History School Trips to Moscow & St Petersburg, Russia
Russian history and culture continues to fascinate, frustrate and intrigue the West.
As the largest European country, Russia’s history from the early modern period through to the present day is decidedly different to that of the West. Any visit to Moscow and St Petersburg will give students a true insight into European history across the centuries.
Students can learn about the devastating hardship that the First and Second World Wars brought to the Russian people, including the terrible sieges and battles around the key cities, resulting in the deaths of millions. They can also reflect on the incredible contribution that these battles made to the defeat of Nazism. Combined with the beautiful palaces and churches which illustrate the events of the Imperial Age and the clash of Bolshevism and Communism, Russia promises a unique and memorable experience.
To make sure you get the most out of your time in Russia, and unlike any of our other History Trips which are all fully tailor-made, a trip to Russia comes with a set itinerary. The 6 day, 5 night itinerary to Moscow and St Petersburg allows your students to follow in the footsteps of the Tsars, witness the effects that the First and Second World Wars and the Russian Civil War had on the country’s infrastructure and discover what life was like in Lenin’s Russia for the man himself and the people of Russia – and this is just the start! Most groups will choose to start in Moscow, however as more airlines release regional UK departures to Russia we can adapt your itinerary to start in either Moscow or St Petersburg.
What other history teachers thought of their Russia trip…
100% of our clients said they would recommend a Russia History Trip with Rayburn Tours to another history teacher rating their overall touring experience at 5 out of 5.
“As our girls climbed the stairs out of the metro into Red Square they could see the gleaming turrets of St. Basil's Cathedral ahead of them. They stopped chatting. There was utter silence: the realisation that they were, indeed, in Russia. “Wow”.”
Did you know?
St. Petersburg was known as Petrograd from 1914 to 1924 and Leningrad from 1924 to 1991.
The total length of the Kremlin walls is 2235 meters.
During the Second World War metro stations were used as air-raid shelters.
Our quick, online quote form allows our specialists to provide you with a bespoke quotation for a trip tailor-made to your group’s individual requirements.
Russia Fact File
KS4 and KS5 (or equivalent)
Moscow – Moscow Domodedovo
St Petersburg – St Peterburg Pulkovo
- Imperial Russia
- Russia and the Bolshevik revolution
- Peace and conflict in the 20th century
- Russia in 20th century
- The First World War/li>
- The Second World War
- The Cold War
- Collapse and international relations of peace
- The demise of communism
Russia Study Visits
In order to ensure that your history students get the most out of their time in Russia we have created a set itinerary that has been created to complement this area of the history syllabus. Below you will find more information about all of the visits on this itinerary. It is possible to tweak the itinerary slightly and your School Tour Coordinator will be happy to discuss this with you.
The Kremlin & Armoury
The Kremlin represents the very heart of all things Russian and has been at the epicentre of all historical and political events throughout the country’s history. It is claimed that all roads in Russia lead to this UNESCO World Heritage site. The Kremlin houses many of the country’s most famous artworks and artefacts.
Your guide will take you round some of the more notable Cathedrals (Assumption Cathedral for example), show you the president’s offices (housed within the grounds) and Tsar’s Bell before entering the world famous Armoury. A guided tour of the armoury brings you up close and personal to one of the most opulent collection of treasures in the world. Accumulated over a number of years by the Russian State and church, whether it is diamonds and gems that take your fancy or modes of transport, pottery, silver, fashion or weaponry you will find your fix here!
Saint Basil’s Cathedral
The UNESCO World Heritage site of St Basil’s is situated directly off Red Square. Building began in 1555 and was initially created to celebrate Ivan the Terrible’s victory in Kazan. A visit to Moscow would not be complete without a group photo in front of the splendidly coloured domes but this task is somewhat more difficult to achieve than you may imagine! Ask your guide to show you the best place to attain this most famous of photo’s!
The Central Museum of the Armed Forces
This museum houses one of the best collections of military memorabilia ranging from pieces of Stalin’s own uniform through to the banners used in the victory parade when the soviet’s reached Berlin.
Opened in 1919 by Lenin himself the museum has continued to expand it’s collections over the years. Students have the opportunity to view the different uniforms worn as well as viewing first hand in the grounds behind the museum some of the planes, tanks and armoury famously paraded around Red Square in the bi-annual show of military force (particularly during the 80’s and 90’s). You can see the famous victory banner raised over the Berlin Reichstag in 1945 as well as swathes of captured Nazi standards that were trampled on Red Square during victory celebrations.
