About Caerleon Roman Fortress & Baths (Cadw)
The luxury and bloodshed of life in a Roman fortress
Life was hard for a Roman legionary in first-century Wales. When he wasn’t cooped up in his barracks or being barked at by a centurion he was out risking his life in skirmishes with ancient Britons.
But here in Isca, one of just three permanent legionary fortresses in Britain, there were compensations. He could always hang out with his friends at the fortress baths – or take a stroll to the amphitheatre to watch the gladiators.
Inside a modern covered building in today’s Caerleon you can still explore the remains of the immense natatio, or open-air swimming pool, that once held more than 80,000 gallons of water. Thanks to the wonders of film projection you’ll glimpse a Roman soldier still diving the depths today.
You can also see the cramped rooms where the men slept and stored their weapons – the only Roman legionary barracks still on view in Europe.
And you can walk through the great north entrance into the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain and imagine the din of 6,000 people baying for blood.