Ypres

  • Ypres school trip
    An Ypres school trip is an ideal way to bring World War I history to life.
  • Ypres school trip
    Students taking in the roll call of fallen soldiers at the Menin Gate.
  • history school trip to Ypres
    Tyne Cot Cemetery & Memorial near Ypres, the largest Commonwealth military cemetery worldwide.
  • Ypres school trip
    Ypres' impressive Cloth Hall, home to the In Flanders Fields Museum.
  • Ypres school trip
    Consider a visit to the Island of Ireland Peace Park on your Ypres school trip.

Staff friendly and helpful. Professional, knowledgeable, organised.CH, Lord Williams' School

Synonymous with its role in the Great War, Ypres (or Ieper as it’s known in Flemish) came under Allied control in 1914 and witnessed some five million British and Commonwealth soldiers pass through on their way to the bloody battles of the Salient. Although reduced to rubble by German bombardment, the town rose from its ashes and has since been fully restored to its former glory.

Poignant reminders of wartime losses are abundant here, from the humbling Last Post played nightly under the Menin Gate to the many cemeteries and memorial museums located nearby. Whether you devote your educational tour to the Belgian battlefields or combine with a trip over the French border to the Somme, you can be sure that Ypres will leave a lasting impression.

Typical Accommodation

Located next to Ypres’ Market Square and Cloth Hall, The Poppies 1 & 2 accommodates larger groups and offers comfortable accommodation from which to explore the town and wider area. The Poppies 1 formerly served as a pension for soldiers in World War I whilst the connecting Poppies 2 is a newer property. A newer property sleeping 2 – 8 people, the rooms all have private shower and wc. There is also a courtyard, games room with arcade games, pool and football tables, drinks machine, a dining room with television and PC access with free Wi-Fi.

Situated more rurally in Messines (Mesen), a 10-minute drive from Ypres, the Peace Village hostel overlooks the Messines Ridge Battlefield. Divided into four pavilions, the hostel offers studios with rooms accommodating 2–6 people. The corner rooms house 2-4 beds with the en-suite bathroom, toilet, living area and beds on the same level. The large houses (4-6 people) meanwhile have an extra mezzanine with sleeping area and a downstairs bathroom, separate toilet and a large sitting area. There’s a bar with pool, table tennis and football tables and projection screen, a restaurant and a football pitch.

A 25-minute walk from the centre of Ypres, the CJT de Iep Hostel offers basic accommodation for school groups with rooms sleeping 3 – 4 people with washbasin, a leisure area with table football, table tennis, bar, dining hall multimedia classroom and free Wi-Fi.

Ypres School Trip – Subject Suitability

Important Upcoming Events

Significant commemorations in 2017 include the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele (31st Jul – 6th Nov), a major World War I campaign on the Western Front, officially known as the Third Battle of Ypres.

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All itineraries are tailored to your particular requirements, here’s a couple of suggested examples for an Ypres school trip:

Sample Itinerary – 2 Days by Coach

Day 1 – Travel by coach down to Dover for your short-sea crossing to Calais. On arrival, journey east through northern France and across the Belgian border, stopping at the Sanctuary Wood Museum and preserved World War I trenches at Hill 62.

Continue to Ypres, where you’ll arrive at your overnight accommodation in time for dinner, before taking in the Last Post ceremony at the historic Menin Gate.

Day 2 – After time free in Ypres this morning, travel the short distance to the Memorial Museum of Passchendaele, followed by visits to the Tyne Cot Cemetery nearby and the German Cemetery at Langemark.

Later today, start your journey back to Calais for your ferry crossing back to the UK.

Sample Itinerary – 3 Days by Coach

Day 1 – Assembling at school, head to Dover and across the Channel to Calais, stopping briefly at Dunkirk to see the World War II evacuation beaches before crossing the border into Belgium and continuing on to the Ypres Salient.

This afternoon’s visits include Essex Farm, location of the Advanced Dressing Station and the British Military Cemetery, in addition to the Canadian memorial at Hill 62 (Sanctuary Wood), before continuing on to Ypres and your overnight accommodation. After dinner, head to the Menin Gate to catch the stirring Last Post ceremony.

Day 2 – Head into France today to explore the World War I battlefields of the Somme. Your first stop is at the Wellington Quarry and Memorial in Arras, exploring the underground tunnels, before heading on to the Newfoundland Memorial Park near Beaumont Hamel.

This afternoon sees visits to the Thiepval Memorial Centre, Cemetery and Visitor Centre, the Lochnagar Crater and the Vimy Ridge Memorial, before heading back to Ypres.

Day 3 – Today’s itinerary includes the German Cemetery at Langemark, the St Julien Canadian Memorial, and the Tyne Cot Memorial.

Returning to Ypres, there is free time for independent exploration before heading back to Calais for your homebound ferry crossing.

Travel Options

  • By coach with short-sea ferry crossing from Dover to Calais or Dunkirk. Schools from the north may prefer to take overnight sailings from Hull to Zeebrugge to make the coach journeys much shorter.

Popular Visits & Excursions

In Flanders Fields Museum – Situated in the prestigious Cloth Hall right in the heart of Ypres, this interactive museum allows the visitor to experience many different accounts of the war through original films of wartime Ypres.
Menin Gate – Originally a mediaeval gateway to the town, this is perhaps the most famous Commonwealth memorial in Flanders. Since its reopening in 1927, the Last Post has been played every night, apart from a short break during World War II.
Tyne Cot British & Commonwealth Memorial to the Missing – The final resting place of 11,954 soldiers, Tyne Cot is the largest Commonwealth military cemetery in the world.
Passchendaele Memorial Museum – This fascinating museum offers a comprehensive overview of World War I through its collection of uniforms, artillery and battlefield archaeology, in addition to the Battle of Passchendaele itself. The Dugout Experience gives an insight into the underground headquarters, communications and dressing posts and sleeping areas, whilst the Trench Experience reconstructs a network of British and German trenches

Ypres school trip images courtesy of www.milo-profi.be, Westtoer-apb, Hans-Kerrinckx.

 

Hill 60 & Caterpillar Crater – So named as its height was marked at 60 metres above sea level, Hill 60 was a strategically important manmade mound. Caterpillar Crater meanwhile was the result of a mine explosion under a German position.
Langemark German Cemetery – One of only four German WWI cemeteries across Flanders, Adolf Hitler was said to have visited the cemetery in 1940.
Talbot House – Known as Toc H after the army signal code used in the war, this living museum was once a soldiers’ clubhouse and remaining untouched since 1918, is one of the most evocative sights of the Great War. More than half a million soldiers visited Toc H where they could borrow books, play the piano and visit the chapel.
Essex Farm – Site of the British Military Cemetery, where some 1,200 British World War I soldiers are buried or commemorated. The famous poem, In Flanders Fields, was said to have been written here.
Island of Ireland Peace Park – Situated in Messines (Mesen), this memorial site, also known as the Irish Peace Tower, is dedicated to the fallen, wounded or missing soldiers of Ireland.
St Julien Canadian Memorial – Known as ‘the brooding soldier’, this memorial commemorates the loss of 2,000 troops from the Canadian First Division.