Something To Declare: A villa holiday; roads of France; flights in the autumn


Destination of the week: a villa holiday

Shrug off the stress and uncertainty of foreign travel - head for West Sussex to see two of the finest examples of Roman villas in Britain. Historians use the term "villa" to describe a Roman country house or substantial farm complex. By the 3rd century AD, some villas in Britain had become as grand as their counterparts in Italy, with lavishly decorated marble and mosaic floors. Their occupants, who were well-off Roman or Romano-British families, had adopted Roman standards of living, with bath houses, gardens and underfloor heating systems.

Bignor (01798 869259; www.pyrrha.demon.co.uk; open daily 10am-6pm; admission £4.35), on the northern edge of the South Downs near Petworth, is thought to have been surrounded by a 2,000-acre estate. There is a series of beautiful pavement mosaics: one, with geometric patterns, is the longest in Britain.

A half-hour drive away near Chichester is Fishbourne (01243 875859; www.sussexpast.co.uk/fishbourne; open daily 10am-6pm; £6.50). Discovered as recently as 1960, it was more a palace than a villa, with over 100 rooms, a colonnaded courtyard, formal garden and even a private harbour.

Highlights include stunning mosaics and the recreated garden (including a Roman potting shed with horticultural tools).

By Fred Mawer

Warning of the week: roads of France

Next weekend will see the autoroutes through France exceptionally busy; the usual end-of-August return of Parisians from the south to the capital will be amplified by British visitors heading for the Channel ports.

The French authorities have got prediction down to a fine art: if your command of the language is adequate, look at www.bison-fute.equipement.gouv.fr. And even if you can't read French, seek out the "Prévisions de trafic" menu from which you can click on "Calendrier Bison Futé". This calendar uses a colour-coding system to predict traffic levels: green for "normal" to black for "exceptionally busy".

Bargain of the week: flights in the autumn

The financial traumas suffered by many British airlines over the past nine days are still reverberating. The big problem now is to encourage people to book for next month, when the school holidays are over and planes look worryingly empty.

All the low-cost operators are likely to have short-term seat sales. Expect particular bargains on shorter routes, where road or rail presents a viable alternative to flying. And watch out for a "fire-sale" by British Airways for millions of seats this winter.

As always, November will be excellent in terms of low fares and plenty of availability.

By Simon Calder

News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - OTE £36,000

    £12500 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This established Knaresborough ...

    Beverley James: Accounts Payable

    £23,000: Beverley James: Do you have a background in hospitality and are you l...

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaning Manager - York and Bradford

    £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The post holder is a key member of the V...

    Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Drivers

    £18000 - £28800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Driv...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower