History School Trips to Washington, USA
An exciting modern capital, Washington will take you to the incredible sights of the Lincoln Memorial, Capitol Hill, the Library of Congress and the mighty White House. While the Smithsonian Institute offers a number of engaging museums, including the new museum on African American history, Arlington National Cemetery is a just a short distance away and a clear reminder to us all of the American sacrifice in wars of the 20th and early 21st century.
As such a powerful capital, its many monuments bear tribute to the magnificence and horror of years past, promising an unforgettable experience for any student.
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.
Washington Fact File
KS4, KS5 and may be suitable for KS3 (or equivalent)
Dulles International Airport
- British imperial history and governance
- The founding of the US
- The American War of Independece
- The Declaration of Independence
- The American Civil War
- The USA and the First World War
- The 1920s’ economic crash, depression and the new deal
- The Second World War
- The Cold War and American Soviet Relations
- The Civil Rights era
- The US policies 1990-2010
Washington History Study Visits
With a wealth of monuments, museums and fascinating sights, there’s no better place to explore America’s long-standing political history than Washington. Here are some of our most highly recommended visits.
The Lincoln Memorial
Explore the larger than life memorial to one of America’s most iconic Presidents – Abraham Lincoln. Built in white stone with 36 Doric columns, the memorial is a testament to the man who took the USA into a civil conflict in an attempt to make the claim of democracy apply to all men, regardless of their colour. Students can stand in the presence of the mighty, 19-foot-tall statue of Abraham Lincoln, read the memorial’s inscriptions and contemplate its historic significance.
With approximately six million visitors each year, it’s no wonder why The Lincoln Memorial is one of the most recognised structures in the United States.
Home to the US Congress and one of the most famous buildings in Washington after the White House, Capitol Hill is the meeting place of the nation’s legislature. Since its construction in 1793, the US Capitol and its stately dome have become international symbols of America’s representative democracy. Visits around the Capitol are free.
The Library of Congress
Over two hundred years old, the Library of Congress is the nation’s first established cultural institution and the largest library in the world. It houses millions of key historic documents in its collections, including the draft of the US Constitution, and acts as a rich and diverse source of knowledge for Congress, the federal government and the American people.
The National Archives
Close to the Mall, the National Archives is an impressive building with an even more impressive collection. It’s home to the Declaration of Independence, the American Constitution and the Bill of Rights, all of which can be seen in the Rotunda. Other exhibitions cover the Civil Rights movement and key points in American history.
The White House and Visitor Centre
As one of the world’s most famous buildings and the official home to the US President, the White House is a living museum of American history. Over 40 presidents have occupied the White House and the history of this remarkable building extends far beyond the construction of its walls.
Tours inside can be difficult to obtain, but anyone can stand and look at the impressive building and explore the visitor centre to learn about the occupants of past and present.
The National Mall
The National Mall is a long strip of green that links up the key sites and memorials in the centre of the city. Stretching for over 2 miles, it’s surrounded by a number of the nation’s most popular museums, including the National Gallery of Art, the National Museum of Natural History and the National Air and Space Museum – covering everything between the Lincoln Memorial and the US Capitol.
The Smithsonian is the world’s largest museum and research complex with a collection of museums, galleries and research institutes, as well as the National Zoological Park. The museums look at many aspects of American and world history, and the new African American History and Culture Museum is perfect for anyone who wants to delve deep into the history of slavery and Civil Rights in the US.
Students can also explore the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Museum of American History and the National Air and Space Museum.
The Washington Monument
Built to honour George Washington, the first president of the United States, the obelisk-shaped memorial stands 555-feet tall in the centre of the National Mall and is one of the nation’s most recognisable structures. Taking over a century to plan and construct, it wasn’t completed until the nation’s 21st president was in office.
Today, it’s the tallest stone structure in the world and serves as an awe-inspiring reminder of George Washington’s greatness.
Arlington National Cemetery
The grounds of Arlington National Cemetery honour those who have served the American nation by providing a peaceful, scenic resting place for over 400,000 active duty service members, veterans and their families.
Founded as a result of the Civil War, visitors can witness its time-honoured ceremonies, wander through the headstones and monuments and reflect on the names and stories of every individual who is laid to rest within the grounds.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is one of the world’s leading museums and centre of research and education for the persecution of the Jews and the victims of Nazi racial policies. With its documentation, study and interpretation of Holocaust history, it serves as America’s memorial to the millions of people murdered during the Holocaust.
Through its many exhibitions, education materials and art and artefacts, students will gain a greater understanding about this unprecedented tragedy, learn about the inner lives of those who suffered and have the chance to reflect upon the moral and spiritual questions raised by the events of the Holocaust.
US Marine Corps War Memorial
Discover the meaning behind the famous photograph at the US Marine Corps War Memorial. Featuring the six men who raised the second American flag over Iwo Jima, it honours all of the Marines who have perished serving the United States since 1775 – before the nation was officially formed.
