The Real Mary Kings Close

We round up some day trip attractions that are guaranteed to give your students a fun day out, along with some great learning opportunities.

1. The Real Mary King’s Close

School groups visiting Edinburgh can discover the city’s hidden history at The Real Mary King’s Close. The immersive learning experience encompasses the real stories of those who lived, worked and died on these underground 17th century streets, covering topics such as the plague, social history, and architecture. With an education programme that is tailored for Primary school children, the Close is currently developing an on-site education suite, which will enable school groups to take part in further workshops while visiting.

2. Ironbridge Gorge Museums

The Ironbridge Gorge Museums in Shropshire have a range of workshops across the ten sites, which are tailored to meet National Curriculum goals while providing a challenging activity. Students have the opportunity to expand their understanding of many different subjects while visiting the Museums in areas such as History, Geography, Art, STEM and English. For example, the Rocket Workshop at the Enginuity design and technology centre in Coalbrookdale is a favourite with Key Stages 1 and 2 pupils who work in teams to design, build and launch a rocket.

3. The Parks Trust

The Parks Trust

The Parks Trust’s Outdoor Learning Team provides a wide range of fun activities, games and guided walks, from two dedicated education centres in Milton Keynes. One activity is the Our Park Year programme, aimed at Key Stage 1 and linking into the Science curriculum. The children visit the same park four times in one year; a visit each season. During each season’s visit they focus on a different element of the outdoor environment, for instance in autumn they may look at trees and leaves, and in winter footprints and animals’ survival.

4. Samlesbury Hall

Built in 1325, Samlesbury Hall in Lancashire is steeped in history, retaining its original typical black and white exterior. School groups can hear the turbulent tales of its Catholic families, witches and the haunting of Lady Dorothy (and other ghosts), and enjoy a captivating insight into life from the early 14th to the 21st century. Interactive learning sessions can be themed around the Tudors, the Victorians, and the Lancashire Witches, and each includes a tour lead by a character guide.

5. KidZania London

The KidZania BritishAirways experience

School visits to this indoor city for children are suitable for pupils from age four and up, blending learning and reality with entertainment. Each activity, from firefighting to being a paramedic, has been developed and supported by teachers, with multiple KS1 and KS2 curriculum links. Integrity, responsibility, respect and solidarity are just some of the values teachers can expect their students to learn via roles in KidZania’s fire and rescue, veterinary service and police.

6. Emirates Spinnaker Tower

Get pupils out of the classroom and into the clouds for a new perspective on learning. Emirates Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth has three observation decks at the top of the tower where pupils can use the Terrific Towers education pack offering cross-curricular activities fully aligned with the National Curriculum subjects for Key Stage 2 Maths, Computing, English, Geography and Art. Pupils will research great towers around the world, measure themselves against the height of the Emirates Spinnaker Tower, interpret data to produce graphs and create an information poster.

7. National Memorial Arboretum

National Memorial Arboretum

(Photo credit: National Memorial Arboretum).

This Arboretum in Staffordshire features over 350 memorials and tells an abundance of fascinating stories from World War One to the present day. These have been interpreted by the on-site learning team into a series of workshops which span a broad range of subjects and topics. Whilst History is an obvious subject to study, there are great opportunities to cover Citizenship, English, Art & Design, PSCHE, Geography and Science. For KS2 students the World War One and World War Two Explorer Days are extremely popular.

8. The Welsh Mining Experience

The education offering at the Welsh Mining Experience in Trehafod sees children journey through a coal mine, following in the footsteps of a real-life miner. There are also workshops to enjoy above ground, to help pupils develop Literacy, Numeracy, and Science skills. A highlight is Grandma’s Wash Day – experience first-hand how Great-Grandma would have tackled the washing in years gone by and learn how advances in technology have changed our everyday domestic practices. This is a hands-on workshop for Key Stage 1 and 2 pupils.