Cotswolds

Chedworth Roman Villa

The remains of one of Britain’s grandest Roman villas lie hidden in a beautiful Cotswold valley, not far from the historic town of Northleach. Discovered by the Victorians around 150 years ago, Chedworth Roman Villa is home to some intricate mosaics as well as being an important site for archaeology and conservation today. 

The once magnificent Chedworth Roman Villa dates back to the 2nd century AD when it was a country house inhabited by the wealthy. It is the oldest house owned by the National Trust and is coming towards the end of an exciting five-year summer excavations programme. Here, you will find some of the most impressive Roman mosaics in the whole of the country. 

Take a walk along suspended walkways in the modern conservation building to gain a fascinating glimpse of the extensive mosaic floors, hypocaust systems (the Roman equivalent to underfloor heating) and bathhouse rooms. Audio handsets are available (£1 each) to help you discover more about what you are seeing. 

Image copyright National Trust Images/Jane Dobson

A small museum is home to an impressive collection of artefacts, including jewellery, figurines and coins, which have been unearthed from excavations at the villa. These will give you an insight into the lives of the former inhabitants and the different religions they worshipped.

As you wander around the site, volunteer guides bring the villa to life with stories of its history and subsequent archaeological digs. Don’t miss the Nymphaeum, a shrine to the water goddess, which is still fed by water filtering through the ancient Cotswold limestone. It is now home to frogs, newts and Roman snails. It is incredible to think that these protected snails (Helix Pomatia) are descendants of the first snails brought here by the villa’s owners for food. 

Image copyright National Trust Images/Sarah Davies

If you’re feeling peckish during your visit, the small café serves snacks, sandwiches and cakes. You are also welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy in the grounds. Pop into the gift shop for Roman-themed souvenirs and seasonal plants. 

Younger visitors can enjoy children’s trails and family tracker packs. During school holidays and selected weekends, kids can take part in fun activities and dressing up in Roman costumes. 

Chedworth Roman Villa is located on the long distance walking trail, The Monarch’s Way, as well as being close to several circular walks and footpaths. The site and adjoining woodland can get muddy. 

NT Chedworth Roman Villa does not open year round. Check the National Trust website for opening times and admission charges.

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in the Cotswolds here.

Yanworth, near Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL54 3LJ | 01242 890 256 | www.nationaltrust.org.uk/chedworth-roman-villa

Top image copyright National Trust Images/ Stephen Haywood, image below copyright National Trust Images/ Ian Shaw

Ssshhh... don't tell anyone

We can let you know about our newest retreats, exclusive offers, featured luxury properties and what's on. Just let us know your email address and we’ll keep you in the loop.