Expert-Led Discovery Visits

Sandford Awards

We're delighted that a number of our Discovery Visit workshops have been recognised with Sandford Awards! Recognising high quality, curriculum-aligned learning, we're proud to offer these to help you bring history to life with your class.

Learn more about what it means to be an award-winning heritage education provider and explore the extra support we can offer, from supporting resources, itinerary plans, to help accessing our Discovery Visit sessions.

What are Sandford Awards?

At English Heriatage, we work hard to ensure that our education offers are of the highest quality, linking to the national curriculum, inspiring young people, and bringing the history of England to life. This is exemplified in our Sandford Award winning sites, which all hold their awards for five years.

Sandford says that the awards "focus on formal, curriculum-aligned, heritage learning programmes that take place in the historic setting or natural environment and use the history and collections or natural resources to engage, inform and inspire visitors". 

Currently, thirteen of our sites hold Sandford Awards, and you can explore all of these on this page. 

Nationally-recognised school trips with support for travel costs

The Great British School Trip, powered by Hyundai, is offering a selection of free school trips and travel bursaries to reduce costs for schools, helping 25,000 young people access inspirational school trips. We’re excited to be able to offer some help to schools to cover the cost of an award-winning Discovery Visit workshop. For more information and how to apply visit The Great British School Trip website.

Find Out More
  • Battle Abbey, East Sussex

    "Its creative and highly engaging approach to bringing to life a decisive turning point in the nation’s history is commendable and reflects the impressive enthusiasm and expertise of its education team."

    Sandford Award Assessor's Report 2021

  • Beeston Castle, Cheshire

    "Pioneering initiatives, such as the Beeston Roundhouse Project, represent heritage education at its very best – a team of enthusiastic volunteers empowered through learning to share their knowledge and understanding with the younger generation."

    Sandford Award Assessor's Report 2021

  • Stonehenge, Wiltshire

    "Stonehenge is the exemplar destination for the study of prehistory to develop pupils’ understanding of the landscape, its people and the monuments central in the national heritage."

    Sandford Award Assessor's Report 2021

  • Wroxeter Roman City, Shropshire

    "The professional education service run by English Heritage has been developed in close consultation with teachers and meets high levels of good practice in heritage learning, making use of original artefacts and a superb reconstructed Roman town house to interpret this important historic site while also offering engagement and enjoyment."

    Sandford Award Assessor's Report 2022

Award-winning ways to support your teaching

Our Discovery Visits are just one part of what makes our sites Sandford Award-Winning. We also provide high quality learning resources for before, during, and after your visit, along with support for teaching the periods of history we bring to life at our sites. 

Find out more about teaching history with English Heritage from our period specific pages


Explore our resources library
  • Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire

    "Well thought-out resources and a knowledgeable team supports both self-led visits and facilitator-led Discovery Visits to ensure that students have high-quality learning experiences."

    Sandford Awards Assessor's Report 2021

  • Dover Castle, Kent

    "Few other historic sites provide the contextual experience of the history of England, its lifestyles, defences and changing relationships within Europe through high quality facilitation and handling objects within furnished areas of the Castle and tunnels."

    Sandford Award Assessor's Report 2022

  • Pendennis Castle, Cornwall

    “The DV was engaging, with plenty of variety in the teaching approaches used, including role-play, re-enactment, discussion, observation, sensory experiences and creative thinking. The needs of children with diverse learning styles were met through the use of teaching techniques based on many years’ experience of heritage education.”

    Sandford Award Assessors Report 2023.

Explore the Isle of Wight with our nationally-recognised Discovery Visits

Experience adventure on the Isle of Wight with one of our award-winning Discovery Visits and explore the vast history of the island using one of our intineraries

Experience life as a Royal servant, or as a Victorian Explorer setting out on a new adventure at Osborne House. Delve deeper into the history of Carisbrooke castle hrough hands-on learning activities including role-play, object handling and trying on costumes or discover the unique local history story of the French Prisoners of War who were held at Portchester Castle.


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  • Carisbrooke Castle, Isle of Wight

    "Finding ways to engage young children with the long past can be a challenge, but Carisbrooke Castle has discovered an inspirational way to do this."

    Sandford Award Assessor's Report 2022

  • Osborne, Isle of Wight

    "Few historic houses offer such a unique opportunity to step into the past as Osborne. It is as if Victoria and Albert have just left their beloved home, and students can immerse themselves in everything that Victorian life had to offer – both above and below stairs." 

    Sandford Award Assessor's Report 2021

  • Portchester Castle, Isle of Wight

    “Without exception, the children were engaged and enthused, and the effect of being in costume in a big and impressive historic site could never have been achieved in their classroom.”

    Sandford Award Assessors Report 2023.

Award-winning trips to support your Local History

Our Sandford Award-Winning sites are located all over England, from Cornwall to Hadrian's Wall. Use a visit to one of our sites to delve deeper into your local history, and support your learning with our specific Local Learning pages

From impressive castles to forts guarding the edge of the Roman Empire, the North of England is full of exciting opportunities to explore learning outside of the classroom and bring your teaching of the curriculum to life. The examples below are a few of our wonderful sites in the North. 

Find Out More
  • Carlisle Castle, Cumbria

    "Knowledgeable staff enhance a school visit, and teachers can be assured of taking part in a programme that will engage their pupils and imbue them with vast amounts of knowledge. With an emphasis on local history as well, this is a visit not to be missed."

    Sandford Award Assessor's Report 2021

  • Conisbrough Castle, South Yorkshire

    "Sessions are creative, interactive and hands-on with a strong commitment to excellence and leading best practice in heritage education."

    Sandford Awards Assessor's Report 2021

  • Housesteads Roman Fort, Northumberland

    “Sessions are tailored with ease to the needs of the learners and they are fully learner centred. It has been brilliant to see the improvement and commitment to physical accessibility that English Heritage have made to this important North East site.”

    Sandford Award Assessors Report 2023

More to Explore

  • Discovery Visits

    Expert-led Discovery Visits are a great way to further examine a topic and site in greater detail. Managed by our site experts and tailored to align with the curriculum, learners can dress up, have a go at role play, crack some codes, or even become Royal servants.

  • Plan A School Visit

    Inspire your class this term with a unique and memorable school trip. From the Stone Age to the Cold War, discover any of our 400 properties and let your students stand at the places where history happened.

  • Teaching and Learning Resources

    We’re here to support your learning, whether you're a teacher looking to complement your lesson planning or a parent looking for guidance and advice with home learning.