Barley Hall

Experience what life was like in this magnificent restored medieval  townhouse with the help of our friendly Barley Hall servants.

Educational Visit to Barley Hall

A visit to Barley Hall allows students to become immersed in life in a wealthy merchant’s townhouse in the Middle Ages. Learn about the Snawsell family who lived here towards the end of the medieval period. You can discover how the remains of their home were uncovered and restored. 

Admission now includes our brand-new ‘The Bard at Barley Hall’ exhibition,  exploring the history of York through the drama of Shakespeare.

Download our handy Teachers’ Guide (PDF, 1 MB).


Extend your visit with our 45-minute workshop sessions. Each aims to spark your pupils’ interest in the past by exploring a variety of fun and  interesting themes. Designed with Key Stage 2 in mind, but suitable for all key stages, our learning team are happy to discuss your specific learning aims.  

Please be advised that workshop capacities vary according to the activities chosen and  space available.  Our Reservations team will advise you of the most suitable schedules when  you make your enquiry. Learn more about pricing and planning information here.

Choose from the options below when booking a workshop to complement your Barley Hall visit.

Barley Hall Workshops

A chance to learn about Tudor medicine and how illness and ailments were treated  hundreds of years ago. Discover the methods used by the barber surgeon. Find out about  some of the Tudors’ most gruesome diseases and grisly cures. Not for the faint-hearted! 

Hear how weapons of all kinds were used in everyday Tudor life, from sport and hunting to  self defence. Discover how weapons could be status symbols or valued items of costume. You can also find out more about the training required to wield your weapons well.

Can you tell a tragedy from a comedy? Learn more about the world of medieval and Tudor  entertainment by brushing up on your acting skills and taking a turn as a 16th-century Player  in this literacy-themed workshop. 

KS1 Groups: We highly recommend this workshop choice for KS1 groups visiting Barley  Hall. With special activities designed with this age group in mind, pupils will take a closer  look at the sorts of plays that the inhabitants of Barley Hall might have seen, and have a go  at performing their own versions.

Ways to Visit Barley Hall

Key Stage 1-3 School Groups

Your class can choose to have a guided tour of the house  with our friendly costumed Barley Hall servants, with plenty of challenges, roleplay activities  and medieval merriment along the way.

If you are visiting as part of a topic on Shakespeare, please ask for some time to be built into your schedule to visit our ‘Bard at Barley Hall’  exhibition.

Key Stage 4-5 School Groups

Your class can choose to have a guided tour of the rooms  in the house with our costumed guides, who are able to tell you the story of the building. From  its beginnings as accommodation for the Priors of Nostell to its loss and rediscovery by our  archaeology team in the 1980s. Enjoy viewing the Hall dressed as it might have been for urban life in the late 1400s. 

If you are visiting as part of a topic on Shakespeare, please  ask for some time to be built into your schedule to visit our ‘Bard at Barley Hall’ exhibition.  

Home Educators

We welcome Home Educator visits to Barley Hall. Book on  to one of our tour slots with your family to explore at your own pace or if you’re part of a  home educating association, book out a tour slot together for groups with over 15 children to  be shown round by one of our friendly costumed team. Contact our Reservations Team to  discuss your specific requirements for your visit.