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Group Visit Information

We have put together a list of questions that we get asked about a lot. Hopefully they will provide you with the information you need.

If you have a different query however, or would like to make a booking, we would love to hear from you. Please contact us and we will be happy to help.

What facilities do you have?

All our sites have a bookable indoor lunch space, shop, accessible toilets and coach drop-off point.

All sites except Christchurch Mansion have lift access to all galleries.

For more detailed information, just check our venue pages.

Can I make a pre-visit and do you have a risk assessment?

Yes! We highly recommend you to make a preliminary visit to help you get the most of your day, especially if you are on a self-led visit.

Entry to the Castle is free for teachers on a pre-visit; just  show your booking form at the reception desk as you come in.

If you would like to talk to a member of our team on a pre-visit, please ask when booking.

Copies of risk assessments, which you can use as a guideline for your own visit risk assessment, can be found under the relevant museum session you are attending.

Can you offer sessions for students with specific needs?

Yes! We are very experienced working with special needs groups.

Our sessions are very practical and include lots of object handling and dressing up activities and can be adapted to meet your students specific needs.

Just contact us and a member of our Collections and Learning team will be happy to discuss this with you.

Is there an indoor space for lunch?

All Ipswich sites have an indoor, bookable lunch space. If you are on a self-led visit, there may be a small charge for the lunch room.

In Colchester, only the Castle has a lunch space, which pre-booked schools may use during their visit.

Is there an opportunity for children to shop?

Yes! All sites have a shop with a range of pocket money priced souvenirs.

Shop space is limited, so we recommend you visit in small groups.

Are your sites fully accessible for wheelchair users?

Due to the nature of our historic buildings they are not all fully accessible to people with wheelchairs or mobility difficulties.

All sites, except Christchurch Mansion and Colchester Castle have full lift access.

While the majority of Colchester Castle is accessible by lift, the Roman Vaults and Great Stairs are not.

There is no lift access at Christchurch Mansion.

In sessions that use these spaces we have alternative provision for groups with mobility difficulties to ensure all pupils are able to fully participate in the activities.

If you have any queries, please contact us and a member of our team will be happy to help.

Are the museums suitable for Nursery and Early Years groups?

For a small charge we are able to provide additional object handling boxes and I spy trail cards in some of our venues to provide a focus to your visit.

At Ipswich Museum and Gallery we also have “Woolly’s Treasure Chest”, with handling objects and a story book which is a great way to introduce the museum to children before they visit.

Is coach parking available on site?

Colchester Castle is located in town centre parkland. Coach parking is not available on site or in the immediate town centre vicinity.

From 6th Sept 2016 a new drop-off point (indicated by a parking sign) will be located on the High Street, just past the entrance to Museum Street, outside Emmaus (drop-off hours of operation 09:30-16:30).

This is first-come-first-served and subject to a 15 minute time limit.

Further coach drop-off facilities are located on the south side of East Hill, just before the Lewis Gardens turning if driving uphill (accessible for coaches from the High Street via Queen Street > St Botolph’s Street >Magdalen Street > Brook Street.)

Groups then walk up East Hill crossing with care at the two pelican crossings on the corner of East Hill /Queen Street / High Street.

Please do not ask coaches to stop on the north side of East Hill as residential properties are nearby.

Coach parking is available at the Sheepen Road coach park.

There is no parking at the Ipswich museums but they are both located in the town centre. Please visit www.ipswich.gov.uk/parking for up-to-date information.

Do you have handling objects we can borrow?

We have Schools Loan and Memory Boxes covering many different subjects that are available to borrow e.g. by nurseries, schools, centres and care homes.

The boxes contain a mixture of objects, documents, costume and photographs, which you can borrow to enhance your visit or to bring the past alive.

Related Content

Our sessions are led by our super trained Learning Team and are a fun way to explore your chosen venue.

Interact, dress up and explore the rich history Colchester and Ipswich have to offer.

Fossil shell

Borrow one of our loan boxes to bring the past alive in your classroom. Boxes contain a mix of replica and real objects, photos, documents and guidance notes.

Shelves with a variety of collection items

If you fancy browsing our collections at your own pace, we have a range of resources that are designed to assist teachers and students on their self-guided tour.

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