Beautiful beaches, historical towns and fabulous food, welcome to the 'Côte d'Opale' .
The shortest channel sea crossing delivers you to Calais, in the heart of The 'Côte d'Opale'. This proximity means reduced journey time and consequentially is very appealing for Party Leaders looking for a school trip that gives students as much time as possible on the ground.
The 120km of coast between Belgium and Picardy was named by the artist Édouard Lévêque who in 1911 described the distinctive quality of its light - Opal. It is a beautiful stretch of coast, dominated in parts by huge white cliffs mirroring Dover, but there the similarity ends.
Boulogne-sur-Mer is a vibrant modern city that harbours some wonderful history including the UNESCO recognised 12th century Belfry. Le Touquet is an enigma, luxury hotels are in abundance to cater for holidaying Parisians (its official name is 'Le Touquet Paris Plage') but beautiful beaches and dunes give the town a more windswept feel - avoid the Enduro motocross event in February when 250,000 people descend on the town. School trips to the Opal Coast are best enjoyed staying at the Voyager owned 3* Hotel du Moulin aux Draps!
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.
The Beaumont-Hamel Memorial Park is one of the most moving and popular World War I Battlefield destinations. 20,000 men were killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme and one million casualties in total on both sides were killed at the infamous site. The grounds of the battlefield have been left mostly untouched since the end of the war. As well as remnants of the trenches there are war graves and memorials to different divisions for your students to explore.
The World War I Battle of Arras claimed 159,000 lives in just 39 days, which is more than the amount of people who died per day at the Somme (2,943). In the area there are war cemeteries, memorials and museums to visit. It’s also possible to book a tour of the Wellington Quarry secret tunnels beneath the town of Arras that were dug out and used by British troops to launch an attack against the Germans.explorearras.com
Regarded as one of the most strategically important battles of the entire war, Vimy Ridge was an elevated vantage point upon which the Germans dug in and fortified their position heavily. The allies tried and failed on numerous occasions to assault and take the ridge costing 150,000 lives between May and November 1915. Visitors can see the preserved trenches and view artefacts and photographs from the battlefield at the ‘Interpretative Centre’.veterans.gc.ca
La Coupole is a gigantic concrete bunker located where the secret launch site was planned for the V1 and V2 rockets, Hitler’s deadly weapons against the British. Today it is an impressive World War II museum that that uses multi-media interaction in order to tell the story of the war in an accessible and informative way. There is also a brand new 3D planetarium which gives your students a unique trip through the universe.lacoupole-france.co.uk
Underground base built by the Germans during WW2, they planned to launch a V3 rocket from there, it is a very impressive system of tunnels. The site is only open half the year from April to October and the rest of the year is natural hibernation place for bats!mimoyecques.fr
A WW2 bunker turned into a museum, you will see there an incredible amount of artefacts from WW2, many types of ammunition, machines, equipment were made there and the bunker itself is one of the biggest buildings built by the German forces.batterietodt.com
Designed by the famous architect Edwin Lutyens, The Thiepval “Memorial to the Missing” is the largest British war memorial in the world. Dedicated to the 73,357 British and South African men who have no known grave and who died at the Somme between July 1916 and March 1918, it represents war's true horror. The cemetery behind the memorial is unusual because it contains the remains of both French and British soldiers to commemorate the Anglo-French alliance at the Somme. A visitor centre was opened in Thiepval in 2004.cwgc.org
The crater is the largest man-made crater on the Western Front. Created in 1916 by the British army, the Lochnagar Crater has a diameter of 91 metres and a depth of 21 metres. When it was blown, the explosion could be felt as far away as London. Today it is a peaceful memorial which attracts about 75,000 visitors a year.
The museum at Albert is located in tunnels 10 metres below the ground. Originally built in the Middle Ages, the tunnels were used as an air raid shelter in the war. Today, the museum gives a fascinating glimpse of what it was like to live in the trenches in 1916. Interesting artefacts and a truly unique setting make this an experience your students will not forget.musee-somme-1916.eu
Museum dedicated to WW2 history and the local area. They provide worksheets for children as part of the visit.musee3945.com
The Historial de la Grande Guerre museum is set in a modified castle and aims to show visitors what life was like for different nationalities during World War I. Walk-through exhibitions, film footage, photographs, wartime ephemera and everyday articles, including recently unearthed artefacts from the battlefields, help to bring the past alive. Look out for some of the innovatively displayed artefacts which have been embedded into the floor.historial.org
A modern museum opened in 2001 that takes you back to the Middle Ages and introduces you to the Hundred Years War and the famous Battle of Azincourt. Interactive exhibitions include a multimedia tour of the French and English camps and the battlefield itself. The museum is specifically designed for younger children and is a wonderful resource for medieval history teachers.azincourt-medieval.fr
In terms of new technologies that were employed during WW2, this site was at the forefront, being the first launch site for the Nazi's V1 & V2 rockets - the latter being the world's first long-range guided ballistic missile. 3000 V2's were launched in 1944 the majority of which landed in England, resulting in over 9000 civilian casualties.leblockhaus.com
Boulogne is within easy reach of the UK, with ferry crossings from Dover to Boulogne taking under two hours. Boulogne is a busy market town and one of France's major fishing ports.
