Washington DC

  • Washington DC school trip
    The White House is a natural starting point on any Washington DC school trip itinerary.
  • Washington DC school trip
    Be sure to see the US Capitol building in Washington DC.
  • Washington DC school trip
    The Lincoln Memorial & Reflecting Pool, another Washington DC school trip essential.
  • Washington DC school trip
    The Franklin D Roosevelt Memorial makes a good photo opportunity on a Washington DC school trip.
  • Washington DC school trip
    The Martin Luther King Jr Memorial.

Thank you very much for your help in putting this together. The reactions of the pupils to what they see more than makes up for the effort involved.MH, Strathallan

Where better to learn about US history and politics than in America’s seat of power, Washington DC? Founded as the capital of the United States in 1790, Washington DC has served as the nerve centre of American politics, shaping the course of American history throughout the centuries. And from an educational perspective, there’s certainly no shortage of monuments, memorials and institutions to explore, each one dedicated to preserving and promoting a particular facet of American history and culture.

Whether you choose to maximise your time in DC or take the opportunity to explore the cities and historical sites in the wider region, we can help you plan an itinerary with the particular interests of your group firmly in mind.

From the must-see sights of the White House, Capitol Hill, the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument to the cultural and historical richness of the many museums which comprise the Smithsonian Institution, let us give your students the experience of a lifetime in the US capital.

Typical Accommodation

We work with a number of different hostels and 2*/3* hotels in and around this American city. Please let us know your requirements and we will be happy to recommend suitable accommodation to suit your Washington DC school trip itinerary and budget.

Washington DC School Trip – Subject Suitability

Travel Options

  • By air from London & selected regional airports direct to Washington Dulles or Baltimore Washington International Airports. Flight time is approx. 8 hours.

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All tours will be tailor made to suit each individual group, but here is a suggestion for a Washington DC school trip:

Sample Itinerary – 5 Days by Air

Day 1 – Direct flight from a London airport with late afternoon / early evening arrival in Washington DC. Transfer to your hotel for dinner and overnight accommodation.

Days 2 & 3 – These days are free for you to choose from the many opportunities, whatever your particular interests, but we suggest you start off with an organised sightseeing tour to pick out the high spots, and to help orientate for the rest of your stay. The White House, US Capitol Building and DC’s many monuments and memorials are just a few of the many interesting photo opportunities you’ll find around the US capital, each one with a fascinating story to tell.

There’s a wealth of historical sites and museums in Washington DC so for students of history, why not consider visits to the National Museums of American History, the American Indian or African American History and Culture? Arlington National Cemetery, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Newseum, the National Archives Experience and the memorials dedicated to the Vietnam veterans, World War II also provide excellent historical context, as do excursions to the towns of Gettysburg and Mount Vernon.

For students of art and design meanwhile, visits to the National Portrait Gallery and the American Art Museum & Renwick Gallery should all be considered essential inclusions, yet the city boasts a wealth of other art institutions and galleries to be explored.

Day 4 – Last minute shopping and sightseeing perhaps, before the late afternoon transfer to the airport for the overnight flight back to the UK.

Day 5 – Morning arrival back at your departure airport.

Why not consider a two-centre itinerary, coupling Washington DC with New York, stopping off in Philadelphia en route? Contact us to discuss your details.

