If America is the most powerful nation in the world, then Washington DC, its purpose-built capital, is its most powerful city. A tour of DC is the perfect companion when teaching politics and modern history. Contact us now to customise an itinerary to meet your study requirements.
Helena Clarke History TeacherSee all
- History & Politics
- Religious Studies
- Art & Design
- American Political History
- Modern Day US Politics
- American Civil War
- History of Equal Rights
- Religion and Equality
See the political heartland of America, and come to understand the intricacies and drama of its complex political system, modeled in part on the democracy of the ancient world. Learn the truth behind the legends of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, two great men that had very different views on slavery. Then take your students to the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, where Martin Luther King uttered the iconic words: “I have a dream”. With so much to see, we give you the flexibility to tailor your itinerary to your school’s educational needs.
We suggest a 6 day tour to Washington DC, 4 nights of which are spent in local accommodation and 1 night on the return transatlantic flight. We recommend two walking tours, one which takes in the National Mall and Capitol Buildings, and one which focuses on the Memorials and Arlington Cemetery and a visit to Mount Vernon. Beyond that there is a wealth of museums and sightseeing options to fill your time in DC, including the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the National Archives and the Smithsonians - please see the "Recommended Activities" section of this page for more information. We offer full flexibility when planning your itinerary and we can make any advance reservations for museums and restaurants where necessary.
Taking your students to Washington DC will introduce them to the world of American politics and history, a popular school trip which can only benefit their future studies.
What is Included
- Airport transfers upon arrival and departure
- Local TCBC guide for your arrival transfer
- 4 nights accommodation, multi rooms for students and twins for staff
- Breakfasts daily
- Dinner on arrival night, other nights on request
- Experienced local TCBC guide in Washington DC for all included sightseeing
- Guided walking tour of Washington memorials and Arlington Cemetery
- Guided walking tour of the National Mall and Capitol Buildings
- Reservation at the Holocaust Memorial Museum
- Guided excursion to Mount Vernon by coach, including entrance fees
- Visit to Potomac Mills shopping mall on departure day
- Free staff places as requested
- ROOF charity donation
- 24 hour emergency contact numbers
What is not Included
- Flights (see FAQs)
- Medical, trip cancellation / interruption or baggage insurance (see FAQs)
- Public transportation tickets
- Entrance fees (unless stated)
- Gratuities for local guides and drivers (see FAQs)
- Tickets for evening activities (see FAQs)
6 DAYS - AT A GLANCE
- Day oneArrive DC, airport transfer, check-in, dinner
- Day twoGuided walking tour through National Mall, Washington Memorials, Arlington Cemetery, lunch, museum of choice
- Day threeGuided tour of Government buildings, Capitol Hill, Library of Congress, the Supreme Court, lunch, museum of choice
- Day fourGuided excursion to Mount Vernon, lunch in Alexandria, return to DC, free time
- Day fiveCheck-out, Potomac Mills shopping mall, airport transfer, overnight flight home
- Day sixArrive home
WASHINGTON DC 6 DAYS
The itinerary below is a suggestion based on our most popular DC tours. However we can be very flexible with our itineraries and customise any aspect 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 - FLY TO AMERICA
Arrive in DC and transfer to your hotel. Your first glimpse of the Capitol will be the Washington Monument in the distance and with so much to see in the city, even a transfer to the hotel is a sightseeing tour. Following check in, stretch your legs and head out for dinner. This is a good opportunity to get yourself orientated with the city - DC's streets are easy to understand and run numerically north and south and alphabetically east and west with grand boulevards named after States running diagonally. If you know the intersection you're going to, it's hard to get lost in DC!
DAY 2 - NATIONAL MALL, WASHINGTON MEMORIALS, ARLINGTON CEMETERY
On your first morning in DC enjoy an American history lesson in Monumental form. Your TCBC guide will take you on a walking tour through the National Mall to visit the WWII War Memorial, Korean and Vietnam War Memorials and Lincoln Memorial. A symbolic union of the North and South after the Civil War, you'll cross the Memorial Bridge over the Potomac into Arlington National Cemetery. The US's second largest military cemetery it has the honour of memorials to two presidents, the Kennedy brothers, and the house that started it all - Arlington House, built by George Washington's family and lived in by Robert E. Lee. You'll be able to witness one of the greatest ceremonies in the US - the Changing of the Guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - which has been continuously guarded by the US Army since 1937. There is a Metro station at Arlington Cemetery that will bring you back into town to try one of DC's delicious restaurants for lunch.
