Castles of Edward I History School Trips to North Wales (1 & 2-Days)

Following two extremely expensive campaigns in North Wales between 1277 & 1282, Edward I embarked on the most ambitious & expensive military engineering project of the Middle Ages.  His Iron Ring  of castles at Conwy, Harlech, Caernarfon & Beaumaris could be resupplied by sea & each was supported by a walled township of English settlers.  Whilst consolidating English military and political authority in Wales, the enormous burden placed on the royal finances forced Edward to summon what became known as the Model Parliament of 1295.
This tour will also be of interest to GCSE groups studying AQA: Paper 2 Section B Medieval England – the reign of Edward I, 1272–1307 (specified site for Historic Environment study 2019 – Caernarfon Castle) and the OCR unit ‘Castles: Form and Function c.1000–1700’. We also offer a version of the tour for schools in Wales studying Unit 3C Development of Warfare 1250 to present day with particular reference to Harlech Castle.

For sixth form groups studying the WJEC GCE Specification Unit 3 Option 1 - Wales: Resistance, Conquest and Rebellion c1240-1415 we can offer a dedicated itinerary which includes not only three of the great Edwardian castles but also one of those connected to the Welsh princes and a visit to the Canolfan Owain Glyndŵr, Machynlleth built on the site of the famous parliament held in 1404 at which Owain was crowned.

Schools looking for a broader coverage of KS3 topics may find our Medieval Life & Faith & flexible Humanities tours to Chester & North Wales of interest. These allow a flexible combination of venues to be selected to suit the needs of each school. As well as the four great Edwardian castles options include Plas Mawr (Tudor town house), Chester Cathedral and medieval city centre, Valle Crucis Abbey, Holywell & Basingwerk Abbey ruins.

We can tailor your tour to cover your students' specific learning objectives. Please ask to speak to one of our team to discuss your requirements.   




One-Day Tour (for schools within approximately 120 miles of North Wales)

  Caernarfon Castle Eagle Tower



  • School pick-up (no earlier than 06.00 hours) & travel to North Wales Visits include:
  • Conwy Castle: first castle of the Iron Ring 
  • Caernarfon Castle: administrative centre
  • Alternative visits: Harlech or Beaumaris Castle
  • Tasks & fieldwork activities provided
  • Optional activity: take the Mount Snowdon Railway to the summit of the highest mountain in Wales • visit the Great Orme Copper Mines in Llandudno • visit the summit of the Great Orme  
  • Return to school with evening drop-off (time dependent on school location)




Two-Day Tour (for schools between 120 & 280 miles from North Wales)

  • Day 1:  School pick-up (earliest 06.00 hours) & travel to North Wales
  • Lunch-time in Llandudno & afternoon visit to:
  • Conwy Castle: first castle of the Iron Ring
  • Caernarfon Castle: administrative centre
  • Tasks & fieldwork activities provided
  • Optional activity: visit the Great Orme Copper Mines in Llandudno (additional fee applies)
  • Check-in at accommodation & evening meal
  • Day 2:  Depart after breakfast to visit:
  • Harlech or Beaumaris Castle
  • Tasks & fieldwork activities provided
  • Optional activity: take the Mount Snowdon Railway to the summit of the highest mountain in Wales • visit the summit of the Great Orme (additional fee applies) 
  • Return to school with evening drop-off (time dependent on school location)


Add an Extra Day.... 

  • With an extra day you can include further investigations and/or fun activities or
  • Combine with another department. We also have a Snowdonia Geography tour
  • Two nights' half-board accommodation
  • Our advice: Including some fun activities can help you sell the tour to your students especially if you have competition from other subjects
  • Combine with another department: This can make the tour viable if you have low numbers 


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Conwy Castle
Caernarfon Castle
Beaumaris Castle Great Hall







Conwy Castle   Caernarfon Castle Inner Ward  




Conwy was constructed between 1283 and 1289. It was the first of the chain of castles - known as the Iron Ring - built by Edward I to secure control over North Wales. In the winter of 1294-95 it withstood a siege by Madog ap Llewelyn. The walled town of Conwy was founded as a centre of English influence.


