Five Fascinating Facts about Brading Roman Villa

5 things you didn't know about Brading Roman Villa on the Isle of Wight

  • The lovely cedar museum with wild living roof was originally going to be an ugly metal box structure until the mayor of Brading stepped in and stopped it. Mike Rainey was tasked with job of designing a building that would both protect the mosaics and yet enable them to be viewed by visitors.  He had a job keeping everyone happy from the archaeologists to the planning department.   

Brading Roman Villa Picture supplied by Brading Roman Villa

  • From March 2017, Brading Roman Villa are going to be offering free guided walks from the museum to Brading Marshes and up to the downs. The first one on 26th March is exploring the history and myths of Brading Marshes in search of the lost village of Wolverton.  On 30th April there is one looking at the Roman Landscape around Adgestone Vineyard and the Butterfly Walk.  If you miss those, you will be able to pick up a map from the Education department at the museum and take yourself on a self guided walk of the area. 

Herb Garden leading to public footpaths around the villa

  • During Roman times, the villa wasn’t in use all the time.  It is believed that the family only used the villa as a holiday home while the rest of the estate was in use and managed all year round.  The reason they know this is that a lock and key were found, an outside lock and only doors that need locked from the outside would have one.  Elementary you might think but that would mean that there wasn’t someone i.e. staff, in the house all the time.

Outside lock found at Brading Roman Villa
Bronze and Iron Key found with Lock at Brading Roman Villa

  • Talking of elementary, today you are allowed to take photographs of everything in the museum.  However when Arthur Conan Doyle, a keen amateur photographer as well as the author of Sherlock Holmes, visited the museum in 1884 he was not allowed to take any photographs inside.  Instead he was told he had to buy the guidebook.  

Floating viewing platforms over mosaics.  Artefacts and information in cabinets around the outside
  • If ever there are any travelling exhibitions from the British Museum and other such institutions, they will be on display at Brading Roman Villa because it is the only place on the Isle of Wight with a secure location for the priceless artefacts to be housed.

For more information, opening times and how to get there, see my review on Weekend Notes


  1. It seems like he did a great job keeping everyone happy with the design. It is unique. And the story of the villa is fascinating.

  2. Thank you. It's definitely worth a visit.

  3. Been there three times, one of my favourites and always recommended. Would love to know the story behind the large cockerel skeleton and the off centre Medusa head mosaic

  4. Yes, it's a very intersting place and so well preserved. I think both those mosaics have many theories surrounding them including the off centre Medusa just not being placed correctly.