The Somme & Vimy Ridge History School Trips (3 Days)

At 7.30 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, 1st July, 1916, the men of Kitchener's New Army rose from their trenches to assault the German defences on the Somme.  The battlefield rapidly became a scene of bitter tragedy unprecedented in the history of the British Army and only heightened by the slaughter of the Pals' Battalions.  General Sir Douglas Haig and his senior commanders have often been castigated for their conduct of the battle although, more recently, 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 course of the war.  Meanwhile, on the other side of No Man's Land, one 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 dramatic success of the Canadian assault was the culmination of months of meticulous planning, training, air reconnaissance, tunnelling and mining which ultimately 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.

All our battlefield tours can be tailored to cover your students' specific learning objectives.  This tour can be completed in two days by schools in the south-east.

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

  Ulster Trench
 

 

 

  • School pick-up (06.00 hours approx) & travel to Dover
  • Ferry to Calais / Dunkirk & onward travel
  • Full-board accommodation for    two nights in Albert

 

 
 
Thiepval Memorial 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Day Two:  The Somme 1916

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

 

 

 

Day Three:  Vimy Ridge, 1917

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

 

      
  Somme & Vimy Locations
     
     
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Curriculum

 

Topics:  Outward Journey / Pre-Tour

    Toffee Apple Mortar - Somme Battlefield Tours
 
 
  • The Alliance System 
  • Causes of WWI
  • Failure of the Schlieffen Plan
  • The BEF in 1914
  • The Stalemate of 1915
  • Kitchener's New Armies
 

 

Topics:  The 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
  • Air Power & Artillery in 1917
  • Mine Warfare in 1917
  • "Bite & Hold"
  • 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
 
Vimy Ridge - Somme 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 or
 
 
  • use a combination of your own & our materials
 

The Student Pack Includes

 

The Teacher Pack Additionally Includes

 
  • Factual detail on each location visited as well as background information about the war 
  • Maps, illustrations & a time line of main events
  • Eye-witness accounts - both British & German
  • 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
  • Differentiated 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

   

  Caribou Monument Newfoundland Park - Somme 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.
 

 

Ian Matthews, BA (Hons) Oxon., MA, PGCE

   

 

Ian was a former Head of History in a Liverpool Comprehensive & a GCSE examiner before he joined Galina in 1992. He has developed a number of our most popular tours including several to the battlefields of the First & Second World Wars, Germany & the Netherlands. 

After more than 23 years’ leading tours to the Western Front, Normandy, Dunkirk as well as to Berlin & Amsterdam, he is one of Galina’s most experienced guides.

“Ian was excellent again as our tour guide: he certainly knows how to pitch his explanations at the right level for the students.”

Finchley Roman Catholic High School, London

  Ian Matthews  

 

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

    Poppies Albert
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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

 

 

The Poppies, Albert

   

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  

Hotel 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

 
 

Colyton Grammar School, East Devon

"Many thanks to all at Galina involved in the trip – the pupils have all said what a great time they had!"

 

Manshead Upper School, Caddington, Bedfordshire

"Excellent correspondence and clear information. Very efficient and easy to deal with. Both driver and courier were fantastic. Excellent – all enjoyed the trip."

 

Nunthorpe School, Middlesbrough

"As ever, our Tour Administrator, Sue, was fantastic at every stage of the planning – thanks, Sue! Driver, Geoff, could not have been better for us – exceptionally helpful and friendly. I would definitely ask for him again."

 

St Benedict's School, Ealing

"On behalf of the boys, their parents, the school, the staff who attended and myself, please accept our sincere gratitude for providing such a well-organised and fascinating tour to the Somme and Vimy Ridge."

  HD Memorial - Somme Battlefield Tours
 
 
 
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