Carisbrooke Castle

School Visits

Carisbrooke Castle has experienced sieges, imprisoned kings and seen off the Spanish Armada. Explore a history that spans over 1000 years and learn about how its role has changed from fortified defence to home of the Lord Lieutenant of the Island. Bring the curriculum to life and stand at the spot where history happened.

"A day at Carisbrooke Castle is better than weeks in the classroom! Children love that it looks like a 'real' castle."

Sue Pryor
Year 6 teacher

Curriculum Links

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

  • KS1 History: Similarities and differences between ways of life in different time periods. Significant historical events, people and places in the locality
  • KS1 English and Drama: Take on the roles of Carisbrooke's most famous residents and their servants to find out what life was really like
  • KS2 History: A local history study. A study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils' chronological knowledge beyond 1066
  • KS3 History: A local history study. Development of Church, state and society in Medieval Britain 1066-1509 and in Britain 1509-1745
  • KS3 Geography: Understand the strategic importance of the castle

Free self-led visits

Enjoy a free self-led visit to Carisbrooke Castle and organise your day to suit your curriculum needs. Carisbrooke has been an important focus of settlement since Roman times and illustrates the domestic side of castle life as well as attack and defence. Climb the steep steps to the top of the Norman keep and imagine how you would defend the castle from invaders, explore the castle and Edwardian garden, thinking about who lived there and what it might have been like. Our free handling box, full of replica items and even smell boxes can be used with our teaching resources to help you make the most of your visit.

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Expert-led Discovery Visits

Sandford Award Winner 2022!

Let our costumed experts bring the history of Carisbrooke Castle to life in an award-winning Discovery Visit workshop. For just £100 per session, your class will delve deeper into the story of the castle and the people who lived there, through hands-on learning activities including role-play, object handling and trying on costumes. Our sessions are designed to support your teaching of the curriculum and learning back in the classroom.

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With so much to see and do during a visit to Carisbrooke Castle, our useful itineraries will help you plan your day. Whether it be a half or full day of activities that you're looking for, or would like to combine a visit to Carisbrooke Castle with Osborne or Yarmouth Castle, they're a useful tool to help you get the most out of your trip.

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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
    • CASTLE GROUNDS: The castle grounds are open.
    • EXHIBITIONS: The castle's Guardhouse, offering an introduction to the site and its history is open.
    • MUSEUM: The Museum is open to visitors. Please check the main Carisbrooke webpage for further information on opening times.
    • PARKING: Free car park 100m from main entrance and space for 8 coaches. 
    • TOILETS: Toilets are located in a separate block inside the courtyard. An accessible toilet is located in the central courtyard. Toilets can be used by bubbles on a one in, one out policy. Additonal hand sanitising stations are available in various locations.
    • LUNCH: You are welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy in the grounds, and there is a large picnic area with benches and tables.
    • SHOP: There is a shop selling a wide range of books, gifts and Charles I themed souvenirs. We require you to bring your students in small groups at a time.
    • EDUCATION ROOM: Currently unavailable.
    • ACCESSIBILITY: There are four parking bays for Blue Badge holders near the castle entrance. Disabled drivers may park within castle courtyard, and disabled passengers may be set down there. The well house and ground floor of museum are accessible to visitors in wheelchairs. Due to the steep stairs, the wall walk and the upper floor of museum are inaccessible to wheelchair users.

    Site Map

    Carisbrooke Site Map

  • 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*. From November until March we open exclusively for education groups at selected sites when booking an expert-led Discovery Visit. See our education opening times below for individual site information.

    *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: Monday-Sunday 10-5pm. Discovery Visits available Monday-Friday
    • November-March: Monday-Sunday 10-4pm. Discovery Visits available Monday-Friday 

Learning Resources

  • Carisbrooke Castle Teachers' Kit (KS1-KS4+)

    Our Teachers’ Kits feature historical information and activity suggestions for group leaders of various subjects and key stages.

  • Local Learning: Carisbrooke Castle

    Discover the unique historic environment around Carisbrooke Castle with our suggested reading, activities and video resources. 

  • Discovery Bags (KS2) - Carisbrooke Castle

    Book our discovery bags for your visit to Carisbrooke Castle to support your learners as they explore the site's rich and varied history. 

  • 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. 

  • Isabella de Fortibus

    Explore the remarkable story of Countess Isabella de Fortibus, one of the greatest heiresses in 13th-century, and her connection to Carisbrooke Castle.

  • Teaching Tudors and Stuarts

    This guide to teaching Tudors and Stuarts includes advice from our educational experts and historians as well as suggested activities to try with your students in the classroom or on a school trip. 

  • Why did England have a Civil War?

    Charles I was imprisoned at Carisbrooke Castle during the English Civil War. Use our introductory video to find more about why the conflict happened.  

  • Postcard from Carisbrooke Castle

    Take to the skies above Carisbrooke Castle to discover the site and its surroundings.

  • Carisbrooke Castle - A Tour of the Norman Fortress Used to Imprison Charles I

    Join our Stables Manager, Hannah, as she shows you some of the highlights of the historic motte and bailey fortress at Carisbrooke Castle. 

  • Meet the Carisbrooke Donkeys

    Find out more about the important role donkeys played in Carisbrooke Castle's history and meet the site's modern-day residents.