History School trips to Ypres, The Somme & Vimy Ridge (4 Days)

Explore the WWI battlefields around the small Flemish town of Ypres where war raged for four years.  This area witnessed the stand made by the British Expeditionary Force at First Ypres in 1914. As battlefield mobility gave way to trench warfare, the Germans tried to break the stalemate by using gas for the first time at the Second Battle of Ypres in 1915.  Haig's Passchendaele Offensive of 1917 was the most notorious of the battles fought in this part of Flanders.

Sir Douglas Haig and his senior commanders have often been castigated for their conduct of the Battle of the Somme in 1916, although a different interpretation has begun to emerge, placing the events of the first day in the context of the battle as a whole and as part of a "learning curve" experienced by the British during the war. Across No Man's Land, a German observer called the Somme "the muddy grave of the German Army".

Guarding the strategically important Douai Plain, Vimy Ridge was a lynchpin of the German defences on the Western Front & a veritable fortress. The successful Canadian assault was the culmination of months of meticulous planning, training, air reconnaissance, tunnelling and mining which swept the German troops from their positions. For the Allies, Vimy represented a clear-cut victory; for Canada, it signified the birth of a nation.

Add a visit to a Christmas Market to your battlefield tour & save money if you are travelling in late November or December.        Click here for details

 

Itinerary

 

Day One:  Outward Journey

  Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

  • School pick-up (06.00 hours approx) & travel to Dover
  • Ferry to Calais / Dunkirk & onward travel
  • Full-board accommodation
  • Overnight Ypres
 
 
 

Day Two:  Ypres, 1914-17

 
  • Gheluvelt & Hooge
  • Langemark German Cemetery
  • Pilckem Ridge Gas Attack
  • Ypres: Cloth Hall
  • Essex Farm Cemetery & Dug-outs
  • Passchendaele Museum: Trenches & Dug-out Experience
  • Tyne Cot Cemetery
  • Menin Road & Hellfire Corner
  • Last Post at the Menin Gate at  20.00 hours. Overnight Ypres

 

 

 

 

Caribou Memorial Newfoundland Park

 

 

Day Three:  The Somme, 1916

 
  • Serre:  Accrington Pals' Trench
  • Newfoundland Park
  • Ulster Tower
  • Thiepval Memorial
  • Ovillers & "Mash" Valley
  • Lochnagar Crater
  • Mansel Copse & Devonshire     Trench
  • Overnight Albert
 
 
 
 

Day Four:  Vimy Ridge, 1917

 
  • Notre Dame de Lorette
  • Vimy Memorial
  • Vimy Reconstructed Trenches
  • Visitor Centre
  • Return travel to school with evening drop-off
 
 
 

Some alternatives you may want to visit instead......

 
  • Ypres:  Sanctuary Wood Trenches & Hill 62 • In Flanders Fields Museum • Talbot House & Death Cell at Poperinghe • Bayernwald German Trenches • Hill 60
  • The Somme:  Montauban • Danzig Alley • Mametz Welsh Memorial • Pozières & Mouquet Farm • Delville Wood • Musée des Abris, Albert
  • Please advise us of any other location you would like to visit
 
 
 
 
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Locations

 

      
  Ypres, Somme & Vimy
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Curriculum

 

Topics:  Outward Journey / Pre-Tour

    Vimy German Trenches
 
 
 
 
 
 
KS3 & Exam Boards
  • The Alliance System 
  • Causes of WWI
  • Failure of the Schlieffen Plan
  • "Race to the Sea"
  • The Channel Ports
  • Significance of Ypres
 
 

Topics:  Ypres, 1914-16

   
  • The High Ground at Ypres
  • Air Power in 1914
  • The BEF in 1914
  • Stalemate in 1915-16
  • Life in the Trenches
  • Gas Warfare
  • The Territorials
  • Medics/Casualty Evacuation
 
  • The Machine-Gun
  • "Learning Curve" Debate
  • Impact of Industrial Warfare
 

Topics:  Somme, 1916

   
  • Verdun & the Somme
  • The Pals' Battalions
  • Trench Warfare & Tactics
  • The German Defences
  • Haig's Generalship
  • The Machine-Gun
  • Artillery on the Somme
  • Mine Warfare, 1916
  • New Weapons: Tanks
  • Lessons of the Somme
  • Significance of the Somme
  • The Continuing Debate
 
 

Topics:  Vimy Ridge, 1917

   
  • The Germans & the Somme
  • Artois Hills & Douai Plain
  • The Nivelle Offensive
  • Mine Warfare, 1917
  • Air Power in 1917
  • Artillery in 1917
  • "Bite & Hold"
  • Infantry Tactics in 1917
 
  • The Canadian Corps
  • Significance of Vimy
  • Attrition
 

Topics:  Return Journey / Post-Tour

   
  • Collapse of Tsarist Russia
  • America's Entry into the War
  • The Ludendorff Offensive
  • 1918:  Advance to Victory
  • Germany's Defeat
 
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Video

 

 

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Resources

 

Study Materials Relevant to Your GCSE/National Curriculum KS3
  TyneCot Visitor Centre - Ypres Battlefield Tours
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our study materials are designed by teachers with GCSE examining experience.  When you book with us, you will receive a copy of both our student study packs & teachers' notes, free of charge. You can:

 
  • Use our study materials exclusively
  • Use your own study materials
 
  • Use a combination of both your own & our materials
 
 
The Student Pack Includes  

The Teacher Pack Additionally Includes

 
  • Factual detail on each location visited as well as background information
  • Maps, illustrations & time of main events
  • Eye-witness accounts
  • Tasks, activities & discussion points to provide a focus for each location visited
 
