A school trip to Cern is one that your pupils will talk about for many years to come and remember for a lifetime. This cutting edge science laboratory, home to the famous Large Hadron Collider, has long been a place of intrigue and mystery and a visit will leave you with endless scope for ongoing discussion in the classroom. |
Tips on How to Visit the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)
Normally you can only visit the above ground facilities in Cern; the LHC is located underground and away from public viewing. That said, there are times when they shut the collider down and open the underground section to visitors. If you don’t manage to organise your school trip to Cern at one of these times, you don’t need to worry, as there is lots more to see all year round.
Visiting the LHC
If you’re really keen to give your pupils the chance to see the LHC, you need to look out for Extended Year-End Technical Stop (EYETS) dates, as it is at these times that the facilities underground are open for guided tours. These dates are usually scheduled just before Christmas.
Tours are available to book six days a week. The site is always closed on Sundays and certain holidays as well, so it is always advisable to check in advance.
The site is located on the France-Swiss border and guides therefore speak in French and English. In fact, there are actually more tours available in English so there is plenty of choice with times and dates.
The tours are free but it is important to book well in advance, especially if you are on a school trip to Cern. You can book up to 15 days ahead of the date you want to go, but they fill up quickly so you need to be organised with your planning.
You are allowed to book a group tour that accommodates up to 48 people.
Specific School Tours
The great news for teachers is that school excursions can be requested specifically for your class. They last half a day and are aimed at offering an age appropriate educational experience. The tours are not advised for children under 13 years of age. Some school groups get the chance to do some experiments on these organised days too.
General Advice for Visiting Cern
It is a good idea to get your students to wear closed-toe sturdy shoes. They also need to be flat and comfortable. You will need to remember to bring passports with you as the building is in both France and Switzerland. Advise your students that rucksacks are allowed but nothing bigger. Cameras and small handbags are fine. Arrive 20 minutes ahead of time to get checked in and be ready to start on time. Students need to behave appropriately. They need to be quiet and listen carefully to safety instructions.
The best way to make the most of a school trip to Cern is to book through a reputable travel operator that specialises in educational excursions. They can then organise the logistical side of your visit, leaving you free to promote the trip and get your class excited about what they will experience.
John Gardiner is the Managing Director of The School Travel Company, a tour operator specialising in educational trips in destinations all over the world. Whether you’d like to organise a school trip to Cern, exciting tours around North America or day trips in the UK, this company will work with you to design bespoke outings to suit the needs of your students.
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