"Thanks for such an awesome visit. Please don't change - this is one of our favourite trips. You guys are simply amazing. We're so grateful that wonderful places like this are available to enthuse the pupils".
If you are planning to bring a group to us, we invite you to take a complimentary visit to witness the site in action.
When The Centre is open (NOT special events / Stargazing evenings / Astronomy Festival) you can visit FREE OF CHARGE. This is the best way to ensure the visit is right for your pupils and is ideal for familiarisation of the site and to complete any risk assessments etc.
We like to have an 'open door policy' but we do recommend you check ahead that we will be open on the day / time you intend to visit.
Just bring ID proof of status and show this on arrival and we will ask you to leave your school details at our reception. If you wish to speak with someone about any aspect of an Educational Visit please contact us in advance to make an appointment, or ask at reception to check if anyone is available.
If you visit with friends or family you will be asked to pay for their admission... but you are welcome to stay all day!
We strive to work in partnership with you to continue to offer high quality 'I can do' learning experiences that meet all needs and expectations, whilst offering exceptional value for money.
Contact us to check availability: we can provisionally hold a date for up to seven days whilst you organise your transport.
We take your booking details over the phone so you may like to download a booking form in advance of contacting us to have the following information ready:
The Centre accepts groups daily from the beginning of February to the end of November
10 am - 5 pm: April, May, June, July, August, September
10 am - 4 pm: February, March, October, November
PLUS Twilight Visit options with departure up to 10 pm.
During the last week of January and the first week of December, The Centre takes groups (25 +) by prior arrangement.
How many pupils can we bring? The Centre can take up to 200 pre-booked pupils at one time (240 if all from one school). If your group is large we strongly recommend you book as far in advance as possible. The bespoke structured timetable for your day facilitates the movement of each group to different areas and activities.
......and how many adults? Accompanying, supervising adults are ALL admitted free of charge(max. ratio 1-1) and are responsible for their pupils at all times.
We charge per pupil according to the activities you have booked.
ALL accompanying adults are admitted FREE of charge.
Hands-on exhibits and workshop activity
£5.95 per pupil
Telescope Tour Or Science Show
additional £1 per pupil: Minimum charge £30
Team Challenges with Hands-on exhibits, Telescope Tour or Science Show
£7.95 per pupil
Telescope Discovery Tour & Workshop with Hands-on exhibits
£7.95 per pupil
Twilight Visit with Hands-on exhibits, Telescope Tour & Catering
£12.95 per pupil
Supervising adults FREE admission, Catering £6 pp if required.
When all visit details have been finalised, you will be emailed a confirmation letter, guidance notes for the visit and Code of Conduct. If you have NOT received this information 2 weeks prior to your visit, please urgently contact The Centre.
Booking Terms Final numbers and amendments must be confirmed NO LATER than fourteen days prior to the visit.
Cancellations must be received by us (in writing) NO LATER than fourteen days prior to the visit.
Payment is required seven days PRIOR to the visit, which means less admin for teachers when they arrive. As a registered charity we are unable to offer refunds, however in the case of overpayment we will issue complimentary General Admission letters for absentees.
Exceptional circumstances:if we have to cancel a visit or amend pre-booked activities, we will contact you as soon as we can and offer alternatives. If payment has been received and you cannot accept the alternative date / activity, we will give a full refund.
Methods of Payment
Payment can be made by BACS transfer, card, cash or cheque:
Cheques payable to ‘Science Projects Ltd'.
Allowing for travelling time, a visit to The Centre fills your normal school day.
Ideally you should aim for a minimum of 3 hours but your booked activities will be timetabled to fit within the times you have told us you can be on site.
Groups are welcome morning, afternoon or evening.
What is included?
Telescope Tour (optional extra)
Catering (optional extra)
On your confirmation documentation, we will have asked you to divide the pupils into a number of groups.
On arrival each of the group leaders will be given their timetable: please note we give 1 copy of the timetable per group, and not per adult.
During our 'welcome' we will explain where you should meet The Centre team for your activities.
Your bespoke timetable is prepared by us and gives times for your pre-booked workshop / show / tour etc. In-between these activities your group will be timetabled for exhibit areas, lunch and gift shop.
The indoor corridor of exhibits contains 5 themed exhibition galleries which can be explored in any order. Each group leader should keep their children together to explore one exhibition area at a time, rather than spread out along the corridor.
Each group will also be allocated time to the outdoor exhibit areas of Discovery Park and Water Park (weather permitting).
The multi-sensory nature of many of the hands-on exhibits makes them ideal for all ability levels. Workshops, Telescope Tours and Science Shows can be adjusted for each group.
Groups of all ages are welcome and carers are admitted FREE of charge 1-1 ratio.
