Steps in time at Bowood House

Date Posted: 28/03/2015

School: Derry Hill VA Primary School, Derry Hill, Wiltshire
KS: 2
Destination: Bowood House and Gardens, near Calne, Wiltshire

The home of the ninth Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne, Bowood House is set in 100 acres of Capability Brown designed parkland and offers a host of educational opportunities.

School groups can explore the house and all its treasures, with a child friendly guide to the artefacts - which includes Queen Victoria’s wedding chair - and a history of the family, meet friendly farm animals at Tractor Ted’s Little Farm and let off steam in one of the UK’s most extensive playgrounds.

All schools are offered free use of the school room and complimentary admittance for one accompanying adult for every five children aged up to seven, and every eight children aged seven and over.

An extra special and very personal greeting was given to a group of pupils from Derry Hill VA Primary School, due to the school’s proximity and community links with Bowood.

Year 3 class teacher Alison Shears explained: “The school has been coming here for many years, we are lucky that Bowood is on our doorstep.

“We usually take Year 3 and we link our visit to complement work being done in the classroom, but other classes have also made visits. Last time Lord Lansdowne very kindly offered us complimentary entry to his estate.

“We walk the short trip from school, along the Bowood drive, and the children enjoy the woods on the way. It is useful that we can link to different topics and a range of resources in one place.”

After a welcome and introductory talk, the Derry Hill pupils were taken into the grounds by Lord Lansdowne, who spoke about the vast number of different trees and fauna on the estate. 

“Lord Lansdowne has such a depth of knowledge in this area and he always keeps the children entertained while they learn,” said Alison.

“We also take the children into Bowood House where the curator is available. She talks about the historical element and they visit the impressive library, the laboratory - where Dr Joseph Priestley discovered oxygen - the orangery and sculpture gallery which shows them a range of family collections including paintings, tapestries and artefacts from the 16th to 20th century.

“There is also a little farm with various small animals which the children really enjoyed. We could not leave Bowood without visiting the famous adventure playground where the children are delighted to play and let off some steam.

“It is always great fun and all in all we have enjoyed many visits to this lovely estate.”

Alison said she would definitely recommend a visit to Bowood as it has so much to offer.

She concluded: “It’s packed with information and there are so many elements we can utilise. The displays and learning potential can be linked to various parts of the curriculum and even though we have been visiting for many years there is always something new to see.

“The staff are always really helpful and accommodating and always ask for feedback. The children have always really enjoyed their visits and got a lot from them. 

“From a teaching perspective, the sessions are always adapted for the visiting group. We are always made to feel very welcome and we are very grateful to Lord Lansdowne for his time. 

“The pupils always have a good day of learning coupled with fun time in the adventure playground.”

For more information visit

School Travel Organiser's Guide