London has the perfect blend of culture, history and beauty to ensure that any school trip goes down a treat. If you know the right places to go you can learn, experience the weird and wonderful aspects of the City and have fun doing it.
To help you out, we’ve put together a list of ideas for your school trip to London including; discovering some esteemed and incredible museums, visiting a royal park, getting some group photos at key landmarks, and experiencing Shakespeare in a new light through an open-air theatre. We’ve completed the guide by choosing our top hostels for school trips and given you some group tips to keep in mind when travelling.
1. Visit the best museums in London
Horniman Museum & Gardens
Over-stretched walrus in the Horniman Museum
There’s so many fantastic and diverse museums around London that any curious mind is sure to be kept entertained. The Horniman Museum is one of our favourites. This beautiful treasure in Forest Hill was commissioned in 1898 after collector, Frederick J. Horniman opened his house and extraordinary collection to his community with the hope of enriching their lives. The Museum has since grown its collection and now holds an extensive range of items including a natural history collection, a Butterfly House and an acclaimed aquarium.
The most popular exhibit is the variety of stuffed animals including a stretched, overstuffed walrus, a tiger, kangaroo and some penguins. But perhaps the most fascinating item in the museum is the freaky man-made mermaid known as a “Japanese Monkey-fish”. This creature takes the shape of a fish below and a monkey head. Its strange features attract so much attention from visitors that Assistant Keeper of Natural History, Paolo Viscardi began researching its origins. So far, he has discovered that this species has been represented in many religious depictions, most commonly The Ningyo, since as early as the 19th century. The Horniman and Gardens is full of fascinating stories like this and best of all, it’s completely free.
Address: 100 London Road, SE23 3PQ
Natural History Museum
Overlooking the Natural History Museum
Anyone fascinated by The Theory of Evolution should visit The National History Museum. You can explore over 80 million specimen spanning an unbelievable 4.5 billion years. See the origins of everything from sea creatures and dinosaurs to mammals and ancient fossils. For something a bit more hands-on, book your group into one of their workshops or science shows. The museum is free for children, but make sure to book in advance if you’re going with a group. You can use their pre-booking check list as a guide to booking.
Address: Cromwell Road, SW7 5BD
A space-suit showcased in the Science Museum, London
The Science Museum is probably one of the coolest museums in London, attracting over 3 million visits a year. It has hundreds of interactive exhibits; the first jet engine, rockets, computers, cars and trains from throughout the ages. Book your group into a viewing of A Beautiful Planet in their 3D cinema, and take a journey into orbit around our home planet. This is another fantastic free museum, but the exhibits and cinema may cost a small fee.
Address: Exhibition Road, SW7 2DD
2. Take a stroll around Hyde Park
A Monument in Hyde Park, London
Hyde Park is London’s most famous park, and is one of eight Royal Parks in the City. Set right in the heart of London, it covers a whopping 350 acres. Enjoy the serene views by the serpentine lake and visit a memorial fountain dedicated to Princess Diana. If you want to do something a bit more adventurous you can go boating, horse riding, or cycling. Take your pick of one of their educational walking tours or spend the day on a safari adventure with a campfire snack.
Address: 142 ha, London, UK
3. Visit Shakespeare’s Globe
View from the outside of Shakespeare’s Globe, London
There are many, many theatres in London, including the infamous West-End. But for students especially, Shakespeare’s Globe is a must to see Shakespeare’s plays come to life. While you can see performances all year around, keep in mind that this is a very old, open-air building and pack for all weather. Take a guided tour of the globe and pop in to the exhibition to learn more about the building and the man himself, Shakespeare.
Address: New Globe Walk SE1 9D
4. Take pictures at key Landmarks
The London Eye, South Bank of River Thames, London
You can’t visit London without visiting the London Eye, an enormous Ferris wheel on the River Thames. It’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in the UK and although it only opened to the public in 2000, by June 2008, 30 million people had ridden the wheel. Just make sure you go on it before meals, and get some great snaps from a height.
