Cardiff
Caerleon
Newport NP18 1AG
 
 
 
On the northern outskirts of Newport lies the little riverside town of Caerleon. Along with Caerwent, the town is famous for its spectacular Roman ruins.
 
From about 75 - 300 AD, Caerleon was the site of the notable Roman legionary fortress known as Isca Augusta castra and was the headquarters for the Legio II Augusta.
 
We are not sure how the Legion or Caerleon got their names but it is believed the Romans called the site Isca after the Welsh name Wysg for the River Usk. The name Caerleon may derive from the Welsh for "fortress of the legion" because around 800 AD it was referred to as Cair Legeion guar Uisc.
 
Roman Remains
The Caerleon we see today was built over a complete Roman settlement and port. These days it is impossible to dig a decent sized hole without uncovering something Roman, even in your own back garden.
 
Substantial excavated Roman remains can be seen, including the military amphitheatre, and the legion’s Roman Fortress & Baths. In August 2011 the remains of a Roman harbour were discovered, making the variety of remains on view without parallel in the UK.
 
Life in Roman Caerleon
The remains on view at Caerleon provide the visitor with a vivid picture of life in 2nd-century Roman Britain. It was what now we would call a state-of-the-art Leisure Complex. Facilities included heated changing rooms, a series of cold and warm baths, covered exercise rooms and even an open-air swimming pool.
 
Leisure time was important and the average resident liked nothing better after a relaxing bathe and swim than to head off to the nearby amphitheatre for a bit of blood and gore. Ringside seats would have been rather a messy affair as gladiator and beast fought tooth and claw for their lives.
 
Museums
There are two excellent museums in Caerleon close to the remains of Isca Augusta - the Wales National Roman Legion Museum and Roman Baths Museum.
 
Modern Caerleon
The town and its businesses are centred around Goldcroft Common with the River Usk forming part of the community's southern boundary. The north-west part of the town is bounded by the steep slopes of Lodge Wood and its Iron Age hill fort.
 
As well as its famous Roman ruins, Caerleon has several interesting later buildings. The current Anglican parish church is the 15th century St Caradoc’s Church founded in the 6th century. The Round Tower at The Hanbury Arms is all that remains of Caerleon’s 12th century castle. A more modern structure is a small specialist shopping courtyard with an eclectic display of sculpture called The Ffwrrwm.
 
The town has plenty of places to eat and drink, and there is an abundance of public Houses with restaurant facilities.
 
Parks & Gardens
Overlooking the Common is the Town Hall and Library. The Town Hall has a delightful WWI & II memorial garden, and the Millennium Wildlife Garden is a small nature garden on the banks of the River Usk.
 
To make sure that visitors see everything of interest in Caerleon there is a marked heritage trail in the town.
 
Views of Caerleon
The hilltop vantage point at Christchurch provides panoramic views of the Vale of Usk and the Bristol Channel.
 
Some 12 miles (19 km) down the Roman road is Venta Silurum (Caerwent), the first town in Wales and the tribal capital of the Silures. Caerwent’s roman remains feature the town’s surrounding walls, remains of shops, a Romano-Celtic temple and the forum-basilica.
 
Contact & Further Information
 
Getting There
- By Car
Caerleon is 3.5 miles (5.6 km) from Newport city centre and 5.5 miles (8.9 km) from Cwmbran.
 
Using the M4 Motorway
Caerleon is 2 miles (3.2 km) north of the M4 motorway. Access to Caerleonfor westbound motorway traffic is via Junction 25.
Access to Caerleon for eastbound motorway traffic is via Junction 26, then A4051 (Malpas Road) and A4042 (Heidenheim Drive) to the Junction 25A offslip.
 
An alternative route to Caerleon is M4 Junction 24 (Coldra), B4237 (Chepstow Road), then B4236 (Royal Oak Hill/Belmont Hill) over Christchurch.
 
- By Bus
A regular bus service links Caerleon to Newport city centre and Cwmbran.
 
There is a limited City Sightseeing open-top bus service in summer months.
 
- By Cycle & On Foot
A cycle and pedestrian walkway alongside the River Usk links Caerleon to Malpas and Newport city centre at Crindau.
 
Google Maps - Caerleon