Iceland: A School Trip to Remember for Rydal Penrhos Pupils
September 28, 2023

At Rydal Penrhos, we believe in providing our pupils with experiences that go beyond the classroom, broadening their horizons and enriching their lives. Recently, a group of our adventurous pupils embarked on a journey of a lifetime to the stunning and otherworldly landscapes of Iceland, a trip that combined both adventure and education in equal measure.

Touching Down in Reykjavik

The journey began with an early morning flight to Reykjavik, where our pupils touched down at Reykjavik airport. Waiting to welcome them was an experienced tour guide who would accompany them on their Icelandic adventure. The day kicked off with a scenic drive along the Reykjanes Peninsula, offering our pupils their first glimpse of the extraordinary Icelandic landscapes.

As they ventured along the Peninsula, they made stops at two remarkable landmarks: the Reykjanes Lighthouse and The Bridge Between Continents at Sandvík. The Reykjanes Lighthouse, perched on the rugged coastline, not only serves as a beacon for sailors but also provided our pupils with breathtaking views of the North Atlantic Ocean. The Bridge Between Continents, on the other hand, showcased Iceland’s unique geological position. This small footbridge spans a significant fissure on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, one of the world’s major plate boundaries, offering a tangible connection between two tectonic plates.

The Blue Lagoon

The highlight of the day was undoubtedly the visit of the Rydal Penrhos group to the Blue Lagoon, one of Iceland’s most famous tourist attractions. This otherworldly geothermal spa, surrounded by lava fields, offered our pupils a unique opportunity to soak in the rejuvenating waters while taking in the surreal surroundings.

Science and Geography enthusiasts among our pupils were particularly enthralled by the geological significance of the Blue Lagoon, a living testament to Iceland’s volcanic and geothermal activity. Formed by the outflow of a nearby geothermal power plant, the lagoon’s vibrant blue waters are rich in silica and minerals, known for their healing properties. Luckily enough, the group were provided with complimentary mud masks to make the most of the water’s rejuvenating powers!

Exploring Reykjavik

On the second day, our pupils were joined by a local guide for a Reykjavik sightseeing tour. This city, the capital of Iceland, has a rich history and vibrant culture. Our pupils explored many attractions in and around the city centre. These included:

  • The Perlan Centre – known for its distinctive glass dome, offering panoramic views of the city and surrounding landscapes. It also houses the Wonders of Iceland exhibition, providing an immersive experience of the country’s natural wonders.
  • Reykjavik City Hall – a hub of civic life, showcasing interactive exhibits and information about the city’s history and development.
  • Hallgrimskirkja Church – an iconic landmark with its striking architecture and an impressive view from its tower.
  • Laugardalur valley – a green oasis in the heart of the city, known for its hot pools and recreational facilities.

The Golden Circle

Friday was the group’s ‘Golden Circle Day’, which saw them visit some of Iceland’s most stunning sights, including Gullfoss waterfall, where the mighty Hvítá River plunges into a canyon, and Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here, our pupils witnessed the impressive Silfra Fissure, a visible crack between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. This geological wonder is a living laboratory for understanding the Earth’s processes.

Particularly valuable for our pupils’ studies in Science and Geography were visits to Fridheimar Greenhouse Cultivation Center, where the farm harnesses geothermal energy and uses artificial lights and a climate-control system to grow tomatoes and other vegetables all year round, and Hellisheidi Power Plant, the eighth-largest geothermal power station in the world and largest in Iceland.

South Shore Adventure

The adventure continued with a journey along Iceland’s breathtaking South Shore. Rydal Penrhos pupils explored a series of remarkable natural wonders, including:

  • Kerid Crater, a stunning volcanic crater lake.
  • Seljalandfoss waterfall, where they could walk behind the cascading water curtain.
  • Skogar waterfall, known for its sheer power and beauty.
  • Solheimajokull Glacier, an up-close encounter with glacial ice.
  • Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, with its dramatic basalt columns and towering cliffs.
  • The Lava Centre, an educational hub explaining Iceland’s volcanic geology.

We would like to thank all the dedicated teachers and staff who made this unforgettable trip possible. It is experiences like these that shape our pupils’ worldview, inspire their curiosity, and foster a lifelong love for learning. We look forward to more great school trips over the academic year ahead.