The Old Town is nestled between mighty ramparts, which were built at the beginning of the thirteenth century and can still be seen today. It sits in the shadows of the Cathedral Belfry and Tower, and remains the administrative and spiritual centre of Boulogne.
If you and your group are interested in history then a trip the Castle Museum is most worthwhile. It was also built in the early thirteenth century and was the first castle to be built without a keep in the history of military architecture.visitboulogne.com
Headland offering spectacular views across the Channel. On a clear day you can see the White Cliffs of Dover. You can stretch your legs along the coastal path and see the former defensive buildings from WW2.
Sister to the Louvre in Paris, the Louvre Lens displaying exhibits from the main museum on a regular basis.louvrelens.fr
Located in a purpose-built modernist building within a large green park, this museum boasts a substantial range of art in various media.musee-lam.fr
The Village des Metiers d’Art in Desvres brings together a host of local artists and craft companies offering a variety of workshops to children. Enjoy a backstage tour in French or English followed by a 1-hour workshop chosen from a menu of creative techniques.vmad.eu
Desvres is rich with the raw materials needed to make pottery, resulting in a thriving local industry. Visit this fascinating factory museum where you will learn about the history of ceramics and learn about traditional as well as contemporary styles. There is a gallery and also an interactive element to the visit. You can also take part in a workshop (1.5 hrs) during which you will learn local techniques from a professional animateur and you will take your own piece of craft away with you!ville-desvres.fr
Classified as an Art & History town, historic St Omer had nothing that showcased the nearby Audomarois marshland, listed by UNESCO for its unique way of life, market gardening traditions, and natural environment. The new, not-for-profit Maison du Marais now sends locals and tourists on a journey of discovery.
‘See. Touch. Breathe.’ is the motto. The eye-catching visitor centre stands beside a large free car park, just five minutes’ walk from the town centre. The spacious reception area opens onto tiers of seating in front of a huge window beside the water for talks and school activities. The exhibition space beyond is hugely impressive, models and artefacts interspersed with specially commissioned films, archive footage, and aquariums of local species. Signage is in French and English, with braille captions and floor guidance, and there’s a full programme of special events.
When you’ve discovered the background to the marshland, glide through the waterways in a flat-bottomed boat with an expert guide to see the ‘island’ homes of the residents, the flora and fauna.maison-du-marais.fr
Boasting among other things the highest water chute in Europe, Bellewaerde Park provides an excellent break from the more serious excursions of the World War I Battlefields. The transfer is around 2 hours from the Opal Coast.bellewaerde.be
Theme park aimed at children under 15 years old. A variety of rides in a lovely green setting. Dennlys is a manageable size and can be visited for a half day easily from the Hotel Moulin aux Draps.dennlys-parc.com
There is plenty to do at Bagatelle Theme Park, including log flumes, rollercoasters and rafting – recommended for children aged 7-14. There is also a small zoo and a 360 degree cinema.parcbagatelle.com
The Nausicaa National Sea Centre in Boulogne has an impressive selection of aquariums to introduce your students to all kinds of sea life. Visit the shark aquarium, tropical lagoon, sea lion reserve and penguin beach. Great interactive attractions too. Make sure you allow plenty of time to enjoy this outstanding aquarium.nausicaa.fr
Aqualud is an excellent waterpark on the seafront at the Opal Coast and is always a popular choice when the weather is hot.aqualud.com
An adrenaline-fueled (but completely safe) experience! It’s trekking but through the tree tops. You can choose from a selection of courses for all levels. Fully qualified instructors to guide you at all times. Sport shoes are necessary.opalaventure.com/en
Enjoy 90 minutes of pedalling through the forest along the disused rail line between St Omer and Boulogne. Participants must measure at least 1m40 in height.rando-rail.com
While you are in the area, you should visit an authentic French Boulangerie. Your students can see exactly how baguettes, croissants and other tasty French treats are made and sample a few too.
Chocolate and biscuit factory in central Le Touquet. Demonstration and tasting plus the option of a crepe making workshop.biscuit-touquet.fr
At the Becasuc Sweet factory, you will learn about the manufacturing of sweets, get involved in making them and get to taste some of the delicious sweets. Great for students of food technology and people with a sweet tooth!becasuc62.fr
Learn all about this French delicacy from breeding, hatching, fattening, reproduction and of course tasting.
Learn everything about bees and honey and leave with a small souvenir pot.museedelabeille.fr
The guided educational visit of the orchard can be adapted to the age of the children. Students will learn about the growing cycle of the apples, find out about the farm ecostructure and how the apple products are made. There is also a tasting. The visit lasts about 1 hr 30 mins and changes its focus according the seasons.naturpom.com
Guided educational visit of a goat’s cheese farm. You will receive a warm welcome and a cheese tasting at this local farm.
Dedicated to the age old industry of fishing, this museum offers students the chance to learn about the importance of fishing to the local economy and people.boulogne-guide.co.uk
Crepes demonstration and tasting in Boulogne-sur-Mer.
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The Opal Coast is a hot spot for historical sites...
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