National Stone Centre

Opening Hours
10am - 4pm Every day


The National Stone Centre has hosted thousands of students on visits to our site over the years. We have a Discovery Centre with a seperate teaching room for the use of school groups, who participate in a number of activities led by our volunteer educators. Where possible we hold activities outdoors using our Site of Special Scientific Interest to explore geological processes and to teach children about the mineral extraction industry. We suggest that teachers, support staff and children come equipped for all weathers and wear appropriate footwear. Bags, coats and lunches can be stored safely in the teaching room. Coaches can stay in the car park in dedicated bays and parking charges apply.

The number of children that we can accommodate on each visit is limited by the size of our visitors room and our teaching resources. Please divide each party of children into groups of 15 with at least two adults accompanying each group.  For more information or to discuss your visit, please call 01629 824833. 

Key Stages 1 & 2

We offer the popular 'Treasure in the Rocks' Day Event which is £12.50 per student. The half day rate is £8.00 per student and teachers can select from the specific activites shown below that run in half-hour time slots. 

Activities available

'Treasure in the Rocks' Day Event  These are very popular with schools and consist of all five activities which are a Guided Fossil and Rock Trail, Gem Panning, Rock Detectives and Soils, as well as an optional visit to the Exhibition and Rock Shop during lunch break or at the end of the sessions. These popular events are run by our team of volunteer educators and it is important that groups arrive promptly and keep to the schedule they are given on the day.

Fossil Trail Students can find out about the earliest creatures on Earth and think about how their remains became part of the rocks beneath our feet. They will then see examples of fossils in the rocks around the Geotrail. Visit fossil beds to discover brachiopod, coral and crinoid fossils.

Gem Panning Gem panning is a fascinating hands-on activity. Students carry their pan of 'sand' to shallow ponds of clean water and swirl the mixture to separate out the hidden semi-precious gems and take the gems they find home with them. The technique of panning is explained and how it is used to discover gold. 

Rock Trail On the trail students find out how limestone is created, learn about quarrying and see a former quarry that produced roadstone for the M1 Motorway, find out about lead mining in the area and see an actual lead mine shaft.

Soils  A hands-on demonstration of different types of soils is given. This includes comparing their varied texture and properties and illustrating the relationship of soils to the underlying rock and the effect of plants and animals.

Rock Detectives A study of rocks and minerals gives students the opportunity to examine and compare samples to illustrate their varied appearance, origin and properties. This gives rise to a discussion of the many different uses of stone.

Additional activities include:

Building Britain Exhibition is a free exhibition including a quiz sheet for visitors to complete as they go around.

The Rock Shop  Contains a range of fossils, rocks, minerals and other stone related items for visitors to peruse and purchase.

Goodie Bags for schools are now available from the Rock Shop to pre-order.


Key Stages 3 & 4

A visit to our “Building Britain” Exhibition and to the Geo-Trail will be most appropriate for Key Stages 3 & 4. These illustrate and lend discussion to the following concepts required in the National Curriculum spread across several different subject areas;

  • Earth Structure and Composition
  • Plate tectonics, the Rock Cycle and Geological Processes
  • Interactive timeline to discuss evolution of the Earth’s environments, atmosphere and climate change through geological time.
  • Mineral resources and their extraction
  • Quarrying & Limestone
  • Construction Materials
  • Calcium carbonate and the limestone reaction cycle.

For more information or to discuss your visit, please call 01629 824833. 


How to book

  1. First check, by telephoning the National Stone Centre (01629 824833), to see if your chosen date is available before completing the booking form
  2. Print out a copy of the PDF Booking Form and return it by e-mail to
  3. Print out a copy of the Health & Safety Statement and return a signed copy together with the signed copy of the booking form to the National Stone Centre.
  4. Print out a copy of the Risk Assessment for your own paperwork. 
  • Please pay within 14 days of the invoice date.
  • Please make cheques payable to the National Stone Centre.
  • Please give 14 days' notice of cancellation or a charge may be made 

Each school is responsible for their pupils while they are on site.