Roman ruins in the Cotswolds at Chedworth Roman Villa

I visited Chedworth Roman Villa last summer for an event that brought Romans forward 2000 years to the present day – ‘The Romans are Coming!’, run by the Roman Military Research Society. Roman re-enactors, tents of activities and displays of Roman battle tactics were all present in the remains of a once-luxurious farmstead nestled in the Cotswolds.

The Cotswolds in the UK are well known for their untouched natural beauty, but nestled between the hills and fields are many sites pointing to a long history of habitation in the area. Chedworth Roman Villa is just one of many Roman ruins in the Cotswolds, but it’s definitely one of the best.

Read on to learn the history of Chedworth Roman Villa, how to visit and when the Roman Military Research Society will next be stopping in!

Chedworth Roman Villa

Gloucestershire, England

The grounds of Chedworth Roman Villa

Historical significance of Chedworth Roman Villa

4th century villa illustration of Chedworth Roman Villa, Gloucestershire

(c) National Trust / Tony Kerins

Romans ruled Britain from 43CE to 410CE and made an enormous impact, but after so many centuries it can be difficult to imagine what life might have been like at the time. Chedworth Roman Villa helps with this, providing extensive ruins and archaeologicial opportunities. The villa (aka rural farmstead) is nearly 2000 years old, with the first stone structure dating back to around 100CE.

Inside Chedworth Roman Villa - the old baths

Ruins of the bathhouse within Chedworth Roman Villa

The villa grew into a place of luxury including mosaic floors, bathhouses and marble decor by around 380CE and was one of at least fourteen Roman villas in the local area of the Cotswolds – although its owners are still unknown. When the Roman Empire pulled out of Britain in 410CE the villa was abandoned, with the ruins only discovered again in 1864.

Chedworth Roman Villa mosaics

Uncovered mosaics inside Chedworth Roman Villa

You can find out more about the villa’s history on the 2nd episode of the National Trust’s podcast.

Visiting Chedworth Roman Villa

On a sunny day it’s a very pleasant afternoon out near Cheltenham in the Cotswolds. The National Trust now run Chedworth Roman Villa with a visitors’ centre and cafe at the site entrance. Try hands-on exhibits inside one of the buildings, examine excavated mosaics on display and use the provided map to guide you around the wider site ruins. Don’t miss the remains of the Nymphaeum water shrine!

Romans are Coming event at Chedworth Roman Villa, run by the Roman Military Research Society

In the summer events are run with re-enactors in period costume demonstrating battle tactics, and there is still archaeological activity going on at the site which is sometimes open for the public to watch. Another ‘The Romans are Coming!‘ reenactment event is scheduled in 2017 for Saturday 29th July – Friday 4th August – aka next week! The Roman Military Research Society are running it once again. Great for a family day out as the kids will be able to have a go with foam swords, and they’ll love having Roman soldiers charging at them with spears raised! Check out all the details of ‘The Romans are Coming!’ on the National Trust website.

The Romans are Coming event at Chedworth Roman Villa, run by the Roman Military Research Society

  • Cost? £10.50 per adult (or free with National Trust membership)
  • Photography? No restrictions so long as it’s non-commercial.
  • Public transport? Difficult and time-consuming unfortunately. If you can get to Cirencester, take the 78 bus towards Winson for 1 hour.
  • Accessibility? Not great for wheelchairs – a lot of the site is on uneven grassy banks.
  • Location? There are walks through the Cotswolds countryside nearby and a cafe in the visitors’ centre, but not a whole lot else. Cheltenham and Cirencester are the nearest big towns, both worth a visit.
  • Weather-dependent? Yes, the majority of the site is outside.

Where is Chedworth Roman Villa map - near Cheltenham in Gloucestershire

If you want to make a day trip out of Roman sites in the area, Bath and Caerleon are two other famous Roman sites nearby. Plus there’s the beautiful Cotswolds countryside to enjoy as you drive!

Have you been to any Roman sites in the UK, or visited the Cotswolds before? Tell me in the comments below!

If you liked this post, why not check out more historical destinations around the world?

Roman ruins in the Cotswolds: Chedworth Roman Villa

15 thoughts on “Roman ruins in the Cotswolds at Chedworth Roman Villa

  1. jin says:

    Love how short and sweet this post is , but full of useful information and well organized! The ruins really does look like it’s a fun thing to do – looks so quaint and charming! Will try to visit if I’m ever in Cotswald!


  2. Nina says:

    While I’ve been to England, it’s open been to the cities of London, Liverpool and Manchester (briefly and it was raining). I always say that one day I just need to rent a car and spend a week or two seeing the English countryside. I would just love to explore a place like this!


    • Laura Harris says:

      Oh for sure, there is SO MUCH outside of the cities. We’re really lucky to have so many heritage sites as well, you could literally pick anywhere on the map and have plenty to pick between when exploring!


    • Laura Harris says:

      So long as you’ve got a car 😉 If you’re already nearby you could just about manage on the buses but it’s really hidden away deep in the countryside, I wouldn’t want to try and come from London by train/bus to see it. Plus you could easily find a nice local pub in a village nearby to add a good meal in for the day trip 🙂


  3. Stacey says:

    This is a great post! So detailed! It looks like a cool trip. I’ve never been up to the Cotswolds, I guess it’s just another reason to come visit!


  4. Rosalie says:

    I love how detailed this post is. I can’t believe I didn’t know that this existed, I must have driven by dozens of times. Next time in in the Cotswolds I’ll check it out!


    • Laura Harris says:

      It’s not the kind of place you’d notice passing if you didn’t know it was there. If I remember right you have to drive on almost a dirt track when you’re getting very close to the car park!


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