This massive castle was the administrative headquarters for Edward I's government in North Wales. The architect was Edward's master builder, James of St George. Its walls are said to be modelled on those of Constantinople. The castle and town were briefly captured during the 1294 rebellion before the castle's walls had been completed. 




Harlech Castle
Beaumaris Castle
Harlech Castle Gatehouse   Beaumaris Castle  


Harlech is considered one of the finest examples of medieval military architecture in Europe. Built of local stone, it is concentric in design with a huge gatehouse. Of the £80,000 that Edward spent on castle-building, Harlech accounted for roughly 10% of the costs; an enormous amount for the period.   Symmetrical in its groundplan, Beaumaris is a fine example of a concentric castle. It was built to control the Menai Straits but was never completed due to lack of funds. As with all Edward's castles, a walled English settlement was also established; a concept reminiscent of the bastides of Gascony.   
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Outward Journey / Pre-Tour
Conwy Castle

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  • Henry III & his barons
  • Simon de Montfort's rebellion
  • Battles of Lewes & Evesham

  • Edward military experience
  • Welsh Revolt of 1277
  • Edward I's campaign in Wales

  • First phase of castle building
  • Llywelyn ap Gruffyd's rebellion
  • The campaign of 1282-83




North Wales

  • Edward's Iron Ring of castles
  • Statute of Rhuddlan
  • Location of Edward's Castles
  • James of St George
  • Medieval warfare & technology
  • Weapons & armour
  • Castle design & key features
  • Castles & military control
  • Castles & administrative control
  • Walled townships (Bastides)
  • English colonisation in Wales
  • Social & economic impact
  • Madog's rebellion, 1294-95
  • Welsh capture of Caernarfon
  • Sieges of Harlech & Conwy
  • Relief of Conwy by sea
  • Royal power reasserted
  • Cultural & political impact

Return Journey / Post-Tour

  • The Royal Finances
  • Model Parliament, 1295
  • Edward I's legacy
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Study Materials Relevant to Your GCSE/National Curriculum KS3
  Conwy Castle Inner Ward

Our study materials are designed by teachers with 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 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 & a time line of 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
  • 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 are also suitable for post-tour follow-up
  • Knowledge, recall & comprehension 
  • Historical concepts
  • Understanding, analysis & evaluation of evidence
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Our Guides


  Harlech Castle Gatehouse







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.


Steve Clarke, BA (Hons), PGCE



Steve is a former Head of Humanities & prior to retiring was an Assistant Head. Steve joined Galina in 2010, having led school groups as a client for a number of years. His experience includes battlefield tours to the Western Front, RS tours to the Netherlands & a range of UK tours.

Steve has 30 years' teaching experience in secondary schools in Hull.

"As always, Steve, our guide, tailored the tour to suit our needs & adapted his information & stops to meet our requests. Excellent – we have always been very satisfied with the service provided.”

Merchant Taylors' Girls School, Liverpool

  Steve Clarke  


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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  YHA Conwy




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


YHA Conwy


YHA Conwy is situated on a hillside ten minutes' walk from the centre of town. Conwy Castle & town walls are less than a mile from the hostel. The beach is also easily accessible. Llandudno is five miles from Conwy & Caernarfon Castle is 20 miles (or a half-hour drive) away. Nant Ffrancon Valley, Llanberis, Snowdon Mountain Railway, Dinorwig & Electric Mountain are all within 20-25 miles.

YHA Conwy Bedroom

YHA Conwy Dining Room

YHA Conwy Lounge  


  • Capacity for 82 guests in 25 rooms.
  • En-suite facilities
  • Rooms accommodate two to six people
  • Bunk beds
  • Staff accommodated in twin/quad rooms
  • TV lounge
  • Restaurant
  • Bar & lounge area
  • Observation area
  • Roof terrace
  • Garden
  • Games room
  • Meeting room for hire
  • Disabled access
  • Free WiFi
  • Bed linen provided. Take your own towels
  • Coach parking
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  Edward I's Castles
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Marling School, Stroud, Gloucs

"Excellent! Very informative and enjoyable for all."