For afternoon and evening options please see “Recommended activities”.
DAY 3 - GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS, CAPITOL HILL, LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, SUPREME COURT
Set off on foot with your guide this morning for Capitol Hill. It is literally a hill, Jenkins Hill, but at the top is the stunning dome of the Capitol Building where America's two houses of Congress meet and debate. Take a guided tour of the Capitol building, where you'll see George Washington's crypt, though he isn't really buried there, and the famous painting in the Rotunda of the Dome. The Library of Congress, the national library, not only has a fascinating history but is one of the most ornately decorated buildings in DC. It houses Thomas Jefferson's library where you will see the books that inspired one of America's greatest founding fathers set up in the way he preferred - a circle. Last stop is the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land (they have a basketball court on the 5th floor!). Your guide will be able to describe the history of the judicial brand and bring you to the Courtroom, assuming Courts are not in session, where a Supreme Court volunteer will let you view the place where all the decisions are made. For lunch head to Union Station - not just a food court, but a study in architecture and the main train station in DC.
For afternoon and evening options please see “Recommended activities”.
DAY 4 - EXCURSION TO MOUNT VERNON
There are a lot of reasons why the capital of America was moved to the swamp lands of the Potomac, but it had a lot to do with the fact that George Washington already lived there. A quick drive by coach from the hustle and bustle of DC is the beautiful farmland of Mt. Vernon. Your guide will be able to take you back in time to visit Washington's escape from politics and stroll through his hills and fields. The highlight is a self guided tour through his house, decorated with period furniture, some original to the house. You will see his favourite presidential chair, designed by Thomas Jefferson, and the bed in which the great man died - of a sore throat! Mt. Vernon was his pride and joy and Washington chose to be buried here, rather than the crypt at the Capitol, and you will see his final resting place before heading back to DC through the beautiful little historic town of Alexandria.
For afternoon and evening options please see “Recommended activities”.
DAY 5 - POTOMAC MILLS SHOPPING MALL, FLIGHT HOME
Following check out, drive to Potomac Mills shopping mall to search for those last minute souvenirs before transferring to the airport for your overnight transatlantic flight.
DAY 6 - ARRIVE BACK HOME
Arrive home with some unforgettable memories of a fantastic school tour to Washington DC!
With such a vast array of museums and sights to visit in DC, we prefer to leave the afternoons in our itineraries open for you to choose what options are best suited to your school's curriculum. Listed below are the more popular places to visit and fill your time in DC. We will customise each tour to suit you and advise on all possible sightseeing options as well as make any necessary advance reservations on your behalf. Please contact us to discuss your DC tour in detail. For evening options, please scroll to the bottom of the list.
Located adjacent to the National Mall in Washington DC, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is the United States' official memorial to the millions who died during the Nazi regime in Germany during World War II. The Museum's permanent exhibition contains more than 900 artefacts, 70 video monitors and four theatres, all of which detail the horrors of Nazi concentration camps and the rise of Hitler's Germany. Overall, the Museum is home to over 80,000 historical photographs and 12,750 artefacts. It is dedicated to helping leaders and citizens of the world confront hatred, prevent genocide and promote human dignity.
The National Archives Building is the original headquarters of the National Archives and Records Administration. Located north of the National Mall, it holds and provides public access to the original copies of the three main formative documents of the United States and its government: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. As well as hosting a copy of the 1297 Magna Carta confirmed by Edward I, The National Archives Building also exhibits other important American historical documents, collections of photography and culturally significant artefacts.
Founded in 1846, the Smithsonian is the world's largest museum and research complex, consisting of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park and nine research facilities. It is administered and funded by the United States government and has over 137 million items in its collections. The museums are scattered throughout Washington DC, but the Smithsonian Visitor Centre is housed in The Smithsonian Institution Building (also known as The Castle) at the heart of the National Mall, just a short walk from The Smithsonian Metro Station.
