After an early start on Bank Holiday Monday, Year 6 arrived at Château d’Ebblinghem. The château is set in a beautiful rural location 8km east of St Omer on the Opal Coast in northern France, just 45 minutes from the Channel Tunnel.
The children soon began exploring the grounds and enjoying a scavenger hunt. A tasty evening meal followed with lots of opportunity to try out French vocabulary!
After a hearty breakfast, the children embarked on a series of craft activities. The first of these sessions saw the children making their own packed lunch, where all sorts of interesting combinations (such as salami and sweet corn) were blended and mixed in true European fusion style.
After that, Mrs LG ran a session of poppy decorating to create a beautiful commemorative wreath to leave at the Menin Gate. The children were also treated to an informative interactive chat by the château hosts which involved genuine WW1 artefacts.
Crossing the border to Belgium, the first stop was the Langemark cemetery for fallen German soldiers. It was a time for quiet reflection as the children viewed the stone plaques and the tombs of mass graves. They then travelled to Menin Gate to lay a wreath and spend a moment of contemplation and gratitude.
After refuelling with lunch and a trip to the local chocolate shop (where some very excited shop owners were steeling themselves for the onslaught), Year 6 went to the Tyne Cot cemetery for Commonwealth soldiers. This was followed by Passchendaele museum where the children could see and experience first-hand various aspects of the Great War, including trenches, dugouts, uniforms and weapons.
After such a thought-provoking a reflective day, Wednesday was an entirely different experience. Arriving at Parc Astérix, Year 6 were determined not to be deterred by the torrential rain which greeted them. Children and staff split into groups according to the rides which most appealed to them. The ‘Fast Group’ sped off for adventure: for some, the mighty Zeus rollercoaster was their first ever ride…and they loved it! Mr Hill, Miss Patel and Mr Kelly led these intrepid daredevils, for whom no speed was too great, no corkscrew turn too terrifying and no stopping for lunch was even considered! (They chose to eat on the move!).
In the ‘Medium’ group, water rides were the general favourites – everyone started out wet from the weather and took a pride in not minding however much spray the plunging carriages collected! Miss Green spearheaded navigating expertly around the park, ably assisted by Miss Stefanowski and Mrs Simmons. Mrs Redfern took a long time to work out why she was the wettest member of staff by far – as she accompanied every ride…some three times!
Meanwhile, Mrs L-G and Mrs Carroll adopted a more decorous pace, escorting a select group around shows and retail outlets. They remained wisely dry, until a last-minute adventure on the river rapids, which ended their park day on a high! Most children met up at lunchtime, to enjoy their picnic whilst watching the dolphin and seal show. A memorable visit concluded with crepes, waffles and candy floss – don’t worry, not all three!
On their penultimate day it was a chance to try out some more French whilst shopping in Le Touquet market. A multitude of enticing options awaited: souvenirs, scarves, hats and many, many Eiffel towers, to name but a few! Local delicacies such as cheese and salami were tested by some – and multi-coloured macarons enjoyed by many!
After a picnic lunch together, group leaders made the most of Le Touquet ‘s wealth of culinary outlets, as they enjoyed treating their children to an unexpected dessert of crepes or ice cream!
On to Aqualud and an afternoon of water slides, waves and jacuzzies. Year 6 surpassed themselves, seemingly knowing no fear as they raced from one attraction to another. More than two hours later, everyone agreed the time had flown. “Best day ever”.. or at least since yesterday’s “best” one!
We wish Year 6 a safe journey home today.
A full gallery of photos is available on the French Trip site – click here.