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Teaching resources

Get even more out of your visit with our wide range of free teaching resources for schools and groups.

1 Overview

Make the most of a visit by preparing for your day with the help of our wide range of resources for teachers and group leaders.

Background information and tour notes let you familiarise yourself with a site before you arrive. You can work out the most relevant highlights for your group and plan your route accordingly. There are also activities and resources to try before, during and after the visit, and you can find a variety of colouring sheets, quizzes and trails in our fun make-and-take section.

Our teaching resources are designed to support the delivery of Curriculum for Excellence.

All downloads are free to use. Handling boxes – for use on site during a visit – can be booked in advance.

Many of our resources are also available in Gaelic. Find out about our full range of Gaelic resources.

3 Site guides

Start getting to know a site before you even set foot in it. It’s the best way to give your learners a head start on the day of your visit.

Our Investigating Historic Sites series of downloads covers more than 35 of our properties.

Each site guide typically provides:

  • a timeline and historical background
  • ideas for before the visit
  • approaches for working on site
  • suggestions for follow-up work
  • tour notes for the most important locations on site
  • notes about visiting the site
  • links to additional resources for teachers and pupils

Investigating Historic Sites downloads

Arbroath Abbey [PDF, 1.45MB]
The Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces, Kirkwall [PDF, 1.39MB]
Blackness Castle [PDF, 856KB]
Bothwell Castle [PDF, 1.22MB]
Claypotts Castle [PDF, 929KB]
Corgarff Castle [PDF, 1.21MB]
Craigmillar Castle [PDF, 1.02MB]
Dirleton Castle [PDF, 1.04MB]
Doune Castle [PDF, 1.13MB]
Dryburgh Abbey [PDF, 1.65MB]
Dundrennan Abbey [PDF, 1.18MB]
Dunfermline Abbey [PDF, 1.11MB]
Edinburgh Castle [PDF, 1.67MB]
Elgin Cathedral [PDF, 925KB]
Fort George [PDF, 1.47MB]
Holyrood Park [PDF, 3.4MB]
Huntingtower Castle [PDF, 1.33MB]
Huntly Castle [PDF, 1.05MB]
Jedburgh Abbey [PDF, 1.2MB]
Kildrummy Castle [PDF, 1.25MB]
Linlithgow Palace [PDF, 1.23MB]
MacLellan’s Castle [PDF, 1.24MB]
Melrose Abbey [PDF, 1.5MB]
New Abbey Corn Mill [PDF, 1.15MB]
Ruthven Barracks [PDF, 1.22MB]
St Andrews Castle [PDF, 1.17MB]
St Andrews Cathedral [PDF, 1.08MB]
St Bridget’s Kirk [PDF, 1.21MB]
Stanley Mills [PDF, 2.66MB]
Stirling Castle and Palace [PDF, 4.53MB]
Sweetheart Abbey [PDF, 1.27MB]
Tantallon Castle [PDF, 958KB]
Threave Castle [PDF, 877KB]
Tolquhon Castle [PDF, 980KB]
Urquhart Castle [PDF, 964KB]
Whithorn Priory and Museum [PDF, 1.02MB]

Stirling Castle tour route leaflet

Stirling Castle Overview Route – English [PDF, 1.71MB]
Stirling Castle Overview Route – French [PDF, 350KB]
Stirling Castle Overview Route – German [PDF, 1.37MB]

4 Handling boxes

Book a handling box as part of a schools activity to let learners really get to grips with history.

A themed box of high quality objects makes for fun, hands-on learning. As well as bringing the past to life, handling boxes can provide inspiration for creative responses.

Handling boxes can be used with learners of all ages and abilities.

Activities listings will tell you if handling boxes are available. Search our Schools Activity Programme.

Support materials

Some handling boxes have support materials that you can download before your visit or pick up on site. These are listed below.

5 Children’s resources

Our children’s resources are designed for younger visitors and take a light-hearted and fun look at aspects of various themes.

Our colouring sheets, quizzes and trails can help you to support a school project and get the most from a visit by making learning more fun. 

Life in medieval Scotland downloads

Cooking in a Castle [PDF, 274KB]
Cooking in the Village [PDF, 172KB]
Feasting in the Great Hall [PDF, 223KB]
Having Fun [PDF, 294KB]
Keeping Clean [PDF, 250KB]
Sickness and Health [PDF, 330KB]
Working in a Castle [PDF, 354KB]

Craft Activities

Design your own Castle [PDF, 410KB]
Make a Mini-Mangonel [PDF, 117KB]
Make your own Jousting Helmet [PDF, 130KB]
Make your own Lion or Unicorn Puppet [PDF, 352KB]

Other downloads

Colouring sheet downloads

Drummer Boy [PDF, 148KB]
Hebridean Girl [PDF, 160KB]
Knight [PDF, 140KB]
Monk [PDF, 128KB]
Pictish Boy [PDF, 120KB]
Princess [PDF, 154KB]
Viking Warrior [PDF, 132KB]

Evidence record download

Learners can use this evidence record to note down discoveries as they investigate our sites.

Evidence Record [PDF, 1.3MB]

See our guide to Gaelic resources for Gaelic versions of this and other materials. 

Scran resources

Scran is available to anyone wishing to access its more than 480,000 digital resources for studying heritage.

Find out more about Scran.

6 Search all learning publications

Find educational publications for purchase as well as a wide range of learning resources that you can download for free.

Search for learning publications by keyword, category and/or publication date.

Search publications