Lenin’s House Museum in Gorki (Gorki Leninskiye)
The manor house located on this wooded estate is just 32km south from The Kremlin and is where Lenin took respite during the later years of his life. A visit to his intriguing home gives you and your students the opportunity to see the library and office from where Lenin worked in periods of better health, the sofa where Stalin slept waiting for the opportunity to speak to his leader and also the phone connected directly to the Kremlin so that Lenin could still make contact with his comrades when he needed too. Points of interest are the clocks that all stopped at the moment of his death (6.50am) and also the specially adapted Rolls Royce car with ski shoes to ensure Lenin could make his way back to the Kremlin when needed.
Poklonnaya Gora Memorial and Museum
This beautiful park offers fantastic views as it is located at the highest point of the city. The park itself houses many fountains, statues and memorials to commemorate achievements by the Russian army over numerous conflicts. A memorial site was created here in the 1960’s but is possibly most famously known as the location where Napolean believed he would be delivered the keys to the Kremlin by the Russians.
Today the park homes a number of commemorative statues and monuments which are still being added to. One of the main focal points is the 141.8metre high obelisk added in the 1990’s which represents 10cm for every day that the Russians were involved in the Great Patriotic War.
Also housed on this site is the Museum of the Great Patriotic War. Re-opened to the public this museum gives you and your student’s opportunity to see the Hall of Commanders filled with bronze busts of the most important men in the armed forces; those winning the Order of Victory, Russia’s highest accolade (including that of Stalin). Your tour will also take you to the Hall of Glory, a white marble room on which the names of 11,800 recipients of the Hero of the Soviet Union are inscribed. Below this room you will find the hall of sorrow where glass beads are strung from the ceiling to represent tears shed for those that died in the conflict.
Very few places in the world bear the weight of history to the extent of Moscow’s central square. Brimming with symbols of Russia’s turbulent and intriguing past, Red Square remains the heart and soul of this fascinating country.
Stand in awe of St Basil’s Cathedral and admire its iconic display of colours, patterns and architectural originality; visit the Kremlin, home to some of the country’s most famous artworks and artefacts; relive history at Lenin’s Tomb. To stroll across a place where so much Russian history unfolded is guaranteed to be a memorable experience.
Based at the Lubyanka Building in Moscow, the striking yellow-coloured headquarters of the KGB, you’ll find the KGB Museum.
The museum has four rooms and over 2,000 items, giving visitors the idea of the Russian counter spying system from its early days until now.
Its exhibitions include documents of the times of Peter the Great, Catherine II and the wars of 1812 and 1914; arms and equipment of the spy groups that were running errands on the territory of the Soviet Union after the Second World War; satellite and other radio stations, mini cameras in the form of a lighter, watch, crayons and key tokens; explosive plaster casts in the shape of cans and cigarette packs; photos of the foreign spies caught in the action and arrested afterwards.
A guided tour of St Petersburg allows your students to see first hand many of the fascinating sites in this beautiful city, often referred to as the Venice of the North. The city was founded by Peter the Great as his “window on the west” as it is the only point where the traditional Russian territory meets the sea to Europe. Here you can truly get a taste of the Tsar’s lifestyle, and their opulent surroundings! On your arrival in St Petersburg a guided coach tour will commence and not only will Tsarist and revolutionary sites of interest be pointed out, but also the offices where a young Vladimir Putin cut his teeth in the KGB and also some of Russia’s other well-known inhabitants (artists, Psychologists and Scientists) have completed their works.
Amongst all of this is the opportunity to inspect the Cruiser Aurora from which the start of the revolution was ordered in 1917, and Finland Station, including the train engine which returned Lenin from his imposed exile, and where he started to rally his Bolshevik party into action.
The Lenin Mausoleum reopened in May 2013 after it’s first restoration works in 80 years. Located just outside the Kremlin Walls, on Red Square, Lenin’s body has been on display here since shortly after his death in 1924, however discussions continue about whether his body should be left here or buried.
All photographic devices are strictly prohibited in the tomb and should be left in the lockers located in a nearby building.
Did you know that Stalin’s body shared a spot next to Lenin’s, from the time of his death in 1953 until October 31, 1961, when Stalin was removed as part of de-Stalinization and Khrushchev’s Thaw.
The beautiful yellow building that stands on the quiet stretch of the Moika River is the site of the murder of the infamous Rasputin, “the Priest of Sex” who held an alarmingly powerful position with Tsarina Alexandra. He became so powerful that he could make or break minister’s careers with one word. At Yusupov Palace you can explore the palace where plans were hatched and actions put into place. See the room where Rasputin was poisoned, beaten and shot repeatedly all before escaping and then eventually being caught up with, pushed through the ice on one of the canals and held under the water until they were sure he was dead!
