Field Trips & Visits

Battlefields Visit

For a number of years the History Department has led a very successful trip to the battlefields and cemeteries of the Ypres Salient and the Somme. The visit builds upon the knowledge they have acquired during U4 History lessonsWe visit a number of battlefields and war memorials, both Commonwealth and German. 

Russia

This was our fifth Sixth Form trip to Russia and, as on all previous occasions, a great success. We take a mix of girls - not just those taking A Level History - attracting students who perhaps had their interest piqued during IGCSE History when we touch on the USSR as part of our study of the causes of WW2 and then the Development of the Cold War. 

However, this trip has so much to offer any girl who is interested in Art, Photography, Music, Religious Studies or indeed, simply wishes to explore a country which, although geographically is not ‘a million miles away’, feels quite different from Western Europe. The architecture in Moscow reveals the influence of the Mongols and the Tartars which is why Muscovites are sometimes quite dismissive of the Western ‘pastiche’ Peter the Great created in ordering the construction of St Petersburg, his ‘window on the West.’

We began in Moscow where we managed to fit in a huge amount of sight-seeing including Red Square, St Basil’s, the Kremlin, Cathedral Square, containing three stunning cathedrals dating back to the 15thC, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour (recently in the news because of the Pussy Riot trial). We were dazzled by the opulent treasures kept in the Kremlin’s Armoury and, as always, found the Russian state art gallery, the Tretyakov, to be an extremely  rewarding afternoon- so many wonderful works of art, yet so few will have been seen outside Russia. Evening entertainment included the Circus and a trip to Red Square at night.

 The overnight train whisked us through a snowy landscape to arrive bleary-eyed in St Petersburg the following morning, a beautiful pastel coloured city sitting astride the still frozen River Neva. Who can fail to be impressed by the first sight of Rastrelli’s Winter Palace? And the range of art treasures housed in the Hermitage occupying 120 rooms reflecting all the stages in the development of art from the Middle Ages to the present day?  The girls saw renaissance masterpieces by da Vinci, Raphael, Caravaggio, Titian and Michelangelo as well as a fantastic Impressionist room permanently exhibiting works by Monet, Renoir and Cezanne.

We visited the Yusupov Palace where the murder of Rasputin took place. We experienced Russian Orthodox churches where, even those who are not usually ‘spiritually inclined’, found themselves wanting to linger in order to absorb the music and the religious iconography. We also enjoyed an evening at the Mariinski Ballet in their new and very impressive theatre where we experienced Swan Lake which was another highlight of the trip.