School Visits
The Merchant’s House welcomes visits from local school children and has developed a morning programme that has proved interesting, informative and fun for the children who come. The recommend age group is for children in Years 3 to 7 and each visit can be tailored to the specific needs and timing of the school. We can take anywhere between 15 and 40 children on a visit, and we do ask for a certain minimum number of adults to come with them.

Early in 2017, The Merchant’s House received funding from an Oxford educational charity to develop and implement a new school visits programme, which – importantly - also enables schools to visit completely free of charge. The results have been very encouraging; over 240 children and 30 adults visited the House in the 2017 summer term.
We have learned so much from the children with their enthusiastic interest, imagination and curiosity. In addition to the house tour, when small groups have the opportunity for questions and handling some 17C objects, we combine a town walking tour which ties in local history with the life for the Bayly family, e.g. the civil war and the fire. An example visit schedule is given on this page.
Especially popular with the children have been trying on armour, lying on a 17C bed and seeing the privy! They are fascinated by the visit to the kitchen, where they learn how the family coped with no fridge, but lots of mice … We continue to develop and improve the programme, and feedback from the children and teachers has suggested lots of new ideas including providing costumes, quizzes and role play. The visits so far have promoted wonderful artwork, diaries and letters. One of the many letters said, “The thing I liked best about the Merchant’s House was everything”. That seemed to sum it up.
If you would like to talk further about a possible school visit, please email Sophie Costard (

Example visit:

eg Y5, [your primary school] [date]
Programme:  c36 children and 5 adults
9.30               Arrival through alley, to the courtyard (if dry); if wet to the panelled room
                       - welcome, leave bags, talk on safety
9.35               Talk (to all 36 children) on the Fire of Marlborough and brief history of The Merchant’s                                  House
9.45               All groups leave for tours:
                      Group A (c18 chn and >= 3 teachers/adults) depart for an accompanied 45-min walking tour                       of Marlborough
                      Group B (18 chn and 2 teachers/adults) have guided tours of The Merchant’s House, having                       split up into two groups of c9 (with one school-adult each)
10.30             Courtyard break and loo. The Merchant’s House will provide biscuits and juice
10.45             Tours restart:
                      Group A have a tour of the House (in two groups of c9)
                      Group B (18 chn and >= 3 adults) depart for walking tour
11.30             Group B return and join Group A for collecting bags and final questions
11.40             Departure