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UK Schools visits

Boy with seal

We welcome visits from UK school groups of all sizes, nationalities and key stages as well as home schooling groups and out-of-school groups such as Beavers, Cubs and Brownies.

We offer UK schools custodian-led, curriculum based sessions encouraging skills in historical enquiry, communication and writing. The led sessions are tailored to suit a visiting group of 30, if the group is larger we can divide the group to maximise the learning experience and offer additional sessions.

Other schools are welcome to pre-book a guided tour (available in English only). We can deliver a tour at a suitable pace which will allow for an accompanying translator to translate the information, we do not offer translation services ourselves.

If you would like to make a booking enquiry you can fill in our Group booking form, or alternatively you can email your booking enquiry to: the.great.hall@hants.gov.uk. We regret that we cannot take bookings over the phone.

What can you expect?

The Great Hall is a vast medieval stone building with lots of space for activities, interesting features for pupils to study and all with the backdrop of The Round Table on the wall.

The Great Hall was the Royal Court for Henry III and Edward I, among other Kings, who held some of the first English Parliaments here. The Great Hall also functioned as a court of law with infamous trials including the 1603 trial of Sir Walter Raleigh.

There is level access to Queen Eleanor’s Garden from inside the hall. The garden has a tunnel vine arbour, fountain, pond, turf topped seating area and an array of plant varieties, approximately 80 in total, with the majority used by the medieval gardener.

The Sally port remains, an underground stone passageway accessed via stone steps, are situated in the Castle Yard outside of the Great Hall.

Facilities

There are stairs to the first floor where our shop is situated selling gifts, history resources and additional educational activities. Disabled access is available via a lift and can be arranged by approaching our custodians on the day of your visit. We have a small area for disabled parking situated outside of the Great Hall which is available to Blue Badge Holders only and must be arranged prior to your visit. Mini bus parking may be available upon request. All parking requests are to be sent to: the.great.hall@hants.gov.uk and we will respond to your enquiry as soon as possible.

An exhibition gallery with a pictorial exhibition offering further information on the history of the Great Hall and Winchester Castle is sited behind the shop. Toilet and hand washing facilities are also available on the first floor.

We have plenty of space in the Castle Yard for picnics in fine weather but regret that we are unable to offer indoor eating facilities. However, indoor lunchtime provision is available at the Discovery Centre – approximately 5 minutes walk from the Great Hall. Pre-booking is essential.

A Hazard Awareness sheet is available on booking to help you with your risk assessment.

Shop

If you would like your class to visit the shop, please allow time to do so. We ask that pupils enter the shop in groups of 10 and are accompanied by an adult. Alternatively, you may pre-order items for payment and collection on the day. We can organise a viewing of the shop stock within a pre-visit.

 

Closures

We occasionally have to close the Hall for civic and other events – please check dates below before making a special journey.

  • 5 January Closed

  • 2 - 4 February 2015 inclusive closed

  • 30 - 31 March 2015 inclusive closed

  • 1 April 2015 closed

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