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Ypres & The Somme History School Trips & Tours - WWI Battlefields
Our established WWI battlefields tours programme covers the events of WWI in the Ypres Salient and Somme regions, enabling your pupils to learn from a wealth of important historical sites and excursions. These WWI battlefield school tours are part of our wide range of school trips to Belgium.
2017 marks the centenary of The Battle of Messines Ridge and the Third Battle of Ypres – Passchendaele. Our tours follow the events of 1917 in the Ypres Salient from the opening moments of the Messiness battle in June to the final capture of Passchendaele village in November. Groups will see excellent examples of all the surviving evidence left including mine craters, preserved trenches, cemeteries and memorials. Using these groups can study many aspects of the experience of trench warfare such as the treatment and evacuation of the wounded.
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||Morning flight from Ireland||Guided tour of Vimy Ridge & the tunnels||Local orientation|
|2||Lochnager Crater & Delville Wood||Thiepval Memorial & Visitors Centre, Ulster Tower, Newfoundland Memorial Park, Beaumont Hamel & Serre Pals Memorial||Karaoke|
|3||Croonaert Wood, Spanbroekmolen Crater & Sanctuary Wood||Guided tour of Ypres including Tyne Cot British Cemetery & Langemark German Cemetery||Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate|
|4||Passchendaele Memorial Museum||Free time in Ypres for shopping||Return flight to Ireland|
|Morning||Morning flight from Ireland|
|Afternoon||Guided tour of Vimy Ridge & the tunnels|
|Morning||Lochnager Crater & Delville Wood|
|Afternoon||Thiepval Memorial & Visitors Centre, Ulster Tower, Newfoundland Memorial Park, Beaumont Hamel & Serre Pals Memorial|
|Morning||Croonaert Wood, Spanbroekmolen Crater & Sanctuary Wood|
|Afternoon||Guided tour of Ypres including Tyne Cot British Cemetery & Langemark German Cemetery|
|Evening||Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate|
|Morning||Passchendaele Memorial Museum|
|Afternoon||Free time in Ypres for shopping|
|Evening||Return flight to Ireland|
Price Shown includes
Get even more from your trip with NST History Educationalist Guide contact us for a price
On-tour support includes...
- Services of a See Off Representative at your departure airport
- Your dedicated Group Co-ordinator, if staying at NST’s Château d’Ebblinghem, will ensure the smooth-running of your school tour, acting as all-round support for your group
Top visits - Ypres Salient
In Flanders Field Museum
This superb state-of-the-art, interactive museum is now an even richer experience with the updated larger museum. Covering most aspects of the war in Flanders, each visitor will receive a wristband that will take them on a journey in the museum through the eyes of someone who was there. Educational worksheets and study resources and workshops are available - http://www.inflandersfields.be/en/educational-new
Sanctuary Wood Museum & Hill 62
Located close to the original front lines, this fascinating visit shows well preserved original British trenches and covered passageways, as well as a section of the underground tunnel system. The museum consists of two rooms housing many artefacts removed from the battlefields plus a large and rare collection of three dimensional photo images inside special viewing boxes.
Passchendaele Memorial Museum
Commemorating the 1917 Battle of Passchendale, this museum has been enlarged, with a new underground exhibition focusing on the battle, a network of open air trenches and a new remembrance gallery. A full day interactive platoon experience also available, please call for details.
Hooge Crater Museum and Trenches Experience
Offering groups a unique tour - original artefacts & full scale reconstructions of battlefield scenes can be found in the Museum Hooge Crater. With an extended collection of weapons from the period 1914-18, war equipment of all armies that fought during those four years of intense battles and photos, make this museum a true must-see!
New for 2018 - Offering groups a unique tour - original artefacts & full scale reconstructions of battlefield scenes with newly completed trenches to depict a German and British trench in the exact original position between April – July 1915. We can reserve a time slot in the trenches just for your group, so you can explore them on your own.
Hill 60 & Caterpillar Crater
The remains of two of the mines blown up at the beginning of the Battle of Messines lie here. The preserved battlefield around the Hill 60 crater bears witness to the ferocity of the fighting around this vantage point, which changed hands on several occasions.
