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Lest we forget, this sobering journey through the battlefields of WWI and WWII reminds us of the millions of lives lost in these 20th century conflicts. Explore the poignant moments of the Battle of Britain, D-Day Landing, infamous Somme and Operation Market Garden immortalised forever in the museums, memorials and cemeteries that dot the French, Belgian and Dutch countrysides.
After checking in at your hotel, why not explore the city of London? Whether you stroll through one of the Royal Parks, shop in the vibrant West End or visit one of the world-famous historical attractions, London has plenty to keep you entertained. Later meet with your Travel Director and fellow companions for a traditional English pub Welcome Reception. (WR)
See Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace on your half day introductory sightseeing tour with a Local Specialist. This afternoon travel to the Imperial War Museum which tells the stories of those whose lives were shaped by war from the First World War to the present day. You will see among other items a Spitfire that saw action in the Battle of Britain. Later you will have free time in the city or you may decide to visit the Tower of London and take a cruise along the Thames. (FB)
Today leave the bustle of London and head south to Portsmouth. Stop at the fascinating Historic Dockyard and visit HMS Monitor M33, the Royal Navy’s sole surviving warship from the 1915 Gallipoli Campaign and the only warship from World War I open to the public of the three that remain intact today. Learn about the ships’ fascinating history from its 69 years in service, including the Dardanelles Campaign of 1915-16, the Russian Civil War and its work as a mine-laying training ship in Portsmouth. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure to explore this fascinating area which highlights the Royal Navy’s past before dining at a local restaurant this evening. Tonight board an overnight ferry to France. (FB, RM)
Disembark from the ferry this morning after an early breakfast. Travel to the historic D-Day Normandy landing beaches and learn about British, Commonwealth and American involvement. The beaches and memorials are a moving testament to the Allied Soldiers of WWII. Later visit Bayeux Cemetery and museum and see the famous Bayeux Tapestry. (BB)
This morning visit the Memorial de Caen. Learn about the significance of Normandy and receive a souvenir D-Day Landing beach booklet. Travel to Amiens and visit the cathedral that was built between 1220 and 1270 and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the First World War this town was liberated by British, Canadian and Australian forces which ultimately led to the armistice of 11 November 1918. (BB, DW)
After an early start visit some of the Somme Battlefields. Stop at Thiepval to see the poignant memorial which honours the 72,191 missing British and South African men who died with no graves. Visit Delville Wood (Devils Wood) where the South African Brigade suffered substantial losses. Later arrive in Paris for a two-night stay. (BB)
This morning your Local Specialist reveals not just where, but how real Parisians live and shop, showing you the enchanting hidden squares and secret passages of one of Paris’ oldest historical neighbourhoods. This short insider walk finishes at one of Paris’s loveliest squares, little known to outsiders, but a real favourite of the locals. Ascend to the second level of the Eiffel Tower and see the city in all its glory. Spend the rest of the day seeing the sights of your choice. This afternoon consider an Optional Experience to the Palace of Versailles. You might like to round off your day by attending a performance at a famous Parisian cabaret. (BB)
Visit the memorial at Vimy Ridge dedicated to the Canadian soldiers who died during the First World War. An included visit to La Coupole World War II Museum will give a Cultural Insight into why this old German Bunker could have changed the outcome of the war as well as the course of European history. Later in Fromelles see where there was a combined operation between British troops and the Australian Imperial Force. (BB, DW)
Visit the Ypres Salient and see sites such as Tyne Cot, Langemark and Vancouver Corner. Stop in Passchendaele where you have an included visit to The Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917, here you can see a replica trench. See Essex Farm Cemetery where Lt. Col. John McCrea wrote the immortal poem – ‘In Flanders Fields’. Have free time for an early dinner before making your way to the Menin Gate to witness The Last Post Ceremony at 8.00pm. Return later to your hotel. (BB)
This morning travel across Belgium into The Netherlands and stop at Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery and Memorial. The cemetery contains the remains of over 2,000 Canadian soldiers who lost their lives in World War II. Continue on to visit the National Liberation Museum 1944-1945. You will have time to visit the permanent and temporary exhibitions before coffee or tea with a special ‘liberation cake’. Later visit Arnhem. In World War II during Operation Market Garden (September 1944), the British 1st Airborne Division and the Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade were given the task of securing the bridge at Arnhem. The events that took place were dramatised in the 1977 movie ‘A Bridge Too Far’. Finally arrive in Amsterdam for a two-night stay. (BB)
Start your day with an orientation featuring the Mint Tower, Dam Square and Museum Square. Later visit the town of Volendam for a Cultural Insight. Learn about the production of Dutch cheeses and see how clogs are made. This afternoon have free time in the city and tonight enjoy a unique Be My Guest Farewell Dinner with your travelling companions. (BB, BG) 12 Depart Amsterdam Say farewell to this magical country and your newfound friends at the end of a remarkable Battlefields trip. Airport transfers are available. Conditions apply. (BB)
Say farewell to this magical country and your
newfound friends at the end of a remarkable Battlefields trip. Airport transfers are available. Conditions apply. (BB)
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