Home Ed groups: term time visits

Organise a group visit with other Home Educators! 

You can book a group visit with fellow Home Educators, as part of our term-time education programme.

Our education programme offers unique learning experiences at a site of current and world-leading science research. We cater for all ages from 3 to 18. As part of your visit, your group will get the chance to see the world famous Lovell telescope, explore our interactive galleries, speak to our expert staff, and experience two of our inspiring and curriculum-linked interactive workshops.

Please read the information below to find out about making a booking. Please note our education programme is usually fully booked at least 3 months in advance.

How bookings work

The Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre education programme works in terms of groups.

Each group can have a maximum of 30 people (children and adults). This is due to the size of our workshop and indoor lunch spaces.

If you wish to bring more than 30 people, you will need to book for multiple groups.

Each group will follow a separate itinerary during your visit.

Each group will experience two of our interactive workshops during your visit.

If you are booking more than one group, we recommend children with similar ages are grouped together. This will help you tailor the workshops you book to the children attending.

Please note that:

  • EY refers to ages 3-5
  • KS1 refers to ages 5-7
  • KS2 refers to ages 7-11
  • KS3 refers to ages 11-14
  • KS4 refers to ages 14-16

Packages & Prices

Package Ages Price per child Adults Under 4s Workshops Itinerary times Typical availability
Planet 3 to 5 £8 £4.50 £1 Inflatable Planetarium + Mission to Mars (more info) 10am to 1:45pm 4 groups per day
Space 5 to 18 £9 £4.50 £1 Choose two workshops from our selection (more info) 10am to 2:15pm 4 groups per day
Star (minimum 40 people) 5 to 18 £8 £4.50 £1 Two preset workshops, depending on age; taught to two groups at once (more info) 10:30am to 2pm 2 groups per day
Exhibition only 3 to 18 £5 £4.50 Free None (more info) N/A 1 or 2 groups per day

For an explanation on the content of various packages, please see below.

Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre is a not-for-profit social enterprise. We charge in order to continue to deliver our education programmes.

How to make a booking

1. Collect rough numbers: We’ll need to know how many groups you want to book (each group can hold up to 30 people)
2. Choose which package you would like to book (Planet, Space, Star or Exhibition Only)
3. Call our education bookings line on 0161 306 9520 to check our availability and make a provisional booking (please note booking enquiries must be made over the phone and we are usually fully booked around 3 months in advance)
4. Names and numbers must be finalised at least 8 weeks before your visit, by completing and returning our confirmation form
5. You will receive a Payment Request Form from us. Payment must be made in advance, at least 4 weeks before your visit. See our How to Pay Guide for more information about paying for your trip.
6. We will send your group itineraries one or two weeks before your visit
7. Prepare for your trip by reading our pre-visit information

Please note unfortunately we are unable to provide refunds for those who do not show up on the day for whatever reason. Processing refund payments is a time-consuming process. In order to provide an efficient service, and to keep costs as low as possible, we are unable to issue refunds on education bookings.

How can I contact you?

You can contact our education bookings team on 0161 306 9520, or by email at jodrelleducation@manchester.ac.uk (please note provisional booking enquiries must be made over the phone).

When can bookings be made?

Home Educator group bookings can be made on weekdays, during school term time.

You are welcome to visit during school holiday periods, however we will not be running our education workshops during these times.

What are the minimum and maximum numbers?

Our education programme works in terms of groups.

We can usually accept up to six groups each day during school term-time, though sometimes it is fewer due to special events at the Discovery Centre.

Space and Planet packages

There is no minimum size for a group; however there is a minimum charge of 15. That is, you are welcome to bring fewer than 15, but please be aware you will be charged for 15. The maximum number we can accept in each group is 30 people (children and adults).

Star package

Since the workshops in the Star package are delivered in a larger space, there is a minimum of 40 people required to book this package. The maximum number of people is 60 (two groups).

Can we bring any adults free of charge?

All adults attending on Home Educator group visits are charged at £4.50. This is a discounted admission rate and provides full access to the Discovery Centre.

Do you have risk assessments to download?

Yes. Please see our risk assessment page.

All children must be supervised by a responsible adult at all times whilst on site.

Can I check out the place before my trip?