Menin Gate & Last Post Ceremony
The largest and the most important of the British memorials to the Missing in The Salient, The Menin Gate holds the names of 54,896 soldiers of the British Empire. This memorial marked the start of one of the main roads out of Ypres towards the Front Line. Following a meal at a local restaurant, your pupils will witness the moving ‘Last Post Ceremony’ which takes place every evening at 8pm.
Langemark German Cemetery
A sombre, foreboding place; this cemetery contains the bodies of more than 40,000 German troops, over half of which lie in a mass grave. Here, your pupils will learn how Germany chose to remember its war dead and how their thoughts of war were shaped by the slaughter of the German pupil battalions by British regular troops in 1914, known as the Massacre of the Innocents, an important challenge to pre-war ideas of the glories of warfare. The entrance to the exhibition contains a memorial room dedicated specificallyto the dead of the Student Battalions. In the 1930s, the memory of this battle was incorporated into Hitler’s perverse Cult of the Dead.
Tyne Cot British Cemetery
Tyne Cot Cemetery is the resting place of 11,956 soldiers, and the largest British Military Cemetery in the world. The panels in the rear wall hold the names of 34,888 missing soldiers.
In 1915, this British soldiers’ club, known as ‘Toc H’, opened to all ranks. Today, Talbot House is a fascinating living museum depicting daily life in the club. Groups are also able to visit the recently renovated concert hall where many recreational activities and concerts took place.
Bayernwald (Croonaert Wood)
German troops occupied this strategic position from late 1914. The site consists of a preserved German trench system, within which are several large concrete emplacements and two mineshafts. Information panels explain life at the Front.
Spanbroekmolen Crater was created by the largest mine blown on June 7, 1917 at the start of the Battle of Messines in Flanders.
The story of the cemetery - the largest hospital cemetery in the Ypres Salient area with almost 11,000 victims, representing 30 nationalities - is told in this new visitor centre. The exhibition includes a photo and listening wall where stories from the war can be discovered.
WWI Medical Evacuation guided tour
Ideal for groups studying Edexcel’s Medicine and Surgery on the Western Front option, this guided tour follows the medical evacuation route of the 2nd Battalion of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment after their involvement in a gas attack on 5th May 1915.
You will stop at places where their presence in the landscape is still visible. Not every casualty followed this route to its end. Some were patched up and sent back into battle. Some were beyond all medical help and ended their journey before they reached the hospitals behind the lines.
This excursion includes:
- Divisional Cemetery
- Hill 60, an authentic wartime landscape
- Larch Wood Cemetery
- The village of Dikkebus
- Reninghelst Churchyard Extension Cemetery
- Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery
ComingWorldRememberMe Land Art Installation
Experience the impressive conclusion to the ComingWorldRememberMe sculpture project, where volunteers made 600,000 small statues to represent the victims of WW1. The statues have now been brought together at Palingbeek provincial park where the installation will cover no-man's land and the Bluff, one of the most heavily fought over locations during WW1. The total area of the installation is 3 hectares. The statues will be positioned between two large works of art by artist Koen Vanmechelen.
Journey’s End performance - 10th October to 12th November 2018
A production of R C Sheriff’s ground-breaking play exposing the tragedy and horror of conflict. ‘Journey’s End’ is set in a dugout over four days leading up to a massive German attack on the British trenches in 1917, it charts the tension, claustrophobia and cold terror experienced by a company of officers as new recruit, Lieutenant Raleigh, discovers Captain Stanhope, his childhood friend and hero, has changed almost beyond recognition. The play is performed at Ypres iconic Ammunitions Dump.
Top visits - The Somme
Thiepval Memorial & Visitor Centre
This is the largest memorial to the British missing on the Western Front, containing the names of over 73,000 men who died in the Somme section before 20th March 1918 and have no known graves. The visitor centre houses an informative exhibition designed to aid understanding of the history of Thiepval during WWI.
Undoubtedly one of the largest and best-preserved trench memorials on the Western Front. Just outside the park lies Hawthorn Crater, and within it are the ‘Danger Tree’ and remains of the British Front Line. The German Front Line can be seen across No Man’s Land.
