This week the boy had an extra day off school due to his teacher being on strike so we decided that we would make use of a quiet day to visit Fishbourne Roman Palace. This seemed fitting as the boys upcoming topic will be Romans. So on a slightly cloudy morning we set off with our notebooks to find out all we could about the ancient Roman civilisation.
It has been a long time since my school days, and I wasn’t sure how interested the boy would be in this history lesson so with the plan to just go with the flow, we arrived at the entrance. Being a weekday it was super quiet and only 2 coaches of school children meant we had the whole place to ourselves for the first hour.
Welcome to the largest roman home in Britain. Imagine the luxury that would once have surrounded the proud owner of this lavish Roman residence. This palace was certainly fit for a king. Stroll around the recreated Roman gardens – the earliest gardens found anywhere in the country – and enjoy the largest collection of mosaics in situ in the UK.
We started our visit in the Museum as the lady told us it was the warmest part of the building. The entrance contains the history of how the site was initially found by workmen in the 1960 while digging a water main for the area. There are plenty of hands on exhibits as well as the static ones you might expect. We built a Roman road, and looked at Roman Gods.
Because there were schools on site there was also a lady dressed in roman costume who happily told us all about the Romans and their love of keeping clean. This was great as it was a one to one and the boy enjoyed having the time to ask lots of questions.
After a lovely Mum, Son lunch in the Café and a chance to have a little sketch of some stones he had in his pocket, we continues through the main building to see the mosaics. The scale of the site is amazing, and thinking how old these little pieces of history are is very humbling.
The boy enjoyed playing a game of mosaic bingo, which you can get for free from the entrance and it was more difficult than it looked. I am sure I must have been here on a school trip at some point, but I don’t remember seeing the mosaics or remembering how beautiful and big they are.
There is plenty to look at in this part of the building with more interactive exhibits in the lower part of the museum. We built our own mosaic and looked at Roman armour. After another quick pit stop for tea and cake in the café we crossed the site to see what was in the collections and discovery centre. We had the whole of this building to ourselves and after looking at some of the windows full of artefacts we discovered some draws of examples of finds from the site and the local area. The boy and I decided to sketch these so that we can put together some information for him to take back to school after Easter.
I love the detail in the boys sketch and he worked hard to include all the different patterns on the piece of samian pottery. It was incredible to see these items up close all be it in a glass draw. Before we knew it, it was time to head off for the boys fencing lesson. The time had gone quickly and I am sure that the boy has learnt a lot. I know that I have enjoyed spending time with just the two of us and doing the things we love most chatting and learning!
Below are the opening times for 2014, and admissions, we are English Heritage members and received a 50% discount on the costs which made our day out very affordable even with the costs of our lunch and tea included.
January open Saturdays & Sundays only: 10am – 4pm February open every day: 10am – 4pm March – October open every day: 10am – 5pm November – 15 Dec open every day: 10am – 4pm From 16th -31st December open Saturdays and Sundays only: 10am – 4pm
- Adult £8.70
- child £4.30
- concessions £7.70
- family (2+2 or 1+4) £22.00
- Admission price for groups of 15+: Adults/students/seniors £7.00, children £3.50.
Keep up to date with everything that is going on at Fishbourne Roman Palace by joining their Facebook and Twitter pages, where you can also find details of the events and workshops going on over the Easter and Summer Holidays.