Monday 1 July 2013

Chedworth Roman Villa, Gloucestershire

We are really enjoying our year of National Trust membership and visiting Chedworth Roman Villa was no exception.

It would be an ideal place to visit when Charlotte learns about Romans in school, but she learned so much just from that one visit so its worth going at any age.

The view across the site
It's a wonderful drive up to the site, and the area looks beautiful on a sunny day, people taking advantage of the weather (us too) were having picnics on the front lawn or what would have been the Garden. The visitor center is newly built to the side of the site, and also houses the shop and cafe (we didn't use the cafe but the manager was selling ice creams outside).

Formal reception hall
First stop on entering is of course the latrines, perfect subject that all children love learning about! Then comes the newly built shelter that protects the fragile remains of mosaics and walls that would have been the grand dining room and bath house.

Newly built shelter
There is a wonderful suspended walk way over the mosaics so you can look down on all the detail. There is an area to play roman games, design a mosaic and dress up.

Designing a mosaic
Back outside and you can wonder up to the water shrine and learn about the roman snails (but no collecting snails for a snails race if ticking off your 50 things as they are protected and can't be touched). Then take a walk past another bath house and the underfloor heating system.  Having 2 bath houses and underfloor heating means the villa would have been a grand country house in its time. With a last stop at the little museum (and don't forget to water the plants on your way past with the handily provided watering cans!)

The museum and picnic area
There are very popular tours going round the site and we sat on the edge to listen to a few snippets. I think I'm right in saying that not all the site has yet been discovered and hopefully with more funding can start to uncover other areas.

underfloor heating
There are information boards dotted around the site, and audio tours are available. I think we will give the audio tour a go next time we visit, as I said earlier the older Charlotte gets the more interested she will be.

There aren't many 50 things to tick off at Chedworth Roman Villa, it's a very different site to other National Trust places we have been, but it was a highly enjoyable few hours.
We did get our shoes off and do some bare foot walking, made daisy chains, made a grass trumpet and watched the swifts flying overhead.

Our last stop was the shop where we picked up a mini-mosaic kit which Charlotte did the second we got home.

Most of the site is easily accessible if taking a pushchair along.

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