Ypres & The Somme History School Day Trips - WWI Battlefields

Our WWI battlefields history day trip is a great option for groups on a budget. Covering Ypres Salient and the Somme, our established WWI battlefields tour programme enables pupils to learn from a wealth of historical sites.

2017 marks the centenary of The Battle of Messines Ridge and the Third Battle of Ypres – Passchendaele.  Our tours follow the events of 1917 in the Ypres Salient from the opening moments of the Messiness battle in June to the final capture of Passchendaele village in November. Groups will see excellent examples of all the surviving evidence left including mine craters, preserved trenches, cemeteries and memorials. Using these groups can study many aspects of the experience of trench warfare such as the treatment and evacuation of the wounded.

Prices start from£59pp

Price Shown includes

  • Executive coach transport from & to school & throughout your stay
  • Extensive group travel insurance
  • Free place ratio of 1 in 8

Price shown is based on 40 paying passengers departing from Midlands, East Anglia and Central Wales in September 2017 and is subject to availability.


On-tour support

Get even more from your trip with NST History Educationalist Guide from only £10pp per day. 


Top visits - Ypres Salient

In Flanders Field Exhibition

This superb state-of-the-art, interactive museum is now an even richer experience with the updated larger museum. Covering most aspects of the war in Flanders, each visitor will receive a wristband that will take them on a journey in the museum through the eyes of someone who was there. An educational pack, study resources and education room are available.

Sanctuary Wood Museum & Hill 62

Located close to the original front lines, this fascinating visit shows well preserved original British trenches and covered passageways, as well as a section of the underground tunnel system. The museum consists of two rooms housing many artefacts removed from the battlefields plus a large and rare collection of three dimensional photo images inside special viewing boxes.

Passchendaele Memorial Museum

Commemorating the 1917 Battle of Passchendale, this museum has been enlarged, with a new underground exhibition focusing on the battle, a network of open air trenches and a new remembrance gallery. A full day interactive platoon experience also available, please call for details.

 

Hooge Crater

Offering groups a unique tour - original artefacts & full scale reconstructions of battlefield scenes can be found in the Museum Hooge Crater. With an extended collection of weapons from the period 1914-18, war equipment of all armies that fought during those four years of intense battles and photos, make this museum a true must-see!

Hill 60 & Caterpillar Crater

The remains of two of the mines blown up 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.

Menin Gate & Last Post Ceremony

The largest and the most important of the British memorials to the Missing in The Salient, The Menin Gate holds the names of 54,896 soldiers of the British Empire. This memorial marked the start of one of the main roads out of Ypres towards the Front Line. Following a meal at a local restaurant, your pupils 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 which lie in a mass grave. Here, your pupils will learn how Germany chose to remember its war dead and how their thoughts of war were shaped by the slaughter of the German pupil battalions by British regular troops in 1914, known as the Massacre of the Innocents, an important challenge to pre-war ideas of the glories of warfare. The entrance to the exhibition contains a memorial room dedicated specificallyto the dead of the Student Battalions. In the 1930s, the memory of this battle was incorporated into Hitler’s perverse Cult of the Dead. 

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, this cemetery and the nearby canal bank, formerly the British Front Line, are also well worth visiting.

Talbot House

In 1915, this British soldiers’ club, known as ‘Toc H’, 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. 

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.

Spanbroekmolen Crater

Spanbroekmolen Crater was created by the largest mine blown on June 7, 1917 at the start of the Battle of Messines in Flanders.

Lijssenthoek Cemetery

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.

WWI Medical Evacuation guided tour

Ideal for groups studying Edexcel’s Medicine and Surgery on the Western Front option, this guided tour follows the medical evacuation route of the 2nd Battalion of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment after their involvement in a gas attack on 5th May 1915.  

You will stop at places where their presence in the landscape is still visible. Not every casualty followed this route to its end. Some were patched up and sent back into battle. Some were beyond all medical help and ended their journey before they reached the hospitals behind the lines.

This excursion includes:
- Divisional Cemetery
- Hill 60, an authentic wartime landscape
- Larch Wood Cemetery
- The village of Dikkebus
- Reninghelst Churchyard Extension Cemetery
- Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery

WWI Centenary Statue Workshop – ComingWorldRememberMe

During this workshop, pupils will create a statue each which will then all become a part of a land art installation to commemorate the 100th anniversary of WWI in March 2018. The workshop starts with some background information on the project, then pupils will create the sculptures. The workshop finishes with a moment of reflection. Each participant who makes a statue, receives a personalised certificate and a stamped CWRM dog tag.


Top visits - The Somme

Thiepval Memorial & Visitor Centre

This is the largest memorial to the British missing on the Western Front, containing the names of over 73,000 men who died in the Somme section before 20th March 1918 and have no known graves. The visitor centre houses an informative exhibition designed to aid understanding of the history of Thiepval during WWI.

Newfoundland Park

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. 

Lochnagar Crater

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.

Somme Trench 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

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.

Ulster Tower

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

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.

Wellington Quarry

This fascinating museum has been created within a section of tunnels dug by the British Army during WWI, giving groups the opportunity to visit the underground network 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 alternative to Vimy Ridge which can get booked up very early.

Vimy Ridge

The scene of fierce fighting in 1917, when the Canadians successfully took the ridge from the Germans. Pupils can take a tour of the tunnels, trenches and the cemeteries.

Verdun

Further develop your pupils’ 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.


Study themes

• The Western Front
• Military tactics and technology
• Volunteering to conscription
• Key battles and their significance
• The day-to-day conditions facing soldiers

• The role of women
• The medical and surgical treatment of the wounded
• Developments in medicine and surgery


Study levels

A-level

AS Level

GCSE


Educational resources

Free educational study packs

In order to save you preparation time and ensure you and your pupils get the most from your tour, NST have worked with educationalists to provide downloadable resources to use before, during and after your tour.


Expert's comment

There could be no better time to take your pupils on a learning journey of a lifetime to visit the battlefields than during these centenary years. Our established programme, covering Ypres Salient and the Somme, enables your pupils to learn from a wealth of important historical sites and excursions and will help them understand the impact and the lessons left behind.

Jeff Garner, NST Educationalist History Guide Programme Co-ordinator


Transport

Available from any location in the UK, our executive coaches are fitted with seatbelts, toilet facilities, air conditioning, DVD and reclining seats.

Coach


Giving you full support throughout

Before your tour

  • Your own dedicated NST contact
  • Bespoke tour itineraries
  • Unrivalled local knowledge & expertise
  • Curriculum linked visit programmes
  • Great value for money - no hidden costs
  • Free group leader inspection visits
  • Risk assessment guidance
  • Safety assured, transport, accommodation and visits

Whilst you're away

  • Free educational resources
  • Group-friendly accommodation
  • Exceptional standards of coaching
  • On-tour support from our reps on the ground
  • Support & assistance from our specialists guides throughout your tour
  • 24/7 support just a call away
  • Extensive group travel insurance

On your return

  • Priority rebooking services
  • Rewarding your loyalty with our reward scheme
  • You say, we listen - we're committed to continuously improving our tours
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