Lesnes Abbey education sessions frequently asked questions

Thank you for taking an interest in the sessions we offer at Lesnes Abbey and please find below the answers to questions regarding our sessions, bookings, costs etc...

If there any questions you find have not been answered please do not hesitate to email


Who runs the sessions?

Our education team is lead by Stephanie Johnson (from North West Kent Countryside Partnership) along with her colleague Nadine White. Sessions with 60 children are led by both members of the team.

What facilities are available at the site?

Lesnes abbey is home to the lodge which is the space we use for the indoor portions of our education sessions; it can fit two classes of 30 inside along with tables and chairs. There is also a sink and a disabled toilet and is the place where the children can eat lunch.

Outside the lodge is the park’s café where hot and cold drinks and snacks can be purchased. There are also public toilets for both males and females each with 3 cubicles. Surrounding the lodge are also picnic benches which can be used during warm weather for eating lunch outside along with a public water fountain.

There is no parking directly on site but spaces can be found along New Road and Abbey Road. There are bus stops close to the park’s entrances and Abbey Wood Station is less than a 10 minute walk away.

What other resources does the site offer?

The site has many ponds which can be used for pond dipping, a variety of habitats for species study/minibeast safaris, ancient and secondary woodland, a heathland, its own fossil pit where shells and shark’s teeth can be found, along with the historic Lesnes Abbey ruins which were built by Richard de Luci in 1178 as penance for the murder of Thomas Becket.

How many children can you cater for?

For a single day with both a morning and afternoon session we can accommodate up to 60 children/2 classes. For schools wishing to bring more than 60 children/2 classes this has to be done across a minimum of 2 days depending on numbers.

How much do sessions cost?

Sessions cost £6 per child for both a morning and afternoon session; this includes the use of the lodge, cleaning and use of facilities and equipment.

For sessions which are either only a morning or an afternoon it costs £3 per child.

How long are sessions?

Each morning and afternoon session lasts between an hour and an hour and a half depending on the requirements of the school, age group and arrival and departure timings. We always endeavour to make sure the children get the maximum amount of time for each session as possible and happily tailor these to the school’s needs. For schools wishing to do just 1 activity with their classes the session lengths can potentially be extended/tailored if discussed during the booking process.

For schools wishing to bring two classes of 30 children, 1 class will do one activity/session in the morning and then swap activities/sessions in the afternoon with the other class.

What is a typical timetable for the day?

10:15/10:30: schools arrive on site
10:15/10:30—10:30/10:45: safety talk to school and use of toilets
10:30/10:45-12:00/12:15: morning session/activity
12:00/12:15-12:30/12:45: lunch in the lodge—classes swap sessions
12:30/12:45: afternoon session/activity
14:00/14:15: schools depart site

How flexible are these timings?

The timetable above is only a rough guide and we can easily accommodate different timings depending on the school’s requirements/ travel arrangements. We also work around any delays in arriving on site due to problems with travel. The earliest a school can arrive on site is 10:00am onwards due to our staff having to travel and also setting up the lodge for the sessions. If no classroom set up is required e.g. visiting only the fossil pit, we could then accommodate earlier arrivals.

What days are available to book sessions?

The lodge which we use for our sessions is currently only free to be booked for school visits on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This is due to the lodge being used for other activities such as Yoga and Pilates during the week.

If you wish to book a session that does not require the use of the lodge e.g. to go fossil hunting then we may be able to accommodate you on a day which isn’t a Tuesday or Wednesday.

Please contact enquire about all bookings and availability.

What equipment is available for use in a session?

We have a range of equipment which we use for our sessions which includes but is not limited to; microscopes, tablets, compasses, maps, beakers, test tubes, sweep nets, pooters, id guides, den making materials, sieves and trowels.

Are risk assessments for the sessions available?

All risk assessments are written and carried out by our education team. They are available to download from the respective course pages or can be requested and sent via email. However please feel free to visit the site and conduct your own site visit/ assessment if you wish.

How many adults do we need to bring?

We ask that a minimum ratio of 1 adult is brought for every 6 children to ensure the proper supervision and safety of the children coming to Lesnes Abbey.

Can we request a tailored session?

We are happy to tailor previously created sessions to make a new arrangement such as den making in the morning and orienteering in the afternoon if you wish to cover more topics in 1 day. But we are currently not creating any new sessions which would be heavily dependent on new resources / staff time.

What do we need to bring along to the sessions?

All children and adults should be appropriately dressed for the weather conditions and activities being taken part in. We cannot provide any spare clothing such as waterproofs etc...

Suggested clothing and footwear are; waterproofs, clothing for wet and muddy conditions, trainers, walking boots or wellies, hats, gloves, scarfs, sun hats and sunglasses. In summer or sunny conditions please also bring sun cream. We also advise school’s to provide their children with high visibility vests so they can be easily spotted when on site.

For sessions which involve walking through the site/going into the woods please advise parent helpers that taking prams into these areas is not practical.

All children and adults should bring their own packed lunch and water although some refreshments can be bought at the café when it is open and the sink and water fountain can be used to top up water bottles.

First aid kits must also be brought along and members of the school staff should have first aid training. Stephanie Johnson is the only member of the education team who is first aid at work trained.

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