 
  • Further guidance notes giving a broader context to each visit
  • A curriculum matrix linking each location to assessments objectives
  • Suggested answers & mark schemes for written tasks
 

Integrate with Your Scheme of Work

  Study Materials:  Skills & Concepts  
  • Introductory materials can be used on tour or as part of your pre-tour preparation
  • Study materials on Ludendorff Offensive are also suitable for post-tour follow-up
 
  • Knowledge, recall & comprehension 
  • Historical concepts
  • Understanding, analysis & evaluation of evidence
 
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Guides

 

Our Guides

   

 
SRD Rum Jar Lewis Gun - Ypres Battlefield Tours

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

               

We believe a study tour is an educational experience best delivered by people with a knowledge and understanding of the educational system & culture. You can discuss learning aims & objectives with your guide so that the tour meets your requirements.

 
  • Our guides are former teachers, excellent communicators & have examining experience.
  • They have organised tours themselves so understand the demands placed on accompanying staff.
  • They have an enthusiasm for imparting knowledge & ideas & engaging with young minds.
 

 

Dr David Nunn, BA (Hons), MA, MEd, PGCE, PhD

   

David Nunn

 

David has worked closely with Nottinghamshire County Council to research the impact of the Great War on the county & has given numerous presentations to Western Front Association branches & historical societies. His specialism is the literature of the Great War & the impact of war on Nottinghamshire. Since joining us in 2014, his guide experience includes Western Front tours for both History & English groups.

David has over 30 years' experience teaching History & English in secondary schools & lecturing to undergraduates at Derby & Nottingham Universities.

"Our tour guide was outstanding. What makes him outstanding includes his ability to communicate his passion and understanding of the conflict through stories. Simply the best!"  The Mount School, York

 

 

Selected & Trained by Galina 

 
  • We have our own training programme to ensure consistently high standards.
  • Our guides up-to-date with current examination specifications & amendments to Key Stage 3.
  • All guides are DBS-checked.
 
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Accommodation

 

Accommodation

    Pax Hotel Dixmuide
 
 

The accommodation we use regularly is audited following guidelines laid down by the School Travel Forum and incorporated into our Safety Management System.

 
 
4* Pax Hotel, Dixmuide
   

The Pax is a five-minute walk from the town centre & twenty minutes from Ypres by coach. It is a family-owned hotel which is part of the Best Western group. Evening meals are taken in the de Vrede Hotel in the Grote Markt of Diksmuide which is also owned by the same family. 

 
 
 Pax Dixmuide Bedroom Pax Dixmuide Breakfast Room Pax Dixmuide Bar 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accommodation Factfile

     
  • Capacity for 100 students & staff in 37 bedrooms on 4 floors (access via lift/stairs)
  • Staff in twin rooms
  • En-suite facilities
  • Multi-bedded rooms
  • Breakfast room
  • Meeting room
  • Games room/computer area
  • Free WiFi
  • Bar & lounge area
  • Coach parking
 
         

The Menin Gate, Ypres

    Menin Gate Hotel
 
 
Request a quotation
 
 

 
 

The Menin Gate Hotel is situated opposite the Menin Gate & Ypres Ramparts and just a short walk away from the Grote Market in the centre of town. Evening meals are taken in one of several restaurants in the main square.  The Menin Gate Hotel is part of a group of hotels owned by the same company that also includes the Salient & Poppies Hotels.  All are maintained to the same high standard. 

 
 
Menin Gate Student Bed Room

 

Menin Gate Dining Room Menin Gate Staff Lounge  

Accommodation Factfile

     
  • Capacity for 55 students & staff in 11 bedrooms on 3 floors (access by stairs)
  • Staff in twin rooms
  • En-suite facilities
  • Single & bunk beds
  • Breakfast room
  • Games room
  • Central heating
  • Large TV & free WiFi
  • Staff lounge & minibar
  • Coach parking nearby
 
         

The Poppies, Albert

    Poppies Albert
 
Request a quotation
 
 

 
 

The Poppies Albert is situated 5 minutes' walk away from the Albert Basilica in the town centre.  Evening meals are taken in a restaurant also near the town centre. Each floor in the hotel can take a group.  An access code is required to open the main door to each floor from the outside so groups can be kept securely separate.  The hotel is ideally placed for schools visiting the Somme battlefield. 

 
 

Poppies Albert Student Bedroom

 
Poppies Albert Dining Room Poppies Albert Games Room

 

 

 

 

 

Accommodation Factfile

     
  • Capacity for 186 students & staff in 48 bedrooms on 3 floors (access by stairs)
  • Staff in twin rooms
  • En-suite facilities
  • Single & bunk beds
  • Breakfast room
  • Games room
  • Central heating
  • Free WiFi
  • Staff lounge & minibar
  • Coach parking
 
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Testimonials

 

Ursuline College, Westgate-on-Sea, Kent

"Jeff was an excellent driver – very friendly and helpful. Julian was an excellent guide. Pupils gained a lot of knowledge and really enjoyed the trip. It was well planned and tour guide was a great source of information."

 

Christ's School, Richmond upon Thames

"Guide, Bruce, was great – his passion for the subject was very evident – he linked brilliantly to war poetry and knew so many anecdotes. He was great."

 

Merchant Taylors' Boys' School, Liverpool

"Very efficient & thorough, as usual! Driver, Neil, very friendly – helpful support from him. Excellent once again."

 

Stonelaw High School, Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire

"Tour guide, Steve, really tried hard to tailor the tour to a Scottish perspective and was very flexible and helpful throughout."

  Students at Hooge Trenches
 
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