Welcome to The Gilbert White Field Studies Centre, The Education Department of Gilbert White’s House and The Oates Collection. Our mission is to inspire journeys of discovery in the natural world for all ages and abilities and throughout the seasons.

Antarctic Explorers

Curriculum links: Geography, Science, History

Why did explorers travel to Antarctica? What did they take with them and what was it like to be there? This hands-on day of activities allows pupils to discover the daily life of a South Pole Explorer through object handling, dressing up and role-play culminating with their own expedition up the Hangar. Includes self-led tour of The Lawrence Oates Gallery.

Gilbert’s Georgian Christmas

Curriculum links: History

Join us at The Gilbert White House as we step back in time to experience Christmas…Georgian style! With the help of costumed characters, pupils will join in with all the festivities, from singing and dancing to parlour games, decoration making and fine food as they explore Gilbert Whites House. Christmas will never be the same again.

Environmental Art

Curriculum links: Geography, science, art

Come and explore the natural environment in a whole new way…through art. Activities have been developed to meet specific art and science curriculum linked learning outcomes while encouraging children’s curiosity about their surroundings.

The Teddy Bear’s Picnic

Curriculum links: English, Science, Art

Meet Porridge Oates the Teddy Bear and his friends. Explore the sights, sounds and smells of the garden through the story of Porridge and the friends he meets, with singing, role play and outdoor crafts before children can enjoy their very own Teddy Bears Picnic.

Habitats and Adaptations

Curriculum Links: Science

Investigate invertebrates, forage in the fields, watch wildlife in the wood and examine animal bones and specimens during this fascinating day! Students will be shown a variety of habitats to compare and contrast and learn about variation, adaptation, classification and food chains.

Village Studies

Curriculum Links: Geography and History

An exciting day investigating the geography and history of this traditional and unspoilt Hampshire village. Activities include map making, interviewing people who live and work here, collecting soundscapes and studying local buildings. Compare and contrast locations.

Environmental Art

Curriculum links: Geography, science, art

Come and explore the natural environment in a whole new way…through art. Activities have been developed to meet specific art and science curriculum linked learning outcomes while encouraging children’s curiosity about their surroundings.

Mighty Mapping

Curriculum Links: Geography and maths

This activity day will see children gain an understanding of why and how we use maps and what fun we can have with them. They will create their own maps of an area in Selborne, using OS symbols, creating some new ones of their own and pinpointing their locations using landmarks and compass directions. In the afternoon, they will work in teams to attempt to conquer our Gilbert White Orienteering challenge around our 25 acre parkland and gardens.

River Studies

Curriculum links: Geography, Science

Visit the rivers in Selborne to calculate the velocity of water, plot the cross section of a stream, explore the invertebrate life in the river and create a map of a river system to demonstrate your knowledge.

Rocks and Soils

Curriculum Links: Science

This session involves exciting field study exploration and investigation of the diverse range of rocks and soils around Selborne. Collect samples in the field, plot their discoveries on a map and use equipment to test their properties.

It’s a Plants Life

Curriculum links: Science

Using our fantastic gardens, parkland and woodland, pupils will discover and learn about a great variety of plants and trees, collecting samples to examine under the microscope in our laboratory and investigating what plants need to thrive.

South Pole Science

Curriculum Links: Geography, Science, History

Using the equipment, rations and science programme of the 1912 Antarctic Expedition as a backdrop, pupils will explore themes of nutrition, properties of different materials, forces and shapes and experiment with a range of scientific equipment. What would they take on their Expedition?

Secondary Sessions

Every Secondary school study day is bespoke to the needs of the group and can be built using a variety of activities to support the geography, biology, science and history curriculums.

Students will be able to plan their own research and the techniques they will use, collect data and analyse their results.

Study Day topics include:

  • River Studies
  • Ecosystems and biodiversity
  • Variation
  • Plant life
  • Map work and orienteering
  • The development of Selborne and Its identity Common Entrance Examination

We are able to facilitate Common Entrance Examination Geography fieldwork, both for physical and human geography themes.

Please get in contact to discuss your requirements.

Students & Further Education

Field studies and museum based study days on themes of Exploration, biology, Ecology, and Conservation past and present, leisure, travel & tourism and Museum practice.Each study day is bespoke to the meet the requirements of your group.

Please get in touch with the Education team to further details and to discuss your needs.

Teachers CPD/ INSET

Please contact the Field Studies Centre on 01420 511 517 or email if you are interested in the sessions we provide for INSET or CPD.

