Good availability for summer visits

Bring your class to step back in time with a visit to Take Shelter.

We offer an immersive on-site experience and a raft of online resources to support you in the classroom

BOOKING FOR 2023/24 or 2024/25

Booking is open for the remainder of the current academic year, and is now open for the next academic year. These dates tend to book up quickly so please get in touch if you have a preferred date(s). If for any reason the date you are wanting is not available please contact us and we will do our best to accommodate you.


All bookings can be made by clicking here

Any difficulties please contact 

Take Shelter volunteer, Joy, introduces our new schools offer.


On the day of your tour, groups enter the school via the main entrance on Rugby Road. You will have an opportunity to drop coats and bags in the canteen before we divide pupils into two equal groups.  Each group alternates between two activities: a tour of the shelter & a WW2 workshop, before joining together at the end for a short group Q&A session. The approximate timings of your visit will be:

  • 09:30 – 10:20 • Activity 1 (50 mins)
  • 10:20 – 11:10 • Activity 2 (50 mins)
  • 11:10 – 11:30 • Group Q&A  (20 mins)

1. WW2 air raid shelter tour

Our volunteer guides lead pupils in groups of 10 (+ adult chaperones) around the shelter. Due to the restricted space underground, and the tunnel design, groups follow one after the other.  Pupils are encouraged to ask questions throughout their tour. Exhibits include:

  • rare local photos
  • 1940s reconstructions including an Anderson shelter, bedroom, kitchen and original toilets
  • interactive video & audio clips & a bombing simulation
  • playground photo opportunity with dressing up clothes & our Spitfire backdrop

2. WW2 workshop

Our workshop activity is held in the canteen and, subject to availability, is led by our volunteer WW2 veterans, who are able to offer their considerable personal insights about what life was like in Brighton during WW2.  Activities include:

  • short presentation about the outbreak of WW2, evacuation & the changing role of women
  • table-top displays about rationing, gas masks & local history
  • wall panel displays about life in Brighton
  • workbook table

3. Group Q&A

For the last 20 minutes of the visit we gather everyone together for a Q&A session where pupils and staff are free to ask our veterans about any aspects of life during the war.  We conclude the visit with a lovely short story about a Canadian war bride from Brighton.


What topics are covered during the tour?

Our displays are all framed around what it was like to be a child in Brighton during the war, and so exhibits and stories touch on a wide range of themes including: evacuation, construction and use of shelters, propaganda posters, blackout, gas masks, rationing, changes to farming, Battle of Britain, D Day & VE Day.

What will teachers be required to do during their visit?

There is no need for teachers to prepare or bring any teaching material.  Our guides and WW2 veterans will lead the underground tours and the workshop session. At the end of their visit pupils will receive a worksheet and a sticker to take home.


We have created a range of online resources focusing on wartime Brighton and the unique school air raid shelter at Downs Junior School covering seven themes: Rationing, Evacuees, Air Raid Shelters, Air Raids, Gas Masks, Fashion and Women at War.

Each theme is packed with information, original documents and rare photographs, some from the Take Shelter collection and others reproduced by kind permission of Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust and the Keep. At the heart of these new resources is a series of new films introducing the Take Shelter veterans as they share their first hand experiences and knowledge of wartime life.

This new resource has been made possible by the generous support of the South Downs National Park Authority.


How much does it cost to visit?
Tours cost £4.50 per pupil which is invoiced directly to your school bursar after your visit. This fee includes access to the online resources as well as your on-site visit.

  • Do we need torches for the underground tour? No, all areas of the shelter have electric lightings.
  • What clothing should we wear? Pupils should wear their usual school uniform for their visit.  The Air Raid Shelter is dry and usually quite warm. Bags and coats can be left in the canteen.
  • Should we bring snacks? Please bring items you will need for an off-school visit, however note that we don’t have a break between activities.
  • Can teachers take photos? Teachers are encouraged to take photos throughout their visit, so please bring a camera. Note that every  pupil will have a photo opportunity with our 1940s dressing up clothes & our spitfire backdrop.


Please contact us and one of the team will be happy to answer.

What other schools have said :

“There was so much fun stuff to look at, it was awesome” Olivia

“We sat on the same benches that actual evacuees sat on” Erin

“It was very interesting to think how it would have been for the children who had to go there” Karola

“The talk by Mr Gooders about his and his little brother’s experience of being evacuees in Brighton was funny and moving and really engaged the kids. They were agog when he explained how his future wife was saved from being straifed by a Messerschmitt in the nearby Blakers Park.”

Paul Hendrick, local businessman & former governor at St Luke’s Primary School