Yes. In order to familiarise yourself with the Discovery Centre and/or complete a risk assessment, trip organisers are welcome to come for a free planning visit. Please organise this with our education booking team, so they can make sure our reception staff know to expect you.

How long is a visit at Jodrell Bank?

  • The Planet package itinerary runs from 10am to 2:00pm
  • The Space package itinerary runs from 10am to 2:30pm
  • The Star package itinerary runs from 10:15am to 2:15pm

Your itinerary includes – 2 workshops, a lunch slot, and time to explore our exhibitions.

We are unable to reduce itinerary times. If you need to arrive late or leave early then you will need to cut down or miss out on some parts of the day. This may include reducing your workshop sessions.

Do we have to pay for parking?

Any parents/guardians dropping off or picking up children (i.e. not parking in the car park), do not have to pay car park charges.

All cars parked in our car park for longer than 20 minutes are subject to the Discovery Centre’s car park charges. Please pay for your parking at reception.

There is no parking charge for:

  • Minibuses and coaches
  • Jodrell Bank annual pass or local pass holders
  • Blue badge holders

Is Jodrell Bank accessible for special needs?

The Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre has been designed to be accessible to all. We try our best to meet all requirements, but if you have a query, please contact us.

For those with limited mobility and wheelchair users:

  • All our buildings are fully accessible
  • There are accessible toilet facilities available in all buildings
  • Our exhibitions and interactive displays cater for wheelchair users
  • Our schools workshops (including the Inflatable Planetarium) are fully accessible

For those who are deaf and hard of hearing:

  • Induction loops are fitted in exhibition and education spaces
  • All our video exhibits are subtitled

Will there be a quiet area?

In the Space Pavilion building, we have a small first aid room, which can be used as a quiet space. This room is kept locked; please speak to a member of staff if you would like to use it.

Will someone show us around on the day?

We do not offer tour guides as part of your day. Apart from your workshop sessions, your time around the Discovery Centre will be self-guided. However, our expert Explainers will be on hand in our exhibition areas to provide assistance and answer any questions.

We have also created a set of worksheets to help guide your group around our exhibitions. Please see our worksheets page. If you wish to use these, please print them out and bring them with you on the day.

Will there be an indoor space for lunch?

Yes. As part of your day we will schedule you a 30 minute lunch slot in one of our indoor picnic areas. Alternatively, you are welcome to use one of our outdoor picnic areas, if preferred.

Can we climb the Lovell telescope, or go into the Control Room?

Sorry, no. Visitors are not allowed into the observatory building or up the Lovell telescope. The observatory is a working environment and the Lovell telescope is in use 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!

What happens if some people can't come on the day?

Unfortunately, we are unable to provide refunds for those who do not show up on the day.

Processing refund payments for education groups is a time-consuming process. In order to provide an efficient service, and to keep costs for groups as low as possible, we are unable to issue refunds.

Please see our full terms and conditions.

Can I cancel, or make changes to my booking?

Changes to your booking, or cancellations, must be made more than 4 weeks before your visit. After this time, we reserve the right to charge the full cost of your visit.

This is to cover staffing costs and resources which will already have been booked and purchased.

Please see our full terms and conditions.

Do you have any pre-visit preparation resources?

Certainly! For all the information necessary for an education group visit, please see our Prepare for your visit page.

To help guide your group around our exhibition areas, we have created a set of exhibition worksheets which can be downloaded, printed, and brought on the day.

Phone free zone

Please be aware that Jodrell Bank is a live radio observatory. Mobile phones interfere with our radio telescopes, which are in use 24 hours a day. We therefore operate a radio-quiet policy and require that all visitors set their phones to flight mode, or switch them off.

During a visit:

  • Mobile phones must not be used on site for calls, texts, internet, Bluetooth, or other wireless communication, for any reason.
  • Mobile phones must not be left switched on, unless they are on flight mode.
  • If you may need to be contacted, please give out our main reception line: 01477 571 766. Our staff will then relay the message to you.
  • If you need to make a call during your visit, you are welcome to use one of our landlines; simply ask a member of our staff.
  • You are welcome to use your mobile to take photos; provided it is set to flight mode.

Did you know: The Lovell telescope is so powerful, it could pick up a mobile phone signal on Mars!