Visit the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory



There are lots of opportunities for the public and schools to come and visit us at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) or attend one of the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) off-site events with our partners and meet some of our scientists and engineers.

The laboratory, near Didcot in Oxfordshire, is home to many of the UK’s most advanced research facilities and supports work in a range of areas including space science and astronomy, particle physics, nanotechnology and developing new materials.

RAL employs nearly 1,200 people and every year around 10,000 scientists and engineers use the laboratory’s facilities to advance their research.

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If you would like to receive information about events and activities you can contact us to be added to our mailing list.


Stargazing at RAL

A boy excitedly holds a small paper rocket

STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory hosted a Stargazing Live event on 12 February 2016. Image shows young visitors participating in the activities.

Whatever the weather, we hold annual stargazing events, which can be online or in-person. There is plenty to do for the whole family, with talks, observing, planetarium shows and plenty of hands-on activities for all ages.

We also have experts on hand to explain how we’re using our experimental facilities to learn more about space, including our particle accelerators, Diamond Light Source and the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, and the Central Laser Facility. Contact us for more information about this event.

We also hold regular stargazing and space nights for uniform groups, both online and in person, from Rainbows to Scouts. The interactive activities allow children to complete many of the necessary tasks for their space-related badges.

Talking Science lectures

This series of fascinating and free monthly scientific lectures by invited speakers takes place every month via Zoom.

To view our upcoming events and book your place, please see Talking Science events on eventbrite.

Find more upcoming STFC events you can go to.

Please note, registration of interest opens the term before an event. This is due to many events being oversubscribed. Once the registration of interest closes, places are then allocated at random.

Saturday coding at RAL

Two children sat at a desk with a laptop with excited expressions.

Children attending a summer coding event hosted at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. Held in the R112 Visitor Centre, 5 to 9 August 2019.

Once a month, on a Saturday afternoon, we run a coding club for young people aged 7 to 18 years.

During these sessions participants work on a variety of challenges, from creating and programming a robot to enter the laser target areas, to making a series of simple games designed to encourage people to learn how to code.

It’s a brilliant opportunity to meet other coders and work together on amazing projects, with support from RAL’s Scientific Computing Department as well as external mentors.

At the moment, all places at our Saturday coding club are taken, but contact us if you’d like more information or to be placed on our waiting list.

Work experience

We run a large work experience programme at the RAL each year, taking on average around 100 students in Years 10 to 13.

Find out more and apply for work experience with STFC.


Find out more about our work or activities, or subscribe to our schools mailing list to hear about upcoming events, by contacting STFC’s RAL Public Engagement team.


Last updated: 27 July 2023

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