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Learning outside the classroom


Bring learning to life with our programme of educational activities that inspire an understanding of the natural world and local heritage, encourage physical activity and stimulate the imagination.

Our destination parks

Hardwick Park

Located on the outskirts of Sedgefield, Hardwick Park has existed since the 1750s when its then owner, John Burdon created a sprawling ornamental park. Throughout the park are some of the remains of buildings designed by James Paine. These were originally inspired by architecture Burdon saw when he travelled through Europe.

The park has a visitor centre which includes a custom-made education room suitable for groups of up to 35 children, a yurt suitable for groups of 60 children, exhibition space, shop, café and toilets.

Wharton Park

Wharton Park is a Victorian park recently restored with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. The park was gifted to the city of Durham by William Wharton in 1858. It is situated very close to the railway station, in the north of the city of Durham, and boasts spectacular views of the Cathedral and Castle as well as a wealth of local heritage. 

The Heritage Centre has excellent facilities including an education room with outdoor space, toilets and café. The education room is suitable for groups of up to 35 children.

Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge

Both Hardwick and Wharton Park hold the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge. This means you can be assured that our provision meets a certain set of standards, in terms of both content and delivery. What you can expect from a visit with us:

  • Workshops facilitated by skilled, experienced and enthusiastic staff.
  • Activities that are carefully designed to incorporate strong cross-curricular links and practical hands on experiences.
  • An understanding of the benefits outdoor learning has on well-being and how this has a direct impact on learning and development back in the classroom.
  • We provide a termly programme outlining the content and outcomes for each workshop.
  • Activities that are adapted to suit the age and needs of the group.
  • Sessions that are tailored to suit a specific learning outcome on request.
  • We keep up to date with teaching trends and curriculum matters.
  • A straightforward booking system.
  • We understand the pressure schools are facing and seek to give you the greatest value for your visit.
  • An opportunity to discuss your exact requirements and learning objectives with us before your visit.
  • A visitor information pack that provides an outline of your day and key information.
  • Continuing improvement and development of our learning programme following feedback received from groups.
  • Inspirational spaces that can unlock children's learning potential and bring out the best in them.
  • Learning in our Parks is exciting, active and most importantly memorable.
Quality Badge awarded by Council for Learning Outside the Classroom logo

In partnership with

  • Quality Badge awarded by Council for Learning Outside the Classroom
Contact us
Parks and countryside education officer
03000 262 845
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