Sherborne Old Castle

School Visits

Bring the curriculum to life and inspire your students with an education visit to Sherborne Old Castle.

"Visiting Sherborne Old Castle was extremely important for our students as it fits within our GCSE curriculum as a local study. Being able to see the site first-hand allowed the students to bring their studies to life. The site is very well stocked with information points around the grounds, providing detailed knowledge which our students found very useful."

John Clarke-Jones, All Saints Church of England Academy


Curriculum Links

Support your teaching in the classroom by stepping out of it. A visit to Sherborne Old Castle will help you bring learning to life, covering multiple topics across the curriculum and key stages.

  • KS1 History: Significant historical events, people and places within the locality
  • KS2 History: Local history study. Study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066
  • KS2 Geography: Use geographical skills and fieldwork. Understand the strategic significance of the castle’s position
  • KS3 History: Local history study. Development of Church, state and society in Britain 1066-1509 and 1509-1745
  • GCSE History: Study of the historic environment

Free Self-Led Visits

Book a free self-led visit to Sherborne Old Castle and organise your day to suit your curriculum objectives. 

Explore over 900 years of history; from a 12th century fortified palace to Sir Walter Raleigh’s Elizabethan modifications to a highly defendable Royalist stronghold during the civil war.

Venture down the steps at the North Gate to what was once a busy landing port at the edge of the lake, and take a walk around the dry moat to get a unique view of the castle and curtain wall. 

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Plan Your Trip

We have a wide range of materials to support your visit and make school trip planning easy. You can find all our site-specific information and tools below, and further information on our what to expect page.

Download our free resources to help you make the most out of your visit and create unique learning experiences before, during and after your trip. We also offer free planning visits once you have made a booking, plus a 20% discount on the official English Heritage guidebook for your place of choice.

Once you book your visit you’ll be sent a visit permit, which you’ll need to bring with you on the day.

Visit our bookings page to start planning your trip!

  • Facilities
    • PARKING: No coach access to the site; passenger should set down and pick up on the B3145 by the junction of Castleton Road. Coaches must use alternative parking in the town centre. Access to the site for cars is narrow and spaces are limited. There are spaces for 8- 10 cars, located 100 meters from the castle entrance; there is free roadside parking along Castleton Road.
    • TOILETS: There are no toilet facilities on site.
    • LUNCH: There is no indoor lunch space available. Picnics are welcome on site.
    • SHOP: There is a small shop selling a selection of English Heritage gifts and souvenirs. Guidebook available in the shop –Education groups receive a 20% discount on guidebooks. We ask the class visit the shop in groups of 6 and supervised by a leader.
    • EDUCATION ROOM or BAG STORAGE: There is no education room or bag storage facility.
    • ACCESSIBILITY: The site is mainly rough mown grass with some gravel paths. There are approximately 10 to 15 steps leading into the barbican.
    • WET WEATHER: There is no wet weather shelter.  Students should come dressed in suitable clothing and footwear.
  • Hazard Information

    A useful tool to help with your risk assessments.


    You must meet the following ratios for leaders to students on the day of your visit when booking, and if your group is forming smaller groups while at the site:

    • Ages 4-5 (UK Reception) 1 leader for every 4 students (1:4)
    • Ages 5-7 (UK Key Stage 1) 1 leader for every 6 students (1:6)
    • Ages 7-11 (UK Key Stage 2) 1 leader for every 10 students (1:10) and
    • Ages 11-18 (UK Key Stages 3, 4, and 5) 1 leader for every 15 students (1:15)
    • For an adult learning group, consisting of individuals all over the age of 18, there are no ratios but there must be an appointed group leader
    • All ratios outlined above apply to home education groups
    • If your group consists of children aged 3 and/or 4, you must also refer to the Early Years and Foundation Stage Statutory Framework which sets out specific legal requirements for minimum ratios for this age group, to include requirements about the qualifications of the leaders
    • SEND groups must meet the minimum ratios above but may bring any additional leaders as required to adequately support their group
  • Education Site Opening Times

    We offer free self-led education visits during school term time*

    *Free education visits are not offered on UK public holidays or during the operation of additional fee paying public events at English Heritage sites.

    • April-October: Wednesday-Sunday 10-5pm
    • November-March: No bookings can be taken at the current time

Learning Resources

  • Teaching Medieval History

    Use historical information, learning activities and tips from our historians, curators and educational experts to support your teaching of medieval history.

  • A Mini Guide to Castles

    ​Discover how castles developed over time with this short introduction.

  • How to Take a Medieval Castle

    Watch our short animation to learn more about how to take a medieval castle.