Green Belt of Glory
En route to the stunning Catherine’s Palace there is an opportunity to stop briefly at the Green Belt of Glory an installation of tanks and a series of memorials marking the front line in the fight for what was then known as Leningrad.
There are 80 memorials and monuments situated along the belt. But it is the Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad in Victory Square that symbolises the heart of the belt.
This is just what you expect to see when imagining a Russian Palace, the glorious pale blue walls, white architectural details and just a little bit (well by the Tsarina’s standards anyway) of gold! This beautiful palace is a reconstruction and new rooms are being opened annually following the destruction of the original palace by the Nazi forces on their retreat at the end of the great patriotic war.
The palace was named after Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great that was converted from a modest two-storey building into a palace by her daughter after Catherine’s death.
The Hermitage Museum / Winter Palace
Another of the most well known buildings in St Petersburg the traditional green and white exterior of the building can be seen clearly from many parts of the city. The palace is where the guns of the Cruiser Aurora were aimed at when starting the revolution and you are given the opportunity, with the help of your local guide, to trace the footsteps of the Bolsheviks as they stormed the palace searching for the Tsar and his family.
Whilst here it would be a shame not to take in some of the wonderful art collections held here. There are a number of exhibitions annually at the museum; one of the current includes works of German art from the George Economou Collection
Russia History Trip Itinerary
To help you get the most value from your History Trip to Russia, we have developed a superb 6 day set itinerary that allows you to experience the wealth of history and culture found in these two intriguing cities. In addition, we are happy to adapt this itinerary to suit your particular requirements, please contact us for details.
After your arrival in Moscow you will transfer to your hotel for your evening meal.
After a buffet breakfast at your hotel, travel to Red Square via the metro to visit Lenin’s Tomb, the Kremlin and Armoury and to see the spectacular Saint Basil’s Cathedral. Spend some free time for lunch before an afternoon visit to the Red Army Museum or the Museum of Cosmonauts before returning to your hotel for an evening meal. Your guide will be with you from 9am until 7pm and your coach from 2pm until 7pm.
After a buffet breakfast at your hotel, depart for Lenin’s House Museum in Gorky. After lunch, visit Poklonnaya Gora Memorial and Museum of the ‘Great Patriotic War. See a complex of monuments, churches, museums and fountains many of which have English descriptions. Dinner in the city is followed by a walking tour of Old Arbat Street and its street artists, souvenir stalls and shops, restaurants, cafés and bars, before departing on your overnight train journey to St. Petersburg. (Instead of Old Arbat Street Tour an optional visit to the Moscow Circus or Ballet can be arranged – please ask your School Tour Coordinator for more details) Your guide and coach will be with you from 9am until 11.30pm.
Have breakfast in a city café on arrival in St. Petersburg before a full day in the city exploring Cruiser Aurora, Finland Station, Piscarev Cemetery and Yusupov Palace. Your guide and coach will be with you from 8am until 6pm.
After breakfast you will have a full day in St Petersburg visiting Green belt of Glory – a set of memorial facilities at the forefront of the battle for Leningrad; Catherine Palace, the Rococo summer residence of the Russian Tsars in the morning; and The Hermitage – a museum of Russian art and culture in the afternoon. Your guide and coach will be with you from 9.30am until 6pm.
After breakfast spend free time in the city for shopping and a visit to the Museum of Heroic Defenders of Leningrad before a transfer to the airport for your return journey home.
Unlike any of our other trips, our History Trip to Russia is a set itinerary therefore we have two recommended hotels; one in Moscow and one in St Petersburg.
Park Inn by Radisson Hotel Pulkovskaya (St Petersburg)
The Park Inn by Radisson Pulkovskaya is on the beautiful Moskovsky Avenue allowing for easy access to downtown St. Petersburg.
“We would stay in this hotel again. It seemed to suit us very well.”
The hotel has 841 bright and modern rooms all with TV, hairdryer, climate control, private facilities, chargeable Wi-Fi, and a number of restaurants.
Hotel Katerina Park (Moscow)
This 4 star hotel in the south of Moscow is just a short distance from the Kremlin and Red Square and has 244 beautifully spacious rooms. The hotel offers a breakfast buffet, Wi-Fi throughout the hotel as well as fitness centre with saunas and gym. Each room has their own private bathroom facilities with Wi-Fi, TV, climate control and hairdryer.
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