Somme

  • Somme school trip
    Visit the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.
  • Somme school trip
    A bronze caribou overlooking the Newfoundland Memorial Park at Beaumont Hamel.
  • Somme school trip
    Why not consider a visit to the Ulster Memorial Tower on a Somme school trip?
  • English literature school trip to the Somme
    Bring the words of Wilfred Owen and Sebastian Faulks to life on a trip to the Somme.
  • Somme school trip
    The Canadian National Vimy Memorial, a poignant visit on a Somme school trip.

Really enjoyable experience – for both students and staff. Excellent!!JO, St Bede's Inter-Church School

Situated amidst the beautiful rural landscapes of Picardy, the many battlefields, cemeteries and memorials of the Somme pay tribute to the hundreds of thousands of brave soldiers who fought and lost their lives here. What better time to educate the next generation and commemorate the Battle of the Somme, one of the largest battles of World War I and indeed one of the bloodiest battles in human history.

With so many memorial monuments and museums to choose from in the region, a tour of the Somme provides opportunity aplenty to bring to life the harsh realities of war and the ultimate sacrifice given by so many.

Or for a broader First World War overview, why not complement your educational experience with a journey over the Belgian border to visit the World War I sites of the Ypres Salient?

Typical Accommodation

Perfectly positioned for touring the battlefields and memorial sites of the Somme, the Poppies Albert is situated in the town of Albert. Offering a total of 186 beds across 48 rooms, each sleeping 2 – 5 people and with shower, toilet and washbasin, this three-storey hostel (with lift) is well equipped to welcome large school parties. There’s a computer station (free Wi-Fi centrally) and games room on each floor complete with pool and foosball tables and pinball and vending machines, in addition to a communal breakfast room, a football pitch across the street and a swimming pool next door.

Somme School Trip – Subject Suitability

Travel Options

  • By coach with short-sea ferry crossing from Dover to Calais.

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

Sample Itinerary – 3 Days by Coach

Day 1 – Travel by coach down to Dover for your short-sea crossing to Calais. On arrival, journey south through northern France, stopping at Notre Dame de Lorette, the largest French military cemetery in the world. Continue to Albert, arriving in time for dinner.

Day 2 – Your first port of call this morning is the Somme 1916 Museum in Albert, where you’ll walk through the underground tunnels and learn about life in the trenches. After time for lunch, you’ll be joined by expert local guides who will take you on a coach tour of the major battlefields sites and memorials in the area. These include the Lochnagar Crater, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme in Thiepval, the Newfoundland Memorial Park, and the German Military Cemetery in Fricourt. Return to Albert for dinner and bowling.

Day 3 – Your final day starts with a journey north to visit to the Wellington Quarry and Arras Memorial for a visit. There’s time to explore the lovely town of Arras, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, before continuing on to Calais and your homebound ferry.

Sample Itinerary – 4 Days by Coach

Day 1 – Assembling at school, head to Dover and across the Channel to Calais. Once in France head south to the town of Albert where there’s time for a treasure hunt, before checking into your hotel.

Day 2 – As per day 2 above or you could choose from a number of other visits and excursions including the Historial de la Grande Guerre in Péronne, Delville Wood and its Museum to the South African Forces or Amiens with its mighty cathedral.

Day 3 – Today’s itinerary takes you over the border into Belgium and to the World War I battlefields of the Ypres Salient. On arrival, visit the fascinating Passchendaele Memorial Museum, followed by a trip to the Canadian memorial site of Sanctuary Wood at Hill 62, and the moving Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth military cemetery in the world. Head into the town of Ypres for dinner and hear the stirring Last Post ring out at the historic Menin Gate before returning to Albert.

Day 4 – After breakfast, check out of your hotel and head north to the town of Vimy for a visit to the memorial, front-line trenches and visitor centre. Continue towards Calais, stopping off at Cité Europe for some last-minute shopping before catching the ferry back to the UK.

