St Petersburg has to be seen with your own eyes. The most European of Russian cities, a window to the west, this incredibly beautiful city nestles between bridges and canals and overflows with art and history that has helped shape the world. Our 5 day tour brings it all to life.
Jesse Dickens Head of HistorySee all
- History & Politics
- Religious Studies
- Russian Language
- Art & Design
- Tsarist Russia, Peter the Great
- History of the Russian Empire
- Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917
- Rise of Lenin, the Bolshevik government and Communism
- Creation of the Soviet Union
- The Great Patriotic War
- The Siege of Leningrad
- Stalin's USSR
- The Cold War
- The Fall of Communism and the Dissolution of the Soviet Union
- International & Russian art
- Developing Russian language, listening, speaking, reading and writing skills
- Learning about Russian culture
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When establishing St Petersburg in 1703, Peter the Great took his lead from other European cities, including Venice and Amsterdam, desiring that his new city be surrounded by water and a shining example of art and culture throughout Europe and the rest of Russia. Visitors today will see just how well this was achieved. St Petersburg is a series of islands separated by hundreds of canals and rivers and joined together by over 340 bridges. Dotted about amongst all these islands are over 200 museums, the largest and most famous of which you will go inside - the Hermitage.
The first brick was laid in the area that is now Peter and Paul Fortress, lying on a small island in the River Neva. After a tour of the fortress, continue to explore the city by coach as you see the beautiful Church of the Spilled Blood, St Isaac's Cathedral, Palace Square, Nevsky Prospect and the Bronze Horseman. Head down one of the quiet canals to tour Yusupov Palace and hear all about Rasputin, then learn about the heroic 3 year struggle of the residents during the Siege of Leningrad. Drive out of the city centre to Pushkin, en route seeing how far the Nazis got to the centre of the city, before touring the stunning Catherine Palace and her famous Amber Room.
St Petersburg is one of Europe's most beautiful cities, with a wealth of activities to broaden your students' minds. With complete flexibility, we can design a tour suited to your school’s educational needs and budget, or we can recommend an itinerary based on your curriculum.
What is Included
- Full Russian visa fees (support letter, group invitation, processing fees, consular fee, application support)
- Airport transfers upon arrival and departure in Russia with your local TCBC guide
- Experienced local TCBC guide in St Petersburg for all excursions
- Transportation to all scheduled activities by coach fitted with seat belts
- Coach at your disposal each evening if required
- 4 nights twin room accommodation in 3 or 4 star hotels
- Breakfasts and dinners daily
- Free staff places as requested
- Donation of £1 per person to ROOF charity (Russian Orphan Opportunity Fund)
- Comprehensive St Petersburg city sightseeing tour
- Peter and Paul Fortress guided tour, including Prisons if requested
- Hermitage guided tour
- Yusupov Palace guided tour, including Rasputin exhibition
- Siege of Leningrad museum guided tour
- Political History museum guided tour
- Memorial to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad visit
- Excursion to village of Pushkin and guided tour of Catherine's Palace
- Entrance fees to all included activities
- 24 hour emergency contact numbers
What is not Included
- Flights (see FAQs)
- Medical, trip cancellation / interruption or baggage insurance (see FAQs)
- UK airport transfers (unless requested)
- Gratuities for local guides, drivers and Tour Manager (see FAQs)
- Tickets for evening activities (see FAQs)
5 DAYS - AT A GLANCE
- Day oneArrive, check-in, dinner at hotel
- Day twoSt Petersburg city tour, Peter & Paul Fortress
- Day threeHermitage, Yusupov Palace
- Day fourSiege of Leningrad museum, Political History museum
- Day fiveCatherine's Palace in Pushkin, return flight
ST PETERSBURG 5 DAYS
Since we specialise in Russia, we can be very flexible with our itineraries. A suggested standard itinerary is described below, however we regularly customise aspects of the trip to suit your curriculum or personal preferences. Please contact us to discuss your needs further and to get a free quote.
