Since 1967 we've been creating expertly planned school tours - helping groups get more from their time away...
WWI History school trips to the Battlefields Region (Northern France & Belgium)
Our established WWI Battlefield tour programme, covering Ypres Salient and the Somme, enables your students to learn from a wealth of important historical sites and excursions, and help them understand the impact and the lessons left behind. Following the events of 1917, a tour to the Ypres area concentrates on the period from the beginning of The Messines Offensive in June, to the end of The Passchendaele Offensive in November. Other events within The Salient are also studied. On the Somme, a tour will follow the events of the 1st July in considerable detail.
For History groups, there could be no better time to visit the WWI battlefields than during the centenary years from 2014-18. Plus, you’ll receive an additional 3 free places when you book your centenary tour! Click here to find out more.
Our 2014 centenary tours are expected to be in high demand. Call us now to secure your preferred dates and accommodation.
You’ll find our most popular itinerary choice(s) below, but we can tailor-make yours from scratch to meet your exact requirements…
WWI Battlefields - 3 days from £139pp*
Travelling in October 2013. Price includes executive coach transport from & to school & throughout your stay, 2 nights' full-board accommodation at Château d'Ebblinghem includes packed lunch from day 2, extensive group travel insurance and a generous free place ratio of 1 in 8.
And then add our most popular itinerary package below for £6pp*
|*Price shown based on 40 paying passengers departing from a Zone A departure point & is subject to availability. Entrance fees from some of the visits featured may be payable locally, but are included in the price shown.|
Our most popular visits in the WWI Battlefields region for History school trips
Here are some of our most popular visits in the WWI Battlefields region for History groups. We also offer WWI Literature tours in this region - click here for details. We can tailor-make an itinerary to your exact needs. Call us to create your itinerary from scratch today.
In Flanders Fields Exhibition
This superb state-of-the-art, interactive museum covers most aspects of the war in Flanders, and shows the war through the eyes of soldiers, nurses, refugees and children. An educational pack and study resources are available.
Sanctuary Wood Museum & Hill 62
This fascinating visit shows well-preserved, original British trenches. The museum consists of two rooms housing artefacts and photographs from World War I.
Hill 60 & Caterpillar Crater
The remains of two of the mines blown at the beginning of the Battle of Messines lie here. The preserved battlefield around the Hill 60 crater bears witness to the ferocity of the fighting around this vantage point, which changed hands on several occasions.
The Lettenberg Bunkers
These excellently restored British dugouts near Kemmel give a vivid insight into the scale of the war underground.
Passchendaele Memorial Museum
The memory of the 1917 battle is kept alive in the museum through images and movies, historical artefacts and several life-like-dioramas. Students can also follow in the footsteps of the 40th Australian Battalion on 4th October 1917 in an interactive visit which can include a battlefield walk in full uniform, an authentic ‘Tommy Tucker’ meal and a guided tour of the Memorial Museum. A great alternative when ‘In Flander’s Fields Exhibition’ is closed.
Menin Gate & Ceremony
The largest and the most important of the British memorials to the Missing in The Salient, this memorial holds the names of 54,896 soldiers of the British Empire. The Menin Gate marked the start of one of the main roads out of Ypres towards the Front Line. Following a meal at the ideally located Den Anker restaurant, your students will witness the moving ‘Last Post Ceremony’ which takes place every evening at 8pm.
Langemark German Cemetery
A sombre, foreboding place, this cemetery contains the bodies of more than 40,000 German troops, over half of whom lie in a mass grave. The entrance contains a memorial room dedicated to the dead of the Student Battalions decimated here in 1914.
Tyne Cot British Cemetery
Tyne Cot Cemetery is the resting place of 11,956 soldiers, and the largest British Military Cemetery in the world. The panels in the rear wall hold the names of 34,888 missing soldiers.
Essex Farm Cemetery & Dressing Station
Probably most famous because of the connection between the preserved British bunker and the Canadian poet, John McCrae. The cemetery and the nearby canal bank, formerly the British Front Line, are also well worth visiting.
