine and tea or coffee with dinner
- Entries to all sites as per the itinerary
- All taxes & gratuities
|Tour Departure||Tour ID||Departure date||Return Date||Guided by||Price||Deposit||Single Supp.||Offer||Availability|
|25 June 2021||ASCB210625||25 June 2021 (Friday)||27 June 2021 (Sunday)||Peter Berridge||£495
|1 October 2021||ASCB211001||1 October 2021 (Friday)||3 October 2021 (Sunday)||Peter Berridge||£495