Belgium Travel Guide

Belgium offers an excellent cross-curriculum breadth of subjects to engage students and teachers alike.

Belgium school trip travel guide

An introduction to Belgium

Belgium is renowned for a variety of food, seafood is in abundance, waffles are available on every street corner and no visit to the home of gourmet chocolate would be complete without trying it for yourself!

Beyond great food, a school trip to this low-lying country will be blessed with medieval charms and solemn in the remembrance of the terrible events of 2 World Wars. Brussels and Antwerp both bear the scars, but retain much of their medieval centres, whereas Bruges and Ghent are authentically atmospheric and wonderful gems. There are many more stories to inspire your students, from Waterloo to the millions of emigrants who left through Antwerp for a new life in the new world, a school trip here has the ability to give your students a much broader understanding of the world in such a small country!

 All visits are covered by our externally verified Safety Management System and are pre-paid when applicable. Prices and opening times are accurate as of May 2018 and are subject to change and availability. Booking fees may apply to services provided by Voyager School Travel when paid on site.

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History

WWI Ypres Battlefields

In terms of theatres of war, the Ypres Salient was arguably the most atrocious in human history. A German advance to the channel ports could have proven a decisive blow and as a result this battlefront saw the bloodiest fighting of the 'Great War' with over 1.3m casualties.The bitter irony was that the front line never moved more than a few miles during the whole campaign.

Essex Farm Cemetery and Dressing Station

"In Flanders fields the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row..." the opening stanza to the most famous war poem written by Lt. Col. J. McCrae. It was The Essex Farm Cemetery that inspired these words and on a visit here your students will garner a real understanding of the extent of this human tragedy. 

Yorkshire Trench and Dugout

A BBC documentary called 'The Forgotten Battlefield' tells the story of a group of amateur archaeologists called the 'Diggers' who in 1992 excavated a British trench to discover the remains of 155 soldiers. The trench has been fully reconstructed and sits in contrast to the industrial estate next door.

Talbot House

In the latter stages of the war, the town of Poperinge became the place where soldiers who had temporarily been relieved of duties at the front line would gather to rehabilitate, eat, drink and be merry. Subsequently it developed a reputation as a bit of a 'den of iniquity'. 

The “Every Man’s Club” at Talbot House was set up by Chaplain Philip 'Tubby' Clayton for soldiers seeking an alternative to the “debauched” recreational life of the town, Now a hotel, on visiting you can imagine how this oasis of calm would help soothe the nerves of the thousands of soldiers who passed through.
talbothouse.be/en/museum/home

Price £15
Opening times Tues - Sun: 10:00 - 17:30
Monday reservations available

In Flanders Fields Museum

Found in the reconstructed Cloth Hall in the centre of Ypres, In Flanders Fields Museum has a distinct message that aims to emphasise the futility of war, rather than glorify it.

Poppy bracelet

As students explore the museum the experience is enhanced by wearing a poppy bracelet that tailors content and audio depending on the information the student submitted on arrival. Students can also now climb the belfry for views of the town.
inflandersfields.be

Price £4
Opening times 1 April - 15 Nov
Every day: 10:00 - 18:00
16 Nov - 31 March
Tues - Sun: 10:00 - 17:00

Langemark German Cemetery

Such was it's significance, in 1940 Adolf Hitler spent 2 days inspecting the Ypres Salient, and his visit included time at Langemark Cemetery. One of four First World War German cemeteries in the Flanders region, Langemark is the resting place of 10,000 German soldiers.

Tyne Cot Cemetery

TyneCot Cemetery 

One of the most important battles of the war, Passchendaele, or the Third Battle of Ypres took place in the fields around this cemetery and many of the dead are buried here. It's the largest Commonwealth cemetery in the world, with 11,954 graves of soldiers from the Commonwealth forces.  The origination of the name is of interest, named after the German bunkers which reminded soldiers from the north east of England of Tyneside cottages.
greatwar.co.uk/ypres-salient/museum-visitorscentre-tyne-cot.htm

Hill 60

In 1854 a railway line opened between Ypres and Comines. The spoil from the digging out of the railway line created a hill that the British troops surveyed at being 60 metres above sea level. 

In early 1915 Hill 60 was the site of one of the most intense levels of underground combat staged by the engineers and tunnellers on both sides with the offensive resulting in thousands of casualties both above and below ground. 

Sanctuary Wood (Hill 62)

At the end of the war a farmer returned to reclaim his land and found a perfectly intact trench in his woodland. He decided to leave it as it was and it is now Sanctuary Wood (troops did take refuge here), where you can see the trenches as they would have been 100 years ago.

Price £4
Opening times Oct - Mar: 10:00 - 18:00
Apr - Sept: 09:30 - 19:00

Menin Gate and the Last Post

The Menin Gate Memorial bears the names of 54,389 officers and men from the United Kingdom and Commonwealth Forces who fell in the Ypres Salient before 16th August 1917 and who have no known grave. Every evening at 20:00, members of the local Fire Service play the Last Post in memory of those who lost their lives.

Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917

This excellent museum is dedicated to The Battle of Ypres, and has an entire wing focusing on the third battle, or Passchendaele. 

