Blog post written by: Sophie Lamb, Graphic Designer at Rayburn Tours.
When most people think of a tour guide, they picture someone at the helm of a group of people, microphone and flag in tow, reciting ‘on your left…’ and ‘on your right…’.
That wasn’t the case for Brighton Hill Community School.
In the last week of October, I accompanied Brighton Hill on their history trip to the Belgian battlefields. Keen to get the most out of their students, party leader Ms Humphries opted for two of Rayburn’s History Tour Guides for their insightful, detailed knowledge – but ended up getting so much more.
After 3 days with tour guides Trevor and Richard, I am converted. But make your own mind up – would you enlist the support of a History Tour Guide on your next trip?
It was clear from the start of my trip with Brighton Hill Community School, whilst navigating the White Cliffs of Dover, that these tour guides were going to add more than just their in-depth historical knowledge.
It all started with a phone call. Trevor and Richard gave party leader Ms Humphries a call before the tour to have a chat and understand exactly what the kids needed to know, as well as what she wanted them to get out of it. A great way to feel like you know each other before they hop on your coach!
Right from our first excursion, I was in awe of Trevor and Richard. Their level of knowledge and the passion they exuded was infectious. As someone who’s never been too invested in history as a subject, this was eye-opening for me – and I could see it was really sinking in with the kids. The knowledge our guides bring to these tours is so in-depth and specific, that the kids get so much more out of it.
“We might be able to talk about the Battle of the Somme, but there’s no way we would be able to point out the tree line where the tanks came over, or exactly where the gas attack took place.”
– Ms Humphries, Brighton Hill
Trevor and Richard made sure that it was a hands-on experience for the kids, getting them involved with reading headstones, interacting with old weapons and modelling WWI’s finest attire. As an outsider looking in, it was clear that making sure the kids were involved was an important aspect of the tour, as it really helped to make things more real and kept everyone focused.
And it was evident that the friendly faces of our guides took a huge stress off the teachers. It meant they could focus on their primary job for the trip – looking after the kids – whilst also learning themselves and absorbing the invaluable information.
But it wasn’t just the excursions that Trevor (or as he later became known, Uncle Trevor) and Richard were there to help with. They went above and beyond for the group, doing all of those things make life on tour so much easier.
They knew the area and the people like the backs of their hand. And getting sorted in restaurants and navigating French roadworks seemed as if it was just part of their makeup. To quote one of the teachers, ‘it made the entire trip seamless’.
Before we arrived in Belgium, Trevor described the process of the tour to me: ‘all we’re doing is moving the classroom from Basingstoke to the trenches…’. Whilst this is true, throughout the tour I realised that having a History Tour Guide offered so much more than just moving the classroom and having a new teacher for the weekend. Our guides bring a level of passion and knowledge that make it more than just reciting information, but about passing on real life experiences that stay with you even after the trip.
“Our guides bring a level of passion and knowledge that make it more than just reciting information, but about passing on real life experiences that stay with you even after the trip.”
– Sophie Lamb, Rayburn Tours
Putting the educational aspect to one side, not only do they become an integral part of the tour, but it was clear from the swarm of kids wanting photos with them as a memento; the chants being made up for them on the coach; and the tears falling from some of their eyes when we had to leave, that these guides became their friends and people they really admire and look up to.
We forget what it’s like to be 13 years old and in complete awe of someone so knowledgeable. Well, being in the presence of Trevor and Richard on my trip to the battlefields certainly made me remember.
“If anyone was thinking of going on tour without a guide, I would recommend that you don’t. Definitely take a guide.”
– Ms Humphries, Brighton Hill
Group travel specialists since 1965, Rayburn Tours is dedicated to creating tailor-made tours to the UK, Europe and beyond.
About the Author
Sophie Lamb works as a Graphic Designer at Rayburn Tours. Based at Rayburn House in Derby, her role is to create designs that inspire young people to seek new adventures, embrace new cultures and learn new skills.
Rayburn Tours is an independent, family-run business that has been dedicated to providing tailor-made, international tours for groups since 1965; specialising in Educational Trips, Ski Trips and Sports Tours for schools, as well as Concert Tours for all types of youth and adult ensembles.