Mellow Lane School, Hayes, Middlesex

"We had a wonderful time. I was very impressed with the guide's knowledge – he was fantastic. I shall definitely be using Galina again!"


Ardingly College, West Sussex

"Excellent preparations ensured things went very smoothly. Thank you very much."


Lady Margaret School, Parsons Green, London

"Superb drivers – flexible, amenable and well-organised."

  Beaumaris Castle Great Hall
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  • Advice For Groups With Bookings

    At the moment we are being guided by this statement from STF & OEAP Please take a look for more information.

    As you will see, the advice only covers groups travelling until 16 April. However we understand that it is likely that this will be extended along with all social distancing measures.

    As we are sure you will appreciate this is an incredibly challenging time for everyone involved in educational travel. Information and policies are changing on an almost daily basis. At the moment we are awaiting updates from amongst others; the Department for Education, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Department for Transport, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, ABTA, the School Travel Forum and some insurance companies, all of which has a bearing on the advice which we give all our groups and not just school groups. Consequently, if you are departing on or after 01 June we would very much appreciate your patience and forbearance whilst we wait to hear back from some or all of these organisations and are in a position to give you more constructive guidance and advice. Hopefully this should be within a matter of days.

    However for groups departing on or before 31 May we appreciate the urgency of you knowing what your options are so our staff will be in touch this week to discuss these with you.

    We are pleased to advise that the DfE have confirmed that they will accept all cancellation claims for groups travelling this academic year from all RPA members so if this applies to you, you may wish to start this process before we are able to contact you. Please take a look for more information.

    It is also worth mentioning that some schools and other groups have successfully claimed for the cost of cancelled trips using their own insurance so you may wish to try this before we are able to contact you.

    At Next Generation Travel our staff values and behaviours are guided and managed by the NGT TOGETHER words…

    NGT Together


    We truly hope that we can fully demonstrate our absolute passion to work with educationalists to deliver exceptional learning outside the classroom experiences, make the process as easy as possible and offer you real workable solutions to keep these valuable experiences in the school calendar.

    Written on Thursday, 23 April 2020 15:54
  • Statement from ABTA & STF


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    We are dedicated to bringing you the latest news and updates regarding travel. 

    Please find below a joint statement from the STF and ABTA as of March 13th 2020. Our current understanding of the situation regarding school trips is as follows:

    • The government has advised schools that they should not undertake international school trips at this stage. This is due to concerns that the schools would face significant challenges in making arrangements to ensure children’s welfare should adult supervisors or children be required to self-isolate. Schools will decide how to act upon this advice. If schools do cancel their trips, normal cancellation terms will apply.
    • Schools should contact either their own general insurers or the Department for Education as they may have some financial cover in place for this scenario. This is one of the areas we are seeking clarity on urgently, so we will update again as soon as we have more info.
    • The Government is not advising schools to stop trips within the UK so schools can proceed as planned if they wish. The Government is advising schools to refresh their risk assessments.Customers wanting to cancel must do so at their own cost, normal cancellation charges apply.

    Written on Friday, 13 March 2020 15:35
  • Brexit FAQ's

    Last edited 30.01.2020


    We now know that the UK will leave the EU at 23h00 (GMT) on 31 January 2020. Following Brexit we will enter a transition period which will run, at least, until the end of December 2020. During the transition period everything will remain the same and you can continue to travel as you do now.

    We will continue to monitor the information provided by travel industry experts, organisations like ABTA and the UK Government and pick out what we believe is relevant for you.


    Common questions about travel after 31 January 2020


    Will flights still operate?

    Yes. During the transition period, everything will stay the same until the end of December 2020 and flights will continue as normal. 


    Will my coach journey still operate?

    Coaches will still be able to travel to, from and around EU countries as usual. 


    Will trains from the UK to the EU still operate?

