New Free Schools Programme For Burns’ farm

Robert Burns Ellisland Farm free school visits programme is being extended following the success of trips this year. 

Entry cost for pupils and teachers is covered and schools can ask for a contribution toward the travel costs. Ellisland near Dumfries is the only farm built by Robert Burns, and the place he wrote Auld Lang Syne and Tam o Shanter.

The extension of the programme is made possible by funding from the Holywood Trust – it was previously supported by Museums Galleries Scotland.

The Robert Burns Ellisland Trust has designed the visits to reflect the Curriculum for Excellence and the interests of individual schools.  As well as creative writing and people in the past, pupils can learn about food, farming, Scots language and the environment.

Earlier this year, Moffat Academy S1 year group held their very own Burns Supper in the Tam O’Shanter Barn at Ellisland. More recently, Closeburn Primary enjoyed their end of year trip to Ellisland, where they completed a session making their own butter – one of the jobs done by Burns’ wife, Jean Armour, who ran a dairy business at Ellisland.

Ellisland, built in 1788, is the most authentic and best preserved of all Burns’ farm homes and the place where he produced a third of his entire creative output.

Other schools which have visited are Shawhead, Troqueer, Ae, Caerlaverock, Brownhall, Wallacehall, Hightae, St Mungo and Tundergarth.

Museum Education and Development Lead at Ellisland, Caitlin MacLeod, said: “The pupils who visited this year really enjoyed their time exploring Ellisland and learned a lot too. We are planning to develop the programme this year to offer even more activities.”

All schools are eligible and the grant is not means tested.

Due to staffing constraints, numbers are limited to 30 pupils per booking.

However, schools are welcome to book for more than one class if spread across different days. Funding for travel will not cover entire costs but a proportion of them.

The trust can also consider educational trips for organised groups of young people aged under 25.

To apply, schools and youth groups just need to fill out an online form which is attached below.


Any questions or queries relating to schools trips can be emailed to [email protected] for the attention of Caitlin MacLeod (Museum Education and Development Lead)

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