Anyone studying international relations, modern history or politics will be well acquainted with the political or military/strategic aspects associated with major global conflict such as WWII, and the Cold War through the decades. But to what extent has intelligence and espionage contributed to these events? The short answer: a lot!

THE INTELLIGENCE TRAIL therefore offers students the opportunity to understand how intelligence (and treachery) has affected world events over the last century, in the worlds of MI5 and MI6.



With several tour options available, you have the opportunity to learn about some of the following examples:

The MI6 officer who not only made Oskar Schindler look relatively ‘amateurish’ when it came to helping German-based Jews escape from the Nazis, but whose invaluable tradecraft helped the British prepare for conflict with Nazi Germany (and arguably help save the country).

Cold War triumphs and tragedies

The insight provided by MI6’s star double agent in the KGB who arguably helped prevent WWII in the early 1980’s

The use/misuse of intelligence in foreign policy decision making

The challenges and issues faced by modern day MI5 and MI6

The relationship between the intelligence services and UK politics/politicians over the years


Because there’s no shortage of factual, relevant content on each tour, it’s ideal for gaining a different perspective of what’s happened over the years, walking past the buildings and locations where intelligence history has been made. Being ‘on location’ offers something that little bit extra that simply can’t be equalled in the seminar room.

But although the tour content provides much food (some of it rather sobering) for thought, there is the odd comical, surreal moment as well. In other words, it should be similar to the perfect lecture!

It’s a great way to get new students interacting with one another, so why not organise a tour for the first few weeks of the new term? It’s also a gentler way of getting returning students back into the academic ‘swing of things’ after the holidays. Alternatively, it’s the perfect tonic halfway through the academic term: providing some fresh air as well as a valuable learning experience.



Although the ‘Trail attracts a variety of people - diplomats, military/security personnel, civil servants, intelligence enthusiasts - it also attracts its fair share of undergraduate and postgraduate degree students studying history, international relations, intelligence studies and politics. Students have come from leading UK universities including: Brunel University Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, Aberystwyth University Department of International Politics, Exeter University, Swansea University.



Organising a student group tour is simple. Just get in touch with the ‘Trail (contact details available at the bottom of each page) with the relevant details, and you’ll get a prompt response.