Washington DC: History, Politics and Culture
Washington DC is the perfect place for a school trip. The capital city of the United States of America is a cultural hub. With direct flights available from the UK, it is an exciting destination for school groups. While in the US, pack your visit with history, politics, culture and media.
A political and historical centre
As the home of the US government, there’s plenty to fascinate politics students from the White House visitor center to the Capitol. Perhaps see the Declaration of Independence in the National Archives. This is a highly significant document for Americans and furthermore it has helped shape the way the world is today. Also housed there is the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Whether you study politics or not, these items are of great cultural and historical significance.
Stroll along the mall to see Washington DC’s host of memorials honouring their presidents. A tour of the memorials offers insight into the different presidencies and these eras in American history. Whether you’re interested in the Civil War or civil rights, there’s plenty of history at your fingertips. Head to the fascinating Smithsonian Institute where a host of museums offer exciting insight into a broad selection of topics including art, air and space, American history, and journalism and media. The Smithsonian Museums are sure to broaden your pupils’ horizons.
Dates available on request
Arrive in Washington DC
Upon your arrival in Washington DC, you will be met at the airport by a local tour director.
In the afternoon, enjoy a guided tour of the US capital city. You will see some of the best known buildings in the United States such as the White House, the Supreme Court, the Capitol, seat of the U.S. Congress, followed by the broad Mall with monuments to several U.S. presidents.
See DC’s most prominent structure, the Washington Monument, which was built in honour of George Washington who led the country to independence and became its first president. The impressive Lincoln Memorial honours another great president and surrounding the statue of Lincoln are engraved readings of the Gettysburg address. Visit the Jefferson Memorial, a dome-shaped rotunda honouring the nation’s third president. The 19-foot bronze statue of Jefferson is located on the Tidal Basin, surrounded by a grove of trees. The Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial is powerfully evocative. A V-shaped granite wall is inscribed with the names of the 58,209 Americans missing or killed in the Vietnam War. Across the lawn is a life size bronze sculpture of three young servicemen.
Alexandria, River Cruise and Arlington National Cemetery
This morning, transfer to Alexandria for some free time. Enjoy a 45 minute cruise on the Potomac River. At the end of the cruise, arrive at Mount Vernon, home of the first President of the United States. Take a self-guided tour of the Mansion at Mount Vernon, its gardens, and grounds. Take in the panoramic views of the estate, visit Washington’s tomb, see the innovative Pioneer Farmer site with its 16-sided barn, the inspirational Slave Memorial. You will also have the opportunity to visit the estate’s museums with exhibitions on Washington and Mount Vernon archaeology. Return to Washington DC with a stop at the Arlington National Cemetery, where you will see the Tomb of the Unknown Solider.
National Archives and Georgetown
Today visit the National Archives which displays American’s most treasured documents, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Perhaps include a stop at the Old Post Office Pavilion where you can tour the clock tower and enjoy a wonderful view over DC. Then, you will be taken to Georgetown, home to the main campus of Georgetown University and numerous other landmarks, such as the Volta Bureau and the Old Stone House, the oldest unchanged building in Washington. This historic neighbourhood predates DC and is a leafy area with boutiques, canals and beautiful old buildings. Perhaps enjoy some free time to take a stroll or do some shopping. Alternatively, stop your students becoming overwhelmed with names and dates with half a day at the zoo. This will add in a little variety and help their concentration for other activities!
Smithsonian Institute and Departure
You will be able to choose to visit some of the city’s Smithsonian museums. Either visit the magnificent jewels, dinosaurs and mammals on display at the National Museum of Natural History, the planes and interactive flight simulators at the National Air and Space Museum, or the stories, arts and crafts at the National Museum of the American Indian. You can also choose from the National Gallery of Art with European and American paintings, sculpture, works on paper, photographs, and decorative arts are displayed in the collection galleries and Sculpture Garden. The permanent collection of paintings spans from the Middle Ages to the present day or the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Be sure to head to the Newseum with any media or journalism students.
Transfer to the airport for your overnight return flight to the UK.
Land in your chosen UK airport and make your way back to your local area. We can also arrange coach transfers in the UK.
Studying the Civil War? Why not add in a day excursion to Pennsylvania to visit Gettysburg? A battlefield guide can bring history to life.
While Washington DC is a hub for history and politics, we can tailor the tour to suit your educational needs. DC can be viewed through many lenses, making it suitable for students of a wide range of subjects including media and art.