In 1915, this British soldiers’ club opened to all ranks. Today, Talbot House is a fascinating living museum depicting daily life in the club. Groups are also able to visit the recently renovated concert hall where many recreational activities and concerts took place. This is an en route visit to Ypres Salient.
Bayernwald (Croonaert Wood)
German troops occupied this strategic position from late 1914. The site consists of a preserved German trench system, within which are several large concrete emplacements and two mineshafts. Information panels explain life at the Front.
Lay A Wreath At The Menin Gate
Groups are able to lay a wreath, watch and remember those who lost their lives with the many who attend each evening. Please ask our Tour Co-ordinator for details.
Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery & Visitor Centre
The story of the cemetery - the largest hospital cemetery in the Ypres Salient area with almost 11,000 victims, representing 30 nationalities - is told in this new visitor centre. The exhibition includes a photo and listening wall where stories from the war can be discovered.
Thiepval Memorial & Visitor Centre
This is the largest memorial to the British and Irish missing on the Western Front, containing the names of 73,412 men who died from 1915 to 1917 and have no known graves. The new visitor centre houses an informative exhibition designed to aid understanding of the history of Thiepval during WWI.
Newfoundland Park, Beaumont Hamel
Undoubtedly one of the largest and best-preserved trench memorials on the Western Front. Just outside the park lies Hawthorn Crater, and within it are the ‘Danger Tree’ and remains of the British Front Line. The German Front Line can be seen across No Man’s Land. Canadian guides can be pre-booked free of charge between May and November.
Island of Ireland Peace Park
The memorial site in Mesen is dedicated to the soldiers of Ireland, of all political and religious beliefs, who died, were wounded or missing in the Great War of 1914-1918. Irish men and women served with the Armies of Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States. The memorial site is also known as the “Irish Peace Park” or the “Irish Peace Tower”.
Lochnagar Crater, La Boisselle
The result of a mine explosion on 1st July 1916, this is the largest surviving crater on the Western Front, and one of the most impressive sites on the Somme Battlefields.
Albert, 1916 Museum
The main British base town during the 1916 battle, Albert changed hands on several occasions. The damaged tower of its basilica, ‘the leaning virgin’, was a famous site on this part of the Front. Next to this is the entrance to a small WWI museum housed in a series of underground chambers.
Delville Wood Museum, Longueval
South Africa’s major memorial to its dead of WWI. Delville Wood was also called ‘Devil’s Wood’ by the troops. After the war the wood was re-planted, but just one tree survives from the original woodland.
Tank Corps Memorial
Standing by the Albert-Bapaume road, this monument marks the spot from which the first tank attack in history began in September 1916.
Built as a memorial copy of the tower that the 36th Ulster Division had trained under in County Down, Northern Ireland, the tower marks the site against which the men of Ulster advanced on 1st July 1916. The northernmost 7km of the Somme Battlefield can be seen from here.
Accrington Pals Memorial, Serre
Constructed of Accrington brick, this striking and relatively recent memorial commemorates one of the best known of the Pals Battalions. It stands in a park dedicated to The Sheffield City Battalion which contains traces of the front line trenches, from which both battalions attacked on 1st July 1916.
Possible En Route Somme Visits
Re-opened in 2008, after being closed since its use as an air raid shelter in WWII. You now have the opportunity to visit part of the network of tunnels which played a key part in the Battle of Arras. Your group will descend 20 metres in a glass lift to take a guided tour. A great new alternative to Vimy Ridge which can get booked up very early.
The scene of fierce fighting in 1917, when the Canadians successfully took the ridge from the Germans. Students can take a guided tour of the tunnels, trenches and the cemeteries.
Further develop your students’ understanding of the events of WWI, and allow them to look at the war from the perspective of the French forces, by extending your trip with a day or more in Verdun. Call our dedicated History tours team to discuss further.
Below, you'll find some of our most popular accommodation options for school groups.
This is just a sample of our full range, so for full details of all properties available, please call 0845 688 8988 to speak to one of our Educational Travel Advisors today.
