History Study Trips to Poland

Curriculum Themes

Post War Recovery

The Holocaust



Why Poland?

From beaches to ski slopes, and culture to history, Poland is a unique History study trip destination. Krakow Old Town was one of the first ever urban towns to become a UNESCO heritage site, and it isn’t hard to see why. Mazes of cobbled alleys, historic merchant houses and huge squares edged by medieval churches and ancient buildings. Just south of Old Town is Kazimierz, the Jewish Quarter. Steeped in history, this seemingly crumbling area is a hub of local life. A city tour here will include entrance to the synagogue; a place of worship and hope for local Jewish people for over 100 years.

Building hope from History

Poland was one of the worst affected areas of the Holocaust. The location of the harrowing Auschwitz Concentration Camp, and the home of Oskar Schindler, Krakow is the best place to see the real effects the Nazi regime had on the population. The city shows visitors explicitly the affect the atrocities had on the country and its people. However, it is also a place of hope. From great adversity came great strength and this city is a testament to that.

A 4-hour drive away from Krakow is Poland’s capital, Warsaw. A walk around this broad city demonstrates its turbulent history. It was once named one of the most beautiful cities in the world, until 85% of its buildings were destroyed in WWII. Not letting it beat them, the city rebuilt itself. As a result, the architecture is a jumble of gothic palaces, modern offices and communist concrete blocks; a visual display of how the city has changed. A city tour here will explore the effects WWII and communism have had, and how that has shaped what it has become. It also celebrates the successes of its people. A visit to the Marie Curie Museum explores how this Nobel Prize-winning trailblazer, conducted her research on radioactivity and its ability to treat cancer.

What to do in Poland?

There are so many activities for students to enhance and enrich their History studies. Here we have some excursions we can include in a bespoke itinerary.

Also known as the historic museum of Krakow, this is one of the most chilling exhibits in the city. Housed in what was a Gestapo headquarters, tours of the museum take you into cells that were used as detention centres. It also explores the terror of Nazi and Communist regimes. A memorable experience that really hits hard on what people had to go through.
A guided tour of this beautiful city will explore the Old Town and talks students through the history of its sights. Including entrances to St Mary’s Church, Royal Tombs, Sigismund’s Bell and the Royal Route. It also includes Royal Wawel Castle, the place ruthless Nazi dictator Hans Frank made his HQ and marched SS troops through the courtyards
Kazimierz is the former Jewish Quarter of Krakow. It was systematically destroyed during the war, but now it is a bustling and exciting district. It is the only place in Europe to convey pre- war Jewish life, as well as embracing modern Jewish culture. A guided tour will explain how locals rebuilt the area as well as visiting the synagogue.
Located in Kazimierz, this photo exhibition documents the remnants of Jewish culture and commemorates the victims of the holocaust. Its main aim is to challenge the stereotypes of Jewish history whilst encouraging visitors to think about the future and not let history define them. Educational programmes are available which include meetings with real survivors of the holocaust.
The Salt Mine is one of Poland’s most valuable monuments. It contains an amazing 12 items on the UNESCO list and you can see amazing chambers carved in the rock salt. There are unique statues in the salt and surround magnificent saline lakes. After exploring the underground mines, you will have lunch 125 metres below ground level, sampling typical Polish cuisine.

