The weather was terrible this morning; it rained constantly from the moment we left the house for the kids' weekly Junior Park Run until the early afternoon. I have been doing the Saturday morning adult Park Run for just over two years and just recently they started up one for the under 14s, so it was a natural progression to take my two youngest along for a weekly dose of fresh air and exercise.
After returning home and getting showered etc. I decided I fancied going out and doing something with the family for the day that did not cost too much. My wife agreed and, as we are English Heritage members that narrowed down our choices and the weather did the rest. We wanted something that was indoors and not too far away. As we hadn't been to Lullingstone Villa for a few years, we decided to go there as it ticked all the boxes (inside, not too far away etc.).
The last time we went to this villa my youngest was just three years old, so this was like a new experience for him. As (bad?) luck would have it, the rain stopped just as we arrived and the sun came out. The air conditioned hangar the villa is situated in made for a different kind of refuge; rather than an escape from the rain, it proved to be an escape from the now hot and humid weather. Anyway, we had a great time looking at the ruins and running through the quiz sheets the youngest kids were handed, and then we watched the film about the site.
Basically, the first stage of the villa was built circa AD 100. A bath house complex and an extra north wing were added between AD 150 and 275, but the wing was then superceded by a heated room and kitchen complex in around AD 275 to 350. With the coming of Christianity, the villa went through one final phase around AD 360 where the latest version of the wing was converted to a house-church and a half-round apse was added to create an extensive audience chamber/dining room. The villa fell into disuse probably as the result of a fire.
We had a great time at the villa and I hope the kids learned something long lasting.
We have decided to try to get to a few more archaeological/historical sites over the coming summer holidays.