DAY 1 DEPARTURE DAY
Depart on your flight to Russia! Arrive in St Petersburg, the Venice of the North, where your local TCBC representative will meet you and accompany you by coach to your hotel for check-in and dinner. Evening activities will depend on flight times today.
DAY 2 CITY SIGHTSEEING, PETER AND PAUL FORTRESS
After breakfast, leave for a comprehensive guided sightseeing tour of this beautiful former capital city. Amongst many striking sights see the Church of the Spilt Blood, rivalling the beauty of St Basil’s in Moscow, Kazan Cathedral, the Bronze Horseman and the remarkable battleship Aurora. Stop for a photo outside the majestic St Isaac’s Cathedral, the 4th largest cathedral in the world. Cross the Neva River to tour historic Peter and Paul Fortress and see why Peter the Great selected this location as ideal for the foundation of St Petersburg in 1703. The Cathedral on the island, given away by its tall gleaming golden spire, was the burial place for Russian Emperors since Peter the Great. In 1998, the remains of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II and his family were finally buried here. This evening you will have the option to visit a traditional Russian folklore show in the magnificent setting of the graceful Nikolayevsky Palace. (not included and depends on schedule and availability)
DAY 3 HERMITAGE, YUSUPOV PALACE
Today enjoy a guided tour of the State Hermitage Museum, one of the largest and finest art galleries in the world, with a collection of over 3 million exhibits from prehistoric to modern times. Empress Catherine II founded the Hermitage in 1764, when she purchased a large number of Western European paintings. To house the collection she ordered a new building to be constructed. Located along the banks of the River Neva, the permanent museum display now occupies five buildings (the Winter Palace, the Small Hermitage, the Great Hermitage, the New Hermitage and the Hermitage Theatre) together forming a brilliant architectural ensemble. Remarkable architects and sculptors of the 18th and 19th centuries decorated the museum's interiors. A number of staterooms, where official ceremonies used to be held, preserve their sumptuous décor. The Hermitage proudly displays authentic masterpieces by some of the greatest painters and sculptors in the world including da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens, El Greco, Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Picasso and Matisse. Your guide will introduce you to the most important works of art since you would need several years to see everything. In the afternoon make your way to a quiet stretch of the Moika to visit Yusupov Palace, one of the most sumptuous palaces in St Petersburg, whose history is closely associated with aristocrats, eminent architects and artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. It belonged to the wealthy and respected Yusupov family, and is now famed for being the scene of Rasputin's murder in December 1916. A self proclaimed holy man, Rasputin's death was an even bigger mystery than his life itself had been and a small exhibition guides you through the tragic tale. This evening there will be an opportunity to visit the world-renowned Russian ballet (optional and depends on schedule and availability)This evening you will have the option of experiening a traditional Russian Folklore Show in the magnificent setting of the graceful Nikolayevsky Palace!*
DAY 4 SIEGE OF LENINGRAD, POLITICAL HISTORY MUSEUM
This morning make your way to the English Embankment to visit Rumyantsev Mansion which houses one of the most impressive Siege of Leningrad exhibitions in St Petersburg. The building originally housed a large collection of historical and cultural artefacts belonging to Count Rumyantsev, a prominent statesman and diplomat who had worked widely across Europe in the 19th century. This collection was relocated to Moscow and subsequently became a museum for the history of St Petersburg. There are over 4000 exhibits, the main one dedicated to the Siege of Leningrad with a large selection of documents and photographs. In the afternoon tour the Political History Museum, founded in 1919 and located in a historical part of the city centre in two mansions. One of the mansions used to belong to the Mariinsky theatre prima ballerina Matilda Kseshinskaya. In 1917 it housed the headquarters of the Bolshevik revolutionists and was very often visited by famous Bolsheviks like Lenin, Stalin, Zinovyev and Sverdlov. Current exhibitions and displays focus on the main political, economic and cultural changes of Russia in the 19th-21st centuries and the turning points of Russian history. The Museum is dedicated to telling the stories of famous Russian politicians, reformers, revolutionaries, emperors and party leaders. Tonight why not take in an opera or ballet performance at one of St Petersburg's famous theatres? (not included and depends on availability)