Specifically renovated to provide a superb standard of accommodation, NST’s Château d’Ebblinghem offers unrivalled facilities for school and youth groups.
There are 3 separate buildings at NST’s château, each designed to accommodate one group. You will have sole occupancy of your building including your own dining room, meeting room and games room. NST's chateau is a great base for all subject groups: Primary schools, French Language, History, Religious Studies, Food Technology, Geography and Music.
St Omer, Opal Coast
3 buildings each accommodating 58 guests.
NST’s château is located in St Omer on the Opal Coast, just 45 minutes from Calais and Ypres, 55 minutes from the Eurotunnel terminal, 60 minutes from Boulogne and 90 minutes from Le Touquet.
All bedrooms in all 3 buildings are bright, modern and clean, and feature a private shower, toilet and washbasin.
Meals at NST’s château provide a nutritious balanced diet which is carefully planned to restore the energy expended during the day’s activities. Breakfast and evening meals are provided on-site and packed lunches are supplied daily.
We can be flexible regarding meal times to suit your itinerary, and most special dietary requirements are easily
During your stay at NST’s château, you will be allocated your own personal group co-ordinator – known as a ‘groupie’ – to provide full-time assistance throughout your tour. Your groupie will:
- Be based at the château
- Assist you on arrival to ensure a smooth check-in
- Discuss all your itinerary arrangements with you, including on-site and off-site activities
- Travel with you to all your visits to assist with directions and organisation
- Organise and be present at all your on-site activities
- Be available to assist with any questions or issues
Your Group’s Safety & Security
The secluded location of NST’s Château d’Ebblinghem, and the fact that each group has its own accommodation block, will no doubt be a major reassurance to teachers and parents.
Your group will have its own dedicated room for recreational activities, and access to the communal games room.
- Four hectares of private grounds
- Two football pitches (one floodlit)
- Volleyball area and outdoor activities (during summer months)
- A separate dedicated building housing a games room, teachers’ bar and the château shop
Organised Evening Activities
Our staff will arrange a programme of activities for your group such as talent shows, games shows, quizzes, team challenges, initiative exercises, discos, etc. During summer months, outdoor activities will also be added to your evening programme.
If you would like to add in some study time too, a dedicated room – complete with TV, video and white board – will be available.
A traditional building that has been completely renovated and converted into a small but efficiently arranged guest house. A recreation and meeting room has been added next to the existing breakfast room on the ground floor.
This guesthouse is centrally located in Ypres. Whilst the rooms are compact, groups of over 30 can be assured sole-use of the property. Coaches are able to drop off passengers directly outside the property.
50 guests in 11 rooms over 4 floors.
The hotel is located in the heart of Ypres, a 2 minute walk to the main square, the Grote Markt and 800 metres from the Menin Gate. For groups of over 30 persons, exclusive use of the hotel is guaranteed.
- Breakfast room
- Meeting/recreation room
- TV & DVD player
- Internet access
- Disabled facilities: This hotel is not suited to guests using wheelchairs.
- 3-8 bedded rooms
- En-suite facilities
- En-suite facilities
There is no 24-hour permanent staff on-site but there is a telephone contact for night time emergency. The owner will conduct a verbal safety brief on arrival and written instructions in English will be given to the group leader.
Group leaders are advised to consider this in their risk assessments/group management plan and ensure appropriate control measures are put in place.
A security deposit of €20 per person is payable on arrival. This is to be paid in cash. The amount is refundable at the end of your stay provided there has been no damage to the areas occupied by the group. To avoid misunderstanding, we recommend all group leaders undertake an inspection of all rooms with the hotelier.
This is a low rise, modern hotel that has been purpose-built for school groups. The original block was fully renovated in summer 2009 and the newer block built at the same time. Both blocks are adjacent to the Hotel Flanders Lodge and all share the same management as the Oude Abdij.
This modern accommodation has been purpose-built for school groups. Its location provides good access to the surrounding area and is within easy reach of the centre of Ypres. The lodge offers very good value for money and highly recommended.
