With its endless variety of geographical features, both natural and human, London is in many ways the perfect educational travel destination for geography students. No matter what topics your class has been exploring, there will be plenty of opportunities to explore the curriculum in one of the world’s most dynamic cities – from its diverse population demographics and the variety of urban planning on display, to the city’s relationship with the mighty River Thames, to the many informative and exciting museums to choose between. It is also a fun and memorable city for young people to visit, ensuring that their learning experiences will stay in their minds long after returning to the classroom. Read on for some of the top attractions London has to offer geography students.
The River Thames
London’s most striking geographical feature is, in many ways, the reason there is a city on this site in the first place – and an investigation of the Thames and its connection to the surrounding city is bound to prove educational. Travel the river by boat, observing the structures on its banks, or observe its winding passage from above via a trip on the London Eye. There are also many ways to explore London’s great river in closer detail. Students can visit the city’s docklands and learn about the history of London as a port, or even investigate the history of the other ‘lost’ rivers of London, including the Severn, the Fleet, and the Walbrook – which once flowed into the Thames and connected far-off parts of the city to the river. Finally, the Thames Barrier provides a great setting for talking about flooding and flood management.
The excitement of the 2012 Olympics was felt across the world, but nowhere more than London. Groups visiting the city for educational travel will have the opportunity to see several sites used for the Games, including the iconic Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London. They can assess the effect of these urban developments have had on the city and beyond. This is an excellent way for educators to connect multiple topics, as the Olympics affected the city not just physically, but economically and culturally as well, with effects ranging from impact on local communities to the landscape of the city as a whole.
London may be an immense urban area, but that does not mean it isn’t also a valuable place to explore natural geography. Educational travel groups will find a wealth of natural phenomena to investigate at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, one of the world’s most impressive botanic gardens. Covering 300 acres, the gardens date from 1759 and contain the world’s biggest collection of cultivated plants, as well as a collection of millions of preserved specimens.