Dark Age Explorer Days

Dark Age Explorer days are shorter activity days for smaller school groups of up to 34 (and 4 adults free of charge). Led by one costumed member of our Living History team, these days support the study of life in Viking OR Saxon Britain (please specify on booking what topic you would like to focus on). Arriving as new settlers, the children will be taken to their new homes on our dark-age settlement and given appropriate costume. Here they will have the opportunity to experience first-hand the daily life of a Dark Age family as they explore their new homes. They will learn new skills and all about the hard work that was part of daily life. A normal visit is designed to run from 10:00am to 2:00pm although timings can be tailored in advance to suit your requirements and circumstances. The Explorer  Day is primarily self-led by the visiting group leaders, with our member of staff on hand throughout the day to set up and facilitate tasks. Our member of staff directly leads the battle training activity in the area of the site set aside for this purpose.

On arrival, you will be met and greeted by a costumed member of the Living History team who will remain with you throughout the day. Their initial job will be to confirm the details of the day with the senior member of your staff. The children will be welcomed, shown to the toilets and appropriate costumes for children and adults (which go over outdoor clothing) will be given out. This is followed by an initial safety briefing and orientation talk to set the scene for their day. This will include a tour around the village and a talk in the full sized Dark Age Longhouse which will provide the children with an opportunity to think about what daily life was like for our ancestors.

After the longhouse talk, you will be invited to divide the children into an appropriate number of  ‘family’ groups up to a maximum of four. (You must have one adult leader assigned to supervise each family group).  You will then be shown to your area of the village and given four ’homes’, where bags and packed lunches can be left.

There are a number of other ‘workshop’ buildings in your area of the village where the children (and adults) will perform a variety of tasks. The indoor workshops are set up for the following range of activities:

  • 1) The Lord’s House
    The children will have the opportunity to examine and sketch a range of replica artefacts in an authentic real-life setting.
  • 2) The Pottery Shop
    The children will have the opportunity to make a clay oil lamp – an essential household item in the absence of any other form of artificial lighting.
  • 3) The Workshop
    Where the children will learn to make and play a period board game.
  • 4) The Battle Training Area
    Where the children will learn the rudiments of battle tactics and how to defend their village (using dummy weapons!).

Please note: Activities may be amended to reflect prevailing weather conditions.

The children will take away anything they make during the day.

Most of the day will take place under cover, but it is still essential that children are appropriately dressed and prepared for the weather.


Charges: An Explorer day costs £11.00 per child. (Minimum charges apply for groups under 22 pupils).

Further information:

Click here for a printable information sheet giving further  details of the Explorer Day.

Click here for a copy of our in-house risk assessment for the Explorer Day