DAY 5 - PUSHKIN, CATHERINE'S PALACE & FLIGHT HOME
After check out, travel south to Catherine's Palace, located in the town of Pushkin, approximately 15 miles south of St Petersburg. En route stop at the Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad and have a short tour of the small exhibition dedicated to the 900 day blockade, located beneath the monument. Continue on to Pushkin, often referred to as Tsarskoye Selo (Royal Village) as this was its original name when founded in the 18th century as the summer residence of the Russian Tsars. Pushkin studied here for six years and the town was renamed after him to commemorate his tragic death in 1937. The Palace itself dates back to the 18th century when architect Rastrelli was commissioned by Catherine to rebuild the original summer palace. Nowadays Catherine's Palace has become world-renowned for its elegant architecture, both on the exterior and interior, and its beautifully landscaped parks and ponds. However one of the most wonderful highlights of Catherine's Palace is the Amber Room, an entire room decorated solely in amber. Left in a bad state by the Nazis after 1945, with most of the original amber missing, the Amber Room has been meticulously restored to its former glory with the help of German funding. After some lunch, transfer to the airport for your return flight home.
There are some excellent museums and sights to add to your itinerary to make it just right for your students and your syllabus. The most popular ones are listed below. For evening activities, please scroll to the bottom of the list.
The Sergey Kirov Apartment Museum is a fairly small unique museum dedicated to preserving and describing the life of Kirov, a prominent Communist Party leader in Leningrad. The museum is a five room apartment where Kirov lived from 1926 to 1934, when he was assassinated at his offices in the Smolny Institute. The museum is surprisingly intact, with a remarkable collection of authentic personal belongings. Stalin visited this apartment several times so you are left with a real feeling of standing in Stalin's footsteps. The aim of the museum is twofold - to give the visitor an idea of a Communist Party leader's life and to show how a wealthy person would have lived in those times.
Piskariovskoye Cemetery is located in the north of St Petersburg, about a 30 minute drive from the centre. This cemetery was founded in 1939 and was named after the village Piskaryovka, located near by. During the Great Patriotic War, Piskariovskoye Cemetery became one of the main burial places for the inhabitants of Leningrad. More than 470,000 people were buried here in mass graves - victims of the Siege of Leningrad and soldiers who died fighting against the Nazis. Most of the graves have no names, and the only thing which is known about the people buried here is that they were either fighting to protect the city or were trying to survive in besieged Leningrad. After the war a memorial immortalising the memory of the fallen people was built. Granite steps, starting from the Eternal Flame, lead to the centre of the cemetery, where an impressive bronze monument of Motherland stands. Stone pavilions were built next to the main entrance, which now house a small exhibition of the photos taken during the blockade. Here you can also find pages from a diary which belonged to Tanya Savicheva, a Leningrad schoolgirl, who was trying to survive in besieged Leningrad in the winter of 1941-42.
Alexander Palace in the village of Tsarskoe Selo was built by order of Catherine II for the wedding of her beloved grandson great duke Alexander Pavlovich, who later became an Emperor of Russia - Alexander I. Unlike Alexander I, who preferred staying at Catherine's Palace when visiting Tsarskoye Selo, the last emperor of Russia, Nicholas II cherished visiting Alexander Palace. He spent the last years of his reign living here and it was from this Palace that his family was deported to Siberia in 1917. Since then Alexander Palace has been used as a sanatorium for NKVD employees and during the period of Nazi occupation an SS division settled in the Palace. In 2009 the Palace was opened to the public as a museum and hosts a permanent exhibition "Reminiscences in Alexander Palace" displaying furniture and personal belongings of the last Emperor of Russia and his family.
We have links with several schools in St Petersburg with whom we can arrange a cultural exchange. They are always delighted to welcome our school groups and more than happy to show you around their school and classrooms. You will meet teachers and local students and share some tea and biscuits whilst comparing your different educational backgrounds. This visit is dependent on your travel dates.
