USA battlefields tour by air: 8 days, 6 nights

This tour makes great links to areas of the most recent history syllabuses at GCSE and A-level. See the learning links page and contact one of our travel advisors to discuss the options.

Suggested itinerary

Day one
Fly from the UK to Washington DC
Transfer to hotel in Washington DC

Day two
4 hours Walking tour of DC “Civil War to Civil Rights” ending at Ford’s Theater
Ford’s Theatre Museum
The National Museum of the American Indian
The National Museum of African American History and Culture

Day three
Depart Washington by coach
Arlington National Cemetery
Gettysburg National Military Park
Welcome Centre, Cyclorama and follow a Ranger guided tour of the Battlefield (by coach)

Day four
Depart for Antietam, Maryland – visit Antietam park visitor centre
Continue to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia – ranger guided tour of the town
Depart for Fredericksburg, Virginia

Day five
Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, and Spotsylvania
Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Centre OR the Chancellorsville Battlefield Visitor Centre
Depart Fredericksburg for Washington DC

Day six
Washington DC Supreme Court
Courtroom lecture and introductory film
Visit the US Capitol for a guided tour
the National Archive Museum
Overnight in Washington DC

Day seven
Free time before departing for IAD airport for your flight back to the UK

Areoplane - Italy

Day eight
Arrive back in the UK

Excursion locator map

Excursion Ideas

  • The Lincoln Memorial, Washington

    Subject range: History

    What you’ll experience: The Lincoln Memorial is a monument built to honour the 16th President, Abraham Lincoln. It is located on the western end of the National Mall in Washington, across from the Washington Monument. The building is in the form of a Greek Doric temple and contains a large seated sculpture of Abraham Lincoln. There are inscriptions of two of Lincoln’s famous speeches – The Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural Address.
    Select says: This was also the site where Martin Luther King made his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.

  • Supreme Court, Washington

    Subject range: History

    What you’ll experience: This building is majestic and richly ornamented – it serves as both home to the Court and the symbol of its importance as a co-equal, independent branch of government. 30-minute tour programs are designed to introduce visitors of all ages to the judicial functions of the Supreme Court, the history of the building, and the architecture of the courtroom. The Supreme Court Building was designed by Cass Gilbert and built from 1931 to 1935. The Court first sat in the building on Monday, October 7, 1935.
    Select says: Architectural information describing many of the building’s sculptural elements may be obtained from the Visitor Desk on the ground floor.

  • Capitol Hill, Washington

    Subject range: History

    What you’ll experience: The Senate and the House of Representatives have met within the Capitol building for more than two centuries and it is among the most architecturally impressive and symbolically important buildings in the world. The Capitol Visitor Center is the newest addition to this historic complex. The entire facility is located underground on the east side of the Capitol so as not to detract from the appearance of the Capitol and the grounds.
    Select says: Look out for the numerous huge canvases with scenes of American history on the walls. The dome is painted with the huge fresco ‘The Apotheses of Washington’.

  • American History Museum, Washington

    Subject range: History

    What you’ll experience: The National Museum of American History preserves and displays an enduring record of American past in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. The Museum collects artifacts of all kinds from gowns to locomotives. Tours are self-guided.
    Select says: Among the items on display is the original Star-Spangled Banner.

  • National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), Washington

    Subject range: History

    What you’ll experience: The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) has one of the most extensive collections of Native American arts and artifacts in the world—approximately 825,000 items representing over 12,000 years of history and more than 1,200 indigenous cultures throughout the Americas. Ranging from ancient Paleo-Indian points to contemporary fine arts, the collections include works of aesthetic, religious, and historical significance as well as articles produced for everyday use.
    Select says: This excursion option may suit groups studying the settlement of the West and the Plains Indians as part of the curriculum.

  • Arlington Cemetery

    Subject range: History

    What you’ll experience: Arlington National Cemetery’s rolling hills mark the final resting place for more than 14,000 veterans, including those that fought in the Civil War. It is one of the country’s oldest national cemeteries. Your first stop should include the Welcome Center, located by the entrance where maps and information is available along with exhibits and displays that tell the story of the cemetery’s significance to the nation.
    Select says: Arlington Cemetery is also the gravesite of President John F Kennedy.

  • The National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington

    Subject range: History

    What you’ll experience: Students can learn about the richness and diversity of the African American experience and how it helped to shape the nation. Check their website for current exhibitions.
    Select says: Workshops are possible and there are some free resources available via their website.

  • National Archive Museum, Washington

    Subject range: History

    What you’ll experience: This is the permanent home of the original Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States, and Bill of Rights, which are housed in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom. There are other permanent exhibitions for your students to view along with a learning centre.
    Select says: Timed visit entry is possible to avoid queues at peak times – advance reservations allow visitors to avoid the exterior portion of the line to see the Charters of Freedom during the height of the tourist season and during holiday season- speak to our travel advisors for details. There are also excellent online resources available for teachers.

  • Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, and Spotsylvania, Virginia

    Subject range: History

    What you’ll experience: This is America’s battleground, where the Civil War came to its bloody climax. No place more vividly reflected the war’s tragic cost in all its forms such as a town bombarded and looted, farms ruined, refugees by the thousands forced into the countryside. More than 85,000 men were wounded and 15,000 killed – most in unknown graves.

    Select says: We recommend that you begin your visit at one of the park’s two visitor centres – either the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Centre or the Chancellorsville Battlefield Visitor Centre. You can pick up a park map and other brochures and each visitor centre also offers an orientation film and exhibits about the respective battles.

  • Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

    Subject range: History

    What you’ll experience: A Ranger guided tour discovers the history of this historical town. Harpers Ferry is a national historic park known for John Brown’s attack on slavery and the largest surrender of Federal troops during the American Civil War. On October 16, 1859, the radical abolitionist John Brown led a group of 21 men in a raid on the arsenal. Five of the men were black: three free black men, one a freed slave and one a fugitive slave. During this time assisting fugitive slaves was illegal under the Fugitive Slave Act. Brown attacked and captured several buildings; he hoped to use the captured weapons to initiate a slave uprising throughout the South.
    Select says: The Civil War was disastrous for Harpers Ferry, which changed hands eight times between 1861 and 1865. When Virginia seceded in April 1861, the U.S. garrison attempted to burn the arsenal and destroy the machinery, to prevent the Confederates from using it. Locals saved the equipment, which the Confederate Army transferred to a more secure location in its capital of Richmond. The U.S. Army never renewed arms production in Harpers Ferry.

  • Gettysburg National Military Park

    Subject range: History

    What you’ll experience: The Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point in the Civil War, the Union victory that ended General Robert E. Lee’s second and most ambitious invasion of the North. Often referred to as the “High Water Mark of the Rebellion”, Gettysburg was the Civil War’s bloodiest battle and was also the inspiration for President Abraham Lincoln’s immortal “Gettysburg Address”.
    Select says: Visit the Welcome Centre, Cyclorama and follow a Ranger guided tour of the Battlefield.

  • Ford's Theatre, Washington

    Subject range: History

    What you’ll experience: On a self-guided tour of the Ford’s Theatre Museum, explore Lincoln’s presidency from his arrival in Washington to the very minute he arrived at Ford’s Theatre the fateful night of April 14, 1865.
    Select says: Students can see rare artefacts related to the assassination.

  • Antietam, Maryland

    Subject range: History

    What you’ll experience: 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after twelve hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862. The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia’s first invasion into the North and led to Abraham Lincoln’s issuance of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. The park visitor centre has a theatre, exhibits, observation room, and museum store.
    Select says: The audio-visual program is a 26- minute orientation film narrated by James Earl Jones which is shown on the hour and the half hour. Interpretive talks are conducted daily by park rangers.

USA battlefields trip by air: 8 days, 6 nights Accommodation

Comfort Inn Downtown DC

Our rating:

Location: Washington

Capacity:

In a prime location in the heart of Washington, half a block from Pennsylvania Avenue and the Whitehouse. This contemporary hotel in downtown Washington DC offers classic American charm.

Rooms: Rooms: En-suite bathrooms.

Facilities: Facilities: Restaurant, free Wi-Fi, 24 hour reception, lounge area.

Hotel Harrington, Washington

Our rating:

Location: Washington

Capacity:

Ideally located downtown within walking distance of the main attractions. The White House is 10 minutes’ walk from the hotel and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is 650 yards away. A great group friendly accommodation with an unrivalled location!

Rooms: Rooms: Ensuite bathrooms with hairdryer, cable TV, air-conditioning.

Facilities: Facilities: 3 restaurants, games room, free Wi-Fi, vending machines, safety deposit box, lift. Select says: Packed lunches are available.

Comfort Inn Frederick

Our rating:

Location: Frederick

Capacity:

Conveniently located across the street from the Westview mall close to Antietam National Battlefield. The Comfort Inn offers a good standard of accommodation for our groups.

Rooms: Rooms: Bedrooms all have en-suite bathrooms. All guest rooms are equipped with TVs, coffee makers, hair dryers and irons and ironing boards.

Facilities: Facilities: Free WiFi and hot breakfast offered.

Comfort Suites Fredericksburg North

Our rating:

Location: Fredericksburg

Capacity:

Located near the University of Mary Washington, this Comfort Suites Fredericksburg North hotel is conveniently situated in Fredericksburg and provides an excellent standard of accommodation for groups.

Rooms: Rooms: All en-suite.

Facilities: Facilities: Meeting room, hot breakfast, free Wi-Fi.