Culzean Castle & Country Park teacher information

Culzean is a major heritage site, situated on the Ayrshire coast 50 miles south of Glasgow. The castle was designed by the architect Robert Adam between 1777 and 1792. The grounds were designated Scotland’s first Country Park in 1969.

The rich blend of natural and historical resources at Culzean Castle and Country Park provide excellent opportunities for schools. A team of rangers, castle education staff and guides offer a comprehensive range of activities linked to subjects taught in the classroom. Sciences outcomes are offered in the gardens, woodlands, ponds and on the seashore. Social Studies outcomes are offered in the castle, where tours on Georgian and Victorian life are available. The aim of the visit is to give pupils relevant practical experience in a subject to complement classroom work.

The school programmes offer many opportunities for cross-curricular work and engaging with the Curriculum for Excellence.

Pre-school: visits can be arranged for nursery groups. A tour of the castle introduces 3–5 year olds to a big house using song and games. For conservation reasons, pushchairs are not allowed in the castle. The castle visit can be complemented by a short walk in the woods as an introduction to the natural world.

Primary: core programmes have been developed to link with Curriculum for Excellence, covering Sciences and Social Studies outcomes.

Secondary: topics linked to both Standard Grade and Higher courses in Biology, Geography, Science and History are available. 

Possible topics

  • Castles
  • Victorians
  • Georgians
  • Wildlife and conservation
  • Sciences
  • Social Studies

Resources for schools

  • Worksheets are available for some programmes – please discuss this with staff when booking your visit.
  • Teachers’ Notes, with more detailed information and curriculum links, will be sent to you when a booking is made.
  • There is an education room in the castle.

Planning your class visit

  • To book: please contact Culzean and speak to the Reservations Secretary.
  • Book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
  • Culzean is open for educational visits all year round. Castle availability may be limited between 1 November and 1 April – please discuss this with the Reservations Secretary when booking. 
  • School programmes run between 9.30am and 5pm, and last between 45 minutes to 4 hours depending on the topic chosen.
  • Maximum class size: this varies as it is determined by Culzean staff availability and the topic chosen – it will be confirmed when you book your visit. A ratio of 1 teacher/adult to 10 pupils, and 1 teacher/adult to 5 children for under fives is required.
  • Access: all school programmes are accessible to pupils with mobility impairment. There are two electric buggies available for use in the country park only, suitable for secondary pupils (these must be booked in advance). Please discuss your class’s requirements or any additional support needs when booking. For further information please see the Accessibility guide for Culzean.
  • Parking: your bus/coach will be directed to your allocated bus park from the entrance to the country park.
  • Toilets: accessible toilets are located at the visitor centre, Swan Pond, castle and education room.
  • Refreshments: there are several cafés at Culzean. Pupils may eat packed lunches in the grounds or in the Stone Barn at the visitor centre.
  • Wet weather shelter is available in the Stone Barn, on a first-come, first-served basis (max 120).
  • The site has been risk assessed. Teachers are expected to prepare their own risk assessment for the visit.

Charges

  • There is no admission charge for schools with Trust educational membership, except for certain special programmes (when members have a reduced charge) – please contact the Reservations Secretary for further information.
  • Non-members are welcome. There is a charge of £40 per bus admission to the Country Park, if your school is outwith South Ayrshire, plus a charge per pupil for entry into the castle. Different charges apply for non-member schools within South Ayrshire. Please contact the Reservations Secretary for more details. 
  • Accompanying adults are admitted free.
  • All class teachers are encouraged to make a free preparatory visit to the site.

During your class visit

  • On arrival: for ranger-led tours, please report to the visitor centre courtyard. For castle tours, please report to the front door of the castle.
  • Punctuality is essential. Schools arriving late may not be able to undertake their booked programme.
  • Trust staff will lead the school programme.
  • Teacher-led visits can be arranged in the Country Park – please contact us to discuss your requirements.
  • Your class may be split into smaller groups depending on the programme you have chosen – this will be confirmed at time of booking.
  • Teachers are responsible for their pupils and their behaviour.
  • Secondary schools that have booked a visit must provide their own equipment for field studies.
  • Pupils may take photos in the education room and outside but not inside the castle.
  • Coats and bags can be left in the Stone Barn or in the entrance hall to the castle (please note that these areas are not secure). 
  • Shop: pupils are welcome to visit the shops at Culzean. For the health and safety of all visitors, pupils may visit in groups no larger than 10 at any one time, and must always be accompanied by an adult. Please allow time for shop visits when planning your day as shops can be busy.

‘It was one of the best school trips I have been on and I would love to come again.’

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.