Middleham Castle

School Visits

Middleham Castle was once home to Richard III; through his childhood, as a squire, and adult years as Duke of Gloucester and King. The ruins stand to a good height on three of the four sides and the layout of a central tower with four outer walls makes it the ideal place for students to  explore and understand the basic ground plan of a castle and how it was designed to display wealth and power to the surrounding populace.

The children said: ‘The best school trip ever!'

Teacher, KS2

Image © Historic England Archive

Curriculum Links

Support your teaching in the classroom by stepping out of it. A visit to Middleham 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 in the locality
  • KS2 history: study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupil’s chronological knowledge beyond 1066, a local history study.
  • KS2 Geography: Types of settlement and land use.
  • KS3 History: The Development of Church, State and Society in Medieval Britain 1066 – 1509, A local history study.
  • KS4: Early Medieval History, OCR History A: Study of the Historic Environment, OCR History B: History around us, AQA Section B: British Depth Studies – historic environment and Norman and Medieval England.
  • KS5: AQA AS level Unit2B: The Wars of the Roses 1450-1499. OCR Unit I: England 1377-1455 and 1445-1509 Lancastrians, Yorkists and Henry VII.
© Historic England Archive

Free Self-Led Visits

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

The site is small and well enclosed, thus allowing your students to explore the design of a castle in a safe environment. The central tower has a viewing platform halfway up and you can also reach the level of the uppermost floor, where the viewing area offers stunning views across Wensleydale.

Don’t miss the exciting features of the castle, like the excellent facilities provided for medieval toilets in a separate tower. The design of the gate shows how well defended the castle was, and the highest floor of the central keep shows traces of large windows, which offered stunning views to the occupants.

The replica Middleham Jewel in the display area – just imagine being the one to find it!


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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: The town carpark can accommodate up to two coaches.
    • TOILETS: None on site but there are public toilets close by.
    • LUNCH: No undercover space but picnics welcome.
    • SHOP:   There is a small shop on site. Please visit in small groups.
    • EDUCATION ROOM or BAG STORAGE: There is no education room or bag storage on site.
    • ACCESSIBILITY: Good ground level access but upper levels are by staircases, some of which are spiral.
    • WET WEATHER: The site is very open with no undercover space.
  • 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: Monday-Sunday 10-4pm
    • November-March: Saturday-Sunday 10-3pm

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.

  • How to Take a Medieval Castle

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

  • A Mini Guide to Castles

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

  • English Heritage Podcast - Women in Civil War England: Alice Thornton and Middleham Castle

    Listen to the story of a 17th century woman who left an amazing literary legacy. Alice Thornton wrote four books, including three autobiographies, which provide a remarkable insight into life during the English Civil Wars.