Home Lifestyle Secret Roman ruins are hiding in a London car park

Secret Roman ruins are hiding in a London car park


And you can see them for free (Picture: TikTok/livinglondonhistory/Ella Millward)

After an actual King of England was found underneath a car park in Leicester, we really should learn to expect the unexpected when it comes to a multi-storey.

Because, in a non-descript car park in East London, you’ll find a literal piece of history, nestled between parked cars.

In bay 54 of the London Wall Car Park there’s a segment of London’s ancient city walls, that date back to the Roman times.

These walls, built in around 200AD, once surrounded the Roman settlement of Londinium, which is where you’ll find the City of London today.

Today, only a few short sections of the wall are available to be viewed by the public – the most famous of which sit outside Tower Hill tube station.

But from the road side, the car park is nothing special.

Roman wall ruins in a City of London car park (Picture: Jamzze/Wikimedia Commons)
The secret Roman ruins are in bay 54 of a London car park (Picture: TikTok/livinglondonhistory)

Perched on the junction of London Wall and Coleman Street, a set of double doors leads to some stairs, until, after a couple of long corridors, you end up in the car park.

Obviously, being in a car park, it’s totally free to visit and it makes for a pretty interesting find.

The small piece of wall is protected by scaffolding, and history buffs will notice the the terracotta tiles running through the stone, the Roman equivalent of a spirit level, which add extra stability to the structure.

A video documenting how to find the underground Roman ruins garnered an impressive four million TikTok views, after content creator Jack (@livinglondonhistory) took viewers on a tour of the wall.

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Jack said: ‘Such a surprising bit of London history.’

People were very curious about the find in the comments too. RIKA wrote on TikTok: ‘I need to go and see this when I visit.’

The terracotta tiles through the walls are a Roman feature (Picture: TikTok/ livinglondonhistory)

Jack Kieran said: ‘It’s sad they built a car park around it, should be a monument.’

While local resident Becca wrote: ‘How did I live 10 minutes from Barbican for THREE YEARS and not know this?.’

These aren’t the only Roman ruins to be found in the City of London though….

Billingsgate Roman House and Baths

The remains of the Tepidarium – Billingsgate Roman Baths (Picture: Alamy Stock Photo)

Similarly to the ruins in the car park, if you descend into the basement of an unremarkable office block on Lower Thames Street, you’ll find a 2,000-year-old Roman home and bathhouse.

First built around A.D. 150, then extended a hundred years later, it was occupied right through to the end of Roman London in the early 5th century A.D.

It was discovered in 1848 and has been preserved but, unlike the car park, you can only visit these ruins via a pre-booked tour on Saturdays from April to November.

Only adults and children over the age of eight can visit. Tickets cost £12 per adult and £10 per child 14 years old or under.

London’s Roman Amphitheatre

The Roman Amphitheatre below London Guildhall Art Gallery (Picture: Alamy Stock Photo)

Preserved in the Guildhall Art Gallery, the Roman Amphitheatre would have been the setting for gladiatorial combat and executions.

The ruins were discovered in 1988, when excavation work for the new gallery was underway.

There are also short stretches of Roman wall in Guildhall Yard, which prompted the site to become a protected monument.

The surviving remains include a stretch of the stone entrance tunnel, east gate, and arena walls.

Unlike the Roman House and Baths, it’s free entry to the Guildhall Art Gallery. There are also upcoming guided tours on April 20, and May 25.

Other Roman ruin locations

The most obvious location for preserved ruins is the city wall at Tower Hill. It’s part of one of the largest construction projects in Roman Britain – building the city wall, a two-mile long protective ring around Londinium – which took place sometime between AD190 and AD225.

Opening just last year on Vine Street a large chunk of subterranean city wall and bastion tower has been displayed.

It can be viewed through street level windows, or you can go inside to see them up close.

A large section of Roman wall in the City of London on Vine Street (Picture: Fernando Bonenfant/Historic England)

Ancient Roman stone, known as the London Stone, can be viewed through a wall in 111 Cannon Street.

According to legend, if the Stone is ever moved the future of London will be in jeapordy.

An ancient Roman temple also lies under the headquarters of Bloomberg, and was discovered in 1954.

The Temple of Mithras was built in the third century AD and is in the London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE. It is free to visit but you have to book.

The Roman Temple of Mithras, recreated on the site of its original discovery (Picture: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

Tower Church, one of the oldest churches in the City of London, has a crypt museum which is home to fragments of a Roman tessellated floor and a domestic house.

The crypt at St Bride’s Church has remains of a Roman pavement on display, dating back to AD 180.

When the Romans established Londinium following the invasion under the emperor Claudius in AD 43, they dug a substantial ditch outside the walls of the Roman city, where St Bride’s church now sits.

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