28 February 2023

Secondary School Trip Ideas

Thinking about a secondary school trip but need some inspiration and support? Don't worry, our school travel experts are here to help with a collection of the best ideas for your group. 

Trip Ideas

Whether you're after a trip to support the educational demands of the national curriculum, or you want to inspire a sense of adventure and exploration in your student group, we've got plenty of ideas for you.

1. Run a residential trip

A residential trip for secondary schools takes students out of their comfort zones and allows them to experience new outdoor challenges and activities, like canoeing, kayaking, climbing, tackling an assault course, and more. School residential weeks are often one of the most highly-anticipated trips of the year for teachers and students alike, due to the action-packed fun on offer.

Your students could try various water sports, such as kayaking, raft building and stand-up paddle boarding in the Lake District, at the former Olympic canoeing venue in Lee Valley, or the National Water Sports Centre in Holme Pierrepont near Nottingham.

Or you could head to the West Midlands, where you can explore Warwick Castle, go skiing or snowboarding, tackle some teambuilding activities at Conkers, or get the adrenaline pumping at Alton Towers!

But aside from the fun and new technical skills, residential trips help to build key interpersonal skills, like teamwork and communication. Trips can encourage pupils to make new friends and help to build respect and trust with their teachers, which can be useful back in the classroom.

If this sounds like an interesting idea for your school, then there are plenty of options around the UK to choose from. Take a look and learn more about our residential trips.

2. Run a STEM trip

Are you a science or maths teacher? Then how about taking your students on a trip that will help develop their technical knowledge in a more practical, real-world setting? 

From specialist exhibitions, like Museo Leonardo da Vinci, where students will see some of Leonardo's famed machines brought to life, to the world's finance centres in Frankfurt, New York and London, where they can see global economic theory in action. 

You could even head to CERN to learn more about particle physics, or visit the Kennedy Space Center and train to be an astronaut.

It doesn't matter which STEM subject you're focusing on, we have something for you. Find out more about our science and maths trips.

3. Run a geography field trip

There's no better way to reinforce classroom education than learning outside. And that's particularly true for geography groups.

So if you're a geography teacher, why not consider a field trip tailored to your curriculum?

For example, perhaps you want your students to develop their understanding of plate tectonics – in which case, a school trip to a destination such as Iceland, the Azores or Naples and Sorrento might be the right choice for you.

Or maybe you want to focus on biodiversity? Cornwall, with a stunning coastline and the Eden Project nearby, is an excellent option that's both close to home and low-cost. Or, if you're willing to go abroad, Costa Rica is considered one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. 

And for a look at human geography, cities like Dubai and Beijing are great case studies in urban growth. 

4. Run a history trip

If you're a history teacher, the options for a school trip are endless. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Deepen your student's understanding of the political, social and economic contexts in which Hitler and the Nazis rose to power in Germany, and witness the devastating effect they had on the world, by visiting Berlin, Munich, Krakow, or Auschwitz.
  • Learn about the Blitz, and see how Britain fought back to regain control of the skies, in visits to Kent, London, Liverpool, and Manchester.
  • Go back to the Great War, and visit the battlefields that each side fought over in Belgium and France.
  • See the glory and wonder of Rome's ancient past, where a world-famous landmark awaits around every corner of the Eternal City. 
  • Bring the French Revolution to life, and learn more about the lasting effects of the revolution on modern-day France and French culture. A trip to Paris is perfect for this.

Learn more about the different options for a history trip.

5. Run a ski trip

Does your secondary school run an annual ski trip?

If not, it could be a great idea to start one. Ski trips are one of the most fun and exciting activities available. A truly unforgettable experience, the memories, friendships and skills developed on a ski trip can stay with students long after they've left school.

There are also plenty of options to choose from. Even once you've settled on a particular region or country, there are different resorts to consider – each of which will offer unique experiences for your group.

Plus, a school ski trip can cater for all levels of abilities, from first-timers to talented young skiers who've been before. So no one is left out, and all have the chance to develop a new passion.

Learn more about our ski trips.

6. Visit the Christmas markets

If you're after a shorter trip that allows students to break up the long Autumn term, then a trip to one of the stunning Christmas markets across Europe may be ideal.

These trips are particularly good for language groups, as students have the opportunity to practice their skills in real-life settings by speaking with market stall owners, ordering food, and buying presents.  

7. Run a UK trip

Perhaps you're looking for a more affordable and accessible trip to suit a wider range of students.

If so, you can't beat the UK. Here are some easy ideas:

  • Art groups can head to Bristol
  • Geography groups can visit the Yorkshire Dales, Cornwall or the Lake District
  • History groups will find London, Liverpool and Manchester ideal
  • English language and drama groups can visit the birthplace of Shakespeare (Stratford Upon Avon), or see a play at London's West End
  • Politics groups can visit Belfast and learn more about the troubles

Alternatively, some of the closer destinations in mainland Europe can even be visited in a single day. France, Belgium, and the Netherlands are your best bet. These locations can be reached by coach, which is significantly less expensive than destinations that require flights.

