Blue Peter

The National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art at Palace House Newmarket offers exciting opportunities for school trips including stimulating self-led visits and the chance to take part in immersive curriculum-linked workshops, providing meaningful and enjoyable learning outside the classroom for all ages. Come and explore Palace House and discover Newmarket’s Royal connections, learn about thoroughbreds and the history and science of horseracing, meet our equine stars and ride our racehorse simulator. Please scroll down for details of our workshops.

To view the exciting online exhibition of art work by students from Cambridge School of Visual & Performing Arts please click here

  • Self-led visit: FREE OF CHARGE (Self-led visits must be booked in advance)
  • Workshops: £100 (Maximum 30 students. Must be booked in advance)
  • Palace House Grand Tour: Please enquire
  • Accompanying adults FREE OF CHARGE 

The Alborada Education Centre (funded through the generosity of The Alborada Trust) and a picnic room with cloakroom facilities are available for all learning groups.

    • Free preliminary visit for teachers and group leaders
    • We will send detailed workshop notes for teachers with booking confirmation
    • We will provide risk assessments but strongly recommend that you carry out your own risk identification as well: you are best placed to understand the individual needs of your group
    • Trails available for self-led visits
    • Detailed information for group leaders about self-led visits
    • Audio Visual interactives list available to help planning for those with additional needs Click here
    • Safeguarding Policy available on request


To ensure the best experiences for groups, all educational visits must be booked in advance. To plan your visit please contact:

Gabrielle Bell by email or call 01638 667314

British Science Week 2020 at Palace House

This year, we are piloting a new approach to BSW...

BSW self-led visit                                                                               FREE 

Explore our collections and discover the many scientific themes within. Bring your own ideas or choose one of our Surprising Science trails to guide you. There are different trails available to suit different learners. Click on the list below and make your selection. We have formatted them so that you can print multiple copies ....or collect copies from our reception.

Trails suitable for Early Years, KS 1,2 & 3 - choose the most appropriate for your group. 

Must be booked in advance.

Surprising Science Pick 'n' Mix workshop                       £100 

Select from our menu of hands-on,  bite-sized science activities which include a comparative anatomy role-play, the microscopic world of a horse , a journey through the digestive system and the secrets of poo, to name but a few! There will also be an active exploration of our Maktoum Gallery of the Thoroughbred. Please see scroll down to the Surprising Science workshop for full details 

KS 1 & 2, maximum 30 students

Allow 2 hours

Must be booked in advance.

Which one will you choose?

March 6th, 9th, 10th, 11th & 12th

Ideas for Teachers:

Below are a number of resources for teachers that can be downloaded and printed with optional educational activities to support school visits to Palace House. These resources have been developed with KS1 and KS2 in mind but are adaptable for other age groups.

Self-led groups are also welcome to try our Palace House Bingo game or our “10 Things To Do While You’re Here” cards to encourage active exploration of the site and collections. These are available from reception.

What have learning groups enjoyed while they were here? Let our case studies inspire you:

Colourbox Montesorri Case Study

Workshops currently available are:

Marvellous Materials

KS 1 & 2 - Allow 2 hrs - £3.60 per student

Curriculum links: Science: Materials, their properties and uses, working scientifically

Marvelous Materials

Explore the materials used in racing with hands-on investigations. Students discover what makes materials suitable for particular jobs, and are challenged to search for different materials in our galleries.

In racing, it is vital that the right material is used for the job. There will be an opportunity to use our special digital microscope to take a really close look at some of the materials used- an excellent chance to hypothesise, observe and record! Students will also be invited to try our junk modelling challenge to create their own safety equipment and to discover some of the surprising materials found inside our special semi-constructed saddle. There will even be the chance to carry out a fascinating chromatography experiment as we investigate silk. There’s so much to do!

We can also provide a Marvellous Materials Brilliant Bingo activity to carry out in the galleries afterwards, on a self-led basis. Extra time will need to be allocated for this

What surprised me most was how well resourced, prepared and engaging the activities were. The children really enjoyed it.” (Teacher KS1)

I know that when I bring my class to Marvellous Materials, we will cover everything that we need to cover!” (Teacher KS1)

“A great deal of learning and a whole range of experiences in a very short space of time.” (Teacher KS1)

Straight from the Horse’s Mouth

KS2 (can be adapted to KS1) - Allow 2hrs 15mins -  £3.60 per student

Curriculum links: Animals including humans; working scientifically; recognising pattern and sequence

Do you know how big and heavy a racehorse’s heart is compared with your own? 

Straight FromThe Horse’s Mouth is a hands-on comparative anatomy workshop investigating similarities and differences between human and equine athletes!

Students will explore the Maktoum Gallery of the Thoroughbred to discover what makes a “Racing Machine;” they will put on their vets’ jackets and surgical caps to take part in a role-play surgery to identify and sort cuddly equine and human organs; they will find out about digestion and piece together our life-size cuddly equine digestive system…and they will have the opportunity to ride our famous racehorse simulator- hypothesising, observing and measuring the effect it has on the heart.

“The workshop was really thought-provoking – I don’t think that the information about a horse would have been so well understood or retained if it had not been presented alongside information about humans. This meant that the children were learning evaluative skills as well as facts, and this ability to compare and contrast can be used across the curriculum.”(School Governor)

Blue Peter: WWII

KS 2 - Allow 1hr 45mins - £3.60 per student 

Cirriculum Links: Local Study/ History (How a world or national event affected the locality; sources and interpretation)/ English (reading & spoken language)

What connects a racehorse, a mystery object and a flag? Use investigative skills to examine objects and sources of evidence to piece the clues together. Although set in an historical context, this workshop is also rich in language skills and involves interpreting information from a variety of sources as well as hypothesising.

