Boudica Statue

Boudica

In AD 60 or 61 Boudica (Boadicea, Boudicea, Boudicca) led a revolt against Roman Colchester. The capital of Roman Britain at the time, Colchester was burnt to the ground by Boudica’s Celtic Revolt, and this fascinating part of history is deeply marked in many of the places you can visit today.

Boudica, the red-haired warrior and queen of the Iceni is one of the best-known figures from British history. Her story is well known around the world, and an integral part of Colchester's history.

Dig deep enough in the soil around Colchester and you will discover a layer of ash, know to archaeologists as the Boudican Layer, and a constant reminder of the destruction of the town nearly 2000 years ago.

 

Sack of Roman Temple, painting by Peter Froste

Today, Boudica is celebrated in the town, with her name often taken by streets, schools, pubs, and restaurants. She is celebrated with two statues situated by the town's mainline railway station and on the town hall, and widely commemorated throughout the local area.

The best way to discover the story of Boudica in present-day Colchester is with a guided tour of Colchester, or a visit to Colchester Castle Museum, built on the site of the Temple of Claudius, one of many buildings burnt and destroyed in the revolt.

Boadicea Stained Glass

Discover Boudica on a Guided Tour

Regular guided tours of Colchester run throughout the year, charting the town's journey from Camulodunum - the Roman capital destroyed by Boudica - to present-day Colchester. 

Occasional themed tours focussing on Roman Colchester, including it's destruction at the hands of Boudica, also run from time to time and there are opportunities for private tours to be arranged for groups of ten or more people.

For schools, we also offer themed tours with a costumed guide - a fun and informative way of learning about Roman Colchester and Queen Boudica.

Get in touch with the Visitor Information Centre to find out about the best tours coming up that match your interests.

Discover more about Guided Tours

From Camulodunum to Colchester

Colchester Castle and the Fenwick Hoard

Colchester Castle Museum
Colchester Castle- built on a destroyed Roman Temple
Arm Bangles from the Fenwick Hoard

As Boudica’s army burnt Roman Colchester to the ground, a Roman family’s most treasured possessions were buried beneath what is now Fenwick department store in Colchester Town Centre.

Re-discovered in 2014, this treasure of jewellery, coins and personal possessions is a spectacular survival of this period of Colchester’s past, and can be seen on a trip to Colchester Castle Museum.

Also on display in the Museum are many Roman and Celtic artefacts. Of particular importance to archaeologists is the so-called “Boudican Layer” – a layer of ash beneath Colchester which can be identified as the time when Boudica burnt the town to the ground. Many items from this layer are on display in the Museum – including burnt figs which have survived the years!

See more of Boudicca in Colchester

Boadicea Boudica Statue Town Hall

Colchester Town Hall

Colchester Town Hall has a statue of Boudica set high on the Eastern wall, as well as images of Boudica in the stained glass 'ladies window' set in the Moot Hall within the building.

The Town Hall is a working building so access is limited, but if the rooms are empty it is often possible to look around - just ask at the front desk.

Sculture of Queen Boudica

Sculpture of Boudica - North Station

You may be familiar with the famous statue of Boudica and her daughters riding a chariot, standing near Westminster Bridge in London, an impressive piece of art which captures the imagination.

Colchester has its own cast aluminium sculpture depicting a figurative Boudica standing just outside Colchester Station, erected in 1999 in by artist Jonathan Clarke.

The Balkerne Gate

Roman Colchester 

Discover more about life in Roman Colchester. Although the town was destroyed by Boudica, you can still see much evidence of the rebuilt Roman city, including the town walls - built to stop a similar attack happening again.

A trip into the vaults of the Castle will also reveal the foundations of the Temple of Claudius, or at the Roman Circus Centre you will find the headquarters of the Colchester Archaeological Trust with information about how we are still discovering Roman Colchester in the 21st Century.