School trips to Washington DC

Washington D.C. is packed with monuments, museums and eclectic neighbourhoods – the perfect destination for students to get a taste for American history, politics and culture. 

There are also a number of world-renowned landmarks to enjoy, such as the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and, of course, the White House. This makes Washington D.C. a must for students interested in political history, and a favourite hotspot for budding artists and their sketchbooks.

The US capital has over 70 first-class museums, many of which offer free admission. The Smithsonian Institution is surely the most well-known, a collective museum and research complex that includes plenty of history museums, art galleries and even a zoo! Thousands of school groups flock to Washington DC each year to discover this treasure chest of knowledge for themselves.

Take a look at our most popular options below or feel free to get in touch with one of our experts for more information or advice on planning your perfect school trip to Washington D.C.

Browse our curriculum-linked school trips to Washington DC

History

History School Trips & Tours - Political History

The US capital city is home to many excellent museums, educational visits and sites to give your pupils an invaluable insight into American history and how the country has evolved.

Learn more about our history trips to Washington here.

 

Art & Design

Art & design

Spectacular art can be seen in the US capital with dozens of world class museums and galleries to be found here, whilst the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Museums are second to none. 

Learn more about our art & design trips to Washington here.

Cultural Trips & Tours

Cultural Trips & Tours

Chosen as the US capital for its tactical location between the South and the North, Washington DC offers a whole host of experiences for school groups. Home to the US Government, many of the nation’s monuments and museums, historic landmarks and memorials to great US presidents of the past, the city’s skyline might be low profile but its attractions certainly aren’t.

Learn more about our cultural trips to Washington here.


Washington DC trip highlights - our groups love...

Walking Tour - Political Sites
 

Walking Tour - Political Sites
Half day tour with a local guide covering externally all the major government buildings:

  • Pennsylvania Avenue
  • The US Capitol (the Senate, House of Representatives, Supreme Court, Library of Congress)
  • The Mall
  • George Washington Monument

Ford's Theatre
 

Ford's Theatre
Enjoy a self-guided tour of the Ford’s Theatre Museum - explore Lincoln's presidency from his arrival in Washington to the very minute he arrived at Ford's Theatre on the fateful night of April 14, 1865. You will see rare artefacts related to the assassination.

The Pentagon
 

The Pentagon
The headquarters of the Department of Defense is one of the world’s largest office buildings. It is possible for groups to have a guided tour around the building which covers highlights of significant moments in history. Tours must be booked direct by the group via your local MP.

FDR Memorial
 

FDR Memorial
This park traces 12 years of the history of the US using a sequence of outdoor rooms; one for each of Roosevelt’s terms of office. Sculptures and murals depict scenes from the Depression enabling you to stand in the ‘Breadline’.

Lincoln Memorial Steps
 

Lincoln Memorial Steps
Stand on the site of Martin Luther King’s famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech during the defining moment of the Civil Rights Movement in America.

National Museum of American History
 

National Museum of American History
Traces the country’s development in an entertaining and fairly lighthearted manner.

Smithsonian American Art Museum
 

Smithsonian American Art Museum
Covering a wide variety of themes and movements of American Art with notable works by O’Keefe, Hopper and Homer.

National Portrait Gallery
 

National Portrait Gallery
The portraits of Presidents and notable Americans are on permanent display. Works such as the ‘Lansdowne’ portrait of George Washington are among its many highlights.

Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden
 

Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden
Located beside the National Mall, the striking museum is part of the Smithsonian Institution and focuses on contemporary and modern art from the last 50 years.

Washington DC school trip experts

Hundreds of groups travel with NST to Washington DC every year, and members of our team regularly visit Washington to really get to know the ins-and-outs of the area, from logistics and visits to our range of student-friendly accommodation.
  
Your dedicated Tour Co-ordinator will use their knowledge of Washignton to create an itinerary that’s tailor-made, perfectly timed and meets your exact school travel needs.

They’ll be able to share their first-hand experience, suggest options you might not have considered and give you insight into the feedback other teachers have given us too.

When you arrive in Washington DC our representatives will meet you at the airport and accompany you to your accommodation, they'll also be on-hand for any questions you might have whilst you're away.

Planning your first school trip?

If you're planning your first school trip, our essential guide will take you through each step of the process...

