Leith Hall, Garden & Estate teacher information

Leith Hall was built over three centuries, starting in 1650, and remained the home of the Leith-Hay family until the mid-20th century.

Leith Hall boasts a spectacular Arts and Crafts walled garden, which was laid out by Charles and Henrietta Leith-Hay in Edwardian times. The gardens  include flowering herbaceous borders, a serpentine catmint border, specimen trees, a rock garden, fernery and a market garden. 

Mixed woodlands, ponds, a bird hide and meadows can all be found on the 350-acre estate. There are three way-marked trails  of varying lengths, including an all-abilities trail around the Lower Pond (suitable for wheelchairs). The other trails take you through woodland – a hike up Craigfall Hill gives a fine view of the estate. The 18th-century stable building and an ice house can also be viewed.

Educational activities on the estate are provided by the National Trust for Scotland’s North East Ranger Service or by the Head Gardener for garden activities.

School visits offer opportunities for cross-curricular work and are linked to the Curriculum for Excellence.

The ranger service currently provides an opportunity to learn about animal tracks and signs; charcoal art; and minibeasts and foodwebs.

In the gardens, schools can learn about soils, compost and earthworms; growing flowers from seed; or make a 17th-century flower posy.

For more information on these topics, please contact the ranger service or the head gardener.

Possible topics

  • Edwardian gardening 
  • What to grow in a school garden
  • Minibeasts 
  • Trees 
  • The changing seasons
  • Tracks and signs

Planning your class visit

  • To book: for a guided estate walk and activities, please telephone the ranger service on 01330 844810.
  • Book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
  • Maximum class size: 30, with a ratio of 1 teacher/adult to 10 pupils.
  • The garden and estate are open for school visits all year round, but activities in the garden are restricted to the spring term.
  • Access: there is an entrance to the garden suitable for wheelchair users, and much of the garden is accessible for visitors using wheelchairs. The garden is on a slope. On the estate, the pond walk is an all-abilities trail. 
  • Please discuss your additional needs with the Head Gardener or Ranger when booking your visit - we will do our best to accommodate your pupils.
  • Parking: coaches can park in the main car park.
  • Toilets: these are situated in the courtyard and include facilities for visitors with mobility impairment.
  • Refreshments: schools are welcome to bring picnics. An indoor area can be provided in the event of wet weather.
  • Clothing: pupils should be dressed appropriately for the outdoors.
  • The site and activities have been risk assessed. Teachers should prepare their own risk assessment for the visit.

Charges

  • There’s no admission charge for schools with Trust educational membership.
  • Non-members are welcome but there’s an admission charge of £2 per pupil.
  • 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: you’ll be met by a member of Trust staff at the map (display board) in the car park, at the agreed time at booking.
  • Activities will be led by Trust staff*. 
  • A class of 30 pupils will be split into 2 groups. 
  • *Depending on staff availability, there may be a teacher-led activity provided for 1 group. The groups will swap round halfway through the visit, so both have the same activities.
  • The length of a visit will vary according to the school programme – please discuss this when booking.
  • Teachers are responsible for their pupils and their behaviour.
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