Stamping horses, blood-thirsty armies and dodgy toga outfits at the ready, King’s Cross is getting a Roman makeover this weekend.
Historically-inaccurate cliches aside, London has a truly rich Roman history that is very much worth exploring. In fact, in the past we’ve gone on a comprehensive search of Londinium (as it was so called), written about the Roman remains found beneath London Bridge station and, most recently, enjoyed exploring the Roman progenitor of London in a clever Roman app courtesy of the Museum of London.
But while apps, remains and geeky explorations are all well and good, they’re not quite the same as seeing the action right before your eyes. Cue Battle Bridge: Boudicca vs the Romans, taking place this Friday-Sunday at Granary Square in King’s Cross. Why King’s Cross, given that it’s a couple of miles from the ancient city? Previously known as Battle Bridge, the area is often touted as the site of a major battle between the Romans and the Iceni tribe, led by Queen Boudicca. Somebody, somewhere even invented a rumour that the ancient queen is buried between platform’s 9 and 10 at the station.
Daily live theatrical battle re-enactments, gladiator workshops and horse-drawn chariot rides should get the blood pumping, while the more sedate Romans amongst you can opt for mosaic-making, hair-braiding, Roman bath-dipping and beekeeping talks instead. The area will be kitted out as a traditional Roman village.
Street food collective Kerb will provide enough Roman-inspired food and drink to satiate a Bacchic frenzy, while live entertainment comes in the form of film, music, dance and… juggling displays? And if you really want to get into the spirit of things, then dig out that dodgy toga (or crumpled old bed sheet) and see if you can win the world-renowned* title of Best Dressed Roman — there’s a prize of dinner for two at Vinoteca in it for you.
*Please note, this title will not actually gain you any renown around the world.
Battle Bridge: Boudicca vs the Romans takes place Friday 29 to Sunday 31 August in Granary Square, King’s Cross and is free to attend.