Region: South West

Disabled Facilities: Yes

Category: Day Trip Destinations

Address: Tetbury, , Gloucestershire GL8 8QS

Contact: 0300 067 4856



Westonbirt, the National Arboretum, is an internationally important tree collection that is managed by the Forestry Commission. It is a great place for students of all ages to come to experience the outdoor environment, and learn through exploration, inquiry, investigation and natural play.

Are you on Twitter, Facebook or any other social media?

Twitter -

Facebook -

Instagram -

Flickr -

Exactly what does your venue offer to educational visits?

Westonbirt, the National Arboretum, is an internationally important tree collection that is managed by the Forestry Commission. It is a great place for students of all ages to come to experience the outdoor environment, and learn through exploration, inquiry, investigation and natural play.

You can choose between:

• Led programmes

• Self-guided activities

• Explorer backpacks for hire

Why you are you a great place for educational visits?

Westonbirt’s world class tree collection, seasonal rhythms and inspiring landscape provides a unique opportunity for children to learn about trees, the environment and themselves.

We care for over 2,500 species of tree from around the world, planted in an artistic picturesque style to create interest throughout the changing seasons. We are known worldwide for our spectacular autumn colour, and the spring rhododendron, azalea and magnolia displays.

It is a great place to explore plant biodiversity, growth, adaptation, natural art and photography, the woodland habitat and ecosystem, and global issues of sustainable woodland management, trees and climate change, and conservation.

Our landscape, rides, glades, woodland and other natural features are great for orienteering, story telling, observing nature, natural play, den building and creating young adventurers and scientists!

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

Not at the moment, but hoping to renew soon

What does a typical educational visit include?

Led programmes

Most sessions last 1 ½ hours and are linked to the National Curriculum. Wherever possible we will be happy to adapt and tailor a programme to suit your educational needs. Sessions are generally timetabled to fit within the usual 10:00 arrival and 14:00 departure times of most schools but other arrangements can be made:

•    Morning sessions run from 10:15 – 11:45

•    Afternoon sessions run from 12:15 – 13:45

EYFS and KS1 - Programmes are led by Learning With Nature learning officers

KS2, KS3, A level, FE and HE - Programmes are led by Forestry Commission learning officers


•             Plant science – growth, adaptation, pollination, seasonal change, evolution and inheritance

•             Habitats – food chains, food webs, adaptation

•             Human impact on the environment – sustainability, conservation, climate change

•             Natural art and sculpture


•             Plant science – photosynthesis, adaptation, climate change

•             Woodland planning for sustainability

•             Tourism

•             Woodland ecology

KS4 / A level

•             Plant science and adaptation

•             Sustainable forest management and visitor impact

•             Conserving and enhancing land for public enjoyment

•             Westonbirt as a natural visitor attraction


•             Conservation in botanic gardens

•             Forest management including species choice and resilience

•             Trees, forests and climate change

•             Biosecurity, pests and diseases

What group sizes do you cater for?

Led programmes

Primary - we can work four classes of up to 35 students, a maximum of 140 students a day.

Secondary – either 4 classes (up to 140 students) following a 1 ½ hour programme or 6 classes (up to 210 students) following a 1 hour programme.

Self-guided groups

Larger group sizes are feasible for self-guided visits, up to a maximum of 400 students.

Do you provide projects, teacher’s packs, work sheets or any useful information?

We have a range of free downloadable activity sheets to support the self-guided parts of your visit.  There are also a range of explorer backpacks to hire (£15 per backpack), each with enough resource for 30 students. Different packs are available for KS1, KS2 or KS3


•    Seasonal explorers – resources to explore the seasonal woodland through discovery, identification, stories and creative play

•    Who lives at Westonbirt? – become a nature detective and identify homes, tracks, signs and droppings

•    Woodland Mini-beasts Explorers – bug pots, magnifiers, ID sheets and activity ideas

•    Sensory exploration – resources to explore the arboretum through touch, sight, scent and sound for Foundation groups 

Downloadable packs and other activities

•    Growing Green – 26 science, numeracy, literacy and sensory activities that help you to discover more about trees

•    Art scavenger hunt and activity pack

•    Orienteering – three different courses of increasing difficulty

•    Seasonal play booklets

•    Woodland play booklets – build, create, imagine, explore

•    Westonbirt play trail

Are you happy for children to take photos, video or audio?

Yes, students are free to take photos, video or audio during their visit.

What is your process for booking pre arranged risk assessments?

The safety of your group is paramount and we are very happy to discuss any concerns you may have before your visit. Your health and safety responsibilities are described on the booking form and on our website. We also provide health and safety guidelines and an outline risk assessment to help you complete your own risk assessment.

If you have not visited Westonbirt recently, we recommend you arrange a free preliminary visit to familiarise yourself with the site.

Does your venue have an education officer?

Please contact our experienced learning officers with any queries or bookings Tel: 0300 067 4856


What is the cost of the visit?

Led programmes

Each 1 ½ hour session costs £4.50 per student (minimum charge £112.50 per session)

This includes your £2 admission cost.

Self-guided visits

Admission cost £2 per student age 5-18

Mature students £6 each

Under 5s are free

Supervising adults for all school visits

Foundation Stage - 1 adult free : 4 children

KS1 and KS2 - 1 adult free : 5 children

KS3 and KS4 - 1 adult free : 10 children

Adults providing 1:1 support for SEN students are also free.

Any additional adults will be charged the reduced adult rate of £7 each.

Is specific clothing required for the trip?

Our programmes take place outdoors in all weathers. Please be prepared for this and ensure all students are suitably dressed depending on the season and weather.

Do you have first aid on site or will the group need to bring a qualified first aider?

We have a first aid point on site located next to the main toilet facilities.  However, we do ask that you bring a first aid kit with you and ensure you have a member of staff trained to administer basic first aid as you will be spending most of your visit away from the main facilities.

Please list facilities available.

Led visits – access to the learning centre rooms and undercover space for bag storage and lunch

Self-guided visits - picnic tables and the large open downs are available for lunch, and whilst there is a café and restaurant on site, they are not able to take school lunch bookings.

Information point

The Welcome Building is the main information point on site.  Pick up your site maps, play trail maps, and backpacks from here.

Westonbirt Shop - open from 9am – 5pm. Groups of up to 10 children at a time in the shop please. 

What are your disabled facilities?

All hard paths are accessible for wheelchairs, electric scooters and buggies. Trails off the paths are accessible depending on weather conditions but can be unsuitable in wet conditions due to mud.

There are two disabled toilet facilities on site, based at the Welcome Building and central facilities area. The central facilities include a bed and hoist.

Programme activities, resources and routes are adapted to cater for a range of needs.

What are your opening days and hours?

We are open from 9am every day until dusk.  Open all year.

Is there anything else that you feel is important and want to include in your information?

Booking is essential for all visits.

If your school serves a deprived community you may be eligible for a coach bursary of £100.  Please enquire when making a provisional booking.

We recommend you try to book led programmes at least 2 months in advance to secure your preferred date and avoid disappointment.



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

Type of Visit: Environment Centres Green Awareness Historical Heritage Outdoor Education Parks and Gardens SEN Wildlife and Nature

Curriculum Topics Covered: Art and Design Citizenship English Environmental Studies PSHE Science

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