Off on holiday… the places (1)

On my list of “places that I really want to visit” were two in Cornwall: The Lost Gardens of Heligan and The Eden Project. In fact they are within a few miles of each other. Thus, we decided that a week in Cornwall would allow us to visit both and to do a few other things too. However, when you set off from west Wales, you want to pack in as much as possible, so we decided to bolt on a visit to another place on my list – Chedwoth Roman Villa. Thus, the plan involved two nights in Cirencester prior to heading down to Cornwall.

I hated history at school – it never seemed relevant to me, it didn’t capture my imagination and it was appallingly badly taught at my high school. It has been quite a revelation to me in adulthood, therefore, to  discover the joys of the subject, including visiting historical sites. A trip to Chedworth as an adult was long overdue. The villa is still being excavated a little each year so that the story of the place is constantly being added to.  In 2011 a building was constructed to provide protection for the mosaic floors and other features of one of the ranges of buildings, and these allow visitors to see some of what has been excavated without doing any damage.

Cirencester is a Roman town but its site has remained fixed. This means that most of the Roman features have been obscured by more recent building. However, the site of the amphitheatre remains, although all the structure is covered in earth and grass now. It’s hard to get an idea of the scale from a photo, so I stayed up on the top of the ‘stands’ and sent Mr Snail down into the arena:

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Hello Cirencester!

I should also mention that Cirencester has some great places to eat – we particularly liked Jesse’s Bistro – try it if you are ever visiting. It even had atmosphere when we first arrived and we were the only two customers!!

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14 Comments

  1. I envy you your glimpses into the past 🙂
    Like you, History in school was, for me, a dud. I couldn’t relate to all the kings and queens and dukes etc., that historians seem to find so fascinating but, with all the Roman history around us, we are always finding out new things about the lives of the ordinary men and women of those times, as well as those in charge 🙂
    It has to be my most favourite period of history, but I’ve never had a chance to visit any of the digs that show us these things – except for Grimes Graves, that is which, of course, is from a rather earlier period in history 🙂

    Reply
    • Had to look up Grimes Graves – what an amazing site. I feel very lucky to be able to travel to see these things.

      Reply
      • A bit spooky when you’re down there, looking into the tiny tunnels our many, many great grands dug out for the flint! 🙂
        It’s wonderful that you can enjoy doing so 🙂

        Reply
  2. Ann

     /  May 25, 2016

    I’m the same – didn’t do history in school – it’s all in the past, isn’t it? How can that be of any use to me? Look at me now – seasoned re-enactor. That mosaic is stunning – in such good condition. 🙂

    Reply
  3. I was fortunate to have one good history teacher early on. He got me interested and I continued to learn in spite of subsequent instructors. You are so fortunate to have something like this you can actually visit. Things in the US are rarely that old and certainly not that impressive. What a wonderful heritage.

    Reply
    • We are always amused when we visit the US by what is considered “old”… having visited some of the prehistoric cave paintings in France a couple of years ago, even the Romans seem relatively recent now!

      Reply
  4. As a child, I lived in Silchester for 6 years, and became quit blasé about the miles of Roman wall still visible and the fragments of pottery you could pick up in any ploughed field within the original boundary of the town. The tiny local museum was a favourite place – I especially loved the reconstructed Samian ware and the Roman glass fragments. So Roman history’s always been a big love of mine. Those mosaic pavements at Cirencester are spectacular, and I’m glad they’re being protected.

    Reply
    • I used to love visiting York and walking the walls and Chester is great too, but the mosaics at Chedworth are amazing… nearly as good as the ones in Paphos. I could probably plan all my trips away around visiting Roman remains…. but I won’t!

      Reply
      • That would make you nearly as bad as my father, who planned every summer holiday in France along a route of cathedrals, museums, ancient monasteries and ruins. But he loved good food too, so there were some compensations….

        Reply
        • You remind me of my late brother-in-law, who was fascinated by WW1 and 2 sites in northern Europe… his children would report ‘dad took us to look down another hole’!

          Reply
          • That’s the Husband of Chiconia you’re talking about too! Any kind of military museum, battle site (preferably in Flanders, although Gallipoli is a long held ambition), or exhibition. We’re off to the Spirit of Anzac travelling exhibition in July when it comes to Mackay, an interactive experience featuring material from the Australian War Memorial.

  5. I loved history at school despite the kings and queens! I have continued to be fascinated by it, especially social history! One of many sons had a school trip to Chedworth and insisted that we his family visited. We loved it. Really looking forward to seeing the Cornwall experience as those gardens are on my bucket list!

    Reply

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