Roman Ruins at Bluehouse Hill

Once you’ve picked up your vehicle from St. Albans Car and Van Hire, if you are interested in seeing a piece of Roman history, then the Verulamium Roman Theatre at Bluehouse Hill is a must-see! It is situated on the western outskirts of St. Albans, only three miles from junction 21 of the M25, and so in easy access of the main route in and out of the city.

Built in about 140AD, the theatre is the only example of its kind in Britain – a theatre with a raised stage rather than an Amphitheatre - a layout more like the types of theatre we see today. Its ruins were unearthed in 1847, and are still a sight to behold, especially if you imagine the entertainment which would have taken place there – religious ceremonies, dancing, wrestling and armed combat, as well as wild beast shows! The entertainment would have been much more diverse than we would expect from today’s theatre venues, and much more elaborate, beginning with a sacrifice to the gods in a nearby temple, followed by a procession to the theatre, led by priests. Its seating would have catered for several thousand spectators, and so would have attracted visitors from very far afield.

Further excavations at the site also revealed a Roman Villa, a row of shop foundations, and a secret shrine – all thought to date from the first century.

Every now and then, the theatre is still used for outdoor performances, although you are asked to bring your own seats, blankets and refreshments (and be mindful of the weather!) The ancient site has its own small car park nearby, and is open daily all year round for visiting. Children under the age of five gain free entrance, and prices then start from just £1, with adults paying only £2 each.

Posted on March 3rd 2015

Loading... Updating page...