Christmas Market School Trips to Lille (1 to 3 Days)

Take your students on a school trip to Lille Christmas Market & experience the vibrant atmosphere of a festive market-place selling decorations, craft goods, jewellery & seasonal treats. Lille has one of the largest Christmas Markets in northern France with the giant Ferris Wheel in the Place Rihour as its centrepiece.

Lille itself is well worth seeing. The city was part of the Spanish Netherlands for almost 150 years; hence the influence of Flemish architecture is very evident especially in the Grand'Place & Old Town. La Vieille Bourse (stock exchange), built in the mid-17th century, is one of the finest examples of this style. Lille reverted to France fell following a siege in 1667 during one of Louis XIV's many wars.

One & Two-Day Tours:  A one-day version of this tour is available for schools within 100 miles of Dover or Folkestone. A two-day version of this tour is also available for schools between 100 & 160 miles from Dover or Folkestone.




Day One:  Outward Journey


Lille Christmas Market 1




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Museums & venues


  • School pick-up (earliest 06.00 hours) & travel to Dover. Check-in at terminal (allow one hour) for ferry to Calais. Travel via Eurotunnel is also available.
  • Disembark & travel to Lille. Check-in at accommodation. Half-board for one night & B&B for one night to maximise time at the Christmas Market (or an extra evening meal can be included).

Lille Christmas Market


Day Two:  Lille & Christmas Market

  • Depart after breakfast to visit the Old Town. Many of Lille’s major landmarks are here including the Cathedral, Hotel de Ville & Belfry & the Citadel.
  • Explore the Grand’Place; the heart of the city. The Statue de la Déesse is its centrepiece. Buildings of note in or near the Grand'Place include La Vieille Bourse, L'Opéra & La Voix du Nord newspaper offices.
  • Complete your day in Lille with a visit to the Christmas Market in the late afternoon & early evening.
  • Evening meal arrangements on this night: students can either buy their own food in the market or an evening meal can be arranged at additional cost.
  • Return to accommodation.

Day Three:  Return Journey

  • Depart after breakfast & travel to Calais (allow one hour to check-in at terminal). Optional visit to a hypermarket en-route (closed Sundays).
  • Travel via Eurotunnel also available.
  • Return ferry to Dover & travel to school. Evening drop-off (time of arrival is dependent upon your school's distance from Dover or Folkestone if travelling via Eurotuunel. 
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Lille Christmas Market


       Main Themes


Lille Christmas Market 4





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KS3 & Exam Boards

Lille Grand Rue

  • Gain an appreciation & awareness of French culture & history to provide context to a study of the language
  • Gain an insight into the French way of life
  • Practise French language skills in listening, reading, speaking & writing
  • Communicate/converse with native French speakers
  • Understand & use a wider range of vocabulary & grammatical structures
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Lille Christmas Market

  Lille Christmas Market 3






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Museums & venues


The market is one of the largest in northern France with chalet-style stalls offering a range of items including confectionery, jewellery & pottery, local produce & seasonal treats such as roasted chestnuts. One of the market’s main attractions is the large Ferris Wheel (or Grand’roue) in the place Rihour.

lille market grand roue  



Also known as place Général de Gaulle, the Grand’Place was the site of the medieval market place. The 17th century Flemish style of the surrounding buildings pre-dates French acquisition of the city. The Statue de la Déesse commemorates the Austrian siege of 1792, during the Revolutionary Wars, which the Lillois successfully resisted. The offices of the newspaper, La Voix du Nord, are also in the Grand'Place. 



lille la voix du nord and statue de la deesse

The Citadel



Lille had been part of the Spanish Netherlands until it was ceded to France by the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (modern-day Aachen) in 1668; hence the Flemish influence. The Citadel was one of a chain of frontier fortifications constructed by Louis XIV's great military architect, Vauban. (The Musee de Picardie houses a number of models of the fortresses which he built to defend the new border). 

La Vieille Bourse  



One of Lille's finest Flemish-syle buildings stands just off the Grand'Place. The former stock exchange was built in 1652-3. There are several shops on the ground floor.