In particular the dugout tunnels, recreated to give the visitor a real understanding of what conditions were like, are equally impressive and disturbing.
mmp.zonnebeke.be/en

Price £4.50 (Audio Guide £2 extra)
Opening times Every day: 09:00 - 18:00
Closed 16 Dec - 1 Feb

Messines/Pool of Peace

The Spanbroekmolen Mine Crater, also known as Lone Tree Crater, is where the British Army exploded 19 mines in the early hours of the morning of 7th June 1917. This signalled the launch of the Battle of Messines. Explore the small museum in the town hall, giving further information about Messines and the Pool of Peace.

Newfoundland Memorial Park

This park, located near Beaumont Hamel in France, is one of only a few sites on the Western Front where the ground remains largely untouched from when the First World War ended. The main entrance to the Newfoundland Memorial Park can be found on the D73 road between Hamel and Auchonvillers. 

The area has been maintained because of its significance; the Newfoundland Regiment attacked here on the 1st of July 1916, and suffered appalling losses. After the War, the Canadian government has maintained it since as a memorial. The statue of the Caribou was chosen for the Memorial, as it was the symbol of the Newfoundland Regiment. Just in front of it are the original 1st of July front line trenches that the British and Newfoundland troops attacked from.

Price Free
Opening times Apr - Sept
Mon: 12:00 - 18:00
Tues - Sun: 10:00 - 18:00
Oct - Mar
Mon: 11:00 - 17:00
Tues - Sun: 09:00 - 17:00

Yser Tower Museum of War, Peace and Flemish Emancipation  Ypres tower small

The renovated museum tells you the history of the Belgian-German confrontation in WWI through the stories of the soldiers, refugees and civilians on both sides of the front line.
aandeijzer.be

Price £2.50
Opening times Jan - Mar / Oct - Dec
Weekdays: 09:00 - 17:00
Weekends/Holidays: 10:00 - 17:00
Apr - Sept
Weekdays: 09:00 - 18:00
Weekends/Holidays: 10:00 - 18:00

Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery

From 1915 to 1920 the hamlet of Lijssenthoek became the venue for the biggest evacuation hospital in the Ypres Salient. The Visitor Centre offers an interpretation of this site. The timeline and chart of the centre provide the context of what happened here.

The touch table gives you the tools to look up names, regiments, and battalions. The audio wall provides snippets from letters and war diaries. Read the tear-off calendar, changing every day, telling the story of one of the victims that died that day. Print it and it will guide you to that specific headstone.

Price Free
Opening times 09.00 to 18.00 daily

Trench of Death

Considered by many the most dangerous position on the entire western front, 'Dodengang' or the Trench of Death is now a museum, but was one of the first memorial sites to be established after the war. The proximity of the opposing trenches gives a sense of the fear, desperation and horr

Price £2

or of this terrible from of warfare.

 

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Recreation 

Brussels

Since the end of World War II, Brussels has been the political capital of Europe, the seat of the European Parliament, many other EU institutions and NATO.

You can visit any one of the capital’s 90 museums, the Manneken Pis statue, the Grande Place, the Atomium structure, and of course the many
chocolate houses that populate Europe’s chocolate capital. 
brussels.org

Bruges

Sometimes referred to as The Venice of the North, Bruges is a beautiful medieval city that is a prominent UNESCO World Heritage Site. At one
time it was the most important commercial city in the world. It provides an interesting contrast to Brussels and the World War historical sites.
brugestourisme.com

Atlantis Bowling

A 10 lane, tenpin bowling alley in Ypres.

Price £4
Opening times Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat: 14:00
Tues: 17:00
Sun: 10:00
Closed Thursday

Roose’s Chocolate World

On arrival, your group will be welcomed by shop assistants and lead to a demonstration of the fine art of pralines making. The group will also be shown a video about the production process in the factory and see how cocoa beans get turned into the best and refined chocolate in Europe.

Entrance is free and groups often have limited time for their visit. However, while the demonstration is quite short there is plenty of time to purchase delicacies if you so wish.
chocolate-world.be

Price Free
Opening times Mon - Sat: 09:30 - 18:00
Closed Sundays and holidays

Euro Space CenterEuro Space centre

The Euro Space Center is an excellent distraction with plenty of educational value for students who may be focused on a history tour. The center has many interactive exhibits and is home to the only full-scale mock-ups of the US Space Shuttle existing in Europe.
eurospacecenter.be/en

Price Standard £7.50
ISS Mission £18
Ariane Mission £28
Opening times Every day: 10:00 - 16:00
July - Aug: 09:30 - 16:00

Bellewaerde Park

Boasting among other things the highest water chute in Europe, Bellewaerde theme park provides an excellent break from the more serious excursions of the World War I Battlefields.
bellewaerdepark.be

Price £18
Opening times See website for opening times

Leonidas Chocolate shop

Get your fix of authentic and delicious chocolate at this famous shop.
chocolatesdegroote.be

 

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Our Belgium School Trips

Belgium school tour

From Ypres WW1 Battlefields to Brussels & the Euro Space...

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