Garden Adventures

Written by: Elmtree Press

Educators today have realised the value of reconnecting children with nature. Studying the interaction between plants and animals in a garden environment offers teachers many ways to tie in science, English, art and environmental studies in a safe, fun learning environment. Activities resulting from these studies can be simple, usually utilising simple materials and can involve lessons in nutrition, habitat studies, composting, animal and insect behaviour and environmental stewardship.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens grow over 7,000 different plant species, from all around the world, in their four spectacular Glasshouses and flourishing outdoor grounds. Experience the humidity and smells of the Tropical House, look (but don’t touch!) with wonder at the carnivorous plants in the Subtropical House, admire the fruits and flowers of the Mediterranean House, and marvel at the bizarre ways that cacti have developed to protect themselves in the harsh environment of the world’s deserts (Arid House). Don’t forget to allow plenty of time, in addition, to wander around the stunning grounds seeing the giant Koi Carp and Victorian Cascade in the Rock Garden, stop and smell the many herbs in our Herb Garden, be fascinated by our exotic bird and butterfly collections (including free-roaming peacocks) and play on our amazing new Treetops Adventure playground (if you've been good)! A fun and educational experience like no other!

Since 1673, London’s oldest outdoor classroom at Chelsea Physic Garden has been a leading place of teaching and learning about the art and science of our natural world. They welcome school group visits throughout the year, providing a unique, affordable and inspiring learning experience for all ages and abilities, designed to support the children’s learning in school across the curriculum. Their Education team can also bring the wonderful world of plants to you. They provide continuing professional development and ongoing support to help you build growing spaces on your school site, develop biodiversity by building bug hotels, bird boxes and compost heaps. They can also hold engaging workshops for all ages that teach children basic gardening and cooking skills, about plant poisons and how to use plants as medicine and wellbeing.

Why not explore the great environmental resources of Dalby, the Great Yorkshire Forest, within the North York Moors National Park.  ‘Ranger in a Bag’ self-led resources including lesson plans, worksheets, safety notes and curriculum links are available to hire to help you explore the forest. Topics you can discover include; Amazing Animals, Fantastic Forests, Sensory Explorers, Shelter Building, Orienteering and Stream Studies.  For a more guided sessions exploring the forest why not try the environmental education packages on offer from Dalby Activity Centre including mini-beast hunting, shelter building and orienteering.

The Forbidden Corner is a unique labyrinth of tunnels, chambers, follies and surprises, created within a four-acre garden in the heart of Tupgill Park and the Yorkshire Dales. A tourist visitor attraction unlike anywhere that you have been before, ideal for the adventurers and those young at heart! The temple of the underworld, the eye of the needle, a huge pyramid made of translucent glass, paths and passages that lead nowhere, extraordinary statues – at every turn there are decisions to make and tricks to avoid. This is a day out with a difference which will challenge and delight adults and children of all ages.

The stunning medieval ruins of Fountains Abbey are an inspiration to learning across the curriculum and age range. Their skilled Educational Team deliver a variety of workshops, for example, discovering history through dressing up and role play, learning new art skills of mosaic or felt making, or exploring nature on the huge estate.

The majesty and atmosphere of the ruins provide an amazing way in to topics on the Middle Ages or the Tudor period. Their “Day in the Life of a Monk” workshop will see students dressed in monks’ robes, practising Monks’ sign language, singing plainsong or trying out illuminated writing. You can also explore the story of the abbey through drama workshops or through story-telling sessions.

The beauty of the abbey inspires artists of all ages and we draw on that inspiration with our art workshops. Students can make beautiful pictures in felt or mosaic. Younger students work in groups whilst older students work independently on pieces that can contribute to exam portfolios.

The natural environment of this 800-acre estate is stunning and the outdoors and nature workshops take full advantage of it. Their leaders can show you the wildlife in the Minibeasts to Mammals safaris, including the herds of magnificent deer, or in the Pond Dipping sessions. Alternatively, you can hone your bush craft with a den building session or see the wildlife at night during a Class Campout.

They have a variety of resources available on their website for self-led visits and are happy to work with you to develop a bespoke day for you and your students. They are also happy to work with groups with additional needs.


The Ingleton Waterfalls Trail is hugely popular with groups and school parties thanks to its varied wildlife and wealth of fascinating geological features. As you walk along the 7 km circular route, you can see ancient base rocks and also many rare birds, plants and trees which this very special area supports. it is this amazing variety of plant life and geological features which caused Natural England to declare the Ingleton Glens a Site of Special Scientific Interest.


The National Memorial Arboretum is broadening its educational offering with a new programme of special events for learning groups, aimed at enhancing schools’ Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development programmes or PHSCE schemes of work. Their wide variety of activities develops an understanding of British Values, Remembrance, memorials and the impact of conflict. They support various curriculum-based objectives through their education programme, and aim to provide groups with a fundamental understanding of the importance of Remembrance through interactive and engaging activities.  Their Learning Activities and facilities are suitable for all ages and they also welcome pre-booked self-led groups, providing free downloadable resources on our website. This beautiful site, with over 30,000 trees and abundant natural outdoor space, provides students with a feast of inspiration for coursework-based subjects. More than 300 memorials to a variety of organisations will prove to be thought and discussion provoking for follow up work after your visit.


Thorp Perrow Arboretum think wellies should be part of school uniform! Their outdoor classroom offers learning opportunities and are passionate about nature and the environment, and want to inspire the next generation to love the world around them as much as they do.

The range of learning environments available lend themselves naturally to a cross-curricular approach in subject areas such as Maths, English, Science, Geography, History, Art, Design and Technology, Music and PE.

They provide every group with a free activity pack, which contains a range of ideas for study in the classroom before your visit, things to do on the day, and ideas for applying your new-found knowledge and skills in your school setting.


From pre-school to PHD, Poole's Cavern has it all for an educational, fun and stimulating experience.

From Stone age cave dwellers, Bronze age burial and Roman rituals to Medieval robbers’ hideout, 16th century explorers Victorian visitors right up to 21st century cave science Poole's Cavern has a fantastic story to tell.

Their expert guides will tailor each cavern visit with your pupils and your learning requirements so whether your focus is on Stone Age, Rocks and fossils, the water cycle, environments through to tourism studies or paleo -biology, they can provide a bespoke learning experience.


The picturesque setting of the Yorkshire Arboretum is the ideal place for a school trip, where many of the requirements of the National Curriculum can be met through a fun and exciting day out.Just 15 miles north east of York, the secure, 120 acre site is a unique environment, perfectly suited to many activities including Shelter Building and Minibeast Hunts. Pond Dipping gives children the opportunity to explore the hidden world of underwater life and our diverse collection of trees is perfect for a magical adventure with the Woodland Fairy, when children can cast magic spells using the natural ingredients found in the habitat around them.The activities led by their experienced Outdoor Education Team cover Science, P.E., Literacy and Geography, can be adapted for any age group however self-led visit packs are available to the leaders of those school groups who wish to explore the arboretum environment independently.