I'm often rather surprised to realise how easily we can look at Roman remains. Having just acquired English Heritage membership, it seemed that the time was right to take Younger Daughter and one of her friends to Lullingstone Villa.
Years ago, I took my older two to Lullingstone Villa. They were aged about four and six. It was a dreadful trip as I had failed to explain to them that we weren't going inside a Roman house but just looking at what is left of the floor and lower walls. Since that episode, I've been careful to explain just how much is left to see.
Doubtless the Romans didn't choose the site for its beauty but the Villa is in the peaceful Darrent Valley in North Kent.
Younger Daughter saw eels in the river which runs close to the Villa.
The actual Villa remains are covered by a rather unexciting modern building.
I had promised the children an audio tour which turned out to be a figment of my imagination but there was a children's sheet which kept them occupied and Roman dressing up clothes which were a great success. I was persuaded to dress up too. Sadly, there was an absence of a belt which mean that my tunic could only be that of a lower class man. I was impressed by the warmth of the woolen tunic and cloak. You are spared the picture-I don't suppose Romans wore spectacles!
The ruins are fascinating. The pictures aren't great as I was struggling with the low lighting levels.
Part of the bath rooms.
Near the original entrance
Lullingstone is famous for its early Christian chapel built over an older pagan room. The chapel featured pictures of worshippers and the Chi-rho symbol.
In terms of taking children, English Heritage has made definite steps to welcome children. For sevens and over, it is fascinating particularly if they have a little background information about the Romans. From previous experience, this isn't the place to take very young children although there seemed to be several going round quite happily! Probably, a decision dependent on the parent and child! Overall, recommended.
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