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School Trips & Tours to Christmas Markets

School Trips & Tours to Christmas Markets

Throughout Europe, advent is characterised by Christmas markets springing up in many of the major cities across the continent. Both a cultural tradition and a fun opportunity for students to practise their language skills, school trips to Christmas markets allow pupils to interact with locals and their fellow students. We provide the following Christmas school trips.

I am absolutely and happily going to use and recommend WST again. Your customer service throughout has been great, your communication and speed of response was also brilliant, thank you for making the organisation of both trips as pain free as possible, you could not have done more to support us.

Bolingbroke Academy, Lille and Aachen, December 2013

Lille 

Lille

A picturesque city in northern France, Lille sits not far from the Belgian boarder and has influences from both cultures. Lille Christmas Market has a wealth of festive foods, arts and crafts, and even a Ferris wheel, offering students plenty of chances to hone their French speaking and listening skills. If you can tear yourselves away from the French winter wonderland, there’re a few other great things to see and do in Lille! Here are our top picks.

Top Attraction 

Lille Museum

The Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille is one of the largest museums in France and was created by French political and military leader Napoleon at the start of the 19th century. Established to popularise art, the museum has the second largest collection in France and boasts paintings and sculptures by the likes of Raphael, Donatello, Rembrandt and Chardin.  

Local Cuisine

Being located in the French Flanders, Lille’s cuisine has both French and Flemish influences, resulting in a delicious concoction of flavours. One of the most popular local dishes is carbonade flamande, which is made from tender beef stewed in beer over a few hours. Another favourite is waterzoï, a fillet of either fish or chicken stewed in a creamy sauce. For those of you with more of a sweet tooth, make sure you pick up a few macarons during your trip!

Useful Phrases

When exploring the Christmas markets in Lille, there are certain phrases you’ll need time and time again. To help you out, here are a few French translations that are bound to come in handy.

  1. How much does that cost? - Combien ça coûte?
  2. Excuse me, where are the toilets? - Excusez-moi, où sont les toilettes?
  3. Please could I have the bill? - L’addition, s’il vous plaît.

Aachen 

Aachen

Situated not far from the boarders of both Belgium and the Netherlands, Aachen is the westernmost city in Germany. Once the residence of Charlemagne, Emperor of Western Europe during the end of the first century, and later the coronation location for German kings, Aachen boasts both an incredible history and some magnificent buildings. The Aachen Christmas market is set around the city’s cathedral and town hall, with numerous festive stalls for students to explore. The Aachen Christmas Market is famous for its Aachen Printen, a delicious variety of gingerbread which we definitely recommend you try!

Top Attraction 

Aachen Cathedral

If you spend any time away from the Christmas market, one of the best activities to do in Aachen is paying a visit to the city’s historic cathedral. The oldest cathedral in northern Europe, the building was constructed by Charlemagne who was buried there back in 814. The beautiful cathedral was also the church of coronation for many German kings and queens for almost 600 hundred years. Today, you can wander through the holy building and marvel at its opulent architecture.

Local Cuisine

As previously mentioned, when visiting Aachen, you have to sample the Aachen Printen, a spicy gingerbread flavoured with cinnamon, allspice, cloves, aniseed, cardamom, coriander and, of course, ginger, which has been part of the city’s identity for 500 years.

If you’re more partial to savoury snacks however, why not try the more typically German schnitzel, a thin, boneless cutlet of meat covered in breadcrumbs. Wiener schnitzel is particularly popular, which is the pork variety.

Useful Phrases

Wandering through the Christmas markets is sure to test any student’s German, throwing up multiple communication challenges as you explore. To give you a head start, here are a few useful phrases to memorise before you get distracted by the festive fun.

  1. How much is that please? - Wieviel ist das bitte?
  2. Do you have change? - Hast du Kleingeld?
  3. Excuse me, do you know the way to… - Entschuldigen Sie, kennen Sie den Weg zu…

Cologne 

Cologne

With Cologne being the fourth largest city in Germany, the city’s Christmas markets are truly spectacular. Boasting seven markets in total, the festivities sprawl right across the city. However, our favourite markets can be found at the base of Cologne’s magnificent cathedral, offering a wide variety of German delicacies and crafts to sift through, as well as boasting the largest Christmas tree in the Rhineland.  

Top Attraction 

Cologne Cathedral

Dominating the city’s skyline, Cologne Cathedral is the most visited landmark in Germany. Also known as the High Cathedral of Saints Peter and Mary, the Roman Catholic building is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne and is both a beautiful and formidable structure. The gothic cathedral’s two giant spires give the cathedral the largest church façade in world, and climbing to the top of one of the spires (if you’re up for a challenge) will reward you with breath-taking views out over the city.

Local Cuisine

With Cologne further from the country’s border than Aachen, the dishes in Cologne are just what you’d expect in Germany: hearty, meaty and delicious. Although many of the traditional favourites will probably skyrocket your calorie intake, a few of them are definitely worth sampling.

Our top three must-try dishes in Cologne are: schnitzel (again), but served with chips and covered in melted cheese; schweinshaxe, crispy pork knuckle served with potato dumplings; and a long bratwurst, a traditional German hotdog covered in sauce.

Useful Phrases

Since the Cologne Christmas markets are a tad bigger than those in Lille and Aachen, you may be in need of a few extra German phrases. Here are a few extra sentences that may come in handy during your trip.

  1. Excuse me, where are the toilets? - Entschuldigung, wo sind die Toiletten?
  2. Please can you help me find... - Bitte können Sie mir helfen ...
  3. One hot chocolate please. - Eine heiße Schokolade bitte.