    Trains from the UK to the EU will continue to operate as usual. 


    Will we have to show our passports at each border?

    We do advise you keep passports handy when travelling throughout Europe, as you may be required to prove your right to travel at border crossings or security checkpoints.

    You can always check on to find out more about visa restrictions for your destination.


    Will I need a new passport?

    Valid passports can still be used. You do not need to have six months left on your passport to travel to the EU. Your passport does however need to be valid for the whole of your trip. 

    If you are looking to travel to Europe from 1 January 2021, you will need your passport to both:

    • have at least 6 months left
    • be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left)

    If you do not renew it, you may not be able to travel to most EU countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

    If you would like to know more take a look at the latest Government advice.


    Will I still be able to use a collective passport?

    Whilst the position as to the validity of collective passports for travel to the EU has not changed, if you are able to arrange for each traveller to have an individual passport which has the requisite validity, this may help to forestall any issues which might arise.


    Will I need a visa to travel to the EU after Brexit?

    No. UK travellers will not need a visa to travel to the EU after Brexit. 


    European Health Insurance Card and travel insurance

    The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows any EU citizen to access state medical care when they are travelling in another EU country. UK registered EHICs will still be valid throughout 2020.

    ABTA has always advised when travelling to the EU and beyond, that it is important you take out travel insurance. Our tour price includes comprehensive travel insurance as standard. So, unless you advise us that your school or college has its own travel insurance and you wish to decline our insurance, you will automatically have insurance cover with us.

    For more information on our insurance go to:

    Galina Insurance Policy

    Further advice on travel insurance can be found at


    Will my tour price change?

    If you have an existing booking with Next Generation Travel group brand:

    We have placed forward contracts for foreign currency so fluctuations in the exchange rate are highly unlikely to affect the price of your tour.

    Please note however that, if there is a change in legislation that will affect your overall tour price and which is out of our control, eg visa costs, surcharges, this cost would be passed on to you.

    As is always our policy at Next Generation Travel we will do our best to do the right thing to work with you to ensure your trip would continue.


    If you have not yet booked your tour:

    Due to our forward buying policy for foreign currency, we will work with you to ensure there is no or a low impact on pricing. The travel industry is reporting that the sensible advice is to book now to secure your booking on current currency rates.


    What is the law on price changes?

    If there are increases in transportation costs, taxes or fees chargeable for services post Brexit, the law says that package holiday providers, like Next Generation Travel, are permitted to increase their prices. However, we are pleased to confirm that there would be no change within 20 days of your departure and we would cover the first 2% of any price increase. In the unlikely circumstances that prices were to increase by more than 2% you may be asked to pay an additional fee however where the price increase is 10% or higher, you have the right to cancel and receive a full refund of all monies paid, except for any amendment charges.


    Will overall prices go up in the future?

    Tour prices in the future will always be open to normal market and economic fluctuations such as currency and service prices. Our foreign currency forward buying policy means we always look to protect customers from the impact of currency fluctuationsHowever, overall tour prices may in the future be affected by changes in legislation such as visa costs, surcharges etc. or increased cost in services such as flights or ferry crossings.

    At Next Generation Travel our experienced staff will always provide you with a tour price which is based either on the actual current rates for your service or estimated rates which are based on our extensive knowledge of the travel and industry. We will always communicate any price changes as they are given to us and have an open and honest pricing policy, which will ensure you should have no surprises later on.

    Data roaming

    Under EU rules, the cost of making calls, sending messages or using the internet on your phone in the EU is the same in the UK and this will continue after 31 January 2020. 


    Brexit Advice for Travellers
    Passport Office
    Check A Passport – to see if your passport is valid for your destination
    Passport Office FAQs
    Industry Articles
    What Does Brexit Mean for Travellers
    How Will Brexit Affect Your Holiday


    Written on Tuesday, 24 September 2019 14:44
  • Brexit – Update January 2020
    Written on Friday, 20 September 2019 15:29
  • Take your students to a Panto this Christmas!
    Written on Thursday, 12 September 2019 10:15
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