Brodick Castle & Country Park teacher information

Brodick Castle, Garden & Country Park stretches from the shores of Brodick Bay to Goat Fell, the highest peak on Arran.

The castle is the ancient seat of the Dukes of Hamilton, and was home to the Duke and Duchess of Montrose until 1957. It spans 800 years of history. The castle is filled with beautiful furniture, paintings and precious objects. There are also numerous ghost stories linked to the castle and its grounds!

The gardens and country park cover a wide variety of habitats, great for learning opportunities. There is a wildlife garden, a weather station and an interpretive Nature Room. The country park has several way-marked trails (a country park map is available). There is also an adventure playground.

The school visit to Brodick offers many opportunities for cross-curricular work and engaging with the Curriculum for Excellence. Brodick staff work with pupils of all ages, and at all Levels.

The castle tour focuses on the Victorian era, and there are many primary resources in the castle to bring the period alive for pupils. Tours are led by trained education guides, who can adapt the content of tours to suit your needs.
The rangers are experienced in leading school groups. The emphasis is on providing learning opportunities not readily available in the classroom: experiential learning, with pupils able to explore the natural world.

Secondary school pupils can undertake practical conservation work, study footpath erosion on Goatfell, or look in more detail at conservation/access and tourism issues. For older pupils, you can book a full-day excursion into Glen Rosa or a mountain walk to the summit of Goat Fell.

Possible topics

  • Habitats (seashore, freshwater ponds, woodland, heathland, blanket bog, mountains)
  • Victorians
  • Archaeology
  • Geology

Resources for schools

  • Teachers’ notes and site information will be sent to your school on booking.
  • There is a well-equipped classroom that offers projection facilities, fieldwork equipment, reference books and wildlife audiovisuals.

Planning your visit

  • To book: please contact Brodick Castle for a booking form.
  • Book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
  • Brodick is open for school visits from Easter until the end of October. School programmes run throughout the day and are tailored to the ferry timetable. A regular CalMac ferry service runs between Ardrossan harbour and Brodick.
  • Maximum number of pupils per visit: 60, with a ratio of 1 teacher/adult to 10 pupils. For guided tours and walks, classes will be divided into smaller groups.
  • Access: please contact us to discuss the accessibility of the activities on offer.
  • Parking: parking is available for school buses/coaches in the grounds.
  • Toilets: fully accessible toilets are available at the Reception Centre, the castle and the Countryside Centre.
  • Refreshments: pupils may eat their packed lunches in the countryside centre. If this is unavailable, alternative space will be provided.
  • The site has been risk assessed. Teachers are expected to prepare their own risk assessment for the visit.

Charges

  • There is no charge for schools with Trust educational membership.
  • Non-members are welcome but there is a charge of £2 per pupil.
  • Accompanying adults are admitted free.
  • Class teachers are encouraged to make a free preparatory visit to the site.

During your class visit

  • On arrival: please report to the Reception Centre.
  • Trust staff will lead the school programme.
  • For the programme, depending on your activities and class size, your class will be split into groups.
  • Full details, with a timetable of activities, will be sent prior to your visit.
  • The castle tour lasts for a minimum of 1 hour. 
  • Ranger activities last for a minimum of 1.5 hours, depending on class size. 
  • Mountain activities require a minimum of 4.5 hours for Glen Rosa and 7 hours for Goatfell.
  • Teachers are responsible for their pupils and their behaviour.
  • Pupils do not need to bring materials for the school programme.
  • Photos may be taken in the garden and country park, but not inside the castle.
  • Coats and bags can be left either at the Countryside Centre or at the castle entrance.
  • Shop: a shop selling books, souvenirs, plants and ice creams is open from Easter to the end of October. For the health and safety of all visitors, pupils may visit the shop in small groups only.
Download

If you prefer to print this information you can use this download. Please note that some of the information may now be out of date.