SOL has developed its programme of activities based on years of experience gained from welcoming hundreds of groups and is different to what other organisations offer. Foreign students coming to England are often provided with programmes that are self-catered, which does not enhance their language skills in English at all.
We believe the quality of SOL’s programmes sets us apart from traditional language schools and we do not claim to be one. We pride ourselves in providing a trips programme that is high on quality and provides students with an enjoyable mix of observation, fieldwork, research and cultural experiences which also give them a great deal of confidence in using English.
We will prepare pre-course materials for the teachers to use with their students before arriving. Audio recordings and their transcripts may be given to teachers to take back so that they can continue to develop work in their own class with the native English dialogues they have experienced in England.
On a SOL programme students get an experience that combines the Atlantic Ocean, beautiful beaches, the traditional friendliness of local towns and their people not forgetting the magic of numerous historical West Country attractions.
Students get to interview local people and experience many things new to them – this could include visiting a lifeboat, a castle, a manor house, a farm, a private village, a cathedral, a fishing port, a naval dockyard, having a boat trip on the sea. On each visit students will have observational, fieldwork or research tasks to do which will be followed up afterwards.
Here is a list of some of the places which may be included in a SOL programme:
Woolacombe & Ilfracombe – Woolacombe is seaside resort with arguably the best beach in Britain, 4km long with wonderful views out to Lundy Island. The town of Ilfracombe dates back to a Bronze Age settlement and was one of the first places in Britain to attract tourists. Ilfracombe has a picturesque harbour with the new controversial statue of Verity standing 20 metres high on the quay, and numerous souvenir shops!
Lynton & Lynmouth – For groups wanting to enjoy the beauty of the North Devon coast and countryside then this will be hard to beat. From spectacular cliff scenery to deep wooded river valleys, Lynton & Lynmouth are truly beautiful. The area is famous for its 117 year old Cliff Railway. This amazing water-powered railway transports thousands every month between the coastal town of Lynmouth and its twin, Lynton above.
Exeter The county town of Devon with much historical interest dating back to Roman times. Exeter has a magnificent cathedral, a wonderful child-centred museum, many old and interesting shops and has the oldest canal in Britain linking it to the sea. Several places of interest are easy to visit on foot.
Teignmouth – Small typical English Victorian seaside resort on the South Devon Coast and at the estuary of the river Teign. It has a pleasant sea front with a sandy beach and Victorian pier. This trip will include a train ride from Exeter along one of the most spectacular stretches of railway in the UK and is set between the red cliffs and the sea.
Torbay & Brixham – Visit the English Riviera, home of Agatha Christie. From Torquay take a 30 minute boat trip across the bay to Brixham harbour and experience the bustle of one of Britain’s busiest fishing ports. If there is time a walk to magnificent Berry Head with its Napoleonic fort and environmental centre with TV cameras showing the birds nesting on the cliffs below.
Clovelly – A unique picturesque and historic coastal village, privately owned, with one main narrow cobbled street and traditional whitewashed cottages, set into a steep hillside overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. (Tintagel is too far for Tiverton based groups.)
Tintagel – A popular trip for groups due to its spectacular coastal scenery as well as the legend of King Arthur. Tintagel Castle is set on the wild Atlantic coastline with ruins of a medieval royal castle reputed to be King Arthur’s birthplace. (Tintagel is too far for Tiverton based groups.)
Dunster – Regarded as the jewel of Exmoor, is a beautiful well-kept village set below the very impressive and historical Dunster Castle. This dates back to 1066 and has a very interesting tour for the students as well as a beautiful garden and wonderful views over the Bristol Channel.
Torrington – Torrington is home to the famous Dartington Glass Factory and largest glass shop in the UK. It is an excellent education venue where you can discover the fascinating history of the company and experience the age old skills of glass making from Romans times to present day.
Appledore – A village full of colour and character and tiny streets at the mouth of the Torridge river, but also containing an interesting maritime museum documenting how important North Devon was in the 16th and 17th centuries as a trading and emigration centre with the Atlantic offering passages to America and western Europe. It also has a lifeboat station and it is often possible to arrange a talk with one of the volunteers
Eden Project - Dubbed the Eighth Wonder of the World by some, the Eden Project is a dramatic global garden housed in tropical biomes that nestle in a crater the size of 30 football pitches. More than just a huge, tropical garden, Eden is a gateway into the relationships between plants and people, and a fascinating insight into the story of mankind's dependence on plant life. Not only a mind-blowing visitor attraction but is also fast becoming a unique resource for education and knowledge towards a sustainable future.
Experience the sights, smells and scale of the rainforests in the Rainforest Biome - the world's largest greenhouse - and discover the tropical plants that are used to produce everyday products.
Arlington Court is an unexpected jewel on the edge of Exmoor, a complete family estate held by the Chichester family for over five hundred years. The collection consists of treasures for all tastes, from model ships to shells, collected over several generations. The house itself, built in 1823 and extended in 1860, has an austere facade.However, inside the cosy rooms purvey a homely, family atmosphere.
The Carriage Museum in the stables has a vehicle for every occasion from cradle to grave. Currently on loan from the Houses of Parliament is the Speaker’s State Coach, a glorious,gilded carriage with over 300 years of history.
At Exmoor Zoo, activities run throughout the day (every half hour in summer), meet a bird-eating spider, hold a snake or feed wallabies), meet some of the zoos friendly furry animals and go to all the talks and feeding sessions! Home to the “Exmoor Beast” (a pair of black leopards), Puma, Cheetah, Maned wolves, monkeys and lots of other unusual animals like Tamandua, Fishing cats, Tapir, Singing dogs and Binturong to just name a few! The zoo is a living place with changes all the time; no visit is ever quite the same.
South Dartmoor – Our Tiverton based groups get a special trip of their own to Haytor and Widecombe. Haytor is a granite outcrop on Dartmoor, with spectacular views in all directions. Widecombe is a lovely village tucked in the bottom of a deep valley on the moor and renowned for Widecombe Fair, which has a very famous song of the same title. On the way, students may also have an hour long visit to The House of Marbles, which is home to a working glass-blowing studio.