On the 18th May, 34 of our Year 3 and 4 children enjoyed a wonderful, action packed residential trip to London.
Our first port of call was Hampton Court Palace. On arrival the children participated in a 'Dressed for Court' workshop. The Tudors made excellent use of clothing to express wealth and status and this workshop enabled the children to investigate luxurious replica garments in order to understand materials, money and rank within this historical period. As part of the workshop, much to their delight, two of our children were selected to dress up in courtier outfits. After the workshop we all enjoyed a picnic lunch in the extremely fragrant and colourful Rose Garden. We were then able to explore the Palace, including the Tudor Kitchens, the Chapel Royal and Henry VIII's Great Hall. Whilst experiencing the many splendours of the Palace the children even had a face-to-face encounter with Henry VIII on the day of his marriage to Catherine Parr!
Our next stop was central London where we all enjoyed a pre-theatre dinner at Maxwell’s in Covent Garden. After dinner we walked through Covent Garden, taking in the ambiance and enjoying an encounter with Charlie Chaplin. We then walked on to the Theatre Royal where the children were thoroughly enthralled by an evening performance of ‘Shrek, The Musical’. High-lights included a 25-foot flying dragon, the dastardly Lord Farquaad and the foot-stomping, show-stopping finale of I'm a Believer'. Following the performance 34 very tired but happy children were more than ready for a good night's sleep at our hotel.
The next day, after a hearty breakfast, we enjoyed a coach tour taking in the main sights of our capital city before arriving at Westminster Abbey. At the Abbey we visited the Education Centre where we learned about the monastic foundation of the medevil abbey, its significance as the Coronation church at the heart of the nation and its important role today. We also learned about some of the 'behind the scene' preparations for the Royal Wedding. We then enjoyed a guided tour of the Abbey and, much to the surprise of the children, we were extremely privileged to have the West Exmoor Federation mentioned during the 12pm prayers. As we were visiting the Abbey just a few days after the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, we were lucky to see many of the flowers from the big occasion. One of our groups was also lucky enough to be shown into the tomb of Edward the Confessor, an area that is not usually open to the general public.
Following our trip to Westminster Abbey, we walked across Westminster Bridge and enjoyed a picnic lunch in the Jubilee Gardens. After lunch we then took a flight on the London Eye. Within the 'pod' we were joined by a guide who was able to point out important landmarks and give an insight into the technology process that went into creating the London Eye. All too soon, the flight was over and after an ice-cream treat provided by Lee and Conner to celebrate their birthday, it was time for us to wend our way back to North Devon.
The trip was a great success and shows the federation at its very best; namely providing our children with wonderful enrichment opportunities that support and inspire their learning and social development. The children’s behaviour was exemplary and this was commented upon by the hotel and tour operator – they were a credit to themselves, their families and the federation.