Popular Visits & Excursions

Somme 1916 Museum – Situated below Albert’s basilica, explore the lives of the soldiers in the trenches via a 250-metre tunnel, set 10 metres below ground level.
Lochnagar Crater – World War I’s largest manmade mine crater, the Lochnagar Crater was created at the launch of the British offensive against the Germans on 1st July, 1916.
Thiepval Memorial & Visitor Centre – Site of the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, a striking monument bearing the names of 72,194 men of the British and South African armed forces who died in the battles of the Somme and have no known grave.
Ulster Memorial Tower – A small museum dedicated to the memory of the 36th Ulster Division who fought in Thiepval on 1st July, 1916.
Newfoundland Memorial Park – Named after the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in homage to their sacrifice on the battlefield, this memorial site follows the trenches near Beaumont Hamel and is one of only two Canadian National Historic Sites to be situated outside of Canada. Look out for the striking bronze caribou memorial overlooking the trenches.
Canadian National Vimy Memorial – Dedicated to the memory of all Canadian forces who served their country as part of the Commonwealth during the Great War, this is the second of the two Canadian National Historic Sites to be situated outside of Canada. The memorial bears the names of 11,168 missing Canadians killed in action but whose remains were never found.
Wellington Quarry – An underground museum situated amidst the tunnels and quarries under the town of Arras, founded to honour the memory of thousands of British Army and Dominion Forces troops who lived under the city during the Great War, particularly those in the New Zealand Division.
Accrington Pals Memorial – Built with red bricks from Accrington, this memorial is situated within the Sheffield Memorial Park and is dedicated to the memory of the Accrington Pals, the 11th (Service) Battalion East Lancashire Regiment, who fought and fell in this location in the opening phase of the Battle of the Somme.
Ablain-Saint-Nazaire French Military Cemetery – Also known as Notre Dame de Lorette, this is the largest French military cemetery in the world with over 40,000 casualties buried here, almost all from World War I.

Somme school trip images courtesy of ARDT 80, AB, Fleonardi, J Foley

 

Fricourt German Military Cemetery – the final resting place for over 17,000 German World War I soldiers who died on the Somme battlefields.
Historial de la Grande Guerre – Attracting over 80,000 visitors a year, this museum offers an overview of life in and behind the front line trenches, as well as the impact of the Great War on 20th-century society.
Delville Wood Memorial – The location in which the battalions of the South African Brigade came under intense German artillery fire in their attempt to capture the wood in July 1916, this is the only memorial dedicated to the South African Forces who served on the Western Front during the Great War.
Museum to the South African Forces – Situated at Delville Wood, this museum was inaugurated in 1986 in memory of the 25,000 South Africans who served their country not only in the First and Second World Wars, but also in Korea.
Tank Corps Memorial – A granite obelisk complete with four model tanks, this memorial’s boundary fence is made from tank gun barrels and driving chains.
Arras Memorial – In commemoration of the 34,795 servicemen from the UK, New Zealand and South Africa who died during the 1917 Battle of Arras and during the German attack on the Allied front in March 1918.
La Cité Souterraine de Naours – These subterranean caves were used as a refuge during the Middle Ages, a hiding place for contraband during the French Revolution, a hospital for the British army during the First World War, then a strategic weapons depot for the German army during the Second World War.
Amiens – Famous for its soaring Gothic cathedral, this former capital of the Picardy region is also renowned for its associations with the writer, Jules Verne.
Samara – A reconstruction of a Neolithic village, demonstrating how people lived in prehistoric to pre-Roman times.
Parc Astérix – set to the northeast of Paris, this Asterix-themed amusement park complete with six worlds and 36 rides offers a fun alternative to the battlefields and memorials of the Somme.
Musée Matisse – Founded by the artist himself in 1952, the Musée Matisse offers a chronological overview of the artist’s work and is considered one of the leading museums in northern France.