1620s House and Garden

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The 1620s House & Garden at Donington le Heath is one of the oldest houses in Leicestershire, built around 1290. In 1536 Henry VIII sold the house to the Digby family after the dissolution of Ulverscroft Priory, which owned the house at that time. John Digby modernised some of the windows and the roof during the 17th Century but the most famous Digby family member was Sir Everard Digby, who was hung, drawn and quartered for his part in the conspiracy to kidnap Princess Elizabeth from Coombe Abbey during the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. In 1963 the house was listed as an ancient monument and in 1965 Leicestershire County Council bought the house and began a full restoration, which took seven years. Now the 1620s House is a surviving example of a family home built around 700 years ago with beautiful reconstructed gardens. The site is perfect for pupils to inspire and to be inspired.

1620s House and Garden photograph
school trip at 1620s House and Garden
1620s House and Garden school groups

Why are 1620s House and Garden great for School Trips and Educational Visits?

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The 1620s House is a wonderful venue for creative educational experiences within a truly historical setting. Sessions led by costumed characters delivered for EYFS and KS1 – 2 groups with links to history, science, PHSE and English. Our unique site is also available for educators to deliver their own sessions using the building, content and gardens for inspiration to deliver cross-curricular activities. You can book on to our sessions from only £2.50 per pupil and bring your family to the site for FREE for a school pre-visit.

What activities are available during group visits?

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The sessions ‘Step Inside the Manor’ forms part of a local study which looks at significant historical events, people and places in their own locality. It looks at the life of the family which lived in the house. The costumed character-led session helps pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives and the importance of roles within a household. The aim is to equip pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically and weigh the evidence as well as to listen, understand and respond appropriately to others and to extend and follow their own ideas. For ‘Traditional Tales at the Manor’, costumed characters use a traditional tale to inspire the pupils to explore the house, to look at the differences and similarities of houses today and in the past and to improve their literacy skills. The children will participate in everyday household tasks, learn about the fabric of the building and handle many historical objects to investigate their use. In addition, pupils can meet Bessie Borage and learn about the many strange and wonderful medial ailments and cures and Lady Digby will always make an appearance if you book one of the Gunpowder Plot sessions.

What size groups do you cater for?

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The site can cater for a group of up to 33 pupils on one day.

Do you offer on-site classroom facilities?

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The school group has access to the house, the barn - where they can participate in activity and have their lunch - and the gardens. It is usually standard that the public are not given access to the site when schools groups are booked in.

Is there first aid on site?

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Due to the nature of the site, schools are required to bring their own first aider and equipment.

Do you offer access for visitors with disabilities?

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Yes, we have a disabled toilet.

Do you cater for visitors with Special Educational Needs (SEN)?

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We tailor our sessions to cater for a mixture of special educational needs.

Anything else?

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The 1620s House & Garden at Donington le Heath (which tells the story of everyday life in the 17th Century) will be leading on an Arts and STEM project, ‘Project Enlightenment: Art & Scientific Invention’, in partnership with Charnwood Arts and Ignite Futures. With a focus on the 17th Century Age of Enlightenment and the revolution in science and scientific thinking, artists will work in collaboration with schools, young people and families to experiment with new ideas and develop new programmes of activity by bringing the arts and science together.

Through the application of multi-disciplinary art forms we will be looking at the 17th Century shift from witchcraft, alchemy and superstition to observations, experiments and analytical theory including, for example, the invention of the telescope, new laws of motion and gravity, and the new science of microscopy. We will be researching, investigating and experimenting with artists to recreate the 17th Century scientific discoveries to encourage pupils and families to recognise and nurture their own curiosity in the 21st Century.

There are different ways in which schools can participate – you can either book on to a one-off visit to the 1620s House to take part in a range of activity or you can take part in one of the artist-led residencies which will include active participation in the house and in your school.




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