Education Centre (School Visits)

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We hope that you will find a trail or workshop that your class will enjoy and will give them the opportunity to experience the Cathedral which has been a centre of community and worship for nearly a thousand years.


Photo of mosaic workshop

Workshops are practical activities carried out in the Education Centre, which are designed to complement the trails and to give the children the opportunity to make something which they can take home with them.
The children generally work as a whole class and the work lasts for approximately 75 minutes. There is no need to bring notepaper or pencils as all equipment is provided!
Workshops we offer include:

Art and Design (KS2)

This workshop complements our Faith in Art Trail or can be booked separately. It allows children to respond to the art and architecture in the Cathedral by collecting sketches and creating a collage using a Batik-style technique.

Sketching in the Cathedral (KS2)

An opportunity for pupils at all levels to look at and discuss artists' impressions of the inside of this ancient building, and make their own drawings.

Clay Tile Making (KS1/KS2)

Often taken in conjunction with the Five Senses or Signs and Symbols trails.This workshop encourages children to recreate, on a clay tile, the symbols seen during their trail.


Roman Mosaic Making (KS2)

Children discover how mosaic flooring is made and have the opportunity to create their own mosaic tile. This task encourages the children to work co-operatively and understand how their own tile is important to the overall work.

Illuminated letter

Illuminated Manuscript (KS2)

How were books produced in the days before the printing press? How did people write with feathers?

Children have the opportunity to write with quill pens and prepare their own quarto and octavo books. They can also produce their own piece of illuminated manuscript.

Stained glass

Stained Glass (KS1/KS2)

What is the difference between ordinary glass and 'stained glass'? How is it made? How is it used in Southwark Cathedral?

This workshop involves a study of the windows in the Cathedral looking at abstract windows as well as more traditional styles. The children then have the opportunity to complete their own picture window to take home.

Looking at Victorian Objects (KS2)

An activity to complement the Victorian Classroom sessions in which children study replica artefacts.


Saintly Souvenirs (KS2)

No sticks of rock, no straw donkeys! How did medieval pilgrims remember their holy journeys? Children will learn why and how pilgrim badges were made and design and make their own. Complements our ‘Pilgrimage’ trail.



Photo of Pilgrimage trail

Trails are themed tours which take place in the Cathedral. Children are involved by the use of questioning, role play and costume. The trails last for approximately 75 minutes and generally relate to events in the Cathedral's rich history.

The trails we offer are:

Songs and Stories (Reception and KS1)

A simple introduction to the Cathedral for the youngest pupils.

Celebrations (KS1)

Children learn about common Christian celebrations: Christmas, Easter, Harvest, Baptism and Marriage and how they are celebrated in the Cathedral

The Five Senses (RE KS1)

Using the senses, the children explore the Cathedral as a special place, looking at the people and objects which add up to make Southwark Cathedral.

Materials Trail (KS1)

Children spend time in the Cathedral examining materials used in its structure.

Shapes in the Cathedral (KS1)

An opportunity for children from Years 1 and 2 to explore the cathedral looking for shapes in the windows, floor, furnishings, etc.

Timeline Explorers (KS1)

Children learn about the history of the Cathedral through costumed role play, story and artefacts.  They end the trail by arranging themselves in sequence along a ‘human timeline’.

The Church (RE KS1)

Ideal for those following the Southwark or Lambeth Agreed Syllabus’ for
RE or learning about ‘Special Places’. A walk around the Cathedral gives
children to experience and reflect on the atmosphere of the church, and
to explore the key features of the building.

The Cathedral as a Place of Worship (Upper KS2)

This trail focuses on the stories buildings can tell us and affords young people the opportunity to discuss some of life's important issues, e.g. should people's beliefs influence the way they live? Why does music have such an effect on us?

Faith and Art (RE and Art-KS2)

Especially suitable for Years 5 and 6 this trail gives pupils the opportunity
to study a variety of visual art forms in the Cathedral and consider the
faith which inspired their creation.

Monastic Life and the Reformation (History KS2)

An introduction to the life and work of the 16th Century Priory of St Mary Overy and the effect of the Dissolution on the Canons who lived here.

Pilgrimage (RE KS2)

Children dress as medieval pilgrims and make the journey from Southwark to
Canterbury. They explore the reasons for making a pilgrimage

Religion in Roman Britain (History KS2)

Role play looking at the religion of Ancient Rome, the Celts, cults in Roman Britain and the arrival of Christianity.

Signs and Symbols (RE KS2)

A general introduction to the significance of a church and the importance of its contents as signs of the Christian faith.

Victorian Classroom (History KS2)

What was it like to attend school in Southwark in the 19th Century?

This trail enables children to gain an insight into life both at home and at school in 19th century Southwark.

If you cannot find what you are looking for, please contact the Education Officer who will be happy to discuss tailor-making an activity for you.

Geography and Science Investigations

What is Southwark Cathedral made of? How does it affect its environment? How does the environment affect it?

Children use observational skills to perform map work and assess how the Cathedral has changed over the centuries. They then undertake surveys of the Cathedral surroundings today considering how it might change further and how we can prevent negative change. There is the chance to look at building materials and perform experiments to see how those materials would react to adverse weather conditions. The skills used on the day could then be taken back to school and applied to the school environment.

What effect does a bus have on the Cathedral?

Through surveys and experiments, pupils can analyse the evidence and draw their own conclusions about how people can improve or damage the environment.

Themed days

Tudor Day: Children get the chance to take part in a re-enactment of the closure of the Priory here in 1539, learn Tudor dancing, illuminate manuscripts and handle replica artefacts.

Victorian Day: Children will learn about Victorian wash day, handle Victorian toys, experience life in a Victorian school room and participate in a Victorian trail around the Cathedral.

Contact the Education Centre to find out the date of the next Themed Day.