Washington DC History Tour

Learn about the history and workings of the US Government and its institutions

white-house-view-cropped

School History and Politics Trip To Washington DC

Washington DC is a fascinating city where history and politics combine like few other. The nations principal institutions of Government are all found within a short radius of Capitol Hill and much of the city can be explored easily on foot.  Visits to the Capitol Building, the White House, the Supreme Court and the National Archives will lay the foundations for an understanding of the American political system, how it was shaped by the Founding Fathers and the Revolutionary War, and how it survived the subsequent cataclysm of Civil War. The nations military triumphs and tragedies are commemorated along the National Mall, and its heroes honoured at Arlington. Beyond the political sphere, the Smithsonian Museums offer a broad range of interests from US achievements in Air and Space to the African-American experience of slavery and the civil rights movement.

Suggested Itinerary

The itinerary featured here is intended to give you inspiration and an idea of what you could do on your tour. Your trip will be created individually by one of our travel advisors to match your requirements and budget.

Day 1

Fly to Washington DC

Fly to Washington DC: Today you fly to Washington DC. On arrival you will be met by your guide and private coach and transfer into the city to your central hotel. Dinner this evening will be arranged in a local city restaurant.

Day 2

United States Capitol Building, Library of Congress & Arlington National Cemetery

Capitol Building: This morning there will be a guided tour of the United States Capitol Building, the seat of American legislature. You begin in Emancipation Hall where you learn about the history of the building, its burning by British troops in the 1812 War, and the construction of the Rotunda which took place as the Civil War was raging around the city. You then walk through the tunnel which connects the Capitol to the Library of Congress and which houses Thomas Jefferson’s Private Library.

Arlington: After time for lunch in the Capitol visitor centre you travel by metro to Arlington National Cemetery where the US armed forces have buried their dead since the Civil War times. A walking tour visits the most important locations, include the Gravesite of President Kennedy, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and others such as the grave of Audie Murphy, one of the most decorated US soldiers of WW2.

After dinner this evening you can optionally visit the cinema or the Capital One Arena which hosts sporting and music events.

capitol-rotunda-sunset

Day 3

Ford's Theatre, African American Museum & the White House

Ford’s Theatre: This morning you visit Ford’s Theatre where President Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes-Booth at the end of the Civil War. The theatre has been preserved as it was on that fateful evening in April 1865. You can see the presidential box where Lincoln was sitting and also the evidence of the crime including the single shot pistol which was the murder weapon. The tour also includes a visit to the Petersen House across the street, where Lincoln died.

African American Museum: After time for lunch, you visit the African American Museum. There are sections which celebrate achievements in sport, music, film, literature and politics, as well as a very sobering section on slavery and the long road to Freedom from the Civil War right the way through the Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s.

White House: You can then walk to the Ellipse and President’s Park to see the White House from the South Lawn. Dinner this evening is at a city centre restaurant.

fords theatre

Day 4

Air & Space Museum and the National Mall Monuments

Air & Space Museum: This morning you visit the National Air and Space Museum. This is one of the best of the Smithsonian museums and it houses an incredible collection of artefacts from early air and space travel. Exhibits include a German V2 Rocket, an Apollo programme Lunar Module, the original Gemini space capsule used for the first space walk and numerous historic aircraft.

National Mall: After time for lunch, you explore the monuments of the National Mall. You commence at the Washington Monument and then continue to the substantial World War Two Memorial which commemorates each of the American States, and some of the leading US commanders during the War. You then walk past the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool to the Lincoln Memorial at the far end of the Mall. Either side of this you will find the Korean War Memorial and Vietnam Veterans Memorial, both very different to each other and reflecting the different attitudes to the outcome of each of these Wars.

Dinner this evening at a city centre restaurant.

lincoln memorial

Day 5

Pentagon Tour, Free Time and Fly Home

Pentagon Tour: This morning you travel by metro to the Pentagon and visit the headquarters of the US military. The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defence and the huge building is one of the world’s largest office buildings. Tours are strictly regulated and last for about an hour.

There will be free time for lunch and shopping before you transfer to the airport in Washington for your homeward flight.

washington-monument-and-lake

Day 6

Arrive Home

Your flight arrives back home today.

Excursions

capitol-rotunda-sunset

Capitol Building

african american museum

African American Museum

arlington

Arlington National Cemetery

fords theatre

Ford’s Theatre

george washington masonic monument

George Washington Masonic Monument

library of congress

Library of Congress

lincoln memorial

Lincoln Memorial

mount vernon home

Mount Vernon

air and space museum

National Air & Space Museum

national archives

National Archives

Korea-war-memorial-Washington-DC-

National Mall Monuments

white house

The White House

supreme court

US Supreme Court

washington monument

Washington Monument

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Your Financial Security

Our tours are financially protected by our ATOL Licence and your payments are held in our trust account with the Travel Trust Association

Inspection Trips

If you are planning a tour with us, we can arrange an inspection trip so you are able to familiarise yourself with the destination and conduct any risk assessments your school may require.

Support on Tour

Many tours travel with a full-time guide who will look after your group in the destination, and you will always be able to contact our UK office which is manned 24/7.

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All our tours are individually designed to your precise requirements. Contact us for a tailor-made quote.