Hampshire Cultural Trust

Primary School Visits to Basing House

Palace to Ruins: Tudor Life to Civil War in Hampshire

A unique opportunity to learn one site’s significance in two key aspects of British national history: life in the great Tudor mansion, which 100 years later was destroyed by Cromwell during the Civil War.

Session objectives

Handling Tudor archaeology and replicas, students will investigate facts about the Tudors and their lives at Basing House, and use GPS to explore and examine the events and effects of the Civil War at Basing.

This session supports the following National Curriculum 2014 topics for KS2 History:

  • Local History Study
  • A study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066

The session also supports historical enquiry, historical interpretation, independent enquirers, creative thinkers, team workers and effective participants.

Pupils will:

  • Use the skills of an archaeologist to look at Tudor artefacts from Basing House
  • Investigate the lives of people at Basing House in its Tudor heyday
  • Examine the remains of the house and site to understand the events and effects of the Civil War on the people and house at Basing
  • Recognise the importance of preserving the past for the future
  • Work in teams to explore evidence from the past

Length of Session 3 hours (but allow additional time for lunch, if required)
Cost £100 per class (a maximum of 3 classes can be accommodated)

For further information and to make bookings, please contact Linda Owen, telephone: 01256 403905, email: linda.owen@hants.gov.uk


Your visit

The timetable below is indicative only and can be adjusted to suit your travel arrangements. Two or three classes can be accommodated by alternating the two key sessions or inserting a third session looking at Tudor costume and the Civil War video and displays in the Lodge Museum. Please divide each class into 5 groups before arrival and allocate one member of staff or an adult helper to each group.

  • 10am – Arrival and welcome in the car park – walk to site
  • 10.15am – Introduction to the day
  • 10.30am – Session 1
  • If required, a snack break can be built into the timetable
  • 11.45am – Session 2
  • 1pm – Finish and depart or stay for lunch and explore the site

You will be met on arrival in the coach park and escorted to Basing Grange, with a chance for the children to spot key features, such as the mill, river and Civil War damage on the walk. Once at Basing Grange, you will gather in the Great Barn for an introduction to the day and then taken, in your classes, to your first activity area (the Learning and Community Centre or the site of Basing House). Toilets are available in both areas.

Session One – Basing House: Tudor Palace (Learning & Community Centre)

Activity 1 – Digging Up the Past (20 minutes)

Working in their smaller groups, the class will have the opportunity to handle genuine Tudor artefacts discovered during archaeological digs at Basing House. They will be asked to think about the materials they are handling and to try and work out what the original object was. This investigation will be supported by information cards about the objects, which can be used by the adult helper to help guide the group. Each group will then be asked to report back to the rest of the class on one of the objects they have examined.

Activity 2 - Who Used This? (20 minutes)

Each group will be given a collection of replica Tudor objects to examine and asked to think about what the objects are and who would have used them. Why are some things made of pewter and some of wood? What would have been served in the leather jug? Who would have used the spoon made from horn? Information cards will be available for the adult helper to help guide the discussions and the groups will then report back to the class on a chosen object.

Activity 3 - Rich or Poor? (20 minutes)

The groups will now be given a selection of replica food items and some information cards about Tudor eating habits. They will be asked to sort their food items into categories: Rich Tudor, Poor Tudor, All Tudors or Not Tudor. The children will discuss who ate what and why.

Whole Class Plenary

We will finish with a quick recap on what discoveries have been made and what this tells us about the lives of the people living at Basing House.

Session Two – Basing House: Civil War Ruins (The Citadel)

GPS Session

This will take place around the ruins of Basing House and the surrounding site. All five groups will take part in this activity at the same time, working in small teams of 2-4 students. They will be fully briefed by Basing House staff, who will also be on hand to help out and answer questions as the activity progresses. As the site is so large, we ask teachers to accompany their groups throughout the activity to make sure that no-one gets into any difficulties.

Each team of 2-4 students will be given a pre-programmed GPS device, full instructions on how to use it and a quiz sheet relating to specific points around the site. They have to find each point using the GPS device and answer a question at each, so that they build up a picture of what happened here during the three sieges of the Civil War. The teams will have about 45 minutes to complete the course before the answers are given out and the scores added up! (15 minutes to get to and from site).


Getting Here

Free coach parking is available off Barton’s Lane for Basing House (use RG24 8AE for SatNav) and a free car park for anyone travelling separately. The site is very close to Junction 6 on the M3. Please note that single decker coaches must be used as double-deckers are unable to access Barton’s Lane.

Lunch Time

If you wish to stay on for lunch, packed lunches can be brought with you, and left indoors if required. Lunch can be eaten at the end of the sessions, or between the two sessions if you have a later start.

During warm weather, we recommend picnicking on the Citadel site, and the Lodge Museum will be open for visits. During cold or wet weather, we can provide covered areas at Basing Grange, with a visit to the gift shop if required. Goody bags can also be made up at pre-agreed prices if you would rather not visit the shop.

The Lodge Museum

The Lodge Museum, which tells the story of Basing House from Norman times to the present day, includes child friendly interactives, many of which are about the Tudor house and the Civil War. You are welcome to take your classes in their pre arranged groups into the museum over lunch time.

Explore the Site

Using the text panels arranged around the site at key points, find out more about the Norman, Tudor and Stuart history of Basing House. Discover the Tudor ruins and Civil War earthworks, the massive curtain wall and the impressive great well. Climb the viewing tower to get a bird’s eye view of the ruins (accessible viewing available via camera link in the Lodge Museum).


Toilets are available in the Learning & Community Centre, by the main gate to the site of the Basing House ruins and under the Lodge Museum. There are accessible toilets at both locations and a further accessible toilet below the Museum.


Hazard Information

Basing House consists of the earthworks and ruins of the house which was destroyed in the Civil War. Please can you ensure that all people are wearing suitable footwear. Heels should not be worn, as they increase the hazards on the site and are unsuitable for exploring the ruins. Open-toed sandals are also inadvisable. Trainers, Wellington boots or walking boots are ideal.

Children should bring warm clothes, wet weather gear or hats and sun cream according to the weather. The site is very exposed and there is little shelter other than at Basing Grange. As your class is visiting an archaeological site, please make them aware that they must treat it with respect, by not climbing on banks or standing on any brickwork.

Your coach drops you off in the car park, where you will be met by a member of staff. From here you will walk to Basing House, which involves crossing a small road and walking alongside the river and fish ponds. Children are to walk carefully along this path, preferably in single file, being aware that there is water either side of them.

During the activities taking place in the Learning & Community Centre, children will be handling archaeological and replica objects. Guidance will be given on object handling and toilet facilities are available in the same block for hand washing at the end of the session.

The class(es) will be visiting the ruins of Basing House, which is on a separate site on the other side of the road. You will be escorted to a crossing point opposite the gates to Basing House and a teacher must lead all pupils over the road, which is a busy one.

When walking around the site please be aware of the natural environment (hills, slopes, uneven ground, long grass etc) and that the ground can be slippery when wet. The earthworks are out of bounds to all people and must not be climbed. If any of your children are likely to have allergic reactions, please ensure that inhalers, epi-pens etc. are brought with you; the pollen levels can be very high.

As Basing House is a large open site, we require teachers and adult helpers to stay with their designated groups at all times, which requires a provision of 5 adults per class.

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