Ypres Lodge can accommodate approximately 190 guests in 2 blocks over two floors (including ground floor).
The hotel is located in a commercial zone on the outskirts of Ypres, approximately 1-mile from the town centre. There are good road connections. Ypres is a bustling, picturesque town located in Flemish-speaking Flanders. The town was the setting for some of the worst fighting of the Great War and today serves as a memorial to those who lost their lives.
- Dining/games room – suitable for meetings and evening entertainment
- Conference facilities for up to 100 persons (available for hire and ideal for music groups)
- Free karaoke facility
- CCTV cameras
- Coach parking available
- Disabled facilities: This property has no specific facilities or adapted rooms for disabled clients
- Multi bedded rooms – 4 to 6 persons or triples with the use of bunk beds
- En-suite with a shower and WC
- Twin-bedded rooms
- En-suite with a shower and WC
Ypres Lodge is currently carrying out building work to construct a new wing adjacent to Best Western Flanders Lodge their sister property, which is situated next to Ypres Lodge. The work commenced February and is due to be completed by October 2013. The work will commence at 08:30hrs and end at 17:30hrs each day. Due to the location of this new wing, we do not envisage that the work will have any impact on your tour arrangements.
An attractive, traditional hotel building retaining many of its original features. The hotel is set in its own grounds in a tranquil location about 300 metres from the centre of Lo and next to the Old Abbey.
Hotel Oude Abdij
A comfortable, atmospheric hotel offering an ideal location for excursions to the Battlefields. The owner, who lives on-site, is extremely hospitable and experienced in accommodating groups of young people. She also speaks excellent English. Feedback from groups is consistently very positive and many return year after year.
187 guests over 3 to 4 floors, either in the main building or in the adjacent annexe.
The hotel is situated close to the centre of the small picturesque town of Lo, which is approximately one-hour’s drive from Calais and 25 minutes’ drive from Ypres.
- Two spacious dining areas
- Two separate bar areas
- Games area including table tennis, pool table and table football
- Projector & large screen suitable for showing DVDs
- Large garden/patio
- Karaoke facility
- Private parking
- Disabled facilities: This property has no specific facilities or adapted rooms for disabled clients.
- 2-6 bedded rooms plus1 large 8 bedded room
- En-suite facilities
- En-suite facilities
The hotel conforms to all local standards, which does not require lifts to have internal doors or windows to have restricted opening. Group leaders are advised to consider this in their risk assessments/group management plan and ensure appropriate control measures are put in place.
A modern low rise purpose built hostel. The accommodation is composed of 4 accommodation blocks, each of which can accommodate up to 32 persons in 8 x 4-bedded rooms. Staff are accommodated in twins in line with our booking conditions. The main block houses the reception, new bar and games room, dining room and several meeting rooms.
Messines Peace Village
A recent purpose built youth hostel offering spacious and practical accommodation in an historical location 15 minutes from Ypres. The hostel would be a good base for music groups.
144 beds in total
The hostel is located in the town of Messines set in its own grounds, behind the Messines Ridge WWI cemetery and 9kms south of Ypres. In the Battle of Messines of 7th June 1917, Allied forces overwhelmed German defences by exploding 1,000,000 lb worth of mines under German lines. Nowadays Messines is a peaceful town set between the hills and pastures. Messines has several monuments remembering and honouring the brave souls who lost their lives in this dreadful war. The Island of Ireland Peace Park and Flanders Peace Field are just two of them. The hostel offers an educational torch walk which focus on reflection and remembrance. The tour takes 2.5 km (90 minutes) and visits most of the local memorials. Nearby Ypres is a bustling, picturesque town located in Flemish-speaking Flanders. The town was the setting for some of the worst fighting of the Great War and today serves as a memorial to those who lost their lives.
- Bar and games room
- 2 large outside terraces
- Dining room
- 4 meeting rooms (must be pre-booked)
- Spacious grounds
- Free Wi-Fi
- Disabled facilities: 8 rooms are fully equipped for disabled clients with a walk-in shower, the hostel is also fully accessible to disabled guests
- 4 bedded rooms (bunk beds)
- En suite facilities
- Towels are not provided
- En suite facilities
- Towels are not provided
NST Guide Lecturers - From only £10pp per day
An increasing number of schools book a Guided Study Tour each year due to the recommendation of NST’s customers. Why not add an NST Guide Lecturer to your tour package.
