History Trips to WWI Battlefields
The First World War was one of the bloodiest conflicts ever historically recorded and one of the largest wars in the world. The "Great War" as it was known was partly responsible for massive political changes that have stood strong to this day and the courage of the soldiers on the Battlefields of WWI is well documented.
School trips to the WWI Battlefields will give your students a brilliant educational opportunity to really comprehend the events of 1914-1918 and even follow a personal story. This educational tour will take you to some of the world’s most famous battle grounds, memorials and cemeteries in the Somme, Ypres and Verdun locations.
Our sample itinerary provides you with an idea of the visits you can cover during your trip. We can tailor-make an itinerary to support your specific learning outcomes.
|1||Arrive in Belgium||In Flanders Field Museum & Menin Gate||Evening meal|
|2||Tour of Ypres including Hill 62, Sanctuary Wood, Tyne Cot & Langemark Cemeteries|
|3||Tour the Thiepval Memorial, the Newfoundland Memorial Park, the Ulster Memorial Tower and the South African Memorial||Evening meal|
|4||Visit Vimy Ridge||Transfer to Calais, board Ferry/Eurotunnel to Dover||Arrive back in the UK|
|Morning||Arrive in Belgium|
|Afternoon||In Flanders Field Museum & Menin Gate|
|Morning||Tour of Ypres including Hill 62, Sanctuary Wood, Tyne Cot & Langemark Cemeteries|
|Morning||Tour the Thiepval Memorial, the Newfoundland Memorial Park, the Ulster Memorial Tower and the South African Memorial|
|Morning||Visit Vimy Ridge|
|Afternoon||Transfer to Calais, board Ferry/Eurotunnel to Dover|
|Evening||Arrive back in the UK|
Price Shown includes
- Return Coach Travel (based on 40 passengers)
- 3 nights Full Board Accommodation
- Specialist Group Travel Insurance
- Bespoke itinerary planning service
- Free Place Ratios
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- Online trip organiser & Travel App
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Reasons to Visit
In Flanders Fields Museum
The In Flanders' Fields Museum is dedicated to the study of the First World War. The museum does not set out to glorify war, but to suggest its futility, particularly as seen in the West Flanders front region in World War I. The exhibition has touching video projects, unique sound fragments and the most up-to-date multimedia applications to immerse your students in the life at the front.
The exhibition is complimented with audio-visual material and students are able to follow the history of a soldier, civilian or nurse in the Salient through their interactive ‘poppy’ bracelet. There are excellent educational resources available as well as a guided tour of the museum and external if required.
Medical Evacuation Tour
Follow the medical evacuation route of the 48th South Midland division during the Third battle of Ypres. This tour run by In Flanders Fields Museum stops at Buffs Road cemetery, Gwalia farm (Main Dressing Station) and Mendinghem Cemetery (Casualty Clearing Station). Not every casualty followed this route to its end. Some returned to battle and some died before reaching the hospitals behind the lines. A great tour for understanding the scale of the medical operations of the war.
Sanctuary Wood Trench Museum
An important and popular site. Besides a small museum, it contains an excellent example of first World War trenches complete with dugouts and communication trenches. The museum is owned by the family Schier who have preserved this small part of the front more or less intact since 1919. It is called Sanctuary Wood because in 1914 it was a quiet area where troops, cut off from their units, could be gathered together and eventually sent back to their correct battalions.
A very interesting and compact site which illustrates some important facts about the Ypres Salient and the fighting in it. There is a German bunker, which British troops took over and added to. It was also used in the Second World War. The remains of the craters can be seen, which were the product of the work of tunnelling experts. The best preserved is Caterpillar Crater in private grounds across the railway line. Facing the road is a memorial to the Australian tunnellers.
Menin Gate Memorial to the Fallen
The Last Post, the traditional final salute to the fallen, is played by the buglers in honour of the memory of the soldiers of the former British Empire and its allies, who died in the Ypres Salient during the First World War. It is the intention of the Last Post Association to maintain this daily act of homage in perpetuity. A very moving ceremony and often the highlight of a Battlefields tour.
Newfoundland Memorial Park at Beaumont-Hamel
It consists of 80 acres of land purchased by the Government of Newfoundland after the end of the War to commemorate the attack of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, which failed after sustaining nearly 800 casualties. As it is so clearly laid out you will probably find that it is the most useful battlefield site on the Somme for practical fieldwork.
It opened in December 1915 and was the inspiration of the Reverend Neville Talbot who named it after his brother, Lieutenant Gilbert Talbot (who is buried in Sanctuary Wood Cemetery). He immediately set about making the house an oasis of peace and ‘normality’. He was so successful that after the War the Toc H (military signallers code for Talbot House) Movement was founded to help the unemployed and keep alive the ‘brotherhood of the trenches’.
Tyne Cot Cemetery and Memorial to the Missing
This is the largest Commonwealth military cemetery in the world where 11,954 soldiers are buried and where the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing stone wall surrounds the cemetery listing nearly 35,000 names. The Cemetery is built on a ridge from which there is a good view over the Salient to Ypres in the distance; its position therefore explains why it was so hard to seize and the advantages of occupying it.
Poperinge was the forward base for the whole of the Ypres Salient and was therefore completely surrounded by training camps, depots and hospitals. Many Belgian refugees from Ypres also tried to find shelter here. It was, too, the first place behind the lines where soldiers could find some form of relief from the horrors of life in the trenches.
St. George’s Memorial Church (in Elverdingstraat)
It was built in 1928-29 as a place of worship for the British colony in Ypres, most of which were employed by the Imperial Graves Commission. It is now a memorial to all those who died in the Salient. It is worth a visit only if time permits as it tells us more about the inter-war British colony in Ypres than it does the War.
