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22 Feb 2017

Schools and learning guide to Culloden

A reenactment photo of a group of Jacobite soldiers, charging across a foggy moor. They hold targes and swords.
Battle of Culloden
Information about learning resources and facilities available at Culloden for schools and groups.

Learning at Culloden is about discovering the story of the Jacobites and also about building skills. Our programmes are designed to help participants explore some of the wider issues around conflict and blend outdoor learning with classroom work.

Our learning programmes are not just for schools. We welcome people of all ages and backgrounds including military groups, universities and special interest groups. To find out more, please contact the Learning team on 01463 796090 or email


If you’re arriving by coach, follow the signs to the car park which is situated beside the visitor centre. Coaches should park in the designated coach bays. Parking for schools is free of charge, and the driver is allowed free entry to the exhibition.

Robertson Trust learning suite
Inside the visitor centre we have a dedicated Learning Suite for the use of pre-booked groups only. This is a large multi-purpose room which can be used for a range of teaching activities. The Learning Suite is available for eating your packed lunches when you book an educational visit at Culloden. There are toilets (including an accessible toilet) inside the visitor centre.

Restaurant and shop
Groups planning to use the restaurant must pre-book, confirm their numbers and give notification of any dietary requirements. Groups are welcome to visit our shop – school pupils are asked to visit in small groups of up to 10.

The visitor centre and battlefield at Culloden aim to be accessible for all and include the following features:

  • Dedicated disabled parking bays are available at the nearest parking point to the centre.
  • Wheelchairs and powered scooters can be pre-booked and borrowed from the centre for use inside the building and on the battlefield.
  • The exhibition uses a range of audio and visual material to convey the story of Culloden; for more information contact the centre.
  • The battlefield paths and roof walkway are wheelchair accessible and also suitable for mobility vehicles, prams and buggies. Please be aware that the roof walkway is accessed via a ramp.
  • Accessible toilets are available inside the visitor centre.

Further information can be found in the Culloden accessibility guide.

Battlefield audio tour
To further enhance your visit, you could make use of the battlefield audio guide. This is a GPS-triggered tour, which guides visitors round the battlefield. It includes an audio-commentary, dramatised eyewitness accounts and relevant images. Although designed for general visitors, the guides are often motivational for pupils.

Travel subsidy

Generous support from the Scottish Government means that schools can claim 75% of their transport costs up to a maximum of £250. Find out more in our Learning section.

Learning materials

Goireas Ionnsachaidh Chùil Lodair

Chaidh an goireas seo a chruthachadh mar thaic to thidsearan a bhios a’ leasachadh is a’ lìbhrigeadh a’ chuspair Na Seumasaich is Bliadhna Theàrlaich. Tha foghlam aig Cùil Lodair mu bhith ag ionnsachadh eachdraidh nan Seumasach agus a’ toirt sùil air cùisean farsaing mun chòmhstri. Chaidh an goireas a sgrìobhadh le Sgioba Ionnsachaidh Chùil Lodair le taing shònraichte do fheadhainn a thug am beachdan is smuaintean, An t-Oll Christopher Duffy, An t-Oll Murray Pittock, An Dr Dòmhnall Uilleam Stiùbhart, Catriona Mhoireach, An t-Oll Allan MacInnes agus Eilidh NicChoinnich, Fèisean nan Gàidheal.

Culloden Learning Resource

This resource was developed to support teachers in developing and delivering the Jacobites and the ’45 topic. Learning at Culloden is about discovering the story of the Jacobites and also to explore some of the wider issues around conflict. This document was written by the Culloden Learning team with special thanks to the individuals who contributed their thoughts and insights, Professor Christopher Duffy, Professor Murray Pittock, Dr Dòmhnall Uilleam Stiùbhart, Catriona Murray, Professor Allan MacInnes and Eilidh MacKenzie, Fèisean nan Gàidheal.

Gaelic language

English language (please note this document includes the family tree)

Key information for pupils about the Battle of Culloden

To gain the most from their visit, pupils should have a good idea of the events leading up to the battle and have at least a basic understanding of the battle itself.


  • Prince Charles Edward Stuart and the Jacobite army
  • The Duke of Cumberland and the government army

There is a variety of names for the government army, which can be known as the British, Hanoverian or redcoat army. In the exhibition and on site, the army is referred to as the government army.


  • The Jacobite goal
  • The arrival of the Prince in Scotland
  • The taking of Edinburgh and the battle of Prestonpans
  • The march south to Derby
  • The return to Scotland and the battle of Falkirk
  • The arrival of Cumberland’s army in Scotland
  • The Jacobite night march

You may wish to go into the events of the battle itself before your visit, as this makes the battlefield more meaningful and exciting for pupils (‘this was where xxx actually happened’). You may wish to use the visit as an opportunity for teaching about the events of the battle on site, and tools such as the battle animation inside the visitor centre will help with this.


In the years before the ’45, Jacobites had to meet in secret. Because of this, a number of Jacobite symbols emerged, which revealed to those ‘in the know’ who was on their side. Pupils will enjoy ‘cracking the code’ of Jacobite symbols, and spotting them on objects as they go round the exhibition. Here are some of the most commonly found symbols:

  • Rose and rose bud – the rose symbolises the exiled King James; the buds are his heirs, Charles and Henry. The white cockade, a ribbon worn by many Jacobites, is said to have been derived from the wearing of a white rose in earlier Jacobite risings.
  • Moth – a moth may symbolise loyalty. Moths are attracted to light, and kings are often associated with images of the sun, which provides warmth and light.
  • Butterfly – the butterfly, known for its emerging from a chrysalis, may symbolise hope for the Stuarts’ return from exile.
  • Oak leaf and acorns – oaks became associated with the Stuarts after Charles II hid in an oak tree after the Battle of Worcester.
  • Sunflower – this is another representation of loyalty, as the sunflower follows the sun.
  • Bundles of sticks – these represent strength in numbers.
  • Medusa head – Medusa in Greek translates as ‘protector’ or ‘guardian‘.

Features of the battlefield today

The battlefield is now regarded as a war grave, a place where more than 1,300 men lost their lives and where many of them are buried. For many visitors, the site is a place of pilgrimage, a place linked to their family history. Please ask pupils to think about what kind of behaviour is appropriate in such a place.

There are marked paths around the battlefield with a range of options for routes, depending on the weather, the time available and the mobility of your class. Key features to note on the battlefield include:

  • Red flags, indicating the front line of the government army
  • Blue flags, indicating an approximate position of the Jacobites
  • 7 Pathway Panels – interpretation panels around the site that provide information on the events of the battle and what you can see today
  • 2 viewing platforms – one on the roof of the visitor centre, the other on the battlefield; each has an interpretation panel
  • The Memorial Cairn
  • The clan markers – headstones commemorating the dead on the Jacobite side
  • Leanach Cottage – a reconstructed cottage on the site of a building that survived the battle

Other learning resources

BBC Scotland Jacobites

SCRAN - many objects and images associated with Culloden, and Pathfinder packs for teachers

National Archives - explore the Jacobite cause through archive material

National Museums of Scotland

National Libraries of Scotland - Jacobite-related items mainly related to the 1715 Rising – including secret codes, songs and teacher packs