2 Brilliant Experts Help Us Enhance Your History Tour Even More!

Last updated: Dec 11th, 2023

Despite being experts in planning and tailor-making history tours focused on sites, memorials and museums dedicated to WWI, 2 and the Cold War and that are aligned with the curriculum, we appreciate there’s always room for improvement and space to enhance the tours we craft for you.

Which got us thinking, who could help us in strengthening our offering so you and your students experience is as top tier as you can find? Step forward Trevor Booker and Tony Smith – two History Tour Guides (HTG) with over a century between them of personal and professional experience researching and talking about those time periods – who are also members of the International Guild of Battlefield Guides.

The answers are honest, to the point, and showcase how we’re not standing still when it comes to creating your poignant, unforgettable history tour – we’re always looking to enhance it even further!


‘The feedback I get from teachers is they come to Rayburn Tours because you have a good product. It’s a warm feeling and safety net. What we as HTGs try to do is refine it and take it up a gear.’

Trevor Booker, History Tour Guide


Trevor booker, History Tour Guide, engages history students at a cemetery.


For context, what is a History Tour Guide?

They are the men and women whose passion is researching their chosen part of history and educating the next generation. In Trevor and Tony, there’s two outstanding individuals who can impart specialised, engaging, emotional, poignant, memorable stories, that put a lens on the people who lived, fought and died during those times.


‘You can read a book but you don’t get the nitty gritty – our experiences, our angles and what’s going on.’

Trevor Booker, History Tour Guide

They bring a vast wealth of knowledge from letters, articles, items from the time as well as connections to people from the time (in Trevor’s case, he lived and worked in Berlin during and after the fall of the Wall) that stimulate and engage students like no textbook ever could.

And because of the decades between them touring battlefields and sites of significance, and leading school groups during that time, they see first-hand how improvements can be made to enhance teachers and students’ experiences. From logistical to practical and everything in between, they divulged some real pearls of wisdom.


‘Personalise it’ – understanding your students’ backgrounds

History students interact with a computer screen.

The international impact of both World Wars was massive, with almost every corner of the world and the many diverse, multicultural people, included.

Which means there’s always an opportunity to tweak the tour to the class who’s taking part. And HTGs know how meaningful and memorable a site visit can be if the background of the class is understood and they can research if the students may be connected to the people buried there.

‘Knowing the different backgrounds and cultures of a class means the tour can be tailored to that class. It’s that personalisation of the tour.’

Trevor Booker, History Tour Guide

Trevor Booker, History Tour Guide, talks to a history tour off camera, whilst a World War graveyard is in the background.

Poignant examples of where this have happened include:

Those type of moments stick in a student’s memory for life. And that’s based on understanding your classes background.

HTG’s, where possible and practical, will try and research your classes background themselves. But we’re putting processes into place to see if we can capture that important information when you first book your history tour.



Students from Brighton Hill Community School reads aloud a soldiers story whilst at a World War memorial. 2 adults stand and look on in the background.


Is there a family connection?


‘I leave the student with the grave for 5 minutes to get that connection.’

Trevor Booker, History Tour Guide

If you want a tour that will create lifetime, poignant moments for your entire class, a student or teacher discovering a family connection on one of the sites ranks right up there. This was one of the most powerful points Trevor and Tony put forward too.

Tours where a students or teacher has had a personal connection with someone at rest in a cemetery or remembered with their engraved name at a memorial – it’s deeply touching for the whole class and really brings home the realities of the time period.


Shall we go this way?

Personalising your history trip is something we aim to put in place, where possible, to enhance your tour even further. In a totally educational chat with Trevor and Tony, they also proposed the idea of visiting sites chronologically.

Not only does it fit in with the curriculum in terms of a realistic unfolding of wartime events, but in many cases it creates a streamlined and precise travel plan between the sites, memorials and museums you’ll visit. But why is that important?


‘Keep sites in chronological order if possible as we want to show the scope of the war being an international event.’

Tony Smith, History Tour Guide



It gives you more time to fully immerse your students in the stories of the period you’ve came to study whilst at the sites. But what is great about having a History Tour Guide with you is that they can alter the itinerary during the tour, if need be, to maximise your time there. They have the connections, the knowledge, and the experience to understand that a morning slot might fit better in the afternoon (because of logistical reasons).

Obviously, we craft the tour with you and your vision in mind, but where we can, we’ll aim to build a tour that follows the HTG’s advice.


‘Try to eliminate students being tired and overstretched’

We’ve already learnt so much from both of these titans of military history on how to optimise your tour. But by no means were they finished…

Creating a tour that caters for the energy levels of the students is something both thought was key in crafting an experience where pupils could fully enjoy and absorb more educational and poignant aspects.

A line of history tour students snakes into the distance as they walk to their next meeting point.


‘Less is more – with us usually being able to give them an extra bonus visit if we have the time.’

Trevor Booker, History Tour Guide

Each said adding a day to a trip, or creating some space for students to rest and relax – after a full day of coach travel just to get to Calais, for example – would be of a HUGE benefit to everyone involved.

We appreciate, with the many places a tour could begin, the trip timeframe approved and the cost budgeted, that this one might be a stretch itself.
However, in our mission to improve we’ve taken it on board with as much vigour as the past two.

In the foreground, one students smiles to the camera as two more to her left engage with the computer. More students mill around in the background.

Remember rest breaks, supermarket stops and getting on and off the coach


‘Fitting too much in and running out of time – it’s difficult to get students on and off a coach in 10 minutes and by the end of the day you’re an hour behind.’

Tony Smith, History Tour Guide

Seems like an obvious one, doesn’t it? But understanding that the time of a day full of visiting sites can easily be eaten into with toilet breaks, supermarket stops and getting students on and off a coach.

It may only be 10 minutes for each here and there, but by the end of the day, it could mean an extra hour is added on which cuts into the last site of the day. Another valuable tip for us to take on board where we can.


A quick note on clothing!

Yes – clothing is another the HTG’s recommended. Both recommended suitable and practical clothing for your students so they could fully embrace and learn from the site visits.

As most are open-aired cemeteries, it opens the possibility of rain and wind and the cold. So preparing your students with this information will benefit them when they’re stood in a muddy field in a wet, brisk autumnal or winter day.


WOW – incredible information and detail!

As a tour operator with decades of experience planning brilliant and tailor-made history tours, we were delighted when Trevor and Tony agreed to come to our offices and educate us on how we could improve your tour even further! With points like

We feel we’ve learnt a ton of useful ways to improve our offering which we can put into place straight the way.


Now we’re even better! – shall we tailor-make your history tour?

We won’t stop there though as we’ll continually strive to improve and build on the tours we craft so they’ve the optimal experience they can be.

If you want to be part of a tailor-made, poignant and unforgettable history tour, call or email us today and we can get the ball rolling.

Get in Touch

Related Articles

Nicky Astle, Rayburn Tours Marketing Manager, sits with History Tour Guides Trevor Booker and Tony Smith before a historic podcast

A Historic Podcast with 2 Excellent History Tour Guides!

It's here! Our FIRST ever podcast. And we made it even more historic by chatting to 2 brilliant History Tour Guides about all things history.

Trevor Booker poses in front of the Reichstag

Trevor Booker: The History Tour Guide Bringing the Past to Life

Really pack in the emotion, education and poignancy with your tour by including an History Tour Guide. Here we showcase one of the best!

History Tour Guide and students hold map of Western Front with Thiepval Memorial

Brilliant Things You Can Do to Enhance Your WW1 & WW2 History Tour

With a helping hand from 2 talented History Tour Guides, we've come up with brilliant things you can do to enhance your WW1 & WW2…