Essex Farm Cemetery
The cemetery, designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield, is where nearly 1,200 servicemen are buried or commemorated and is on the site of the British Front Line. Essex Farm was the site of a field hospital, where Canadian Army Medical Corps Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae was stationed in May 1915 and wrote the poem ‘In Flanders Fields'. The poem led to the poppy becoming a symbol of First World War remembrance.
Hooge Crater Museum
The British position in the ‘Hooge’ area had become quite unstable
in the summer of 1915. The Brits tried to eliminate this fortified
German bastion with a limited but well targeted attack. They let
explode more than 1700 kg of dynamite in a tunnel, made by the
special Tunneling Companies of Royal Engineers. All this happened on July 19th, 1915. This crater was later recalled ‘Hooge Crater’.
Langemark German Cemetery
There are relatively few German cemeteries on the Western Front
battlefields. As the invaders the land that France and Belgium was
prepared to grant was limited, in comparison to their British allies.
Although this cemetery is much smaller in area than Tyne Cot, in
fact it has many more burials. This is because the burials are
effectively in the form of several mass graves.
Passchendaele Memorial Museum
During the British attack of 1917, there were 500.000 casualties in
100 days for a gain territory of only 5 miles. Passchendaele became an international symbol of senseless military violence in its most cruel form. In the Memorial Museum the memory of the battle is kept alive through images and movies, and a large collection of historical artefacts.
Combine this with Platoon Experience – Follow in the footsteps of the 40th Australian Battalion on 4th Oct 1917 with this interactive visit including a 3km battlefield walk in full uniform, an authentic ‘Tommy Tucker’ meal & a guided tour of the Memorial Museum
Bayernwald (Croonaert Wood)
Discover the German site with its 2 listening shafts, 300 metres of
trenches and 4 bunkers. Information panels and a scale model
explain the events of war and life at the front
Thiepval Memorial and Visitors Centre
The Thiepval Memorial bears witness to the fact that a high percentage of those who died in the Battle of the Somme have no known grave. Many bodies having been lost entirely in the pulverised battlefield, and many others not found until battlefield clearance took place after the war, by which time all trace of their identity had disappeared in most cases.
Canada's most impressive tribute overseas to those Canadians who fought and gave their lives in the First World War is the majestic and inspiring Canadian National Vimy Memorial which overlooks the Douai Plain from the highest point of Vimy Ridge. Students can take a guided tour of the tunnels, trenches and cemeteries in groups of up to 20 people.
The Lochnagar mine crater on the 1916 Somme battlefields in France is the largest man-made mine crater created in the First World War on the Western Front. It was laid by the British Army's 179th Tunnelling Company Royal Engineers underneath a German strongpoint called “Schwaben Höhe”. The mine was exploded two minutes before 07.30 am Zero Hour at the launch of the British offensive against the German lines on the morning of 1st July 1916.
Dodengang-Trench of Death
In 1915 the Belgian army tries to dislodge the Germans from the petrol tanks north of the city of Dixmude. After two failed attempts the Belgians decide to dig a trench towards the drums. The Germans however manage to capture part of it. In order to suppress the German threat, Belgian military engineering creates, by the end of 1915, a breach in the Yser dike. The two camps are now only separated by a mere ditch. The trench is then transformed into an impregnable position, called Trench of Death because of the victims buried there after the German attack.
Using maps, photographs, videos & war memorabilia, the exhibition tells the story of life and death on the front-line.
Curriculum Topics Key Stage 4
- Conflict & Tension, 1894-1918
- First World War: 1914-1918
- Medicine, Injuries, Treatment and Trenches: 1914-1922
Curriculum Topics Key Stage 5
- The impact of war: 1914-1922
- Origins of WWI: 1900-1914
- The Changing Nature of Warfare: 1792-1945
- The British experience of warfare: 1790-1918
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What You Say
The itinerary was really well planned and was exactly what was asked for. It was really lovely to follow the story of one person throughout and this really helped to bring the battlefields alive for the students. CTC Kingshurst Academy
Simon (our guide) was very knowledgeable and had a great understanding of student needs. The advice and support from Laura was fantastic and no question was ever an issue. I would recommend EST highly to all other organisations. Churchill Community College
Simon was wonderful with the students. He was flexible in the programme and we incorporated a couple of extra stops to visit graves and memorials of some of the old pupils of our school. Handsworth Grammar School
The trip went like clockwork and there were no issues at all. I would have no hesitation in working with you again. Pentrehafod School
It was just fantastic!!!! We would have no problem booking with you again - once we were in the UK the service was just outstanding in every respect. You made planning a trip so far away easy which took away the stress and having a daily itinerary meant we knew what was happening and when. Freyberg High School, New Zealand
As always, the planning from EST to ensure a smooth transition through this part of the journey was impeccable. The itinerary was as was discussed and once again the team at the Peace Village and at EST (in particular Sarah) ensured that everything ran smoothly. Students are provided with leisure facilities and sports equipment as well as being able to use the well-equipped and spacious rooms. Once again the visits organised by Sarah and the team at EST were ideal for our educational needs and we were particularly fortunate to be able to attend a military funeral for an 'unknown soldier'. It is important to note that for teachers, school trips are very stressful although rewarding and beneficial to students and knowing that the EST team are on hand to support at all times and are meticulous during the planning stages is very comforting. However the most important reason for my returning to EST each year is that the staff see their work not only as providing a service but also delivering the best quality experience for all clients. Both Lynsey and Sarah, along with the rest of the team, are diligent, efficient and helpful staff who are also a pleasure to speak with and I can not thank them enough for their support throughout the visits. Churchill Community College