Big Ben, London, England
Another key landmark for some great snaps is Big Ben, a Great Bell clock on a tower at the Palace of Westminister. At the time of its completion in 1859, Big Ben was the biggest and most accurate four-faced striking and chiming clock in the world. The Palace of Westminister, the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords is a striking palace and the centre of political life in the UK.
5. Take a short trip to the beach
Brighton beach, Brighton, England
If you’re planning on taking a trip outside of London, then Brighton beach is the place to go. It’s about an hour from central London and is probably the best coastal city to visit at any time of the year. Its clean and vibrant beachfront is packed with amusements, places to eat and fun activities. Take a dip in the beach and go zip-lining, kayaking or bike riding before eating lunch in one of the delicious cafés by the beach. No matter what time of the year you plan on visiting, Brighton is packed with outdoor events all year.
Address: Brighton Beach, Brighton, UK
6. See the best art in the world
Get those creative juices flowing and head to some art galleries in London to see some of the best art in the world. Many art galleries are free and are a great way to get a taste of London culture.
House of Illustration
The House of Illustration art gallery, London
The House of illustration is the UK’s only public gallery devoted to illustration. Situated at the heart of the King’s Cross regeneration area, this fascinating gallery has a full calendar, hosting exhibitions, talks, workshops, courses, live drawing classes, events and much more. If you’re visiting in December, book in for December Sketchmeet for a night of live drawing and challenges designed to get you thinking creatively.
Address: 2 Granary Square, N1C 4BH
Camden Arts Centre
Camden Arts Centre, London
Credit: Mark Blower
This arts centre is more on the contemporary side and exhibits new and upcoming artists in London. If you’re planning on travelling in September, you can visit Peter Fraser’s exhibition Mathematics. This collection attempts to draw our attention to the interconnected nature of the world, with the view that time, space and everything in between, can be described through mathematics.
Address: Arkwright Rd, London NW3 6DG, UK
7. Hostels in London for school trips
With so much accommodation in London ranging in price, style and location, finding the best hostel in London for your group can be a bit overwhelming. Here’s our guide on the best hostels in London for school trips.
Rest Up, London
Rest Up is a youthful and vibrant hostel about 20 minutes by bus from central London. The building is a unique pre-WW1 baroque style building. It blends a modern and minimalist style with an old British WW1 style perfectly, while their games room and terrace are brought to life through colour. If you want to add breakfast, lunch or dinner to your booking or if you just become a bit peckish, Rest Up have lots of tasty meals and snacks on their group menu.
Address: New Kent Rd, London SE1 4YT, UK
St. Christopher’s Village
St. Christopher’s Village, London
St. Christopher’s Village is a youth hostel in one of London’s most vibrant areas, about 15 minutes by bus outside of London, and well within walking distance of some major attractions. Its quirky, bright and fun interiors give the place a cool and positive vibe and is a multi-award-winning hostel. You can add breakfast to your bookings to get a head start on the day and stop by any of the cute cafes in the area for a mid-day breaks or hot-chocolate pick-me-up in the winter.
Address: Borough High St, SE1 1HR, UK
8. Transport for school trips
You can get around London easily by many forms of transport, but for groups it’s a bit more difficult. If you’re keeping to a budget, trains and buses are the best way to go.
A Subway in London, England
Credit: Leon Wanking
Make sure to book your transport methods well in advance of your trip. This will save you time and stress later. You’ll also get a discount for booking early, and with large groups this always adds up. This will also help you stick to your schedule better because you’ll need to get the transport at the time you booked for.
A red bus driving through London, England
Buses across London are plentiful and often, you simply can’t go wrong! Again, just make sure to book ahead for groups to ensure you all have seats for services like Megabus. If you’re booking transport keep track of the times and dates you booked for so you don’t miss them.