London is a vast, ever-changing, contemporary city that is a beacon of forward thinking, which contrasts with celebration of its rich history. With this constantly changing of landscape in London, just what can your students discover with something that little different on a London school trip?
Evoking a great deal attention had been the WW1 Poppies memorial at the Tower of London, which was granted a longer than planned stay due to the exceptional popularity of this striking memorial, proving to be a site of pilgrimage and remembrance for all ages. The memorial has received some criticism in parts, however having visited myself I found it be a fantastic demonstration of British creative thinking, and a fitting memorial to British and Commonwealth soldiers who perished in World War One. Indeed, it proved a poignant visual way to explain to young children just how tragic World War One was, with each one of the 888,246 poppies representing a life lost by the British and Commonwealth forces of WW1. Although this was a temporary exhibition, the newly refurbished Imperial War Museum is a fantastic way in which teach students about war and British history, with some innovative ways of displaying and explaining history, war, holocaust and more moving topics which are pivital in the teaching of history.
From a completely different perspective, literally, the new Tower Bridge glass walkway, created to mark 120 years since it opened, is a great way to add new perspective to London. This is not the first of recent new vantage points that London now boasts. The first and still most popular is the fantastic London Eye which a large majority of Adaptable Travel school trip groups choose to experience. In addition to this, in recent times The Shard offers a different, if somewhat more expensive vantage point over London with superb views across the capital from the staggering floor 72, with views up to 40 miles on a good day. At a different end of the price scale, the Emirates Air Line offers a fantastic chance to see London from the Greenwich end of town, for only a few pounds. The state of the art cable-car whisks you across the Thames from The O2 to Excel - definitely worth the trip in my opinion.
For the more brave groups, Up at the O2 is a further example of innovative thinking in London. This fantastic experience sees you being roped up by a qualified guide and led atop The O2 in Greenwich. The surface, as I recently found out, is rather like a trampoline, but the views are worth the trepidation. Risk assessors don’t worry, Up at the O2 take care of it all and all guides are trained and stay with your group.
London 2012 was another example of London showcasing its innovation and creativeness, with the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park now open to the public. Why not take a dip in the Olympic Swimming Pool, which is now open as a public swimming pool and re-create Phelps in action! Or walk amongst the landscaped parkland that has been created. Yet another vantage point has sprung up in London and a landmark of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is the ArcelorMittal Orbit, Britain’s tallest sculpture as well as being a viewing platform.
In addition to some innovative new landmarks shooting up across London, some of the more traditional landmarks of the capital have become creative in finding new ways to keep children and school trip groups entertained. For an overnight experience with a difference, how about ‘Kip in a Ship’ on board HMS Belfast on the Thames. “Sleep overnight on board HMS Belfast and experience life below deck” – for groups up to fifty two in size on selected dates. Similar ‘Night at the Museum’ experiences are also available at many of London’s historic museums including the Natural History Museum and Science Museum.
Finally, how could we forget the increasingly popular Making of Harry Potter on the outskirts of London. This fantastic attraction is a must-visit for all Potter fans, and let’s face it, a huge percentage of school-age children are Harry Potter fans! However this visit can prove an educational beacon too, with references to Media, Film, English literature and Drama. Couple this with a fantastic West End show and you are all set for a combination of leisure and learning on your next school trip to London. Look out for new West End shows, including the reappearance of the record breaking Cats the Musical which opens in 2014.
Adaptable Travel offer bespoke overnight school trips to London, from 2 days upwards. To find out more about the different options available for your school trip to London, then please get in touch with Adaptable Travel today.
Written by Matt Connelly, Adaptable Travel Sales Director.
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