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Politics in Washington

5 & 6 Day Study Experience Tours from £849 per student
Departing: Throughout 2018 & 2019
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Discover the historic legacy of the US capital, Washington DC. Home to all three branches of the federal government and some of the most recognisable US landmarks - the giant domed Capitol building on 'the Hill', home to the Senate and the House of Representatives, the vast Library of Congress and the Supreme Court, and of course The White House itself, the residence of very U.S. president since John Adams in 1800.

Nearby the National Mall stretches over two miles and is America’s most visited national park, where the past, present and future come together. The monuments and memorials in this park honour American forefathers and heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country. From the “I Have a Dream” speech to the AIDS Quilt, the Mall is the national stage where movements and celebrations take place, where people gather to have their voices heard. As your students wander along the wide, pedestrian-friendly, tree-lined boulevards they can take in the history and scenery of this stretch of land nicknamed America’s front yard, which includes the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Gallery of Art and the National Archives. Across the Potomac River lie the Arlington National Cemetery and The Pentagon.

What the price includes

  • Return scheduled flights from London to Washington
  • 1 checked bag (hold luggage) per passenger
  • Return coach transfers from the airport to your hotel
  • 3 or 4 nights’ accommodation
  • Hotel porterage for one piece of luggage
  • Study Experiences representation in Washington
  • Individually tailored itinerary
  • Educational Visits and Attractions Guide
  • 1 Free Staff Place for every 10 students
  • All Government Taxes, City Taxes, Service Charges & VAT
  • 24 hour emergency cover and support

Recommended

Political – Capitol Hill & Library of Congress Walking Tour

This tour brings your group to the top of “the Hill.” Visiting the seat of America’s legislative and judicial branches it allows your students to not only explore these beautiful buildings, but the meaning behind them, gaining an understanding of the American political system and how it came to be. Your guide will take you inside what many consider the most beautiful building in the city for a Library of Congress tour and provide your group with tickets to further explore the Capitol building after your tour.

Lincoln Assassination Walking Tour

It was a night that changed the history of a nation forever. Journey back in time with your guide to learn about the three-pronged attack designed to decapitate the U.S. Government. Shrouded in mystery, intrigue and conspiracy, the assassination of the 16th U.S. president has fascinated Americans and foreigners for nearly 150 years. On this tour you’ll understand the characters, walk the streets, and see the buildings where this great drama played out in the Lincoln Assassination. From The White House, home to the president, your students will follow in his footsteps past the site of the attack on Secretary of State William Seward, the National Theatre where Tad Lincoln learned of his father’s death, the home of Vice President Andrew Johnson, ending outside of Ford's Theatre and Peterson's Boarding House. Entries to buildings are not included in this tour but can be arranged separately, subject to availability.

Capitol Building

The United States Capitol is a monument, a working office building, and one of the most recognisable symbols of representative democracy in the world. The world-famous domed building is home to the House and Senate and it’s where America’s congressmen and congresswomen conduct business, debate laws and pass bills on behalf of the American people. The Capitol also houses an important collection of American art, and it is an architectural achievement in its own right. Construction of the U.S. Capitol began in 1793. In November 1800, the U.S. Congress met in the first completed portion, the north wing. In the 1850’s, major extensions to the North and South ends of the Capitol were authorised because of the great westward expansion of our nation and the resultant growth of Congress. Since that time, the U.S. Capitol and its stately dome have become international symbols of our representative democracy. The U.S. Capitol Visitor Centre is the newest addition to this historic complex. At nearly 580,000 square feet, the Visitor Centre is the largest project in the Capitol's more than two hundred year history and is approximately three quarters the size of the Capitol itself. 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 were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1874. To tour the historical areas of the Capitol beyond the Capitol Visitor Centre, you must participate in a guided tour. A tour starts at one of the orientation theatre with a 13-minute film, "Out of Many, One," which will take you on a journey through our country's struggle to establish the world's first truly representative democracy and introduce you to the magnificent building that houses our Congress. Once inside the historic Capitol, you will see the Crypt, the Rotunda, and National Statuary Hall before returning to the visitors centre.

Lincoln Memorial & Reflecting Pool

Towering over the Reflecting Pool this majestic memorial is a shrine to Abraham Lincoln - 190 feet long and 119 feet wide it reaches a height of just under 100 feet. Its design inspired by ancient Greek temples consists of 36 marble columns, each representing one state in the U.S. at the date of President Lincoln’s death. As you climb the steps into the interior you will see a memorable quote above the 19-foot tall, 175-ton statue of a seated Abraham Lincoln overlooking the Mall of the country that he fought so hard to preserve and unite. The quote reads "In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever." To the left of the statue is Lincoln’s great speech, the Gettysburg Address, perhaps the most famous in U.S. history. Every single word of the Address is etched into the wall to inspire Americans just as it did so in 1863. To the right is the entire Second Inaugural Address, given in March of 1865 and mere months before Lincoln’s death. With a clear sky the view from the steps at sunset is impressive, in particular with the Washington Monument in the distance. As you descend you’ll reach the Reflecting Pool, a permanent part of the backdrop for inaugurations, demonstrations, rallies, and marches, including the 1963 March on Washington led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at which he delivered his famed 'I Have a Dream' speech. The Reflecting Pool also appears in the film Forrest Gump during his speech before an anti-war demonstration.

