Discover the State Rooms, explore the grounds and examine the unique artefacts in our museums. 

Workshops

We have produced a menu of workshops designed to appeal to a range of age groups and Key Stages, ensuring that Early Years and Reception classes, as well as older years, enjoy equally accessible workshops. The sessions are led by our costumed characters who take on the personas of wizards, knights, poor peasants, hapless medieval alchemists, chroniclers, and spies.

Ethos

The ethos of our education programme is to provide an environment where the pupils use the skills and knowledge they have acquired at school whilst working towards their target Key Stages. As such, they are encouraged to use their imaginations, examine and resolve questions, and of course, have fun. 

Structure

The workshops are led by our costumed historical interpreters. Each workshop, depending on the subject chosen, will consist of an interactive session, performance, or a practical or artefact handling element. 

Delivery

Workshops are designed with flexibility so they can be delivered at the right level for the age group. However, we have also developed workshops that can be tailored to suit the individual key stages required.

The Magic of Tales – A Knight, a Wizard, a Princess and a Troll

An interactive workshop for younger years when they become part of a thrilling tale of heroism, magic and humour. The class will make their own wands then assist the brave Sir Kit in the interactive play, “Sir Kit Breaker and the 3 Quests”,   regaled by our band of travelling players. The group will have to remember spells, help with riddles, and come up with ideas of how to avoid being made into “knight toast” by the dragon. This workshop combines a craft activity with bringing the power of words to life, allowing the pupils to dive into the magical world of stories and books.
 
A workshop designed for younger age groups to stimulate their imaginations and show what the power of words can do, and that inside a book is a new world.  Descriptive words are used to paint the various characters in the interactive play so the children picture in their own minds what the troll looks like, the height of the rope bridge, or how smelly the giant is!
[Reception-Years 1-2]
 

Knights and Castles - Arm the Knight, defend the Castle

Learn how a knight was armed and how he trained by handling real arms and armour.  How heavy is chain mail? What is a flail?  Can wool stop an arrow? Then, led by two of our knights, the class will divide into the forces of the Earl of Douglas and the defenders, the House of Percy. It is off to the Barbican to see if the attackers will take the Castle or will Northumberland’s knights successfully defend the home of the Percys?  What traps and terrors have the defenders in store?     Whoever loses – the dungeon awaits…
 
A workshop for all ages looking at how people lived at Alnwick Castle 600 years ago. In two very interactive sessions, the class can experience what a knight’s life would be like, and what it depended on. Then armed with foam swords and safety arrows (balls) the battle of the Barbican (our medieval fortified gateway) commences. The class will learn how the castle was built, what defences are built into the gateway, and experience this from a “knight’s eye” view.
[Years 2-6].
 

 

Wizard School - Potions and Broomsticks

Welcome to Wizard School.  This is your opportunity to qualify as a Junior Wizard by firstly passing the Potions, Charms and Mythical Creatures Test, and then by gaining your Provisional Broomstick    Flying Licence.  Firstly, you will be issued with an O.S.W. (Ordinary School Wand) and then you will learn to cast various spells, use the power of the mind, cause objects to levitate and, finally, how to use Dragon Control Ropes. If successful, the class will go to the Runway for the broomstick flying lesson where they will be taught Basic Broom Control using T.W.I.G.S (Trainee Wizards Intermediate Glider and Swooper) brooms.

 A great immersive experience for all classes using the Harry Potter books as class reading books – or indeed any budding wizards and witches. The potions lesson is a cunningly disguised science demonstration and the broomstick lesson is a leap of imagination – so it still counts as an educational trip!
[All Year groups)

Medieval Alchemist – Medical Scientist or Magical Charlatan?

Join our alchemist as he demonstrates, with the help of “volunteers”, some of his cutting-edge medieval cures for common ailments of the time,  including the plague and toothache. Decide which of his cures would work and which, if any, we still use today. He or she will then explain the medical properties of herbs and the class will become apprentice Apothecaries to make a medicinal medieval soap ball. Finally, there is a strange phenomenon he has noticed when he made his red cabbage soup last night – can you explain why it changes colour?

A humorous interactive science-based session looking at real medieval cures and the science (or lack of) behind them. The session uses the children's knowledge of how the body works, what is a healthy diet and what herb-based products we still use today. The session ends with an acid/alkali puzzle although our alchemist has no idea what these are.
[Years 2-6]


 

The Powder Trail - Gunpowder, Plots and Spies

Enter the world of plots and spies.  The newly formed Secret Service is constantly striving to catch the King’s enemies and thwart their plots. These are desperate times when firebrand Thomas Percy, cousin of The 9th Earl of Northumberland, is part of one of the greatest plots ever devised. Welcome to Spy School; we have a chest belonging to Thomas and now have to fathom out the secret messages hidden with the objects inside. Learn about different codes, how they are formed and how to crack them. With the codes cracked we can make our move – find out what happens as the plot unravels, what lies in store for The Earl and his cousin, and what is gunpowder?
 
A very interactive workshop in two parts. Firstly, the class are taught by our Master Spy to use their mathematical and literacy knowledge to crack various codes. As these codes are cracked the tale of the gunpowder plot is dramatically told concluding with a gunpowder demonstration and the fate of the Wizard Earl – Science, mathematics and literacy all in one hour.
[Years 3-6]
 
 

Siege Science - Build it up – knock it down!

Enter the world of medieval masons and engineers as you look at why castles were so strong and the ingenuity required to hurl large rocks hundreds of yards to knock them down.  Using the technology available to a medieval builder, the two teams will construct a short length of wall including an arched doorway. Now the engineer takes over and reveals his castle bashing weapon, a trebuchet. Again, using ancient technology and utilising the power of levers and gravity, the two teams will try and demolish each other’s wall using their siege engine.
 
An interactive exercise in the practical application of scientific principals such as levers and gravity used 600 years ago to defend or attack great fortifications. Solve problems of how to find a horizontal level, 90 degrees, and why does an arch not fall down? Secondly look at the engineering technology and how it was used on the 14th-century battle field. Discover the power of levers and tension while hurling water-filled balloons at the newly constructed walls.
[Years 3-6]
 

Packages and Pricing 

All school visits must be booked in advance and are subject to availability. To check our availability or for any further information, please contact the Education Department: education@alnwickcastle.com or call 01665 511 157

Package

•Discounted admission
•Free parking and easy drop-off
•Meet-and-greet service available
•Range of bookable workshops and activities
•Discounted catering packages
•One free adult per five children visiting age 6 and below
•One free adult for every 10 children visiting age 7 and above
•Bag storage available in Artisans Courtyard
•Free admission for driver

Prices

£6.75 per pupil (16 and under)
£10.00 per student (17+)
£11.00 per adult
 

Free teachers

1 free teacher per 10 pupils age 7yrs and above
1 free teacher per 5 pupils age 6 yrs and below
 
Additional workshops £40 per session.