Learning at the East Somerset Railway….

History is brought to life with a school visit to Cranmore Station.

There are several themes available (see below) and your visit will be scheduled around the one you choose.  You can combine the learning sessions with any other activities that you wish to include or attractions that you wish to see: the signal box, the miniature railway, the Engine Shed and of course the steam train ride itself, a 35-40min glide through the countryside.

Information and booking form

You can download a School Trip Pack here which gives you all the information you need to plan your visit.

Download and complete the Booking Form, which can then be attached to an email and returned to:

 [email protected]


  • £5.00 per pupil, including train ride (payable in advance).
  • Pre-trip site visit available on request
  • Each learning session lasts about 25 minutes.
  • Availability on Wednesdays ONLY, June until the end of October.
  • Free Staff Places are included.  1 per 10 pupils, or additional on request.
  • Picnic area and patio, play area, free car/coach park, shop and café.
Elaine Lavender


Getty Images



Experience Living History as we transport you through Evacuees’ experience of billeting, new homes and friends, finding out the jobs they will be doing, being issued with an identity card and exploring children’s experiences of being evacuated.   

KS1-3: Significant events; Local History Study; Changing Lives



Find out about the significant role the railway played in local industry, particularly its links with quarrying on the Mendips, bitumen & farm produce.  The railway as part of local, regional and national industry & freight movement is often overlooked: passengers were definitely not the only commodity being moved!! 

(KS2-3: Local History Study; Changing Society; Industrial Revolution & STEM)

‘The Railway Juggernaut of 1845’ Punch Magazine



Through the eyes of some key characters of Cranmore’s past, pupils explore how the railway was organised, the range of jobs, the discipline and camaraderie and the working routine of the station.  It also highlights the range of supporting industries and businesses that built up around the railway networks as well as railway towns such as Swindon.

KS1-3: Changing Lives; Turning Points


Local History: East Somerset in the 19th Century


Exploring the state of East Somerset as a powder keg in the 1840s, this develops understanding of the impact of the decline of the wool trade, riots, frame-breakers and mill arson and the surprising levels of poverty in towns and villages using newspaper archives.

KS2-3 Local History study & Turning Points

Robin Mitchell

Handling Evidence

Using a variety of artefacts and sources, pupils develop their handling and enquiry skills to investigate items for audience, reliability, utility and origin as well as an Enquiry-Setting task for school follow-up.

KS1-3: Historical Skills

National Archives

Women and the Railways

Going back to the 1850s, pupils will explore some surprising women who worked on railways, as well as discovering the impact of both world wars on women’s opportunities.  This also explores different attitudes that women experienced and the work patterns and skills involved.

KS2-4: Equality & Suffrage; Significant Events; Rise of Suffragettes

“The Iron Horse Wins, 1830” by Carl Rakeman

Transport Through Time

Using the local area, we explore the life and times of the Somerset Coal Canal, local Turnpikes & stagecoaches, the railway network and the arrival of motor transport.  Change and continuity skills in abundance through this map and source based activity.

KS2-4 Transport Through Time; KS1-3 Local History Study

Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust

Engineering, Brunel and the West Country

What did Brunel ever do for us?!  Comparing and contrasting his key structures of the SS Great Britain, Box Tunnel, the Clifton Suspension Bridge and Temple Meads Station, pupils address some key engineering processes.

KS1-3 Significant Individuals

Bristol Post

WW2 Home front and the Bristol Blitz

Choose from a) Why was Bristol Blitzed? B) Somerset & WW2 c) Resistance & the Auxiliary Units in East Somerset d) Farm life and WW2 e) Air raids, Shelters and near misses f) Evacuee experiences.  Uses primary and audio-visual sources.

KS 1-3: Changes within living memory; changing aspects of social history; significant national events; Local History study


Signal Box


Built in 1904, children will tour the box both upstairs and below decks and have the opportunity to operate some of the levers. Experts will explain how the signalling system works.  Take care on the steep steps!

David Goulty

Engine Shed


This involves a tour around the active workshops, getting up close to the restoration projects and a talk from the Restoration Team about their work.

Elaine Lavender

Miniature Railway


Limited to 12 young people but lots of fun, this involves a 15 minute train ride parallel to the mainline, and expert input from the volunteers on hand.  It can be unavailable due to weather.

Dick Masters

Sentinel Diesels

The diesels are facinating locomotives and help the ESR greatly by moving stock around the ESR site, assisting the working parties and for the Permanent Way trains.

Colin Girle



Based around the café area, this trail tests collaboration and teamwork, as well as letter hunts to complete a word – fastest completion wins a prize!  (KS2 and 3).

Elaine Lavender


British Library


Discover how Benjamin Parker was affected by Influenza and what remedies were popular with a Shepton Mallet doctor. (KS2-4) 

Shepton Mallet Prison

Life in Shepton Prison 

What was the typical routine for a Victorian prisoner?  Explore the story of Isaac Perrett & Cornhill Prison, the second oldest gaol in England (KS2-4)

Railway Roles

Let your pupils weave their way through a question maze to find out which railway job would best suit them! (KS2-3)


Stationmaster's Trail

Hunt the Magic Tickets, uncover the hidden numbers & find out the Stationmaster’s bell code: give the bell a ding! (KS2-3)

Being a Guard

Your pupils can get some first-hand tips on being a Guard and have a go themselves.  Beware of whistles! (KS1-2)

Timetable or times tables?

An extension numeracy activity for able pupils to organise some timetabling challenges for the Stationmaster (Upper/able KS2-3)


conservation in africa

Take on some elephant, tiger and forest activities to investigate conservation work supported by our founder, David Shepherd (KS1-4)


If you would like to book a School Visit to the East Somerset Railway please contact:

Email - [email protected] or [email protected]

Telephone - 01749 880417 (Monday-Friday 10.30am-3.30pm)