Designed by Louis Marie Cordonnier, the new Opera House was built in the early part of the 20th century after the original 18th century building was destroyed in a fire.


Hotel de Ville & Belfry

  Cathedrale de Notre Dame de la Treille  
The original town hall & belfry were both destroyed during the First World War & rebuilt in the 1920s. With views across Lille, the Belfry is 104 metres high.   The cathedral was built in the 19th century in the Gothic Revival style. Construction began in 1854 & was not completed for another 150 years.      
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Alternative Visits


Other Visits 

  La Vieille Bourse




You can tailor your tour by including some of the locations featured here instead...  



Palais des Beaux Arts


Created by Napoleonic decree in 1801, the Fine Arts Museum is now housed in a Belle Époque building constructed between 1885 & 1892. It is the second largest art gallery in France (after the Louvre) housing works by Raphael, Donatello, Van Dyck, Rubens, Rembrandt, David, Delacroix, Corot, Courbet, Toulouse-Lautrec & many more.



lille christmas market


Charles de Gaulle's Birthplace

The house where de Gaulle was born in 1890 is now a museum. The furnished rooms show the bourgeois life-style of his early years.



Rue Esquermoise

This street is famous for its traditional shops selling sweets, cheese & bread.  



First World War Battlefields


Lille is well-placed for a half- or full-day excursion to either Ypres or the Somme battlefields. You may wish to consider adding an extra day if you wish to include this option in addition to your time in Lille or simply visit the Christmas Market in the evening. Ask our staff for further details & prices if you want to extend your tour.

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Place du Géneral de Gaulle


 Tour prices


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

Our Most Popular Accommodation 

  • Kyriad Hotels
  • Ibis & Ibis Styles Hotels
  • Holiday Inns


  • Operating Certificate
  • Fire Certificate
  • Food Hygiene Certificate
  • Pest Control Certificate
  • Public Liability Insurance

Safety Audit (Main Headings)

  • Building Design
  • Fire Alarms
  • Escape Routes
  • Signage
  • Emergency Lighting
  • Fire Equipment
  • Fire Prevention
  • Electrics
  • Security
  • Flooring
  • Glass
  • Gas & Water
  • Lifts
  • Balconies & Balustrades
  • Bedrooms & Beds
  • Pool (where applicable)
  • Food Delivery Areas
  • Storage
  • Stock Rotation
  • Food Handling
  • Pest Control
  • Cleanliness
  • Temperature Control
  • Staff Training
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Help Organising your Tour


La Vieille Bourse Stalls


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Galina has over 25 years experience in organising school trips for school & youth groups to Paris. We therefore offer the services of your own Tour Administrator who will guide you through each step of the process, from your initial enquiry to your departure & return. 


We have developed a number of useful documents that will help you when preparing to launch your tour & with your visit application via the Senior Management or your EVC.


Risk assessment advice is available &, once booked, we can provide a helpful guide that can be used to formulate your own tailored risk assessment.


There are links to several useful documents below that can be downloaded to help trip preparation.


Launching Your Tour


Preparing for Departure             



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Lille Gallery

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Ansford School, Castle Cary, Somerset

"We had a fantastic time in Lille this weekend!  I am very grateful for your time & support over the last few weeks.  Please send our regards to the hotel staff as well who were all wonderful.  Students & staff were very impressed with the food & the general standards of the hotel.  We also felt very lucky to have an extremely nice coach driver.  He was very professional, calm, well organised & the students liked him a lot."


St Anne's Catholic School, Southampton

"We were so impressed with your organisation from start to finish.  Just wanted to say thank you for all your hard work - it paid off as we had a great experience."


St Edmund's Catholic School, Wolverhampton

"An excellent coach & driver – very experienced.  Would certainly request both company & driver next year.  Very satisfied." 


Fred Longworth School, Tyldesley, Manchester

"Thanks for another excellent tour.  Jason, the driver, again was a legend & we would love to have him next year if possible."



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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


    STF           ABTA logo 1

    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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