School Sleepovers at the FSC

The Gilbert White Field Studies Centre can now offer mid-week sleepover experiences for schools. An evening of activities will be followed by a campfire session and a sleepover either inside or camping outside the barn. Breakfast and a morning of further activities will be available in the morning. Each sleepover experience is planned to meet the requirements of your group and can be focussed onto your desired theme.

Possible activities include:

  • Nature crafts
  • bat and nature walks
  • campfire cooking
  • stargazing activities
  • scavenger hunt
  • outside games
  • mini beast hunting
  • pond dipping

Please contact us for further details and to book.

Youth & Community Groups

The Gilbert White Field Studies Centre aims to continue the legacy of 18th century naturalist Gilbert White, author of the world-famous Natural History of Selborne (1789) and pioneer in field studies. Often regarded as the ‘father of ecology’ Gilbert’s work has inspired and intrigued generations, from Charles Darwin to Virginia Woolf, with his heart-felt and detailed enthusiasm for scientific inquiry.

Why not bring your group to The Field Studies Centre to work on your Naturalist or Wildlife Explorer badges.

Activities can include:

  • Build a bird box or bug home
  • Hunt for minibeasts and find out how to identify them
  • Go on a moonlight bat walk as part of a nature themed sleepover
  • Go on our Tree Quest to identify the trees in our parkland
  • Explore the life in the local stream and learn about pollution

Booking Information

The Gilbert White Field Study Centre is of limited capacity and increasingly busy. Advance booking – an academic term or year ahead – is advised.

The Gilbert White Field Studies Centre Office is open Monday – Friday all year, please telephone 01420 511 517 or email us at

Session Costs

School 30 or less pupils Additional Pupils
Hampshire County Council Schools (discount included) Primary £223.50 £7.45
Hampshire County Council Schools (discount included) Secondary £268.50 £8.95
Other State Schools Primary £279.00 £9.30
Other State Schools Secondary £325.50 £10.85
Independent Schools Primary £321.00 £10.70
Independent Schools Secondary £358.50 £11.95

Why is the rate for Hampshire County Council Schools less?

Thanks to the continuing support of Hampshire County Council through the Culture and Recreation Investment Fund we are presently able to offer a generous discount of 19.9% (primary) and 17.5% (secondary) to Hampshire County Council Maintained Schools visiting the Gilbert White Field Studies Centre. The prices shown above already show this discount. We are occasionally able to offer other special discounts or reductions in standard fees for other reasons, for example, multiple bookings; grant supported projects for specific groups who have not previously visited us.

How long will we spend at The Field Studies Centre?

Study days can last up to 5 hours to fit within the school day, depending on the session you are undertaking.


Sessions for primary age students require a minimum ratio of 1 adult for every 8 students, with the exception of River Studies sessions which require a ration of 1 adult for every 6 students. Sessions for secondary age students require a minimum ratio of 1 adult for every 10 students. Please ensure that you have a sufficient number of responsible adults for the size and needs of your group, and that you have completed the Visitor List. Please hand this to the Education Facilitator when you arrive at the Centre on the day of your visit.


We presently hold bookings in good faith and invoice schools following the event. However, on occasions schools have requested dates well in advance and then cancelled at very short notice – thus preventing other schools from enjoying a visit and resulting in financial loss to the FSC. We therefore reserve the right to charge all schools who have returned a completed booking form a cancellation fee according to the scale below.

  • For bookings that are cancelled more than 8 weeks prior to the planned visit date £50 administration fee.
  • For bookings that are cancelled less than 8 weeks prior to the planned visit date 100% of the fees due will apply.

Pre visits

We consider a pre-visit to be essential. This enables group leaders to familiarise themselves with the site and the location of all planned activities, whilst also providing an opportunity to discuss specific learning objectives, any special requirements and health and safety considerations Pre-visits are free and can be booked by email or phone on 01420 511 517

Where will we eat our lunches?

Depending on the location of your session, there is space in both The Field Studies Centre and Gilbert White’s House to eat packed lunches. We ask that you take any rubbish back with you when possible.

What do we need to bring

Please ensure that each pupil brings with them:
  • Wellington Boots
  • Waterproof Coat
  • Warm clothing
  • Additional dry clothes if weather is inclement – we still go outside even if it’s raining!
  • Packed Lunch
  • Additional drink


The South Downs National Park runs a travel Grant Scheme for Eligible schools to visit providers such as The Gilbert White Field Studies Centre.

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