Castles

When I was planning our castle study, I knew this was an opportunity to a practical, more field trip based learning.  So I asked Gary if he would mind taking some time off for us to go and visit a couple of castles and spend enough time in them and exploring them that the children would have a real feel for them.  That said, you know I’d never be able to turn down a good book, so here are the two I had on hand.  I read aloud Macaulay’s Castle book and had the children read through the Eye-witness one:

 

I have a love/hate relationship with Macaulay’s books, in that I either love the one I’m reading or I hate it.  I loved Pyramids and The Way We Work but I really disliked City (about a Roman city).  This one would have to go the love pile.  It was so very interesting and we all learnt so much.  I read almost all of it aloud in one session lasting over an hour – it was THAT interesting!

T11 then decided to try, as much as he could, to replicate the fortress in the book with his Play Mobil:

His castle at the front
His castle at the front
Looking down from above
Looking down from above
The drawbridge
The drawbridge from the inside of the castle
The drawbridge from the outside
The drawbridge from the outside
Guards on watch
Guards on watch
Various traders and craftsmen within the castle walls
Various traders and craftsmen within the castle walls

We had really wanted to visit the Tower of London, but B2 is too young and way too unpredictable in her moods (smile) for us to spend a whole day in London with her.  If she was having a bad day we would ALL have a bad day!  So we decided on two castles we could drive to rather than catch a couple of trains to:  Bodiam Castle, fairly close to the site of the Battle of Hastings and a beautiful castle with a moat, and Windsor Castle, the largest castle in Europe and still used as the queen’s residence at times.

First was Bodiam castle:

I think this is the most beautiful castle I've been to.  Ever.
I think this is the most beautiful castle I’ve been to. Ever.
At the gate house
At the gate house
By the iron gates
By the iron gates
In the great hall
In the great hall
At the top of a turret
At the top of a turret
Looking down into the court yard
Looking down into the court-yard
Looking down into the kitchen
Looking down into the kitchen
Looking directly down a turret
Looking directly up a turret
A medieval toilet
A medieval toilet
In the stocks
In the stocks
With the archer
With the archer
On our way home.  Just glorious!
On our way home. Just glorious!

I would really recommend a visit here.  This is probably one of the most beautiful castles in the world.  There was something about its atmosphere – just stunning!

Next up was Windsor Castle:

Walking up towards Winsor Castle
Walking up towards Winsor Castle
Ready for their adventure
Ready for their adventure
One of the gate houses
One of the gate houses
Turrets
Turrets
Beautiful archetecture
Beautiful architecture
A loan guard ready to be relieved of his duty
A lone guard ready to be relieved of his duty
The guards arrive for the ceramony known as the Changing of the Guards
The guards arrive for the ceremony known as the Changing of the Guards
Mid ceremony
Mid ceremony
And the final change
And the final change

Whilst we were there we took photos, bought information guides and anything else we thought might be useful for the children.  The next day I had them read through the Windsor Castle Guide book and asked them to make a quick note page as a memento of their time there:

DSC_0224

One of the few writing assignments this week was to write about a fortress’ defence features:

T11's paragraph
T11’s paragraph

Other activities:

Build your own castle

Play a design your own trebuchet game

Click on the castle for more information

Next week we begin our Easter holidays with a fun week all about Robin Hood.  I will be completely hands off and y’know I really need a break, so I’m looking forward to it!  The little ones will be rowing The little Rabbit, which they have been nagging to do since we were given rabbits a couple of weeks ago.  Apart from that I intend to potter around the house!  After that the children will be spending the next few weeks exploring their Easter Adventure Box (little ones are doing Mr Men and the older ones are learning about Marco Polo and a revisit to Ancient China).

22 comments

  1. Bodiam Castle is indeed beautiful. I love it that there are so many castles preserved in England to visit so that history becomes something tangible and real. It would have been a very different experience if the children were only able to read about castles from books or watch them from documentaries. 🙂 Glad you’ve managed to go on the field trips with the little ones in tow.

  2. I spent a year teaching in London back when I was younger (and single) – like so many Aussies. I made sure I went out every weekend and visited castles, and henges, and moors. Such rich history. Australia doesn’t have much in the way of castles, and neither does the US! I’ll have to save my Pennies to take my kids when they’re older!
    (visiting from The Weekly Wrap-up).
    http://teachinglittleonesathome.blogspot.com/2013/03/god-little-explorers-noah-zany-zoo.html

    1. Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment. I suppose each country has its own attractions. We just happen to be studying castles and knights-perfect if you live in England. Next year it’ll be North American Indians, which we don’t have any of here!!

  3. Very cool… I’ve been wanting to visit the Tower of London ever since I watched “The Tudors” on HBO! Such an interesting time period. Perhaps someday. The American Indians will also be a great topic- indigenous cultures are a favorite study for me. (I read a book about Squanto when I was a child, which really sparked my interest in American Indians)

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