Friday, 10 May 2013

Roman roamin' in Wales

I had no idea there was a Roman amphitheatre near us, not a clue, until a friend told me about her son charging around the ruins, gladiator-style wielding a toy sword.
But that's the thing, I don't think we're great at exploring new places close by; we tend to stick to the tried and tested ones. So, when the sun shone the other day I packed a picnic and we headed for Caerleon near Newport. The small town was in fact one of the most important Roman military sites in Britain - and there's more, for legend has it that this was the first of King Arthur's Courts, and the amphitheatre was the site of round table.

All that's left of it now is a ring-shaped grassy mound, that drops down to the stone-edged arena. Very hard to get it all into a photo, and these really don't do it justice.





There's a free car park right next to the amphitheatre and no charge to enter. You can roam and clamber where ever you like.
I love this one - looks like some impressive climbing, but she's actually only about a foot off the ground...

To think, up to 6000 people would come here to watch gladiators battle and fight to the death - and that was entertainment. The Roman's were a pretty gruesome lot.
But it felt peaceful sitting there right next to where the action would have been; eating my sandwich and pretend timing the kids doing circuits of the arena...before they landed on their dad...showing no mercy..


A group of local lads challenged some other boys to a game of football; it seemed kind of appropriate given the setting, but that was the end of the peace, so time for us to move on.


There's plenty more to see in Caerleon - remains of the fortress, the barracks (the finest in Europe), the Roman baths and the National Roman Legion Museum. All free to visit. Not to mention all the connections to the Legend of King Arthur.

No time on this trip, but we'll definitely be back.

Having said that, there were squeals of delight and a squeal of the brakes when we spotted this on the way out of the town.


Five minutes and fifteen quid later....easy to get caught up in the excitement of a Funfair, but expensive! Some of the stalls were a bit of a swizz - made to look so easy, but you need to read the small print - though I did enjoy gently teasing my husband about his shooting gallery fail. The gun sight was off apparently. He was probably right.
We stood for a while and watched the more crazy rides. WHY would you? This one's my idea of a total nightmare. Like being trapped in the spin-cycle of a giant washing machine.

The youngest loved her sedate ride in a sports car on the merry-go-round...


The boys weren't so happy, because they'd really wanted to win more than just one small angry bird bean bag... On the way out we bought them some candy floss to take the edge of the disappointment.

Every pick of the sugary fluff had gone by the time we reached the car.





14 comments:

  1. Sounded like a great day out! It's nice to discover new places and enjoy them as well.

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    1. can't believe we've never been before really! Definitely going to make the effort to do more local exploring.

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  2. Ha ha - I always have a secret smile when the Husband has a fail on fairground shooting stalls. Carleon looks brilliant. Very atmospheric.

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    1. It really was, exceeded expectations - and I think we only scratched the surface of what's there. OH still grumbling about the funfair!

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  3. What a great site right on your doorstep, perfect for a run a round and picnic! I'm with you regarding the fairground rides,much better to watch everyone else being scared witless. Thanks for sharing with Country Kids.

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    1. Think I'll forever be chief watcher and holder of stuff! x

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  4. What a fabulous day out - that amphitheatre looks really bog and really interesting to walk around. To think what used to go on there, and there you all are enjoying a peaceful picnic!

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    1. I really thought about that on this trip - strange to imagine, fascinating though.

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  5. Great that there's a free car park and it's free to enter the amphitheatre area - not always the case these days. But a shame that fairs are so expensive! Looks like you all had fun though.

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    1. It was fun coming across the fair like that, but it would have been a whole load cheaper if we hadn't! Next time! :)

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  6. What a fantastic day out! The history in that place is just incredible! :)

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    1. It really is, what with the Romans and King Arthur. There are some impressive castles nearby too. Need to allow more time when we go again :)

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  7. What a great day out - two totally different halves to the day! I'm with you on those rides, they terrify me these days although I remember making my poor mum go on them when I was little!

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    1. I have a deep fear that's going to happen to me!!

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