Your Guide Lecturer will:
- Be selected from a specialist team to meet your exact visit requirements
- Be a highly experienced and knowledgeable educationalist
- Have a long and proven track record of delivering excellent results
- Have an understanding of the needs of students and information delivery
- Understand the pressures and requirements of Group Leaders
Benefits of NST Guide Lecturers:
- A Strong Teaching Background - All of our guides are ex-teachers with specific History expertise. Their educational background and detailed knowledge of the current curriculum will help them meet your specific needs. As former teachers they also understand the demands and requirements of organising educational visits.
- Helping You to Prepare Your Ideal Itinerary - Our guides will contact you before your tour to discuss your learning objectives. They will then advise on the appropriate visits to build an itinerary that matches your specified objectives and enables your group to get the most out of every day.
- More Time for One-to-One Teaching - With an NST Guide Lecturer leading the group, you gain the opportunity to provide individual tuition and enjoy the visits with your students.
- First Evening Talk - Your Guide Lecturer will provide an informal discussion on your first evening, setting the scene for the next few days. Helping students focus on the days to come and covering many general questions up front, this talk will allow more time for specific questions at each site.
WWI Guided Study Tours
Personalise your tour to the WWI Battlefields by following in the footsteps of your local battalion or visit the grave of a relative. By taking a guided study tour with NST, you can discuss this option in advance enabling your Guide Lecturer to build this into your itinerary. If you are looking for something different…
- Our Guide Lecturers’ knowledge of the WWI Battlefi eld areas is endless. We can take you off the beaten track to discover lesser known sites which will enable you to cover a wider perspective of WWI. Fewer people may be at these sites, offering you more space in situ for teaching and discussion.
- Our Guide Lecturers can cover topics which are lesser studied but still of great value and interest, such as the early stages of WWI or 1918.
- Empire History - Our guides will be happy to suggest amendments to your itinerary, either in terms of sites visited or themes studied, in order to make the tour as relevant as possible for schools studying British Imperial History.
Our team of guides include:
- Jeff Garner - Programme Co-ordinator - A Cambridge graduate, Jeff has extensive experience in both museum work and secondary education. In this 24th season as Programme Co-ordinator, Jeff works with your Tour Consultant to allocate the ideal guide for each group and oversees tour arrangements. Jeff is responsible for guide training and involved in product development and this year has developed two new areas for History tours: Berlin: The Cold War and the Fall of Communism, and London History.
- Alan Reed - Growing up near Arras, Alan’s interest in World War Battlefields started at an early age as the son of a War Graves Commission family. Alan combines a huge knowledge of the Battlefi eld area with a detailed understanding of both the history and culture of the region. He is a published author of ‘Meet at Dawn, Unarmed’, a book on the Christmas Truce of 1914.
- Robert Watson - An experienced retired secondary school teacher, Robert combines his extensive guiding experience and excellent knowledge with a keen understanding of how to relate this to all groups
- Tom Morgan - Former teacher Tom is an experienced Battlefields guide, with his own well respected WWI website. As well as being a published author, Tom has also made a television documentary on the Battle of the Somme.
- Greg Davey - An experienced History and English teacher with over 13 years of teaching experience, Greg has also tutored for the Open University. Greg has written E-Learning courses covering the origins of WWI and runs a business which provides Living History materials to schools.
- Peter Crook - With a career as Head of History and Associate Advisor for History with a Local Education Authority, Peter has been guiding tours to the WWI Battlefields for his own and other schools since 1982 and is a published author.
Free Study Packs
In order to save you preparation time and ensure you and your students get the most from your tour, NST have worked with educationalists to provide downloadable resources to use before, during and after your tour.
Click here to view a sample of our WWI Resource Pack for groups visiting the Battlefields region.