Region: South East

Disabled Facilities: Yes

Category: Day Trip Destinations

Address: Wartling Road , Herstmonceux, East Sussex BN27 1RN

Contact: 01323 832731



The Observatory Science Centre offers ‘Spectacular Science’ for everyone; from 100+ interactive exhibits, to historic telescopes from the former home of a world-famous astronomical observatory.  The Centre endorses Learning Outside the Classroom and we are proud to have been accredited with their Quality Badge. 

ALL science centre staff and volunteers hold an Enhanced CRB and most are registered STEM Sussex Ambassadors.

Why is this venue great for School Trips and Educational Visits?

The Observatory Science Centre is unique among science centres because of the connection with astronomy.  It occupies buildings that were the site of The Royal Greenwich Observatory when it moved from London in the 1950s into the beautiful Sussex countryside and the historic telescopes remain on site, restored to working order.

The Centre is operated by Science Projects Ltd, an educational charity specialising in the design and build of quality hands-on interactive exhibits and exhibitions.  Every exhibit is designed to be played with.  Touch it and see what happens; investigate, learn and have fun!

The Centre now offers a Spectacular Outreach programme including Science Shows, table-top interactive exhibits and an inflatable planetarium; all of which are brought into your school and can be used in a multitude of ways.

What does a typical school trip or educational visit include?

Every visit is special and tailored to the needs of the group with a structured timetable prepared for your activities.  There is ample free parking plus a school base and picnic areas.

A typical visit in the daytime for Key Stage 1 or 2 includes;

Access to 90 + themed hands-on exhibits in the main corridor grouped around themes of Light & Colour, Forces, Earth & Beyond; plus two temporary exhibitions which change through the year.

Access to giant sized exhibits outdoors in the Discovery Park, Water Planet and Water Play areas.

The Bridge Building workshop directed by science centre staff where pupils work as a team to construct and then test the bridge they build.

In addition groups can book:

A Telescope Tour discovering how astronomers would have worked at the Observatory, how the telescopes would have been used, and what we can learn from them today


A Science Show based on curriculum topics (Forces, Materials, Chemistry etc) which will be fun, entertaining and full of audience participation.

Key Stage 3 or 4 can book as above or one of the more Key Stage specific educational packages:

Team Challenges

Telescope Discovery Tour and Workshop

Solar Physics Workshop

All Key Stages can also book an evening Twilight Visit to experience ‘The Observatory in the Dark’ which is an exciting experience for everyone.  Weather permitting; groups will be able to view through an historic telescope as part of their evening.

Do you have the LOtC Quality Badge or any other accreditation such as AALA?

Yes – Quality Badge

What size groups do they cater for?

The Centre caters for up to 240 pre-booked pupils at one time, plus accompanying adults.

What can they provide you with to support your school trip or educational visit?

Materials are being developed which will provide teachers with cross-curriculum links for the exhibits and workshops etc.  This is an ongoing project with teacher trainees from The University of Sussex, School of Education during their complementary placement at The Centre.

Can you take photos, video or audio? Are there any copyright restrictions?

Pupils may take images for their personal use but any material taken for other purposes requires written consent from The Centre.

How do you arrange a risk assessment?

Risk assessments are all provided on the website so are easy for teachers to download as required.  Teachers are offered a free familiarisation visit to check the facilities, discuss the programme and learning objective, and to complete their own risk assessments.

What are the contact details for their education officer?

Mrs Jo Harris.

What does it cost?

As an educational charity with no core funding, we are acutely aware of economics and keep admission prices as low as possible.  These vary according to the chosen educational package but the basic cost is £4.95 per pupil with ALL supervising adults admitted free of charge.

Is specific clothing required?

Clothing should be appropriate to the weather conditions.

Do you have first aid on site?

Staff at The Centre are trained ‘Appointed Persons’, but all schools bring their own First Aider with them. 

What facilities do they have for school trips and educational visits?

The Café is open all day serving snacks and refreshments.  Lunch Boxes can be pre-ordered.
The shop is open all day offering a fantastic range of pocket money science gifts.  Goody Bags can be pre-ordered.

Are there disabled facilities?

The hands-on exhibits are almost all accessible for wheelchair users and the interactive nature makes the exhibits suitable for all ages and abilities. There are ramps around the site and a chair lift to one upstairs telescope dome. 

The café and disabled toilet facilities are both easily accessed on the ground floor (plus baby changing and first aid). The shop is accessed at the main entrance.

Specific access issues should be discussed prior to visiting.

Do you have any testimonials from previous customers who have visited you on an educational visit ?

What the teachers say…….

We had a wonderful day.  Children, parents, teachers and teacher assistants were all full of praise for the centre. I’d like to thank you again for a wonderful day and the great organisation.  We will be back again.
Head Teacher, whole primary school

Very friendly staff who made the activities / talks very accessible for the ‘little ones’.
Reception and Year 1

We were late arriving but the staff did their very best and managed to rearrange things. The staff were most accommodating and helped to make our visit an enjoyable experience.  Back in school even the youngest children have produced excellent work all based on our visit.
Reception, Year 1 and 2

A great trip with enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff.  Shame about the weather – but children’s experience still remained excellent
Years 3 and 4

Thank you for another highly enjoyable visit.  The children have had great day learning about things through experience.
Year 4

All the adults and children thoroughly enjoyed the day. My teaching colleague said this is the best school trip she has ever been on!
Year 5

This is the second time I have come with a class.  It is so fabulous! Highly recommended to all! Thank you so much!
Year 5 and 6

A really great day and well worth the 2 hour travelling each way! Great activities, brilliant supportive staff and will definitely come back next year.
Year 6

The boys thoroughly enjoyed their visit and it has been great for us, as their teachers to see them so engaged, enjoying science outside the classroom.  The staff tried to keep all of our group motivated and were successful, offering encouragement to those not sure about participating.
Year 7 SEN

I have been teaching since 1991 and have not visited another science based facility that can match what The Centre has to offer – superb.
Year 8

What the pupils say……..

Year 2
I really enjoyed the bridge building because you built a bridge with just a few bits and pieces and then you could walk on it.

Year 3
My favourite part was the science show.  I learnt the three laws of Isaac Newton!

Year 3
I liked playing in the water park and trying the experiments with water – good for teamwork.  You had to move things to make things happen

Year 3
The giant telescope was great- I didn’t know that telescopes could be that big and it was amazing when the roof opened!

Year 4
Thank you for showing us how to make different scientific experiments ands be able to have fun at the same time.

Year 5
This is the best school trip I’ve ever been on!

Year 5
The best bit was ……everything!

Year 5
Thank you for a lovely visit.  I loved it!! All those buttons to press!

Year 6
My friends and I were expecting a boring observatory, but no, you made science fun and now I am going to persuade my mum and dad to take me back there at night to look through a telescope.

Year 7
My family are now going to come and visit.

Year 7
I liked the team challenges as it was fun and made us think.  I would like to thank the staff for making us have a very fun day.

Year 7
Thank you for having us at the science centre.  It was fun and adventurous and lots and lots of things to do.

Age of Children / Pupils: Pre-school 5 – 7 years 8 – 10 years 11 – 13 years 14 – 16 years College University

Type of Visit: Historical Heritage Museums Outdoor Education Picnic Areas Science & Technology SEN Themed Attractions Tourism Organisations Team Building

Curriculum Topics Covered: Design and Technology Engineering Environmental Studies Geography History ICT Science

Months Open: All Year Round January February March April May June July August September October November December

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