Oskar Schindler’s Enamelled Goods Factory, is now home to permanent exhibition covering its employees’ lives between 1939-1945. Individual stories are depicted with photo, video, real artefacts and multimedia installations. Hosting other exhibitions exploring different areas of the Jewish genocide and Polish revival, this museum is one of the most fascinating.
The Vistula River runs through the city and is a great way to see the sights from another perspective. There are lots of different cruises available all year round, with open air for the summer, and enclosed ships in the winter.
As Jewish culture contributes so much to Polish lives, why not have a meal in a traditional Kosher restaurant. With delicious offerings such as onion soup, gefilte fish and borsch, this will be a new culinary experience you won’t forget.
The building housing this Museum is the original birthplace of Nobel Prize-winning scientist Marie Curie. Exhibiting personal items, letters and a recreation of her research laboratory, visitors are shown what life was really like for this pioneering woman.
This interactive museum buried beneath the market square, uses holograms and projectors to take the visitors back 700 years. Recreating the atmosphere of Krakow from years gone by, this really demonstrates how the skyline of the city has changed through history
The location of some of the biggest atrocities in recent history, Auschwitz Birkenau is open to the public to demonstrate what victims of the holocaust went through. A tour given over the course of a full day or half a day, visitors to the concentration and extermination camp will experience the conditions in which people were forced to live in. A very sobering and poignant memorial to the 1.1 million people who lost their lives here.
Enjoy a Polish folklore evening, sampling Polish delicacies and local dishes, whilst enjoying a traditional Polish dancing show, and maybe even join in!
Warsaw is a city of regeneration. Having been all but destroyed in WWII, the city is an eclectic mix of old meets new. This guided tour is dedicated to the WWII and Communism. Including the Royal Route and Old Town, it visits the Holocaust places like Warsaw ghetto and Ghetto Uprising. There is also a talk about Colonel Kuklinski who risked his life and the safety of his family to protect Poland from the Soviets during the Cold War by spying for the United States.
This Museum is a tribute to those who fought and died for Poland’s freedom. It demonstrates the struggle of everyday life before and during the Warsaw uprising. It also explores the occupation, post-war communist terror and the fate of the insurgents.

Winner of European Museum of the Year 2016, this state of the art building houses the 1000-year history of Polish Jews. How did Poland become home of the largest Jewish community in the world? How is Jewish life being revived? All these questions are answered by artefacts, paintings, installations, video and sound.

Sample Itineraries

Below are some sample itineraries for a History study trip to Poland. All itineraries can be tailored your students needs.

Day 1: Arrive & check-in. Krakow City Tour. Underground Museum. Dinner in hotel Day 2: Guided Tour of Kazimierz. Schindler’s Factory. Folklore Evening with dinner. Day 3: Auschwitz Birkenau Museum. Galicja Museum. Dinner in Hotel. Day 4: Check Out. Wieliczka Salt Mines. Lunch in Underground Restaurant. Departure from Krakow Airport.
Day 1: Arrive in Krakow. Guided Tour of Kazimierz. Schindler’s Factory. Dinner in Accommodation. Day 2:  Auschwitz Birkenau Museum. Galicja Museum. Dinner in Hotel. Day 3: Wieliczka Salt Mines. Lunch in Underground Restaurant. Transfer to Warsaw. Day 4: Guided WW2 and communism city tour. Warsaw Rising Museum. Departure from Warsaw Airport.

Getting there

The quickest way to get to the cities of Poland is by flying. Using low cost airlines, we can get you there from almost anywhere in the UK. There is also the option of hiring a coach to drive you over the continent. We can arrange travel to and from the school gates including both coaching and ferry crossings. We will tailor travel arrangements to any group’s requirements.

Where to Stay

Hotel Astoria This 3* hotel is situated in the heart of the Jewish Quarter. Offering buffet breakfasts, packed lunches and dinner options in the dining area, this hotel caters for all requirements. The Internet is available in social areas and it is fully adapted for wheelchair access.

Hotel Wyspianski Centrally Located in Krakow, this hotel is perfect for groups with a busy itinerary. It offers a fantastic breakfast buffet as well as additional options such as packed lunches, dinners, free WI-FI and meeting rooms. It is also fully adapted for those in wheelchairs or with special access requirements.


Maybe flowers in the classic room #hotelkrakow #hotelroom   A post shared by Hotel Wyspianski (@hotelwyspianski) on

When to visit Poland?

Poland can be visited any time of the year.

Our recommendations

Read about where other groups have been to on their study trips here:

The Chase School: Geography Trip to Morocco

Lawrence Sheriff School: Modern Foreign Languages Trip to Cologne

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