We do not include evening activities because theatres will not have released their playbills or sporting fixtures will not have been scheduled at the time of preparing our quote. We do however provide you with a small table of expected ticket costs and will contact you a couple of months before departure with a list of available options. We can purchase ballet and opera tickets for your group, and research sport events for your stay in Russia, including ice hockey, football and basketball games. Below are some of the other more popular activities.
A very popular and enjoyable evening out and one of the highlights of the trip for most of our students. Sit in the luxurious surroundings of Nikolayevsky Palace and allow some talented local St Petersburg artists and musicians to wow you with traditional dances and songs. Several acts, all different from the others, make up this 90 minute spectacle, including balalaikas, traditional Russian dance routines and impressive vocalists!
Bowling / Curling / Ice Skating
We can arrange for your students to let off some steam by challenging each other to a game of bowls, practising their skills on the ice rink or for something a little different engaging in a small curling contest.
We regularly use the same hotels in St Petersburg which are very used to working with our school groups and which meet our standards.
The 4 star Pribaltiskaya is a member of the Park Inn chain of hotels which in turn belong to the same group as the Radisson SAS hotels. This means that a lot of investment has been made into upgrading and renovating the Pribaltiskaya in recent years. The rooms are bright, comfortable and clean, some with fantastic views of the Gulf of Finland on which the hotel is located. The public areas are wide and spacious, perfect for groups to gather. The cuisine has also been improved with a good buffet selection for breakfasts and dinners. The hotel has many facilities on offer, including a massive waterpark attached to the back by an inner walkway. The Pribaltiskaya is very popular with our school groups and a perfect base to discover St Petersburg from.
Ibis St Petersburg Centre is a good quality 3 star hotel with 221 comfortable rooms. It's located right in the centre of St Petersburg, just 5 minutes walk from Moscow train station and Nevsky Prospekt. Wifi connection is free for guests and all rooms come equipped with air conditioning and hairdryers. Breakfasts and dinners can be arranged at the hotel for your groups.
Below are some handy links to help you plan your trip to Russia. If you find a broken link or have a good addition to this section, please let us know. Please note that we are not responsible for the content of any external links.
Advice from the British Foreign Office on travel to Russia
Vaccination information for people travelling to Russia from the UK
The NHS site dedicated to Healthcare abroad with handy tips and information on the free European Health Insurance Card
A wealth of information about Russia from a geographic perspective
Online portal to apply for your Russian visa
Information on what you can do to reduce your carbon footprint whether at home or when you are travelling.
World Wildlife Fund - Russia
Russia's branch of the worldwide organisation helping to protect what remains of Russia's habitat for plant and wildlife.
How do I get more information or make a booking?
Please contact us here
Where can I find your booking conditions?
Please click here
Are Russian visa fees included?
Do you help with the visa process?
Yes, we do. The application process to obtain a Russian visa can change at a moment's notice and that is why we are close at hand to assist! Currently you need to complete an online application form and print it off to send to our visa partners. Closer to your departure date we will be in touch with a step by step guideline of how to apply. You can now apply for a Russian visa 5 months before departure, and you will need to send off your group's passports for about 3 weeks. Passports should not expire earlier than 6 months after the date of your return from Russia and there should be at least 2 blank pages to allow space for the visa.
Are flights included and what is your ATOL number?
Yes, ATOL 10834
What is your free staff ratio?
We normally include 1 free staff place for every 10 paying participants, but we are flexible with this. Please contact us for more details.
Can you arrange travel insurance?
A fully comprehensive school group travel insurance policy is included as a matter of course in all our quotes. For more information please see our booking conditions.
What is my luggage allowance?
Each airline has different policies on luggage allowance and it is best to visit your airline’s website to check the latest allowance. Here are some of the most popular airline links:
What are the current hand baggage restrictions?
This handy site details what you can and can't carry in your hand baggage, including current restrictions on the quantities of liquids and size and type of hand baggage allowed.
