Earlier this month, Rayburn Tours’ Jackie Fowell accompanied teachers and primary school children from the UK on a four-day visit to Agincourt in Northern France.
Take a look at Jackie’s journal entries to see what the group got up to…
Day 1 – All aboard the karaoke coach
On the morning of 3rd March, 35 primary school children and teachers from across the UK met at London’s Victoria Coach Station to start their journey over to the historic French town of Agincourt.
These were the lucky few who had been selected to take part in the Historical Association’s visit to find out more about the Battle of Agincourt.
As we eagerly climbed on board the coach, Elton, our driver, revealed it had its own karaoke machine with a state-of-the-art microphone and TV screens! There were no excuses for not knowing the songs, so we all happily joined in.
Needless to say, the short journey across the Channel passed by in a flash and before we knew it, we’d arrived at our base for the next few days – the Hippotel in the charming French seaside town of Le Touquet.
After check-in, we sat down together for our evening meal before getting to know each other better.
Day 2 – Treated like celebrities
After breakfast, we headed for the École Primaire (primary school) in the small town of Auchy-lès-Hesdin to meet with students. We caused quite a stir with the local mayor and paparazzi in attendance to interview and take snaps of the group.
While the children were a little shy to start with, they quickly came out of their shells; enjoying each other’s company, swapping foreign phrases, presenting gifts and reading a poem together about Agincourt.
It was delightful for the teachers to see the language barriers being broken down and friendships being made. Mr Owen, a teacher from Longsands School, said it was ‘amazing to see students converse in the language they are studying.’
We then headed to the Medieval Centre in Agincourt, where we had a discussion about how wise it was for Henry V to invade France. Opinions were divided as the French children were all for ‘Fight, fight, fight,’ whereas most English boys were saying ‘It’s muddy, make them turn back.’
Moving into an amazing medieval hall – the perfect setting to begin a battle re-enactment – its coloured cones were used to show the positions of the French and English soldiers.
The afternoon was every bit as action-packed as the morning, with students trying their hand at archery before a guided tour of the Medieval Centre Museum and a shield making session.
On the way back to the hotel, a few stops were made to see monuments relating to Agincourt. No visit would be complete without visiting the site of the battlefield, which had been part of the bloody Hundred Years’ War over 600 years ago.
The activities and events of the day had helped transform a muddy field into a site of importance, where thousands of men fought and died.
It was then back to the hotel for dinner and an evening of activities arrange by the Historical Association.
Day 3 – ‘Oh I do like to be beside the seaside…’
After a jam-packed day, today was to be a little more relaxed. We made our way to the pretty coastal town of Boulogne-sur-Mer, where we had time to visit a typically French market and purchase armfuls of sweets, cheese and delicacies, all under the condition that we were practising the French language.
Next we visited the town’s Chateau before meandering along the medieval ramparts that surround the town. Having seen the highlights of Boulogne-sur-Mer, we boarded the coach for a sing-song (thanks to the in-coach karaoke) and our journey back to the hotel.
After a last-minute shopping trip to Le Touquet, the evening was spent putting Henry V on Trial before bed.
Day 4 – Au revoir la France
We woke to another glorious day and headed out for a quick walk around the area to stretch our legs. One more energetic staff member even went for a run to the beach!
The students had been tasked to make models out of plasticine of something relevant to Agincourt. The winner was awarded with a souvenir plaque from the Medieval Centre and some tasty bon-bons. All creations were worthy and had taken much thought and effort.
Boarding the coach, we bid farewell to the Hippotel and made our way to the Channel with a quick game of ‘Name That Tune’, before arriving back in London.
Elton gave a final tour of London as some students hadn’t visited the capital city before. This was much appreciated and Elton was awarded a postcard signed from all the group to proudly place alongside his collection, while mine sits on my desk to remind me of a lovely weekend.