A ONE of a kind archaeological exhibit is set to be opened on the remains of Britain’s largest Roman arcade.

Claudius Gateway is set to be Colchester’s latest tourist attraction, with findings on display dating back more than 2,000 years.

Visitors will be able to enjoy a new coffee shop while exploring the legacy of the Roman empire.

Proceeds from the venture will be donated to World Food Aid - a charity working to eradicate world hunger.

Claudius Gateway is built around archaeological ruins considered some of the most important finds in Europe. They include the remnants of a 400ft long Roman arcade, which led to the Temple of Claudius.

The ruins are lit up and visible behind a suspended glass floor.

Part of the exhibition features a digital wall projection, produced with the help of archaeologists, where visitors can enjoy watching a Roman arch being recreated before their eyes.

The modern coffee house will sell souvenirs and postcards while providing a hub for tourist activity.

The company behind the new venture, Harwich-based Flying Trade Group, has enlisted volunteers to help run the project.

Chief executive Suki Dulai said: “When we discovered the historic importance of the Temple of Claudius and its impressive arcade the decision was made to immortalise the ruins and preserve an important part of UK history.

“We are incredibly proud of the finished result which has been greatly supported by Colchester Archaeological Trust, who have helped us fully extract and share the fascinating history of this unique site.”

She added: “We are extremely excited about this project and looking for volunteers who like us, believe in giving something back to the community so we can raise as much money as possible for good causes.

“We have already secured support of Paddy and Scott’s for the lifetime of the project.

“They will be providing coffee, machinery and ongoing training to the whole team involved in the project - investing tens of thousands of pounds.”

The exhibition will be open to the public from Friday.

Foundations of arches from the longest and most imposing Roman arcade known in the country were discovered underneath One Castle House, which stands in the shadow of Colchester’s Castle Park, last year.

The 120m structure took the form of a series of 28 arches punctured in the middle by a giant gateway, which was used as a meeting place to the south of the Temple of Claudius built more than 2,000 years ago.

Queen Boudicca had razed the temple during her sacking of the town in 60 or 61 AD and the arcade is thought to have been part of the Romans’ bid to rebuild the settlement.