Living Museum of the Great Western Railway

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School Activities


In the time available in a typical visit, we will schedule a mix of the following six 30 minute activities, which will make up your programme.

We’ve grouped together many of these activities into ‘themes’ and will discuss your choice of modules once we have confirmed the date for your visit.

Let’s Explore Didcot Railway Centre!

Here are some of the 30 minute activities that you can choose from for your visit to Didcot Railway Centre:

'Explore the Museum'

explore some of the highlights of the Didcot museum collection

'In the Engine Shed'

explore some of the Didcot collection of GWR steam locomotives and climb up on a real steam engine and investigate its operation and controls with a driver

'In the Signal Box'

climb up into the Signal Box to explore its operation and the important part it plays in safety on the railways

'Coal and the Railways'

climb up to the coaling stage to investigate the importance of coal to the Victorian railways, and how things have changed since then

A Trip to the Seaside theme

This is an introduction to the history of the railways, particularly for key stage 1 children, looking at the railways and how the they meant that Victorian children could enjoy the seaside.

Why not all dress up and come dressed as Victorians!

'A Trip to the Seaside'

in our private ’Classroom train’ we can see how the railways helped Victorian families enjoy the seaside

'We must buy a ticket!'

let's go into the Didcot museum to have a look around and then buy a ticket for our journey with a real Victorian penny

'We're going on a Steam Train!'

experience train ride with a real steam engine, just like Victorian children going to the seaside


World War II Evacuees theme

This is the first of our themed packages of exciting activities 

These activities based around the experience of World War II Evacuees are always very popular. Why not get everyone (even the teachers!) to come dressed in 1940s dress?

'Quick! to the Air Raid Shelter'

experience sheltering from a bombing raid in the Didcot air raid shelter - would you dare to crawl out through the emergency exit tunnel?


in this talk, we’ll investigate the impact of World War II on everyday life for children and their families

'A Wartime Train Journey'

let’s experience a steam train ride in wartime conditions – but we must watch out for air raids!

'The Evacuee Experience'

after your train journey, experience life as a World War II evacuee sent away from home to start a new life

The History of the Railways theme

In this themed series of activities, investigate what life was like before there were railways and see how Mr Brunel built the Great Western Railway and how the railways changed life for the Victorians.

'Carriages Old & New'

experience the improving comfort of railway travel through the years – how comfortable were the seats? …but what if it rained or snowed?

'Keeping Safe with Signals'

investigate the history and operation of railway signalling - have a go at pulling a signal!

'The Coming of the Railways'

investigate what life was like before there were railways and see how the railways changed everything

Victorian Life theme

This theme is about the Victorian era which was a time of major changes in transport and in life in general – these interactive optional modules will bring the Victorian era to life for you.

'Victorian Life in 10 Objects'

see and handle some real Victorian objects, and find out what was good and what was not so good about being a Victorian

'Victorian Railway Workers'

discover the stories of some real Didcot Victorian workers on the railway and their families

a Victorian Steam Train Ride

experience a ride on a steam train just like a Victorian

In addition to the activities that you choose, we’ll add the Welcome to Didcot Railway Centre, Time for Lunch and Goodbye from Didcot Railway Centre activities for the start, break and end of your day with us…

Welcome to Didcot Railway Centre

These are the first activities for all visits, and including the walk from the coach or train we schedule this whole welcome session to take 30 minutes in duration:

Meet & greet

we'll be there at the station to welcome you as you arrive for your exciting day at Didcot Railway Centre

'Welcome to Didcot'

a welcome from the Education Team to all children and their teachers at the start of your day at Didcot Railway Centre

'Careful!' - a Safety Briefing

this is a real railway, so it's important to talk about safety as you enter the site – remember the six key safety signs

'Meet Your Guide'

meet your guides who'll be with you throughout your visit – they’ll show you lots of interesting things here

'What's on Today?'

hear about the exciting activities that we have planned for your day at Didcot Railway Centre

Time for Lunch

An essential part of the day! We have a great picnic area where you can watch the trains go by as you eat, but if the weather isn’t quite so good, we have our own private ’Classroom train’ where you can be warm and dry.

Time for Lunch!

enjoy your packed lunches - if the weather is nice why not eat outside in our picnic area!

'Let off Steam!'

take some time in our play area to climb on our play train, run around and let off steam!

Goodbye from Didcot Railway Centre

We know that you’ll have had a great day at Didcot Railway Centre, lets finish the day by chatting about what you’ve seen and done, and then we’ll see you safely back to your coach or train.

'So what have you learnt today?'

let's talk about all the things that you have learnt during your visit

'Time to say Goodbye'

we'll see you all safely back to your coach or train - come back and see us again soon!




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