The result of a mine explosion on 1st July 1916, this is the largest surviving crater on the Western Front, and one of the most impressive sites on the Somme Battlefields.
Somme Trench Museum
The main British base town during the 1916 battle, Albert changed hands on several occasions. The damaged tower of its basilica, ‘the leaning virgin’, was a famous site on this part of the Front. Next to this is the entrance to a small WWI museum housed in a series of underground chambers.
Delville Wood Museum
South Africa’s major memorial to its dead of WWI. Delville Wood was also called ‘Devil’s Wood’ by the troops. After the war the wood was re-planted, but just one tree survives from the original woodland.
Tank Corps Memorial
Standing by the Albert-Bapaume road, this monument marks the spot from which the first tank attack in history began in September 1916.
Built as a memorial copy of the tower that the 36th Ulster Division had trained under in County Down, Northern Ireland, the tower marks the site against which the men of Ulster advanced on 1st July 1916. The northernmost 7km of the Somme Battlefield can be seen from here.
Accrington Pals Memorial
Constructed of Accrington brick, this striking and relatively recent memorial commemorates one of the best known of the Pals Battalions. It stands in a park dedicated to The Sheffield City Battalion which contains traces of the front line trenches, from which both battalions attacked on 1st July 1916.
This fascinating museum has been created within a section of tunnels dug by the British Army during WWI, giving groups the opportunity to visit the underground network which played a key part in the Battle of Arras. Your group will descend 20 metres in a glass lift to take a guided tour. A great alternative to Vimy Ridge which can get booked up very early.
The scene of fierce fighting in 1917, when the Canadians successfully took the ridge from the Germans. Pupils can take a tour of the tunnels, trenches and the cemeteries.
Further develop your pupils’ understanding of the events of WWI, and allow them to look at the war from the perspective of the French forces, by extending your trip with a day or more in Verdun. Call our dedicated History tours team to discuss further.
Thiepval '14-18 Battles of the Somme' Museum
Dedicated to the battles of the Somme and the Missing, this new museum has been built into the Thiepval Visitor Centre. The exhibition studies the history of the many battles of the Somme, paying particular attention to the most deadly battle of all - the Battle of the Somme 1916. This permanent exhibition displays artefacts, archaeological finds, multimedia displays and life-size installations and a 60 metre long mural which opens an imaginary window onto the 1st July battlefield.
- WWI experiences - including trying on replica wartime uniforms and making traditional ‘army biscuits’ at NST's Château d'Ebblinghem
- Viewing WWI artefacts (examples of items include whistles, replica medals, drill rounds, regimental cap badges and button sticks) at NST's château
- Organised activities at the château (including a French night, snail tasting, mini Olympics, a disco or karaoke, Superhero Challenge, NST’s Got Talent, boules...and much more!)
- Excellent recreational facilities at the château (including a games room, a teachers’ bar, a shop, a floodlit football pitch, volleyball area and four hectacres of private grounds)
- Most other hotels can provide a room for groups to use in the evening for quizzes or discos
• The Western Front
• Military tactics and technology
• Volunteering to conscription
• Key battles and their significance
• The day-to-day conditions facing soldiers
• The role of women
• The medical and surgical treatment of the wounded
• Developments in medicine and surgery
We offer flights from a variety of departure airports and we’ll work with you to plan your route at the best value possible.
Giving you full support throughout
Before your tour
- Your own dedicated NST contact
- Bespoke tour itineraries
- Unrivalled local knowledge & expertise
- Curriculum linked visit programmes
- Great value for money - no hidden costs
- Free group leader inspection visits
- Risk assessment guidance
- Safety assured, transport, accommodation and visits
Whilst you're away
- Free educational resources
- Group-friendly accommodation
- Exceptional standards of coaching
- On-tour support from our reps on the ground
- Support & assistance from our specialists guides throughout your tour
- 24/7 support just a call away
- Extensive group travel insurance
On your return
- Priority rebooking services
- Rewarding your loyalty with our reward scheme
- You say, we listen - we're committed to continuously improving our tours
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