Learn at Castle Espie Wetland Centre

From pond-dipping, witnessing the migration of thousands of Brent geese to Strangford Lough, to close encounters with some of the world’s most endangered ducks and geese, and much more, WWT Castle Espie offers it all.

With the addition of highly trained learning staff who will guide you and your pupils, this is the ideal environment to learn about the amazing world around us.

Keeping you and your learners safe

We continue to work hard to ensure that all learning visits are Covid-safe. We have always taken pride in our personal approach and we will work directly with you to ensure that your safety needs are met and any concerns addressed.

We are regularly updating our risk assessments for learning visits in line with the latest guidance. Your safety is our first priority.

Should you be unable to visit due to Coronavirus, we will allow you to re-book or cancel free of charge.


Risk assessment

Learning sessions

Informative and engaging, our curriculum-linked learning sessions at WWT Castle Espie are based in the outdoors and are suitable for a range of ages and abilities. See the available sessions here.


Generation Wild

Generation Wild is our new nature-connection project for schools and families. It is available free of charge to schools with over 45% of pupils eligible for free school meals. This includes free visits (and transport) to Castle Espie Wetland Centre.

Self-guided resources

As well as taking part in a guided session there will be plenty of time for your group to explore the Centre. In order to make best use of this time, we have developed a range of self-guided resources which you can use to help extend your group’s learning.


What teachers say

"So much learning…such an action packed day. The kids absolutely love it from the moment they step in… they are so excited and it’s so well organised.’"

Lisa Thompson – Killinchy Primary School


All our prices include full access to our centre for the day, so you and your pupils can enjoy all that we have to offer.

Session typePre-schoolFoundation to KS2KS3 to KS4KS5+Adult
Full day admission without a learning session (self guided visit):£4.30£4.60£6.10£6.10£7.00
Full day admission with a learning session/s up to 1 hour:£4.80£5.00£5.00£7.00£7.00
Full day admission with a learning session/s up to 2 hours:£5.00£5.80£5.80£7.00£7.00

Free adult ratios

We offer free entry to adults within the following ratios, and free entry to all essential carers.

1:2 - Pre-school
1:5 - Foundation Stage
1:10 - KS1-2
1:15 - KS3+

Minimum numbers of pupils

We run sessions for a minimum of 12 pupils.

Minimum numbers for Special Schools may be lower. Please contact us to discuss your needs.

Sample itinerary


We'll meet you on arrival at the coach drop off point and guide you to your room for the day. There you'll have time to use the toilets and have a snack before your learning session begins.

Guided learning session: Feed the birds

For an incredible experience feed our birds by hand. Some are the most endangered in the world. With a guide on hand feed our collection birds and learn all about how they live. A 30 minute session your pupils will be raving about long after your visit.

Guided learning session: Pond dipping

With our expert guides use nets to catch the animals that live in our freshwater ponds and see them up-close using our underwater camera and state of the art water tank. Pond dipping sessions are available for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Visit the Brent Discovery Hide

Discover the varied wildlife of Strangford Lough. Pupils will be shown how to use binoculars and our colourful, pupil friendly books, ID panels and exhibits help them learn about the wild birds they’ll see. A 30 minute session.

Lunch, free time, or a shop visit

Everyone returns to their rooms for lunch or to any of the outdoor spaces available if the weather permits. The rest of your visit is yours to spend as you wish. Visit our outdoor play areas, use some of our self-guided resources, or spend some pocket money in our extensive shop.

Added extras

Close encounters

A chance for your group to get up close and hand-feed rare endangered birds from around the world – Food for the birds will be provided as part of your admissions if you opt for a guided or self-guided session.

Cost: Included in guided or self-guided visit or 75p per bag of grain.

The Duckery

Watch diving ducks in action in our state of the art diving tanks and see some incredible birds in our enclosures. Baby ducklings and goslings may also be on show but contact the centre for details as this will be on a seasonal basis.

Cost: FREE

Brent Discovery Hide

Visit our hands-on hide with its very own child-sized telescope and easy to use bird identification boards, books, wall charts, and a fantastic view of all the amazing wildlife on Strangford Lough.

Cost: FREE

The Crannog

Visit everyone’s favourite little thatched iron age building and learn all about our ancient ancestors.

Cost: FREE

Limekiln observatory, Limestone pavilion and Castle Espie brickworks

Discover our history zone and learn about the world of the Victorians who worked here 150 years ago. Why not have a go on the fossil themed climbing wall situated at the Limekiln observatory.

Cost: FREE

Play areas

Burn off some steam in our two woodland play areas at the Wild wood or Secret swamp. Try out climbing, balancing, crawling, and our zip-line and woodland xylophone.

Cost: FREE

The Wishing Tree

There are fairies in the woods. Start your adventure at their wishing tree to find all their hidden doors. How many can you discover?

Cost: FREE

Gift shop

Why not visit our extensive gift shop or save time and pre-order goods ready for collection on the day of your visit?

Cost: Varied (please contact us to arrange a pre-order if required)

Dedicated use of indoor classroom

All guided school trips also include the use of an indoor classroom where you can leave your belongings and have a break and lunch.

Cost: Included as part of your guided visit admission. Contact the centre if only room hire is required

Learning map and guide


Download the learning map and guide for WWT Castle Espie. See all the facilities and fun things to see on your trip.

Risk assessment

Download our risk assessment for WWT Castle Espie to help you plan your day with us.

Get in touch

Speak to one of our Learning team today at WWT Castle Espie to book your visit or find out further details.