Workshops for Key Stage 2

Brass Rubbing

The Cathedral used to be full of beautiful and ornate brasses - well, until the time of Henry Vlll and the Dissolution of the Monasteries! Fortunately some of them survived, including the stunning Thomas de la Mare brass. In this activity, the children have a chance to look at the brasses in the cathedral and learn how to understand some of the symbolism that they contain. Each child will then have a go at rubbing their own brass - an experience that most of them will never have done before - before taking their completed artwork back home.

Can Buildings Speak? Clay Workshop

The Cathedral is alive with shapes, patterns, and textures. The children explore these throughout the building, recording their observations using sketching and rubbings. These ideas are then used as the stimulus for a clay tile workshop. This allows the children to draw on first hand observations and to interpret the shapes and patterns they have found around the buildings. Back at school, clay tiles can be painted and varnished or left as they are. The clay we use hardens naturally and does not need firing.

Clay Tile Modelling

Having looked closely at the range of floor tiles in the Cathedral and at the medieval designs and symbols there and elsewhere in the building, children set to work to make a clay floor tile of their own and to decorate it in relief. Back at school, tiles can be painted and varnished or left as they are. The clay we use hardens naturally and does not need firing.

Illuminated Lettering

A workshop to discover how the medieval monks made paper, pens and coloured inks. Dressed as monks working in the medieval scriptorium, the children will explore the development of beautiful styles of writing and decoration over the centuries and then produce their own illuminated letter.


Walking the labyrinth in the beautiful setting of the Cathedral is a peaceful and reflective journey. With activity stations along the way to encourage pupils to think about a variety of topics, they make their joiurney with both as indivisuals and with friends. Drawing on aspects of the PSHE and Citizenship curriculum, during the session they will also look at how peace is represented in art and poetry.

Roman Mosaic

After an introduction to life in Roman Britain and a look at some of the wonderful mosaics from Verulamium the children will design and make their own Mosaic Tile to take back to school. They can be put together to make a fabulous display.

Saxon Food in the Monastery Kitchen - New

After the opening of the Saxon monastery at St Albans in 793AD, the monastery kitchen would have been a busy and bustling hive of activity, creating food for monks and pilgrims alike. In this workshop the children learn about the food eaten in Saxon times, before making Herb Butter and an Apricot Conserve. The session will finish with the children role-playing as monks being served and enjoying their dinner in the Cathedral. 

Stained Glass Windows

The session begins with an examination of the different styles and images in the Abbeys windows. We concentrate especially on the Rose Window looking at geometry, colour and light. Each child then designs and makes their own window using colour acetate to take back to school.

The Tudor Kitchen

In this workshop the children have an opportunity to sample the tastes of Tudor Britain by recreating 2 recipes from the time of Henry VIII. Led by a teacher in period dress, the children first learn about the types of food eaten by both rich and poor Tudors, before making either some cheese, gingerbread or salad (The children will have time to make 2 out of the 3 recipes. Please let us now your preferences when you make your booking). Finally, the food is served to all following banquet etiquette, as Tudor music plays gently in the background.

Tudor Music & Dance

An energetic workshop with the pupils engaged in authentic music and dance of the Tudor period. They will learn both the stately dance of the court and the lively dances of the countryside. The children will examine the different styles of dress for the rich and the poor and then handle and play a selection of Tudor instruments.

Victorians - The Classroom Experience

Did you know that from 1553 to 1871 the Lady Chapel in the Cathedral was used as a school? Using this as our inspiration, the children will consider the changes that going to school brought to the lives of Victorian children, before entering the Victorian Classroom to experience life as a Victorian school child. Under the tutorship of 2 stern and strict teachers, the children will learn the 3 R’s, experience drill and an object lesson, and live in fear of the dunce’s hat and the cane! At the end of the session the children will have a chance to reflect on their experiences and compare them with modern day teaching.

Victorian Pastimes

Using toy and game artefacts, the children become historical detectives to explore pastimes in the Victorian age. They will consider the contrast between toys owned by the rich and poor of society, what the toys were made of and how they worked. Having handled examples, the children will have the chance to make a Victorian Thaumatrope of their own to take home at the end of the session.

World War 1 - New

In this new activity, the children have a chance to explore the Cathedral, looking for signs and symbols of remembrance. They will then learn the stories of some of the local men who fought in World War 1 and visit one of the war memorials in the streets near the Cathedral. Using charcoal, the children will then produce a portait of one of the men from St Albans who fought and died in the war. Finally, the children will learn about the significance of the poppy before planting a poppy seed in the Cathedral grounds as an act of remembrance.



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