8. Go on an expedition

For a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, how about you and your pupils lend a hand at an Elephant sanctuary, help build a school, aid wildlife conservation efforts, or volunteer at a shelter for homeless children?

If these ideas sound interesting, consider running an expedition-style trip to the likes of Borneo, India or Thailand. While these destinations are much further afield than the usual school trip, they offer an incredibly enriching experience for those who are fortunate enough to visit.

Find out more about expedition trips.

What are the benefits of secondary school trips?

Higher engagement in class

Secondary school trips have many academic benefits. They can bring subjects to life, sparking a genuine interest and curiosity in your students and leading to higher engagement when you're back in the classroom. And, as all teachers know, better engagement can lead to higher grades in exams.

Plus, sparking an interest in a particular topic could persuade students to pursue the subject at GCSE or A-Level. It may even push them towards a related career.

Practical experience of the subject

Secondary school trips also help to provide students with practical experiences that they can draw upon in their exams, helping them to achieve those higher grades. So, school trips for secondary students really can help them to achieve more in their exams.

If you are looking to give your students a pre-exam boost, you might want to consider a school trip that will help them grasp a particularly difficult topic.

Increase confidence and revise key skills

Alternatively, you might prefer to visit a destination that allows your students to cover a range of curriculum-linked topics, giving them more of a general lift ahead of their exams by increasing their confidence and revising critical skills and knowledge.

Students studying French, German or Spanish, for example, could visit almost anywhere in France, Germany or Spain. The opportunity to explore the culture through their language skills would give them a massive boost in confidence.

Many of our destinations also offer the opportunity to add lessons in closed groups at a specialist language school, with educational workshops that can be as general or specific as you need them to meet your learning objectives.

Promote independence and interpersonal skills

For many students, a secondary school trip abroad could be the first time they've been abroad without their parents. This experience will promote independence, as they must take responsibility for themselves.

And, school trips can help a secondary school group to boost their interpersonal skills. They'll meet new people from other cultures and develop their relationships with the other students and the accompanying staff, which can help to create a better learning environment once you're back in the classroom.

Improve their understanding of the world

Another important benefit of secondary school trips that really can't be overstated is that they help students to better understand the wider world around them. They provide students with the opportunity to experience other cultures and try new things, making them more empathetic and better global citizens.

We offer a great variety of cultural trips designed to provide your secondary students with these formative cultural experiences. Just as with all our school trips, whether you choose to explore buzzing Barcelona, dazzling Dubai or spectacular Sri Lanka, we’ll tailor your itinerary to suit your specific requirements and learning objectives. 

And if you want your students to spend their trip learning about the issues affecting people and the environment in your destination and, crucially, have them participate in voluntary work to help, then our expeditions are ideal. 

Head to India, where your students can teach in a local school or help out at a café run by burns victims. Or visit Borneo, where they can support the work to protect orangutans. Whatever you choose to do, these experiences will stay with them forever.

Not sure what secondary school trip is best for your group?

If you're struggling to decide on a suitable trip, please don't hesitate to contact our dedicated experts who will be happy to help guide you through the entire planning process. As a leading school travel company, we are here to understand your objectives and arrange a trip that works for you. Get in touch today.

What about trip ideas for a primary school teacher?

We've got you covered! Take a look at our list of ideas for primary school trips.

Associated trips

Geography School Trip to Iceland

Known as the land of fire and ice, take in the hot springs, volcanoes, waterfalls and geysers that make the dramatic setting of Iceland a geographer's dreamland.


School French Culture Trip to Paris

Inspire your French students with an unforgettable French culture school trip to the elegant and exciting capital, Paris!


The Nazis & the Holocaust School Trip to Berlin & Krakow

A history school trip to Berlin & Krakow includes a visit to Auschwitz and is unmissable for groups studying the Nazis & the Holocaust.


School Classical Studies Trip to Rome

On a Classical Studies school trip to Rome, your students will explore the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill!


Cross Curricular Trip to London

It's hard to beat a school trip to London for exciting opportunities for cultural enrichment within the UK!


Residential Trip to the Lake District

Give students the opportunity to try a variety of adventure sports on your residential school trip to the Lake District!


School Business Studies Trip to New York

Considered the world's premier financial centre, where better than New York for business students?


School Science Trip to Geneva

Your trip to Geneva will include an incredible experience of visiting CERN, home of the Large Hadron Collider!


School Expedition to Thailand

Renovate a local temple school and help out at an elephant sanctuary on your school expedition to Thailand!


School Expedition to Borneo

Your school expedition to Borneo will allow students to learn more about the local tribes and the issues affecting the local wildlife!


School Expedition to Northern India

Your students will enjoy a variety of volunteer and conservation experiences on your school expedition to Northern India!


School Expedition to Central India

Your school expedition to Central India will give your students the opportunity to learn more about the issues affecting people in India!