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Commemorating WWI

WWI Centenary 2014-2018 History School Trips

Commemorating 100 years…

2014 to 2018 marks 100 years since World War I and this period provides a real once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for your students to not only visit the Battlefields of Ypres and the Somme, but also play their part in creating a long-lasting legacy of the conflict. In October 2012, Prime Minister David Cameron said, “Our duty with these commemorations is clear. To honour those who served. To remember those who died and to ensure that the lessons learnt live with us forever.” To further quote Mr Cameron, “That is exactly what we will do”, by enhancing our already popular World War I Battlefields Tour to Ypres and the Somme to create something truly unforgettable!

“A really effective and enjoyable educational experience for all involved, both students and staff.”

Launceston College, Mr Patrick Pugh - WWI Battlefields

“A wonderful experience that brought history to life.”

Mr Bret Hodgeman, December 2015 - WWI Centenary

“Visiting the Wellington Quarry in Arras. It really made the history come alive and was awe-inspiring for the students.”

Miriam Watson, June 2015 - WWI Battlefields

“The tour brought the violent realities of war home to the students but allowed them to reflect on the impact their lives could have on the future world.”

Mr Coates, May 2016 - WWI Centenary

“An excellent opportunity for students to experience trench life and to understand the scale of sacrifice on the Western Front.”

Monica Buckley, April 2015 - WWI Battlefields

What other history teachers thought of Ypres and the Somme…

Our history clients rated their overall tour experience as 4.5 out of 5 and 95% said they would recommend a trip to the battlefields to a fellow teacher. Mrs Amy Kennedy of Saffron Walden County High School said, “It was a fantastic opportunity to try to understand the experiences of WWI and to make the students explore how it had such a major impact on so many people’s lives.”

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Special Visits

A History Trip to Ypres and the Somme provides students with an array of visits that will deepen their understanding of the WWI topics you have been teaching them about in the classroom. Find out more about these visits on our WWI Battlefields page. With the centenary upon us there are a number of visits that have been enhanced and refurbished to make a trip to the regions all the more memorable.

Special Visits

The Platoon Experience

The Platoon Experience

Step back in time to 1917 with The Platoon Experience, where each of your students will step into the shoes of an actual soldier who was part of an Austrailian platoon. Uniform on, “Tommy Tucker” lunch in your rucksack and rifle in hand (a replica of course!) and students will set off across the very terrain of their predecessors. It’s not about playing soldiers, but more a chance to immerse yourself in the true life of a soldier who fought in this region during World War I and to try and imagine and appreciate the difficult and challenging conditions they faced on a daily basis.

Passchendaele Experience

Historical artefacts, images, movies, and several life-like dioramas describe the Battle of Passchendaele. Look past this and it’s much more than simply a museum, it’s the newly refurbished Passchendaele Experience! In anticipation of the WWI Centenary the existing museum has been extended to include three new sections focusing on the Battle of Passchendaele, the nations involved in the battle and outside, a network of British and German trenches built using debris found on the battlefields. A truly unique experience!

In Flanders Field Museum

The highly interactive and recently renovated ‘In Flanders Field Museum’ in Ypres is not to be missed! It tells the story of the invasion of Belgium, trench warfare in the Westhoek, the end of the war and the permanent remembrance ever since. Personal stories help students build a picture of what life was like for the ‘ordinary people’ in West Flanders during the First World War.

For more information on these excursions and many more available in Ypres and the Somme, visit our WWI Battlefields page.

Pay your respects by laying a poppy wreath


Many of our groups choose to take part in their own commemorative events whilst out on tour and to facilitate this we can source a poppy wreath which can be delivered to your school. Groups are then able to pay their respects by laying a wreath at sites such as Tyne Cot and the Menin Gate, supporting Mr Cameron’s pledge of honouring those who served. Mrs, Terri Hull of The Bishops’ High School described the moment they layed a wreath at the Menin Gate as “very humbling for all”.

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Bespoke Research

Retrace your local regiment’s footsteps


What better way to help your students step into the stories of WWI than by uncovering the facts of individuals and the regiment local to your school? A unique service offered by Rayburn Tours provides you with research that allows you to retrace the footsteps of your local regiment as they took to the battlefields and trenches in Ypres and the Somme during World War I. As you share this information and we tailor your itinerary to visit some of these important locations, there’s no doubt that this research will make your commemorations more poignant and help students to empathise with soldiers who came from the areas in which many of them are living today.

Sample Pages
iWitness Local Regiment Example 1 iWitness Local Regiment Example 2 iWitness Local Regiment Example 3 iWitness Local Regiment Example 4

Family History Research

Should your students have relatives who are known to have died in the War, our History Tours Consultant will endeavour to uncover information about them, their regiment and the battles in which they fought. In many cases we can tailor your itinerary to visit these locations.

Sample Pages
Family Research Example 1 Family Research Example 2
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Battlefield Guides

Bring learning to life with a History Tour Guide

What are the benefits of opting for a History Tour Guide?

Expert knowledge: All of our guides are extremely familiar with the visits on your itinerary and are equipped with facts, tales and in-depth information about the site. Your guide will ensure that your students are captivated by what they witness at each visit, whilst at the same time connect it back to what they have previously learnt about in the classroom. Guides can utilise the time spent on the coach to pointing out interesting places, telling tales of the battles fought and keeping your students’ attention for the duration of the tour.

WWI Battlefield Trip Guide

Pre-departure contact: We can put you in touch with your guide before departure so that they have chance to fully understand your aims and objectives for the tour, as well as the educational and social needs of your students helping to get the most out of your tour. Another bespoke service from Rayburn Tours!

In-the-field assistance: Familiar with your bespoke itinerary and all the arrangements made by your School Tour Coordinator, your guide will ensure that your tour runs smoothly and that you are able to enjoy a hassle free trip. Due to their extensive knowledge and expertise of the area, they may also take you off the beaten track to sites which are not commonly known.

To find out more about having a History Tour Guide on your next tour, speak to a member of our Educational Trips Team on 01332 347828 or email info@rayburntours.com.

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