At the time of booking please discuss individual needs and access requirements, special facilities, or if additional carers are required to accompany the group.
This is an historic site but the majority is wheelchair accessible.
Parking for cars / minibus and ramped, step-free access is at the rear of The Centre building.
Access toilet is located on the ground floor and this facility now includes height adjustable changing bed and hoist.
We provide Risk Assessments for the site, exhibits, activities etc. all available to download.
The Observatory Science Centre operates in an historic site and visitors must take care at all times. Teachers and accompanying adults are responsible for the appropriate behaviour of their pupils at all times.
In the event of an evacuation of the building everyone assembles in the outdoor Discovery Park. If you are involved in a workshop, tour or similar, you will be directed by The Centre staff. The teacher in charge of your visit will be expected to check that all members of their group are accounted for.
The Centre has a first aid room in the hands-on corridor. All visiting schools bring their own First Aider but if an incident or accident does occur it must be reported to us and 1 of our Emergency Aiders will assist you.
We have a dedicated team of emploees yand volunteers who will lead your booked workshop / tour / science show etc. All have a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) Enhanced Certificate and many are registered STEM Ambassadors.
ALL employees and volunteers wear uniform (purple) and / or name badge.
On arrival we meet you at our entrance reception and lead you all to your base for the day: usually the large white geodesic dome or marquee.
We give a short 'welcome & safety' talk and hand out your bespoke timetable before you access the site.
"Please thank all the staff who were involved on the day for their support and for being so lovely with the children."
"The staff clearly enjoy interacting with the children - which isn't always the case on school trips!"
"The staff were really lovely and helpful."
There is ample FREE parking for all vehicles.
Ramped step-free access is at the rear of the main centre building, with 4 parking bays for cars / minibuses. This area is not accessible for coaches.
Coaches: Designated hard standing area located a short walk 100 metres (approx.) from our reception. Coaches are NOT permitted to drive up Bradley Road (within the estate).
We offer FREE admission for your coach driver, plus a FREE cup of tea / coffee from the Cafe.
Please advise your driver that NO coach is permitted to reverse whilst children are standing in the coach park. ALL children must remain seated until your vehicle has parked and is stationary.
Cars & Minibuses: Grass field (mown) immediately adjacent to The Centre.
Bags & belongings are left in the geodesic dome / marquee and this is where you eat your lunch. Food / drink cannot be consumed in the exhibit corridor nor telescope domes etc.
There is a patio and decked area outside the marquee which can be used for picnics in good weather: please note, our Risk Assessment does not permit school groups to sit near the pond for lunch.
It is not possible to lock the geodesic dome / marquee.
Science Projects Ltd cannot accept any responsibility for loss or damage to personal items.
The Gift Shop is located within the entrance reception: every purchase helps to support our charity.
There is a fantastic range of science and astronomy related gifts, pocket money toys, souvenirs and resources.
Items are available from just 25 pence and this is a great opportunity for pupils to shop with 'real money' and practice their maths.
If pupils bring pocket money, small groups will be allocated a time to visit the shop as we cannot accommodate everyone at one time. Pupils must always be accompanied by their supervising adults.
You can also pre-order Goody Bags from £4: options can be discussed with the Shop Manager.
Teachers if you are purchasing in bulk for class prizes, or resources for the classroom please let us know.
The Café is open serving hot drinks, cakes and light snacks.
We can assist with 'packed' lunches for your group to save bringing them from school / residential sites etc. and we can cater for dietary requirements. Please discuss at the time of booking. We are adept at preparing emergency rations on the day should packed lunches have been forgotten!
As well as the Cafe we operate a catering unit: 'The Launch Box' serving fries, hot dogs, burgers etc.
If you would like students to make purchases from The Cafe or The Launch Box, please discuss with us beforehand.
Most schools choose for their pupils to wear school uniform, but this is not essential.
Pupils and adults should dress according to the weather conditions as the site comprises several buildings / domes and all doors are open to maintain airflow.You will be walking outside to access different areas.
The buildings will be cold so it is advisable to wear layers and definitely coats / sturdy footwear during cold / wet months. We keep outdoor exhibits operational as long as it is safe to do so.
We aim to always provide a visit which meets expectations.
All feedback is important so please help us monitor and improve our educational programme
An evaluation form will be emailed to the group leader after your visit and can also be downloaded from this site at any time.
Please help us to help you by giving us your evaluation comments.
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Please note we all work part-time .. if your enquiry is urgent you are welcome to call us
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The Observatory Science Centre is part of Science Projects Ltd, a company limited by guarantee registered in England No: 02186073 and a registered charity No: 298542. The registered office is 3 – 15 Stirling Road, Acton, London. W3 8DJ. UK.