Ford's Theatre is a national historic landmark and one of the most visited sites in Washington DC. Used for stage performances beginning in the 1860s, it is also the site of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln on April 14th 1865. The theatre celebrates the legacy of Lincoln, displaying exhibits about his life and explaining the circumstances of his tragic death. It still functions as a live theatre and produces a variety of high quality performances throughout the year. Located downtown at 511 10th Street, NW, Ford's Theatre is not far from the Mall and many of the other museums.
The Newseum is a seven-level, 250,000 square foot high-tech and interactive museum of news and journalism. It blends five centuries of news history with up to date technology and offers visitors the opportunity to experience hands on exhibits. There are 15 theatres, 14 major galleries, two state-of-the-art broadcast studios and a 4-D time-travel experience. The exhibition galleries explore news history, electronic news, photojournalism, world news and how the media have covered major historical events. The Newseum is located at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Sixth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., on America’s Main Street between the White House and the U.S. Capitol and adjacent to the Smithsonian museums on the National Mall.
The Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum (NASM) holds the largest collection of historic air and spacecraft in the world. Established in 1976 as part of the national bicentennial celebrations, the museum features 22 exhibition galleries displaying hundreds of artefacts, including the original Wright 1903 Flyer, the "Spirit of St. Louis," and the Apollo 11 command module. There is also a lunar rock sample that visitors can touch. NASM is a vital centre for research into the history, science, and technology of aviation and space flight, as well as planetary science and terrestrial geology and geophysics.
The National Museum of American History is one of the Smithsonian Institution museums located on The Mall. It collects, preserves and displays the heritage of the United States in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. The museum has over 3 million artefacts in its collection dating from the War of Independence right up to the present day. Exhibits ranging from the original Star-Spangled Banner and Abraham Lincoln’s top hat to Dizzy Gillespie’s angled trumpet and Dorothy’s ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” demonstrate the diversity of America's history and culture.
Georgetown is DC's oldest neighbourhood and was established in 1751, 40 years before Washington, as a tobacco port town in Maryland. Today, Georgetown is a vibrant community with high-end shops, bars, restaurants and quaint 18th century row houses along its cobblestone streets. It is also the home of Georgetown University and numerous other landmarks, such as the Volta Bureau and the Old Stone House, the oldest unchanged building in Washington. The embassies of France, Mongolia, Sweden, Thailand, and Ukraine are located in Georgetown.
DC By Night
Washington DC is one of the most beautiful cities in the world at night. The monuments, memorials, and landmarks are lit up impressively, creating an incredibly dramatic effect and an extremely entertaining tour. Also, without the hustle and bustle of traffic, tour buses and hordes of tourists, it is an extremely tranquil time to see the sights.
We can arrange for your students to let off some steam by challenging each other to a game of bowls one evening.
A Night At The Theatre
Closer to departure we can look at the playbills for your travel dates and inform you of all the theatre options.
There are plenty of accommodation options in DC, mostly dependent on your budget. Listed below are the ones we use the most. If you have any preferences please let us know.
As you would expect from the Holiday Inn chain this is a very good 3 star standard hotel, right in the centre of downtown Washington. Conveniently placed to visit many of the main sights of interest in Washington, including the Smithsonian Institute and the US Capitol building. There's a spacious lobby to gather your group together and free wifi available in all rooms. Breakfasts are served daily for your group with the added benefit of a Starbucks and other quick food outlets on site to keep everyone fully fuelled! Dinner can be arranged at the hotel as well, a popular option on arrival night in particular.
A good choice if you prefer not to stay in a typical hotel chain. The Harrington with 242 rooms is a large hotel and perfectly set up for student groups. In a great location for all the main sites, situated between the White House and the Capitol and only two blocks from the metro. With breakfasts and dinners are served daily on site, Harrington Hotel is very comfortable and experienced in accommodating student groups.
