- Chedworth Roman Villa in Chedworth, Gloucestershire is owned by the National Trust and is one of the largest Roman villas in Britain.
- See the gorgeous Chedworth Roman Villa mosaics in the dining room and elsewhere.
- See the Roman baths and discover their importance.
- See the changing of religions at the Nymphaeum water shrine.
Chedworth Roman Villa is a Roman villa in Chedworth, Gloucestershire, believed to have been lived in by a wealthy Romano-British person from the 4th century. The National Trust has owned it since 1924. If you loved the Gloucestershire Clearwell Caves or had a brilliant time as Cotswold Farm Park, you'll love Chedworth Roman Villa.
Chedworth Roman Villa was built in stages, from the 2nd century to the 4th century. It was founded in 120 AD and was three separate buildings. The 4th century was when the work began to turn the villa into an appropriate dwelling. A portico probably covered existing wings, and a courtyard and inner garden were added. The dining room had the famous mosaics added to it, along with eleven other rooms in the villa, and damp-heat and dry-heat hot baths were added. Eventually, another dining room was added. The villa sits overlooking the River Coln. It is a sheltered spot, located just off the Roman road Fosse Way. It is also eight miles from the town of Corinium Dobunnorum, known today as Cirencester. This town and its importance to the Roman people who lived there impacted a large part of the Gloucestershire area, including Gloucester and Chedworth. The Chedworth Roman Villa would have been one of around fifty villas in the Cotswolds, and nine in just a five-mile radius. Chedworth Roman Villa is near a natural spring, used as the main water source, where a shrine was built to honour the water nymphs. There is also the ruins of a Romano-British temple nearby. The placement of Chedworth Roman Villa was likely to help with agriculture. The villa was discovered by a gamekeeper digging for a ferret in 1864.
The majority of the Chedworth Roman Villa mosaics can be found in the West Range, which is also the home of the bath system. The mosaic in the dining room is particularly beautiful, covered in gods and goddesses, like Bacchus and his wife, Ariadne. Four cupids in each corner represent the seasons. Winter has a thick cloak and carries a hare, and hares are still hopping across the Chedworth countryside. Whichever Roman lived in the villa was either showing off his knowledge of the classic myths or perhaps intimidating guests with his wealth. The bath suites are also significant as baths were an important cultural part of daily Roman life. The baths at Chedworth would have been for the elite only unlike some of the other more riotous baths in England. Tools for the bathhouse have been discovered, to show the complicated way that the Romans were able to bathe. You can also a flushing toilet at Chedworth, which is a rare find. There is also the Chedworth Roman Villa National Trust museum, with fascinating artefacts to discover like jewellery, figurines, and coins. All these items help paint a picture of what life was like at the villa and in the wider UK. Bone hair pins help curators know that women lived in the villa, and were probably high class, as hairpins for styling would have needed the help of maids. By going to the museum, you and your family can have an in-depth look at the lives of the Romans.
Outside of the museum are the beautiful views of the Cotswolds. Picnic tables are available to use, and there is also a bird table, so guests can see which birds want to visit. You might be able to see some Ash dieback as well as nuthatches, Roman snails, and newts and reptiles. There's also the Nymphaeum water shrine. Offerings to the water goddess were made at the eight-sided shrine, and the water would also go into the villa to use. The shrine and its stone also demonstrate a change in religion. A stone from the shrine has a Christian symbol on it, but the stone was used to make new steps, showing the switch from Roman mythology and spirituality to Christianity and then back again.
Feeling peckish after your trip around the villa? The Chedworth Roman Villa Café has quick snacks, hot and cold drinks, and delicious cake. You can sit at the picnic tables or inside. If you want some British food, Seven Tuns is nearby in Chedworth. In Elements serves hot pizza for some cheesy goodness. There are also plenty of inns and pubs, like The Colesbourne Inn, Fossebridge Inn, The Hare and Hounds, and The Kilkeney Inn. For some Mediterranean cuisine, you might like Tierra and Mar Restaurant.
Want to pick up a souvenir? The Chedworth Roman Villa shop has a variety of items to pick up and will help to support the villa.
Want to stay nearby? The Fossebridge Inn also has bedrooms in its Georgian-themed rooms and is covered in beautiful red leaves. The Old Post Office Holiday Cottage has a gorgeous classic interior and exterior along with beautiful views. The Stump is also a pretty cottage nearby. The Swan Hotel has stunning gardens. DoubleTree by Hilton Cheltenham is great for a last-minute getaway. The Kings Head Hotel will make you feel like a Roman emperor.
What to know before you go
- The National Trust Chedworth Roman Villa opening times are dependent on the time of year so check before you go.
- The indoor sections on the site are accessible by wheelchair. Most of the site is outdoors where some of the ground is uneven, undulating and sloping. There are also some steps.
- Toilets are available on site.
- Accessible toilets are available.
- Assistance dogs are allowed on site.
- Baby-changing facilities are available.
- Buggies are admitted.
- When driving to Chedworth Roman Villa in Chedworth, Gloucestershire, follow the brown signs to ‘Roman Villa’ from A429. Signs will be available when coming from the Midlands or Oxfordshire and Swindon or South West.
- There is parking for 35 cars and an additional 10-15 cars in the lay-by. Parking is free for National Trust members but must be paid by those not a National Trust member. Be careful when walking.
- There are lots of walks that can take you to the villa.
- The three closest Train Stations are Cheltenham Spa Station (11.6 miles), Kemble Station (15.5 miles), and Moreton-in-Marsh Station (17.5 miles). You'll need to pre-book a taxi.
- Public transport to the Villa is limited.