Students can stand in awe of the statue, explore the grounds and take in the beautiful views of Washington. Situated not far from Arlington Cemetery, it’s the perfect chance for groups to visit both sites side by side.
Ford’s Theatre celebrates the legacy of President Abraham Lincoln and explores the American experience through theatre and education. Still a working theatre, it has become a historical monument, world-class museum and learning centre for exploring Lincoln’s ideals, leadership principles and assassination.
Learn the story of Lincoln’s remarkable presidency, explore the museum’s artefacts and stories of his assassination and honour the man whose words and deeds have inspired generations of leaders. Why not catch a performance or experience a live historic interpretation by professional actors and National Park Service Rangers?
Headquarters of the Department of Defense, the Pentagon is one of the world’s largest office buildings covering an impressive 583 acres of land. Hosting more than 100,000 visitors each year, its 60-minute tour includes a 1.49 mile walk through the building including the mission of the Department of Defense, and each of its branches of service, and numerous displays that highlight and depict significant moments in military history.
With approximately 23,000 employees, both military and civilian, students will enjoy exploring the inner workings of the planning and execution of the defense of the country.
An iconic landmark, Mount Vernon is a constant reminder of the life and legacy of George Washington. Once a vibrant plantation in the 18th century, the estate is now one of the nation’s most visited historic sites, consisting of a host of colonial era buildings, lush gardens and an intriguing museum and education centre.
With Mount Vernon’s new, unique 3D photography exhibit, students can witness the amazing, historic stereoviews as modern 3D photographs and see what has and hasn’t changed through time. Offering numerous engaging and immersive tours around the estate, Mount Vernon proves to be a memorable experience.
Washington Sample Itineraries
Your bespoke itinerary will include the appropriate balance of educational visits and leisure excursions to fill your chosen duration and meet your aims and objectives. Your dedicated Tour Co-ordinator will offer advice and recommendations with the sole aim of creating the perfect itinerary for your group, but just to get you inspired, we have outlined an itinerary of what your group could get up to.
Dates: 6th – 8th July
Departure airport: Dulles International Airport
Passengers: 22 students and 3 teachers
Board Basis: Bed and Breakfast
Overview of visits: National Mall, White House Visitor Centre, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Capitol Hill, Building of Congress, Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institute, African American Civil War Memorial and Museum, Holocaust Museum, Ford’s Theatre, Arlington Cemetery, Pentagon Visitor’s Centre, Mount Vernon.
After an afternoon arrival to Dulles International Airport, the group boarded their coach transfer to check in at their hotel. They then chose to either walk to the National Mall for a first glance at some of the monuments, or relax after a day of travel with lunch at a local restaurant.View the full day-by-day itinerary
Following breakfast at the hotel, the group met their guide for a walking tour of central Washington to soak up the political history of the US, starting with a visit to the White House Visitor Centre. The group later enjoyed exploring the National Mall further, soaking up the sights of the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.
After a trip to Capitol Hill, the largest historic residential neighbourhood in Washington, the group visited Washington Building Congress and the Library of Congress. The group then enjoyed an evening restaurant meal.
Today the group departed for the Museum of American History, part of the Smithsonian Institute – the world’s largest museum and research complex – later exploring the Civil Rights era in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
After a visit to the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum, the group had the choice to explore the many other Smithsonian Museums and Memorials, or, alternatively, the United States Holocaust Museum. The day ended with an evening meal and either a trip to Ford’s Theatre or a hop-on hop-off bus tour for an extra dose of sightseeing.
As the final full day in Washington, the group boarded their coach for their visit to Arlington Cemetery, later heading to the Pentagon Visitor’s Centre – one of the most significant sites for understanding the US and its role as a global policeman and foreign policy ventures. They also had the option to visit a local university (such as Georgetown University).
An alternative choice of visit would be Mount Vernon – George Washington’s plantation home in Virginia – to learn about the founding of an independent USA.
After breakfast, the group were free to enjoy a morning of souvenir shopping or catch a last glimpse of the sights. They then met their coach to board their transfer to Dulles International Airport for an afternoon/evening flight back to the UK.
We have a number of hotels in and around Washington which are perfectly suited to school groups. Here are a few of our favourites:
Comfort Inn Downtown DC
Conveniently located near Metro Subway, the Comfort Inn Downtown DC is within easy access of shopping locations, various museums and main city attractions, including the White House, Smithsonian Institute and National Portrait Gallery. Offering contemporary surroundings with a classic American charm, as well as numerous amenities, it’s the perfect base for groups to explore this fascinating city.
Hostelling International – Washington DC
Set in the heart of the city, the HI Washington DC offers incredible value for its location. With relaxing rooms, a free continental breakfast each morning and common rooms to keep the fun going, your group can enjoy the sights and sounds of Washington in a safe and comfortable environment.
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