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
Historical significance of Chedworth Roman Villa
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.
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.
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!
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.
- 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.
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!
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