Other Visits and Attractions in Washington

The National Museum of African American History and Culture

Established in 2003 by an Act of Congress, The National Museum of African American History and Culture became the 19th Smithsonian Institution museum. It is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, art, history, and culture. The building has five floors above ground and three floors below with an exterior inspired by crowns used in West African art. It houses 11 exhibitions covering a variety of topics from history and culture to community, music and the arts. The exhibitions include:-

  • Slavery & Freedom - as the centrepiece of the museum, this exhibition explores the complex story of slavery and freedom.
  • Defending Freedom, Defining Freedom: Era of Segregation 1876-1968 - this exhibition takes visitors from the end of Reconstruction through the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.
  • A Changing America: 1968 and Beyond - the impact of African Americans on life in the United States—social, economic, political, and cultural—from the death of Martin Luther King Jr. to the second election of President Barack Obama.
  • Making a Way Out of No Way - learn about the ways in which African Americans created possibilities in a world that denied them opportunities.
  • Sports: Levelling the Playing Field - learn how African Americans have contributed to sports in America and how sports have helped people respond to injustice.

Smithsonian Institution

Not only the world’s largest museum complex, the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, galleries and the National Zoo are dedicated to public education, research, national service, and scholarship in art, design, science, technology, history, and culture. It’s National Air and Space Museum is one of the most popular in the world, and the new National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) opened in September 2016.

The National Archives

The National Archives in downtown Washington is home to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, plus one of four copies of the Magna Carta. These and other historical documents help tell the stories of America's history as a nation and as a people.

White House Visitors Centre

Since John Adams first took residence in 1800, every president since has called The White House and its surrounding grounds his place of work, rest, and solitude. Recognisable around the world, the White House stands as a symbol of democracy. Its park grounds serve not only as the seat of the executive branch of government of the United States of America, but also as an iconic place for civil discourse.

A tour of The White House is normally arranged via the British Embassy in Washington however, until further notice access for foreign nationals to White House tours as part of an Embassy-sponsored public tour group is on hold. Even when tours do become possible, availability is limited, and tours can be subject to last minute cancellation. Instead we recommend you visit the White House Visitor Centre which offers a window into the president's iconic home. Your students can explore an interactive touchscreen tour of the White House, view over 90 artefacts from the White House collection and view the 14 minute film, "White House: Reflections From Within."

Ford's Theatre

Ford's Theatre is a historic theatre in Washington, D.C., used for various stage performances beginning in the 1860s. It also claims one of the great crime stories of all time. On April 14, 1865, in full view of a theatre audience packed to the walls and celebrating the impending end of a brutal war, the President of the United States was assassinated. The murderer was not only seen by all, he was instantly recognizable to most - and he got away. There are a variety of visit options available but we recommend the Historic Site Visit.

International Spy Museum

Enter the shadow-world of spying where all is not what it seems, and your students will discover a new way of thinking about the world in which they live. The International Spy Museum is committed to educating students and educators about espionage in an engaging way and to providing a context that fosters understanding of its important role in and impact on current and historic events. The Museum provides unique resources for educators and students that are both inter- and multi-disciplinary.

Further Information

Your Flight Arrangements

We use the scheduled services of airlines such as Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines or Delta Air Lines. Please see approximate timings below for flights from London (please note that these flight timings are purely for guidance). Flights are also available from regional airports at a supplement.

Outbound: Depart: Heathrow – 1115 hrs Arrive: Washington Dulles – 1435 hrs Inbound: Depart: Washington Dulles 1855 hrs Arrive: Heathrow – 0720 hrs (following day)

Please note that your inbound flight is overnight, departing during the evening and arriving back in the UK the following morning.

Your Accommodation

We offer a choice of hotel locations to ensure that you enjoy your stay in the accommodation best suited to your students’ itinerary plans and budget. In Washington our range includes hotels such as the Holiday Inn Central/White House in downtown Washington and the Capitol Skyline Hotel, south of the National Mall. Students are accommodated on the basis of four sharing a room. Teachers are accommodated either on the basis of two sharing a room or, for a supplement, in single rooms.

Your Meals

As there are numerous places in Washington to choose from to grab breakfast, a snack for lunch, or a meal for dinner, it is easy to make your own arrangements. If however, you prefer, your Study Experiences Tours Specialist can pre-book evening meals for your group to enjoy at selected restaurants that offer good service and decent portions of quality food to suit students on a budget. Breakfast is available to pre-book at some of the hotels we use.

Your Group Size

Our prices are based on a minimum group size of 20 students.

Your Choice of Travel Dates

As our Washington trips are available throughout the year, during term time and also during half terms and holidays, you are able to select travel dates that suit you and your students.

Our most popular travel periods for student groups are during the February and October half terms and the Easter holidays. Therefore should you be planning on travelling during these periods, we recommend that you contact us to plan your tour as early as possible to ensure we still have availability for your preferred travel dates.

Your Educational Visits & Attractions

To ensure that your group make the most of their trip to Washington your Tours Specialist can arrange a wide choice of educational visits, activities and dining options.


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