Top things to do on a school trip to Krakow…

Last updated: Mar 5th, 2024


Opening the doors to Kraków

In December of 2023 the marketing team at Rayburn were welcomed by Stockport Grammar School to join their 4-day tour to Kraków. Our role was to piggyback their trip, joining them for all elements of their itinerary, both day and night, capturing their experiences on film and in words. The anticipation of a truly unique experience lying ahead of us…

We venture into their tour and the top things to do on a school trip to Kraków

 

First impressions of the itinerary…

It was quite apparent that this itinerary was very different to many of the trips we had previously joined. Not just in terms of the location and its’ historical significance, but most notably in the combination of events and excursions, and the unique way in which they had been laced together.
Speaking to the groups Tour Coordinator Natalia prior to departure, she explained that the very nature of a history school trip to Kraków is that it packs a massively impactful and emotional punch for any student. As they explore the catastrophic events of Poland’s past and the unfathomable mass extermination of Jews, the need for an extremely careful and attentive approach to planning being paramount.

 


When building an itinerary to Kraków for schools and their students, we are always mindful of the emotional impact, both immediate and in the long term, the visits will have on students. It’s a balancing act to ensure intense educational experiences are combined with highs experiencing the city, it’s entertainment and all it has to offer. It’s a carefully planned and well thought out approach.

 

Natalia Krzeslowska
Senior Tour Co-ordinator

 


Putting this into context…

The group stayed at the Wyspiański hotel. This was a step up from the traditional youth hostel many schools would stay in on school trips. Students buddied up rather than sleeping in multi bedded rooms, surroundings were stylish, the restaurant served a plentiful breakfast along with the added bonus of a general store selling everything the students could wish for directly adjacent to the building.

The perfect base to start and end their day!

 

Food glorious food!

What can we say – great packed lunches, opportunities for students to grab street food at Plac Wolnica market square surrounded by their Christmas markets, evening meals at various restaurants including the Hard Rock Café, traditional polish dining with live music provided by local entertainers, and to top it off the chance to savour the best pizza around! Dining in various places was a great way for students to wind down and socialise at the end of a busy and intense day of visits.

 

Telling the story in the order it should be told…

The educational story told through experiencing a series of visits and tours, carefully and expertly pieced together was exceptional. Tracking the chronological journey of the lives of the people that lived here, the events depicted in Jewish History, the barbaric decisions and subsequent actions that were taken and exploring those responsible for them was key to transforming students deeper understanding of what they had previously learned from textbooks and in the classroom.

From a walking tour of the Jewish Quarter, exploring the Ghetto’s, the realisation of the scale of loss to the Jewish communities that lived there, exploring interactive museums and, the defining day for any school, a full day visiting Auschwitz and Birkenau. It’s a day that’s hard to describe in words, almost impossible to make any sense of and one that convinced us as adults, that every child should experience during the course of their secondary school education.

We touched down with Jamie, the party leader of Stockport Grammar School students, to explore his reasons for returning to Kraków year after year (9 times so far…) relentlessly fine tuning their itinerary each and every time…

 


One of the great things about the trip is that there’s a real narrative arc. Beginning with the history of Kraków itself, exploring how the Jews ended up in Kraków, and how they went on to flourish here. They fully embraced their families, their town and their culture. Through tours we give students a real insight into the normality of how families lived here – we visit the synagogues, they dine in a Jewish restaurant, enjoy Jewish music and soak up stories of the joy and normality of life here. They get to see the pictures of Jewish families, just being families and living as normal families do.
And then, of course, 1939, the Nazis arrive and then we start to see how they’re persecuted and isolated and put into the ghetto, and then ultimately sent to the death camps.
They get that real sense of how it unfolded and the process that went into that and the sheer scale of loss of lives. Hopefully they’ll be able to recognize the signs of genocide, and where this might still be occurring in the world. It’s really important for them understand and see that in context. A massive life lesson.

 

Mr. J Swann
Stockport Grammar School

 


Jamie’s words will stay with us for a long time. Seeing the stories unfold, walking round the death camps and the realisation of the scale of events that took place here is a something that can’t and shouldn’t be erased from young minds.

The reality of lessons learned, were contrasted with visiting a beautiful and vibrant city, exploring its Christmas markets, enjoying wonderful food together, shopping and exploring the sights together as well as a whole bunch of memories made together as friends. A pitch perfect Kraków itinerary!

 

Day 1
  • Check in at Hotel Wyspiański
  • Walking tour of Kraków
  • Evening meal at Hard Rock Café

 


Day 2
  • Guided tour of Jewish Quarter (Main stop Remah Cemetery)
  • Galicia Jewish Museum
  • Free time exploring Plac Wolnica, Christmas markets and street food
  • Schindlers Factory Museum
  • Galeria Kazimierz (Shopping Centre)
  • Evening meal at Ariel Restaurant
  • Bowling Plac Nowy

Day 3
  • Early start – Collection for visit to Auschwitz I Memorial
  • 6 hour tour of Auschwitz I and Birkenau
  • Walk to Pizzatopia Pizza Restaurant
  • Christmas Markets
  • Evening at leisure

 


Day 4
  • Free time in Kraków
  • Wieliczka Salt Mines
  • Group return home

Agreeing with the words

“every child should visit Krakow as part of their secondary school education?” Take the next steps, explore and be inspired…

Take me to Krakow

 

Meet Natalia Krzeslowska

Education Operations Supervisor

Natalias family history, listening to the emotional stories and events of her grandparents past living in Poland, have certainly fuelled her passion for dedicating a big part of her career to sending young people out to extend their knowledge of the catastrophic events that took place here.

Her leading role as Educational Tours Operations Supervisor demands an intricate and precise skill in lacing together, carefully balanced itineraries that bring these events to life. It’s about telling a story, that feels impossible to tell.

“My role fulfils an innate desire to be personally contributing to passing on that ugly part of history to our younger generations. By doing this, working together, we can act with a combined determination to prevent anything like this ever happening again”.

Explore our blog to discover more about Natalias families past living in Kraków

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