The Crofton Roman Villa house was occupied from about AD 140 to 400 and was the centre of a farming estate of about 500 acres. Nearby would have been farm buildings, surrounded by fields, meadows and woods.
The house was altered several times during its 260 years of occupation and at its largest probably had at least 20 rooms. The remains of ten rooms can be seen today, now within a modern cover building. Two rooms contain the remains of their opus signinum (concrete) floors, and three have evidence of tessellated (tiled) floors. Details of the under-floor central heating (hypocaust) can be seen, which features both channelled and pillared systems.
The site was fully excavated by the Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit which also carried out the complete preservation scheme, with funding provided by Bromley Council. The Unit now manages the scheme in conjunction with the Council.
Not only is the villia open to the public, but we also take bookings from teachers for school visits (please see our teacher's information section below). Unfortunately due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we have been unable to take school bookings and welcome visitors during 2020. Please see below for our opening times and events.
All proceeds go towards further rescue work in Kent.
Dr. Philp’s new book, ‘Archaeology on the front line - 70 years of rescue 1952 - 2022 across Kent and S.E. London’ is out now!
A fascinating record of his 70 year career, the book covers sites across Kent and S.E. London.
These booklets are also available to purchase for £6.00.
Excavations in the Ancient Town of Sandwich (Part 1)
Excavations in the Ancient Town of Sandwich (Part 2)
Rescue Excavations in West Kent
The Discovery of a Roman Settlement in the Centre of Gravesend, Kent
Prehistoric Sites on the Kent M25 Motorway
Kent Archaeological Review
Although the Council for Kentish Archaeology (CKA) has ceased to function the Kent Unit holds most of the back numbers of the Kent Archaeological Review and these can be purchased from KARU (at £1 a copy, plus postage), presently only by post, but normally also from the Roman House, Dover.
Orpington railway station is adjacent to the villa
Bus routes: 61, 208 353, R2 and R7
Car Parking available off York Rise, adjacent Orpington Railway Station.
Activities at the Villa
Please note that activities may be limited until further notice.
Guided talk/recorded commentary on the villa by an archaeologist
Graphic displays of the excavations and villa
The Touch Table with a selection of Roman finds from the excavation for handling
Replica Roman everyday objects, including pots, jewellery, lamps and writing tablets
Activities for children - Roman games to play, mosaic making, dressing up as Romans and digging for finds in the excavation tray
Roman soldier 'rubbings'
Gift shop selling guide books, postcards, souvenirs and books on local archaeology
SPECIAL activity workshops for Schools. Two hour sessions. (Tuesdays and Wednesdays) £3 per child
SPECIAL Facility for Societies. Sunday afternoons 1st of each month. Special guided tour of Roman villa for pre-booked societies and groups (minimum 20) by the excavation director, Brian Philp. Normal charges apply, plus a donation to KARU.
Information for Teachers
"...The only Roman Villa in Greater London open to schools..."
Please note that we are unable to take school bookings at present. We are keeping a close eye on government guidelines. Please keep checking our website for updates.
Ten rooms of this Roman villa-house are on view with the remains of an extensive system (under-floor central heating) in five rooms and evidence of opus signinum (concrete) and tessellated (tiled) floors. With graphic displays, models, Touch Table and activities for children.
Schools are cordially invited to visit the Crofton Roman Villa. Facilities are designed for to meet the National Curriculum and are targeted at Key Stage 2. The very popular Roman Villa Activity Workshops are available April to October.
Booking a School Visit
For further information and to book a visit please contact
Teachers can preview the Villa during normal opening hours (April to October: Wednesdays and Fridays: 10am to 3.30pm and Sundays: 1st in the month only: 2 to 4.30pm), free of charge
During your visit booklets, postcards and souvenirs are on sale at the Villa shop (most items are £2 or under)
To save time during your visit "Roman" packs can be ordered at the time of booking. Packs cost either £1 each (two postcards, an activity booklet, a logo pen and pencil) or £2 each (as above plus a replica Roman coin and a second activity booklet)
If your school is unable to make a class visit (or even if you do!) children and families are welcome to visit during normal opening hours (see above)
Facilities and activities are designed for children undertaking school projects.
Graphic displays on Roman life — the villa, food, clothes, boys and girls, toys and games, mosaics and soldiers
Activities include Roman games, dressing up, brass rubbing and mosaic making
Special events for children are held in the holidays
Please do send for information leaflets for your class.
Roman Villa Activity Workshops
Charge: £3.00 per child (teachers and helpers free)
Duration: 2 hours
Minimum number of pupils 20 and maximum 60
Available: Tuesday and Wednesday: 10am or 12.45pm
Workshops consist of two talks, each followed by activities, when the children divide into smaller groups (up to 15 children)
The Roman villa-house: An archaeologist describes the discovery and excavation of the Villa and explains the remains of the house — its walls, roof, floors and hypocaust (central heating) and its end in circa AD410.
Life in the Roman villa: A second session covers life on the farm and in the house with Roman artefacts and replica Roman domestic objects, including pottery and jewellery. Four children are dressed as Romans — a little girl, a married lady, a farm boy and a senator.
Handling and drawing Roman artefacts activity: Each child has a finds tray of Roman artefacts with identification and handling followed by drawing and labelling (drawings are taken back to school).
Mosaic making activity: Unit staff briefly outline how the Romans made mosaics, followed by mosaic making with individual trays, coloured "tesserae" and Roman patterns to follow.
"Brass rubbing" activity: "Rubbing" of figures of Roman soldiers, Julius Caesar and gladiators (14cms high) with a brief written description about figures and instructions how to "rub" given by Unit staff (rubbings are taken back to school).
Teachers and helpers are requested to help during the activity sessions. This is a very full 2-hour programme so late arrival may result in the activities having to be curtailed.
Introdcution to Life in Roman Britain - A special activity event
Dates: 2020 Dates to be Confirmed.
Charge: £3.00 per child (teachers and helpers free)
Duration: 2 hours
Minimum number of pupils 25 and maximum 30
Sessions at 10am or 12.45pm
AD43 The Celts & Roman Invasion - Two childen dress up as Celts. The Roman Invasion of AD43 and defeat of the Celts. A Roman soldier's armour and weapons (with adult replica items). Six children dress up as Roman soldiers and drill, with military 'diplomas' awarded. Settling in: a new capital city, town, roads and villas.
The Roman Villa-House - An archaeologist describes the discovery of the site, the excavations of 1988, and the villa house remains. Information is given on the tessellated floors, central heating (hypocaust) and concrete floors (opus signinum).
Design a Roman Mosaic Pattern - Unit staff briefly outline how the Romans made mosaics. Children then design a 'Roman' mosaic pattern with coloured tiles.
Life on the Roman Villa - Life on the farm and in the house is described with Roman aretefacts and replica Roman domestic objects.
Handling and Drawing Roman Artefacts - Each child has a tray of Roman artefacts with identification and handling followed by labelling (drawings are taken back to school).