Students will have the opportunity to handle a mystery object from our collection and to learn about part of Newmarket’s wartime story. If booking this workshop, please do not tell the children its title: we want them to figure out the clues for themselves! Remember: “Hush, hush!”  “Careless talk….!”

“It was the best day…I learned lots about what happened during the war.”          (Pupil, Year 4)

“Handling the mystery object really made the story come alive for the children.”              (Teacher, KS2)

Palace House Grand Tour: an active exploration

Perfect for schools and groups ages 7-18 - Allow 3 hrs - Please enquire

Curriculum links: Social and Cultural learning, touching on themes of Art/History/English/Science.

Suitable for groups of up to 60 students (please contact us if your group is larger)

There’s so much to see. Where to begin?!

Our Palace House Grand Tour will give an overview of our wonderful Heritage Centre, stopping off in the Trainer’s House to search for the weird and the wonderful within our collections…then on to Charles II’s racing palace to enjoy the Packard Galleries of Sporting Art and to create, rehearse and perform a short dialogue based on a work of art…galloping off to The King’s Yard to be put through your paces on our racehorse simulator….and of course racing to The Rothschild Yard to meet our equine stars.

Led by our learning team, students will engage with our collections through active exploration, fun activities and hands-on experiences.

By the end of the tour, students will have an overview of Newmarket’s royal connections and the impact these had on racing and the town; they will have gained an awareness of themes such as art, history, people & places, land use, equine anatomy, evolution and bloodlines; they will have created, rehearsed and performed a short dialogue based on a work of art; they will have had enjoyed the authenticity of a working yard and will have had the opportunity to experience the fitness and stamina needed to be a jockey.

Please contact us for further details.

Dawn Horse

KS 2 & 3 - Allow 2 hrs 15 mins - £3.60 per student

Curriculum links: Science-Evolution & Inheritance; working scientifically

Gallop through evolution and inheritance from the tiny Eohippus to modern Equus. Students will use evidence, including handling fossil casts, in order to understand some of the changes which occurred to the earliest horses millions of years ago and led to Equus.

Hands on activities and investigations will help young scientists to explore adaptation, evolution and variations between parents and offspring. We think you will particularly enjoy the Hungry Horse Adaptation Game, when teams compete to find out which “teeth” will be best for surviving on the available food …and we’re sure you will love playing our Spot The Difference with a difference in the company of our Equine stars in the Rothschild Yard!

Surprising Science

KS 1, 2 & lower KS 3 - Allow 2 hrs - £3.60 per student

Curriculum links: these will vary according to activities selected, but may include animals including humans; working scientifically; inheritance; materials, their properties and uses.

Create your own unique Surprising Science workshop by choosing two activities from our pick’n’mix list below. Your third activity will be an active exploration of The Maktoum Gallery of the Thoroughbred, using our special Surprising Science trail to search for fascinating facts and captivating curiosities!

  • A Journey through the digestive system: starting with teeth and ending with the secrets of poo, students will learn about the digestive system and about some of the differences between humans and horses. They will work together to assemble our life-size cuddly equine digestive system, identifying organs and their functions along the way.
  • Under the microscope - enjoy a fascinating insight into a horse’s world. Using our digital microscopes to take a close look at a variety of objects (e.g. flies found in the stable, horse hair etc.), this is a good opportunity to hypothesise, observe and record.
  • Get your heart racing - learn about the heart and experience the effect exercise has on it by riding our racehorse simulator. Students will compare the size and weight of their own heart with that of a racehorse. This is a great opportunity to discover the qualities needed to become a jockey by chatting with one of our practical gallery instructors. You can even try on some silks to really look the part! (Please note that riding on the simulator may not be possible for students with mobility issues- we will be happy to advise. Children must be 4 years old or over to use the simulator.)
  • An introduction to DNA - make your own DNA bracelet by finishing the code we provide and threading your two strands of beads correctly. Inheritance is important in racing and records have been kept for centuries in an attempt to breed the perfect racehorse. Has this ever been achieved? Would it be as interesting if we could guarantee outcomes? Students take their finished DNA bracelets with them to keep at the end of the workshop.
  • Special silk – Where does silk come from? Why has it been used for racing silks? What are its unique properties and how are colours and patterns allocated? There’s plenty to learn about silk and this activity includes the opportunity to handle sets of silks as well as cocoons and fabric samples. There’s also an amazing chromatography experiment to explore what might happen to colours when the dye runs! 
  • Let’s get organ-ised – Put on your vets’ jackets and your surgical caps for this role play in which students identify and sort cuddly equine and human organs. If there’s time, there are some x-rays to examine too!

“The hands-on, interactive nature of the workshops engaged all of the children.  There was something for everyone to do.  The children particularly loved the ‘Let’s Get Organ-ised’ session because they were dressed as vets!  Being able to identify, and directly compare human and equine organs worked really well and gave the children a better understanding.” (Teacher KS2)

“The children came back to school buzzing to tell their parents the facts that they had learnt.  It was a great introduction to the human organs and digestive system for Year 3.” (Teacher KS2)


To ensure the best experiences for groups, all educational visits must be booked in advance. To plan your visit please contact:

Gabrielle Bell by email or call 01638 667314


Palace House is an Artsmark Partner and an Arts Award Centre. Please contact us if you are interested in working with us on Artsmark or Arts Award

Palace House is also a Children’s University Destination


To view our environmental commitments please click here