I’ve mentioned before that I am wary of taking children on educational outings during school holidays. The thought of holding a clipboard in August did not appeal to me as a child. There were footballs that urgently needed kicking and trees that needed climbing.
However, child one’s eyes lit up when I mentioned that we might visit a Roman Villa, so I booked ourselves in at Brading Roman Villa. I think Horrible Histories and a recent school project were behind her enthusiasm.
The Isle of Wight has two Roman Villas which are open to the public. Others have been discovered but then re-covered so your options are Newport or Brading.
Brading is by far the bigger of the two and it has a proper visitor centre, gift shop and cafe. Newport’s Roman Villa is tucked in between houses and is only open on certain days. It has a charm about it but as they’d say on a movie poster: “If you see one Roman Villa this year, visit Brading Roman Villa".
The welcome team and staff at Brading Roman Villa were on top form. I’m not sure if they were volunteers or staff but they deserve a round of applause for doing their bit for Isle of Wight tourism.
We were given some paperwork to keep the child entertained and politely asked to keep our masks on. I was delighted to see that everyone listened and kept their masks on, unlike on the ferry recently. Perhaps the polite but firm volunteers at Brading Roman Villa should sit at the ferry port with a megaphone.
The children’s trail was designed for our eight year old, but it was actually at my kind of level. If I’m given no information I tend to wander in and out of a museum or historic attraction in 10 minutes. If I’m given too much information or a great big guide book then I lose interest and start looking at my phone.
The highlight of Brading Roman Villa is probably the mosaics but we also filled some time with a giant jigsaw and a spinney thing where you can jumble up Roman costumes.
After an hour or so, we pottered about in the gift shop and bought two pink pens that we definitely didn’t need. Child one originally wanted a teddy bear, so I got off lightly.
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