RSPB Nature Reserves

Having access to discover, learn and play outdoors is surely an essential part of childhood.

A survey of over 1000 school children and teachers revealed that 85% of school children want to spend more time outside in nature and four out of five teachers want to spend more time teaching outside.

In recent years, a number of studies have pointed to the amount of time British children are spending outside exploring nature is on the decline. Children today – and many adults too – have less contact with the natural environment than any previous generation, this is despite all the evidence about the positive impacts contact with nature brings to a child’s education, health and wellbeing.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) believes that every child should be entitled to regular contact with the natural environment. Every year, thousands of children engage with nature with the RSPB, including over 30,000 school children who visit our outdoor learning centres across the UK.

The RSPB has 18 nature reserves around the UK where we can provide your class with that special out of classroom learning experience they will remember.

 Visit one of our stunning nature reserves and let us provide your class with a unique and memorable day. You can rspbchoose from a selection of half or full-day programmes that will get your group exploring the natural world with exciting hands-on activities linked to the curriculum across all key stages. We provide activities suitable for Early Years, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 at all our centres with some able to offer secondary programmes as well. The special habitats on RSPB nature reserves provides an ideal environment for a rich variety of species to thrive, meaning we can offer pupils the chance to get up close to many insects, birds and animals they may not have had the opportunity to see before.

Our most popular sessions centre around habitat exploration where children can take part in activities such as minibeast hunting and pond dipping, always a great favourite! Food chains really come to life when pupils can capture the creatures themselves and see them up close. Plenty of time is given for exploration, discovery and fun with the majority of time spent outdoors.

RSPB Rainham Marshes in Essex, once used by the Ministry of Defense as a rifle range in both World Wars, is one of the few remaining ancient grassland and grazing marshes in the UK. This variety of wildlife and habitats provides a fantastic opportunity for all types of field study as your class explores the unique landscape of the marshes.

With our innovative and sustainable Environment and Education Centre, dedicated education discovery zones and the River Thames on our doorstep, the marshes are a safe and inspiring environment for your class to get close to nature.

Julie Foreman, RSPB Learning Officer at Rainham Marshes, says: “Working for the RSPB, people assume I must be a bird expert but I am an enthusiastic amateur at best; my specialism is children! I am passionate about encouraging children to connect with nature in every way possible. It saddens me to see children staring at a screen instead of climbing trees or poking sticks into mud.

“Nothing makes me happier than to watch a pupil pore over a tray full of tiny pond creatures and mutter to himself ‘this is just the best day ever’. Helping to create those wow! moments is what we do best.”

It’s easy to book, the RSPB web pages contain all the information you will need to make a visit, including essentialrspb pre visit information such as guidance for teachers and adult helpers along with a short presentation to share with your class so they know what to expect on their visit.

We also provide a range of follow-up resources, all downloadable from our specialist teachers web pages so you can continue learning with your class back in school or in your school grounds. There is also the opportunity to sign up to the RSPB education enewsletter

All RSPB School Visits schemes have been externally verified to ensure that we are providing high quality learning experiences and managing safety effectively via the LOtC Quality Badge scheme so you can book with confidence.

Here’s just some of the feedback from teachers:

Really enjoyed the day, lots of very useful information delivered in an engaging way (Year 10 teacher, St. Albans)

We all had a great day! Lots of great learning differentiated for all. We would recommend to others. (Primary teacher, Brampton)

We will definitely book again for next year - a good overall day and the bird hide is excellent! (Year 7 teacher, Potters Bar)

We had a fabulous day which enthused the children.  Our education Officer, was well organized, knowledgeable and great interacting with the children. Thank you! (Year 2 teacher, Herfordshire)

We have had a fab day - really well organized and very educational, and led by enthusiastic leaders. Children have learnt loads. (Year 2 teacher Liverpool)

Really great, well pitched at the children and taught them lots! Really enjoyed the trip and fit really well with our habitats topic and geography fieldwork (map reading). Thank you for another wonderful trip - all the staff were lovely and very knowledgeable. (Year 4 teacher, Lytham)

This was an amazing day! Thank you so much for your patience, enthusiasm and helping our 4-5 year olds to keep engaged and hands on learning was spot on! Brilliant! (Year 5 teacher, York)

Nature is an adventure waiting to be had, so get out, get exploring and get wild. Find your nearest school reserve here


The independent survey was conducted by Family Kids and Youth social research agency, interviewing 1,231 children between the ages 6-11 and 201 teachers, between November 2016 and July 2017.
Statistics from Family Kids and Youth Connection Children with Nature research survey:
  • 85% of school children agreed that they want to spend more time outside in nature.
  • 91% of teachers agreed that they want to spend more time teaching outside.
  • 83% of teachers agreed that taking part in lessons outside increases children’s confidence.