Popular Visits & Excursions

White House – Washington DC’s best-known sight, this is the official residence of the President of the United States. Whilst tours inside the White House are strictly limited and difficult to obtain, you can visit the Visitors Center, offering a window into the President’s home.
US Capitol Building – Sitting atop Capitol Hill, this is the seat of the United States Congress, housing both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Tours inside are available.
Library of Congress – The free tour explains the history, décor and unique exhibits that make this library’s collection of books, papers and recordings, the largest in the world. Don’t miss the Gutenberg Bible and Thomas Jefferson’s Library exhibits.
National Mall – A unique National Park, filled with a huge concentration of famous monuments, memorials, museums, and government buildings. Highlights include the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the National Gallery of Art, the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of Natural History, and the Holocaust Museum.
Lincoln Memorial – Built to honour the 16th US President, Abraham Lincoln, this distinctive Greek temple-style building is perhaps one of DC’s most famous landmarks.
Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool – The largest of its kind in Washington DC, the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool connects the Lincoln Memorial with the Washington Monument and it was here that Martin Luther King Jr gave his iconic ‘I have a Dream’ speech.
Washington Monument – An obelisk built to commemorate the first US President, George Washington, it’s also the world’s tallest stone structure.
Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial – Situated in Constitution Gardens a short distance from the Lincoln Memorial, this two-acre site honours the US armed forces who served in Vietnam and Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. Etched into the memorial’s wall are 58,307 names of those who died or were lost, all appearing in chronological order.
Martin Luther King Jr Memorial – A striking granite memorial to the leader of the African American Civil Rights Movement.
National Museum of American History – Collects, preserves and displays the heritage of the United States in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. Highlights include the original Star Spangled Banner and a pair of ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz.
National Museum of African American History & Culture – Recently opened in September 2016 close to the Washington Monument, this striking museum is devoted exclusively to African American culture and is free to enter.
National Museum of the American Indian – Dedicated to the life, languages, literature, history, and arts of the Native Americans. Entrance is free.
National Air & Space Museum – With free entrance, this museum is home to the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft worldwide. It’s also a research centre for aviation and space flight.
Newseum – A popular DC attraction, this is the only museum dedicated to free expression and the five freedoms of the First Amendment: religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. There’s an interactive newsroom, and sections dedicated to the history of news, the internet, TV and radio.
US Holocaust Memorial Museum – The official US memorial to the Holocaust, the museum contains an extensive collection of artefacts, documents, photographs and archived footage pertaining to this terrible historical event.
American Art Museum & Renwick Gallery – Situated across two venues, this is one of the largest and most expansive collections of American art in the world. Free admission.
National Portrait Gallery – From activists and actors to presidents (each and every one) and poets, the museum displays paintings, photographs and sculptures of the people that have come to define America over the last two centuries as we know it today. Free entry.

 

Freer Gallery of Art & Arthur M. Sackler Gallery – Focussing on Asian art originating from East, South and Southeast Asia as well as the Islamic world, ancient Egypu and the ancient Near East. There’s also a significant collection of American art. Free entry.
Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden – Displays some of the most unique artworks in modern and contemporary art, including painting, sculpture and photography. Free entry.
National Museum of African Art – Displays the largest publicly-held collection of African art in the United States, with roughly 12,000 objects in total. Free entry.
Bureau of Engraving & Printing – Learn all about U.S. paper currency on a free 40-minute experience which includes an introductory film and gallery tour of the production process, seeing millions of dollars being printed in front of your very eyes. Free entry Sep – Feb.
National Postal Museum – Situated next to Union Station, the museum houses a vast collection of stamps, postal artefacts and exhibits for all ages. Free entry.
National Museum of Natural History – A vast museum, home to 126 million natural science specimens and cultural artefacts. Free entry.
National Archives – Read the original Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights on display here.
International Spy Museum – The world’s largest collection of international espionage artefacts, the International Spy Museum traces the evolution of espionage through the people who practice the profession and provides a context for guests to interpret the role intelligence plays in current events.
Arlington National Cemetery – The country’s largest military cemetery and serves as the final resting place for more than 400,000 active duty military, veterans and their immediate family from the fronts of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as World Wars I and II, the Korean conflict, Vietnam, the Cold War and America’s Civil War. You’ll find the grave of John F Kennedy here, along with the eternal flame, lit at his funeral.
National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial – A permanent outdoor memorial to the 184 people who died as victims in the building and on American Airlines Flight 77 during the September 11 attacks.
Air Force Memorial – A striking monument, paying tribute to the people and the achievements of America’s airmen.
National World War II Memorial – Paying tribute to the soldiers that served in World War II, as well as those that supported efforts from home. There are two 43-foot arches, a 17-foot pillar for each state and a field of 4,000 gold stars.
Thomas Jefferson Memorial – Dedicated to one of the founding fathers of America, Thomas Jefferson, the man responsible for the Declaration of Independence.

Elsewhere

Gettysburg – Learn more about the Battle of Gettysburg, one of the largest battles of the American Civil War. It’s also the site where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address. 90 minutes northwest of Washington DC.
Frederiksburg– An hour southwest of Washington DC lies the town of Fredericksburg, scene of another famous battle during the American Civil War. There’s four main battlefield sites to visit: Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness and Spotsylvania.
Mount Vernon – Situated 30 minutes south of Washington DC near the popular town of Alexandria, this is the former plantation house of George Washington.
Baltimore – Once the second main port of entry for immigrants arriving in the US, today the city’s Inner Harbor is a popular tourist draw, with all manner of attractions including the National Aquarium, Maryland Science Center, the USS Constellation, the last Civil War-era vessel afloat, and the USCGC Taney, the last warship to have survived the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor.
Philadelphia – A meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the United States during the Civil War, it’s here that the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. A convenient pit stop midway between Washington DC to New York City, visits should include the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the famous ‘Rocky Steps’ of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Washington DC school trip images courtesy of Hirav, K. McCoy, Dsdugan, www.washington.org.