Schools and Youth Groups

Educational Adventure Voyages for Schools and Youth Groups

The Trust has enjoyed a long term association with many schools nationwide who annually send their children to Thalatta for the unique experience of ‘5 days in another world’. This regular return of children of a given age (9 to 16) demonstrates the value schools – and the parents – place on the unique experiences provided in a safe, but challenging, environment. Children leave Thalatta enriched with enhanced values of teamwork, loyalty and trust and, over the years, many have said how their outlook on life was fundamentally revised by the care and encouragement of Thalatta’s crew.

Trips last up to 5 days and normally explore the East Coast of Essex and Suffolk by going to sea and anchoring overnight in one of the many rivers and estuaries available. The new crew boards Thalatta – often at Ipswich Haven Marina or The Hythe, Maldon, and are straight away given an introductory talk explaining the ‘rules of the ship’ and safety instructions. From that point on ship routine entails sailing the vessel, using the dinghies, learning about wildlife, food preparation in the galley, writing up the log and many other activities.

A maximum of 12 from the school, including teachers, can be accommodated which means each can receive personal attention and guidance. Log books compiled by children over the last 50 years make fascinating reading, and copies of entries can be provided to present-day adults who recall their happy cruises as a child.

For schools wishing to take away more than 12, a second barge can be booked for the same week to accommodate another 12 children and teacher. Alternatively some schools choose to book Thalatta for two consecutive weeks. 

Links with Learning


Team working to achieve goals

Personal responsibility for tasks

Overcoming fears

Supporting others

Personal safety and safety of others

Living and sharing with other people

Time to reflect

Appreciation of the beauty and power of nature and how humans fit in to the wider world


Magnetism, use of compass & navigation

Pressures in fluids & atmosphere – tides, winds

Transfer of energy – sail power, windfarms.

Motion & forces – journey speed, changes in direction

Engineering – use of winches and pulleys to lift large loads such as sails, anchors and leeboards


Tide Calculations

Use of maps and charts

Working out ratios


The geographical features of the East Coast

Using maps & charts


Grid References

Weather, understanding the shipping forecast

Climate change and it’s effect on the East Coast


Daily Log Book entries

Learning new terminology

Discovering the nautical origins of numerous everyday words

Reading and discussing an ‘old Barger’s’ account of working on a Thames Barge

Art, Design & Technology

Art – capturing the seascapes and wildlife

Design – the design of sailing boats and the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of rig

Technology – exploring the modern maritime equipment used on the barge


Britain – the first industrial nation, through the movement of goods by sea

London & the East Coast – the centre of trade, due to sailing ships and Thames Barges like Thalatta

Thalatta – over 100 years of history, having been built in 1906, survived two world wars and many years of trading around the East Coast and to the continent. 

During the last 50 years of Thalatta taking children to sea – how has the world changed in that time?

What we do…

5 Day Trips

We have been running 5-day trips for school groups for over 50 years! 5 days and 4 nights onboard give children the best and most immersive experience of living onboard Thalatta.

2 to 4 Day Trips

We understand that not all schools and groups can manage a trip as long as 5 days. So at certain times of the season it is possible to book Thalatta for shorter trips of 4, 3 or 2 days.

Day Sails

For a short taster of what we can offer, Thalatta can be booked for a single day. Ideal for groups wishing to ‘try us out’ before committing to a longer trip. 

How to book…

All sailings are from Monday to Friday inclusive, normally from Ipswich, unless the booking is for a shorter cruise, weekend or day-sail.

Your Group: Up to 11 children of either boys, girls or a mixed group, aged 9 and over. All children are to be supervised and accompanied by a responsible leader. Please remember that we are limited by licence to a total of 12 including leaders. Please note, Thalatta is not suitable for those with severe behavioural problems.

Our volunteers are often out sailing or doing other things so we ask you initially to please contact us through our email address and we will then contact you directly to discuss your requirements, rates and available dates. Whenever possible, we try our utmost to meet any special requirements you may have.


What the schools say…

  • Aboard Thalatta these young people begin to understand that it is not enough to simply co-exist and put up with others but to recognise and value independance, gain increased self esteem through the reaslisation of self worth and grow in confidence.

    Hunters Hill College
  • It was wonderful to see the change in the pupils as the week progressed; watching them develop, gain in self-confidence and learn to pull together as a team was in itself very rewarding. Log entries and letters of thanks to the crew are testimony to their enjoyment and gratitude at having experienced something very different.

    Northgate High School
  • The importance of trips of this type for our pupils is hard to quantify. It is more than just a holiday. Though our pupils are young, they all have special challenges to cope with. Thalatta provides peace where the stresses of their lives slowly seeped from them.

    St. Christopher School
  • A week aboard Thalatta provides not only the opportunity for these damaged young people to learn, at their own level, about topics such as navigation, tides and wildlife, but also and perhaps more importantly they soon appreciate that if their week is to be a success they must work collaboratively and in co-operation with other members of a team and this arguably is the most important life skill.

    Kingsdon Manor School