Finlaystone House
Schools, Nurseries, Groups and Parties

Finlaystone attracts over 3,500 school and nursery children every year who visit for fun and education. Our rangers work with teachers in arranging activities to promote an understanding and appreciation of our natural surroundings. If you think your school or class would be interested in coming, we’d love to hear from you!

Finlaystone Country Estate is comprised of 150 acres, 10 acres of which are formal gardens and 140 acres are mixed woodlands with a network of trails, play areas, ponds and burns with spectacular waterfalls.

The Visitor Centre doubles as our wildlife centre with informative displays and houses, accessible toilet and a gift shop stocked with goods, many at pocket-money prices. Each class will be allocated a 15-minute time slot for the shop. You can also view ‘Dolly Mixture’ which is a doll museum with an international collection of dolls collected by the MacMillan family. 

 A mixture of dense conifer plantations and open broad-leaved woodlands cover the estate, complemented by their associated woodland flora and fauna. Woodland clearings provide areas for BBQs, picnics and play. Throughout the woodland are extensive timber play areas from fort, tram, train and pirate ship to slides & swings for the younger visitors.

What to Bring

Please wear suitable clothing for the weather. Wellington boots are advised for some activities in the forest. We recommend midge-repellent, they love joining us! Sun cream for sunny days and your packed lunch if you don’t buy our packed lunches from the Tea Room (see below).

 Tea Room

Packed lunches can be provided by the Tea Room on request for £3.75 per child. To order call Jill on 07795606730. A discounted price can be offered to large school groups. 

Nursery Groups

We work with various local nursery groups and enjoy our activities with our regular visitors. We can offer half hour ranger-led activities to accommodate for the wee ones. Activities include ‘My First Nature Walk’ and our ‘Minibeast Safari’.

To book, complete and return our Nursery booking form to or book over the phone on 01475 540505 (Mon-Fri 11am-4pm).  Special arrangements can be made for regular visits.

Primary Schools

We are experienced in working with both small and large primary school groups and can offer a variety of activities that link in with subjects within the Curriculum for Excellence. Below is a list of some of our activities. We are happy to work with you school based on your current curricular subjects and projects, so just let us know.  

To book, complete and e-mail our booking forms below to

School booking form

Ranger Activities

Den building

Finding appropriate materials in the woods and making you own shelter. A combination of initiative and teamwork with a fun result.

Minibeast safari and nature walk

The excitement of finding various bugs that inhabit the woods and a general eye opener to things around you (mainly targeted at younger children)

Ranger hike

A walk through the woods with the aim of spotting things of interest such as different trees, animal tracks etc designed to expand awareness of the biodiversity around us (targeted at older groups)

Animal awareness sessions

Spend time with a variety of animals (sheep, pigs, guinea pigs and others) to learn how to look after and interact with them.

Climate change awareness at Finlaystone

Understand how Finlaystone contributes to achieving net zero. A look at our Hydro system, biomass boiler and solar power and awareness of how the many trees on the estate help our cause.

These activities can be tailored to suit the age of the groups.

Secondary Schools 

We also work with secondary school groups to help pupils achieve various awards and qualifications such as their SQAs courses or John Muir Award. We can offer activities to fit in the Curriculum for Excellence such as Outdoor Education or Health and Wellbeing.  

Our Ranger Team have developed a Junior Ranger Programme. This is a week-to-week course to provide training on ranger skills such as maintenance, conservation and events. 

Cedar’s School of Excellence, Greenock have taken part in our Junior Ranger Programme previously. Emma Rukin, Social Studies Teacher said “Thanks so much for yesterday afternoon – it was great fun!  The girls will really enjoy being outside for an afternoon a week, and in such lovely surroundings“.   

We also provide age relevant ranger-led activities for secondary schools including den builds and fire-lighting, team-building games, orienteering,  renewables education and ranger hikes. Further detail on these activities is available on request.

We also have a school membership arrangement whereby the school brings small groups to the park regularly, often for teacher led activities.

If you are interested in working with us or have any questions, call us on 01475 540505 or email – we are happy to help. 

To book a session with our ranger team, please complete and return the relevant form for your group

School booking form

Scouts, Brownies, Guide Groups 

We offer various activities for groups including our ranger-led activities and overnight stays. To discuss please call 01475 540505.

Groups and Party booking form

What children have to say about their visit


We are consistently looking to improve the facilities and activities we provide. Your feedback is welcomed and essential for us to do just that. To do so, please complete our Visitor Feedback Form.

We look forward to hearing from you!