  • Choosing your destination
  • Gaining approval from your Local Authority and/or your Head
  • Promoting your tour in school
  • Confirming your booking

 

  • Tailor-make your tour
  • Completing your risk assessments (including a sample risk assessment)
  • Quick reference timeline
  • Pre-tour checklist

 

Additional support, resources & information

Tour planning service

Tour planning service

With NST, you’ll get your own dedicated, knowledgeable Tour Co-ordinator who’ll work with you from start to finish. You’ll benefit from their unrivalled destination knowledge, and their experience gained from working with many other groups too. They’ll tailor-make your itinerary from scratch and take care of everything for you:

  • Pulling together an itinerary that runs smoothly
  • Planning the right balance of visits every day with realistic timings
  • Pre-arranging and pre-booking your visits, entrance tickets, passes and meals

You’ll receive your final itinerary a full 4-weeks before you travel too.

FREE school trip promotion pack

Free school trip promotion pack

We’ll support you and provide everything you need to advertise your school trip around school and to parents. Our free school trip promotion pack consists of:

  • Parents’ letter & permission slip template for you to complete A3 posters to promote your trip around school
  • PowerPoint presentation templates which you can tailor to your own needs
  • Parents’ leaflets covering how NST manage safety, financial protection and details of our travel insurance
  • Online parents’ video which showcases the benefits of taking a school trip

For selected destinations, we’ll provide a trip launch web page using video footage and imagery. This web page is provided by a weblink and can be shared with pupils and parents in many ways.

Risk assessment support including preview visits

Risk assessment support including preview visits

Risk assessment plays a vitally important part in the planning and organisation on any school tour.

Our risk assessment guide aims to help you understand more about your obligations and how you can more effectively manage group safety on your next educational visit and provide you with risk assessments for your trip.

Planning your first school trip

Planning your first school trip

Organising your first school trip can appear to be a daunting process. If you're planning your first school trip, our guide will help to take you through each step of the planning process, answering frequently asked questions and providing tips and support along the way. Our helpful guide covers the following:

  • Choosing your destination
  • Gaining approval from your Local Authority and/or your Head
  • Promoting your tour in school
  • Confirming your booking
  • Tailor-make your tour
  • Completing your risk assessments (including a sample risk assessment)
  • Quick reference timeline
  • Pre-tour checklist

View our essential guide to a successful school trip here.

Get live updates on your tour group's location

Get live updates on your tour group's location

NST's new trip tracker, Locate My Trip, is the easy, convenient way for your school to follow your group's location whilst on tour.

Our app has been specifically designed to provide reassurance to both parents and teachers.

Watch our short Locate My Trip video here.

Your online school trip organiser - My Tour Manager

Your online school trip organiser - My Tour Manager

Save time and stay on track with your school trip admin with our online orgnaniser - designed to help busy teachers like you.

With My Tour Manager, you'll be able to download FREE resources and access trip paperwork online and in one place. Your personalised checklist details what you need to do and by when, plus you'll receive fortnightly reminders too.

What's more, you can take all your trip documents on the go whilst on your tour with our app, My Tour Manager-On-the-Go.

Find out more and watch out short My Tour Manager video here.

Free classroom resources

Free classroom resources

We've created a range of free resources and educational posters to brighten up your classroom!

Take a look at our downloadable posters here.

Why choose NST...

Here's why thousands of teachers choose NST each year...

  • Unrivalled knowledge

Your dedicated tour co-ordinator will use their unrivalled local knowledge and expertise to create a tailor-made, curriculum-linked itinerary to meet your group’s exact needs.

  • Making it easier for you

With our online school trip organiser, travel app, FREE classroom posters and trip launch resources to support in-school promotion.

  • Risk assessment guidance

Our risk assessment guidance will help you to manage group safety on your next educational trip. 

  • FREE group leader inspection visits

We offer a free inspection visit to your chosen destination to support your risk assessment planning.

 

  • Value for money

We’re committed to bringing you the best possible value trips to help make every penny count.

  • Peace of mind

Your group’s location can be followed with our trip tracking device - Locate My Trip - plus you’ll have 24/7 support from us whilst you’re away.

  • More than 50 years’ experience

With over 50 years’ experience, with NST you can rest assured that your group is in safe hands.

 

Looking for protection on your next school trip? 

Booking with a school travel company is the best way for you to protect parents’ money and give yourself peace of mind.

 

Don’t forget – if your school arranges transport, accommodation and other services directly, you’ll be liable under the Package Travel Regulations – meaning you’ll have all the responsibilities of a travel company, both legal and financial.

Financial protection from the moment you book

NST are fully bonded:

  • ABTA
  • ATOL
  • IATA

Managing safety on school trips

For your protection, NST's independently audited Safety Management System covers:

  • 24-hour emergency cover
  • Audited accommodation & transport
  • Excursions & school visit assessment
  • Group leader preview visits to assist with risk assessment planning

We are LOtC Council's Quality Badge assured

The Department for Education advising schools to always to look for the LOtC Quality Badge when finding a school travel provider.