A very good standard of hotel for our groups, this particular Days Inn is located on Connecticut Avenue, just one block from the metro making it very easy to get to the centre of downtown DC which is just 3 miles away. The hotel is conveniently located close to local shops and restaurants as well as the National Zoo. Breakfasts and dinners can be served daily for your groups and the hotel has free, high speed internet access throughout.
Below are some handy links to help you plan your trip to America. 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 the United States
Vaccination information for people travelling to the United States from the UK
The NHS site dedicated to Healthcare abroad with handy tips and information
A wealth of information about the United States from a geographic perspective
Information on what you can do to reduce your carbon footprint whether at home or when you are travelling.
How do I get more information or make a booking?
Please contact us here
Where can I find your booking conditions?
Please click here
Do we need a visa to travel to America?
Most European citizens can travel to America under the Visa Waiver Program and must apply online at the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation website and pay an administrative fee of $14 per person.
For a list of all countries which participate in the Visa Waiver Program, please click here
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 wise to take some USD with you to America, this will save the whole group needing to withdraw money on arrival, although ATM’s are not difficult to find.
What is the current exchange rate?
Please see this handy currency converter for the latest rates
How much should we budget per day?
You will need money for any meals that are not included and we can help you with budgeting for this in advance. The only other money students will need money for on tour will be for snacks and souvenirs.
Do we need to tip anybody?
We ask that you recognise the service your receive from your local guides and drivers. 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 Washington DC. 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 Washington DC will be their lunches, snacks, public transportation tickets 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 Washington DC?
Most of your tours will be on foot. Washington DC has a purpose built compact centre and most of the major sights of interest are within walking distance of one another. We include coaches for your airport transfers and any excursions out of town included in your itinerary, for example Mount Vernon. If you book the Washington DC by night tour in advance, then a coach is included on this excursion. We can also include a coach to take you to and from Georgetown, but if you prefer you can always try out DC's excellent public transportation system. The Metro has a good easy to use service and the DC Circulator has 5 convenient routes with buses arriving every 10 minutes and fares at $1.
What is the time difference between the UK and America?
America is GMT -5hrs
Do I need to take an adaptor plug?
You will need an adaptor plug for America with two flat parallel prongs. America's voltage of 110-120 volts is around half that of Europe's 220-240 volt. You may need a converter to run electrical items such as hairdryers.
Please can you explain the bed-sharing system in American hotels?
In many American hotels it is the norm to sell a double room as a quad room. This means that 4 students would share the two king sized beds. This helps keep the cost of the trip down as most hotels are set up in this fashion. There are hotels which have traditional quad rooms (4 separate beds), so please let us know at the outset if this is preferable to you and your school.
What clothes should we bring?
If visiting over the autumn and winter months it is advisable to prepare for the worst and pack a good warm coat, hat, scarf and gloves, plus a water proof jacket and sensible shoes. Remember you’re likely to be outside a great deal as well as walking between sights of interest. Layers are best.
If travelling in spring and summer it is possible to pack lighter clothing, it can get very warm in DC. Again, sensible footwear is essential.
Will there be hairdryers in the rooms?
Some hotels provide hairdryers in some rooms although it is unusual for students to have one in their rooms. We would suggest where students are sharing a room they take one or two hairdryers between them.
What will the food be like?
When it comes to meal times in Washington DC, there are many excellent choices. Hotel breakfasts can be wide, varied and very filling, particularly those offering full American breakfast buffets. Some schools who travel with us prefer to forego the cost of a hotel breakfast and get something from the many cheaper options outside the hotel. We can include in advance as many dinners as you wish, but because food options for groups are easier to come by in the States than in other destinations, many teachers prefer to be flexible and have dinner depending on their location on a given day. If we are arranging dinners for you, we will take details of any special dietary requirements to ensure that meals are arranged with these requirements in mind. Lunches are usually bought individually whilst on tour and your guide will suggest a range of establishments close to the group’s meeting spot to allow students and staff to find something to suit them.
Checklist of essential items to bring
- Photocopies of passports
- Spending money
- Standard trans-continental power adaptor 120v
- Camera (perhaps suggest not to bring expensive video cameras)
- Hairdryers if not supplied by your hotel
- 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