Westonbirt The National Arboretum Gloucestershire

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0300 067 4856

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Areas served:

South West

Tetbury, , Gloucestershire, GL8 8QS

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January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December


PreSchool, 5 to 7 years, 8 to 10 years, 11 to 13 years, 14 to 16 years, College, University

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

Listed under: Day Trip Destinations | Art and Design | Special Educational Needs (SEN) | Parks and Gardens | Outdoor Education | Historical Heritage | Ecology & Green Awareness | Environment Centres | Science | PSHE | Environmental Studies | English | Citizenship | Wildlife and Nature Reserves

What we offer

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.

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

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.

What makes us a great choice?

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!

Accreditation and Awards

Not at the moment, but hoping to renew soon

What is typically included?

Led programmes

Most sessions last 1 - 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 http://www.learning-with-nature.org/

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


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

Group Sizes Catered 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 - 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.

Materials, Resources & Information Provided

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

Photography, Filming & Audio Restrictions

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

Risk Assessment Details

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.

Education Officer Information

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

E: learning.westonbirt@forestry.gov.uk

Pricing Information

Led programmes

Each 1 - 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.

Clothing Requirements

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.

First Aid Information

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.

Available Facilities

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 cafe 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.

Accessibility & 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.

Opening Hours & Information

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

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