Where can I get the latest travel advice?
For the latest travel advice please visit the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website
Will I need any vaccinations?
Please click here for up to date travel health information provided by the NHS
What money should I take?
It is preferable to take some Roubles with you to Russia which are now easy to get a hold of in the UK. This will save the whole group needing to withdraw money on arrival, although ATM’s are not difficult to find. Credit cards can be used in many shops nowadays also.
What is the current exchange rate?
Please see this handy currency converter for the latest rates
How much should we budget per day?
All breakfasts, dinners and entrances are included, so you will only need additional money for lunches, souvenirs and snacks. We suggest allowing around £5-£10 per person per day to cover the lunches, snacks and bottled water.
Do we need to tip anybody?
We ask that you recognise the service your receive from your local guides and drivers, and Tour Manager if you have one. We will provide you with a gratuity guideline in our quote.
Are there any hidden expenses?
Never. Our aim is to include as much as possible in our quotes so you can work out exactly how much money your students will need in Russia. There will be no hidden costs on tour - everything will be explained clearly beforehand. There are, however, some items we cannot include this far in advance, for example tickets for evening activities, as these are dependent on schedules and ticket availability which we usually will not know until two months before departure. Nearer your departure time we will look at all the options for your group and inform you of ticket prices. The only other items your students will need extra money for in Russia will be their lunches, snacks and any souvenirs they may wish to buy. Gratuities are not included, but we suggest you collect this money in advance of departure.
Do you organise UK airport transfers?
Yes we do. Just let us know of this requirement at the outset
How will we get around Russia?
In St Petersburg you will have the use of a coach fitted with seat belts. You can have a guided tour of the local metro system, but no excursions will be run using public transportation.
What is the time difference between the UK and Russia?
Russia is GMT +3hrs
Do I need to take an adaptor plug?
You will need to take a two pin adaptor plug for Russia
What clothes should we bring?
If your tour takes place during Easter or over October half term, the weather in Russia can be unpredictable. It's advisable to pack a good warm coat, hat, scarf and gloves, plus a water proof jacket and sensible shoes. If you are travelling between December and February then we advise you to take those thermals with you. February is generally the coldest month and the thermals will be well used, but the best way to beat the cold is layers, layers, layers. Remember you are likely to be outside a great deal so it's important to bring the correct clothing.
Summer in Russia can be surprisingly warm so it is possible to pack lighter clothing, however always be prepared for the rain. Again, sensible footwear is essential.
Will there be hairdryers in the rooms?
Some hotels do provide hairdryers, but they won't be of the standard you are used to back home. We suggest you bring your own, and to save on luggage space and weight, it's best to get together with your room-mates and bring one hairdryer per room.
Can I drink the water?
We don't recommend you drink the tap water. Bottled water is readily available and we recommend that you use this to brush your teeth. It is fine to shower in the water in St Petersburg as long as you don't drink the shower water.
What will the food be like?
The food options for tourists in Russia has improved dramatically over the years. There is no comparison between what there once was and what there now is. St Petersburg is brimming with new trendy cafes, restaurants and fast food options, both foreign and local. This means that there is a wide variety of choice to suit any budget when it comes to lunch for your students. Your local guide will point out the options and make recommendations close to your lunch location and meeting point.
Breakfasts are included daily at the hotel and are buffet style with a good selection of food.
Dinners are either at your hotel or at a city centre restaurant, depending on your sightseeing programme. Hotel dinners are usually buffet style whereas dinners at a restaurant are more likely to be set menu. All cater for vegetarians and any other dietary requirements as long as we can inform them well in advance.
Checklist of essential items to bring
- Passport & visa
- Photocopies of passports
- Spending money (preferably roubles converted before trip)
- Standard European continental power adaptor 220v
- Camera (perhaps suggest not to bring expensive video cameras)
- Hairdryers if not supplied by your hotel (one per room)
- Toiletries and travel tissues
- Medications and supporting prescriptions or letter from your GP
- Food supplements if you are on a special diet
- Small suitcase and daypack