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School visits to Wicken Fen

A group of visitors pond dipping at Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire
Visitors pond dipping at Wicken Fen | © National Trust Images/Jim Woolf

Inspire the students in your class with a day out in nature's outdoor classroom. Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve offers an amazing educational resource and an adventurous day out. Find out about bringing school groups to Wicken Fen, how to book and more.

Activities available for visiting school groups

Our team can provide activities for children of all ages, from Early Years Foundation Stage through to Key Stage 5. All our sessions are linked to the National Curriculum and can be adapted to the age of the children in your group. Please let us know the aims of your visit, so we can tailor the day to your needs. Options include:

Living things and their habitats

Delve into the world of the tiny creatures that live in the nooks and crannies of Wicken Fen and look at their similarities and differences. Sessions include lots of hands-on sampling, working in pairs and small groups. This session includes:

  • Pond dipping

  • Minibeast hunting

  • Connect with the wild (an immersive and fun session, bringing us closer to nature).

Life in the fens: local history

Explore the historic Fen Cottage and walk in the footsteps of the Fen Tigers. Puzzle your way through the tools that local people used in the past to catch eels, shape wood, walk through water and much more. This session includes:

  • Fen Cottage

  • Fen Workshop

  • Connect with the wild (an immersive and fun session, bringing us closer to nature).

Fen flora: sampling techniques

Students (Key Stage 4 or 5) use a range of sampling techniques to develop their understanding of relationships between organisms and their surrounding environment, looking at the distribution and abundance of plant species in contrasting parts of the reserve. This session includes:

  • Random quadrat sampling

  • Linear quadrat sampling

  • Pond sampling (feeding relationships, adaptations and competition).

Planning your visit

Full-day visits

Most schools come for a full-day visit (approximately 10am to 2pm). This gives us enough time for three activities (45–60 minutes each), plus an introduction and safety briefing and a morning and lunchtime break.

Half-day visits

A half-day visit (at least 2½ hours) can incorporate two activities. We’ll aim to maximise activity time and adapt to the needs of your group.

A child looking into a pond-dipping net at Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire.
Pond dipping at Wicken Fen | © National Trust Images/Paul Harris

Facilities for school groups

School groups have exclusive use of our Education Area, which includes two large shelters that are essential when the weather turns. Facilities include:

  • Use of the Learning Centre (classroom), or outdoor shelter in the Education Area

  • Use of the toilets in the Learning Centre and in the car park

Please let us know at the time of booking if you would like the children to visit the shop. This way we can fit it into the timetable and arrange extra help for the visitor reception team.

Get in touch about bringing a school group to Wicken Fen

To discuss a booking please contact the learning department on 01353 720274, or email


School visits can be arranged on any Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday in term time between March and October.

Please note that we can only cater for one school group at a time. Summer term tends to be really busy, so please consider booking in March, April, September or October when you are likely to have more choice of dates.

We ask that you book at least a month in advance to give us time to process the paperwork and arrange volunteers to assist with the activities for your visit. Visits organised with less notice will be accepted at our discretion.

Educational Group Membership

Schools can benefit from an Educational Group Membership, which is an annual membership giving free access to the whole school at all National Trust places.

Visitors at Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire

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