Two of our grandchildren have recently been on school trips. Their excitement and anticipation was infectious. The 6 year old talked about her visit to a castle for several weeks before the great event and the 8 year old became immersed in spies, codes and secret messages in preparation for learning about the work of the Special Operations Executive in World War 2.
Lucky children. I can remember going on just one outing from school, when we visited the ‘new’ Coventry Cathedral in the mid-1960s – but it has stuck in my memory as a real highlight. School trips make a lasting impression.
College trips were important too. Leisure time was limited and precious. Stonehenge was probably one of the first places chosen for outings and in those days the students would have picnicked amongst the stones. At the time of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee, students and staff travelled on charabancs to the New Forest where they enjoyed delicious feasts prepared by the cook and delivered in large hampers. A little later, we can imagine them up on Salisbury Plain and being introduced to the wonders of nature by Canon Steward, a keen naturalist.
Staff and students ventured further afield as the years moved on. Trips to concerts and lectures in London sometimes involved getting back so late that the High Street Gate was locked and the Close Constable had to be summoned.
In the 1960s I remember a musical picnic at Pepperbox Hill on a glorious summer evening. Then there were the field studies in Aberystwyth and Guernsey, a trip to the RGS with Miss Mayo and a visit to the Chilmark quarries that supplied the stone for the Cathedral.
There is something about a group outing that draws people together and makes for rich and memorable experiences. What do you remember? Where did you take your classes?