The Great War

An Introduction to the Western Front

  • Spend an entire day discovering the haunting Somme battlefield
  • See the collections at the unique Wellington Quarry Underground Tunnel Museum in Arras
  • Meet the man who found the British tank, known as ‘Deborah’, on the Cambrai battlefield

An insightful and unique perspective on the conflict awaits, borne not just of years of study, or of the 400-mile journey he made on foot along the course of the trenches — chronicled in his first book ‘The War Walk’ — but of a tangible personal connection. His father served on the staff of Field Marshal Douglas Haig during the war, and his uncle was killed, aged just 18, near Ypres in July 1915.

Visiting both Belgium and France, we follow the old trench lines along which Europe’s youth sacrificed themselves for the four devastating years of the conflict. This tour provides an expert and deeply personal account of a global conflict, one which irrevocably changed the course of 20th century history, as well as the lives of the millions who fought ‘in Flanders Fields’.

Itinerary 2018

Day 1

Ypres and the Last Post

We meet in London before heading to Dover, where we make our crossing to Calais. Upon arrival, after freshening up at our Ypres hotel, we walk to the Menin Gate, built to commemorate the 50,000 men who fell in the Salient and have no known grave. Every evening the town’s fire brigade sound the Last Post in tribute to those who died here. After the ceremony we return to our hotel for dinner.

Overnight: Ypres

Day 2

In Flanders Fields: Passchendaele and Plug Street

This morning we visit the ‘In Flanders Fields’ Museum, housed in Ypres’ meticulously reconstructed Medieval Cloth Hall, before leaving Ypres for Essex Farm Cemetery, where Canadian doctor John McRae — author of In Flanders Fields — treated the wounded. After a visit to the German Cemetery at Langemarck, we pay our respects at Tyne Cot Cemetery, Passchendaele, the largest on the Western Front, before driving to the ‘Pool of Peace’ at Spanbroekmolen. This water-filled crater is the result of an underground mine triggered before the battle of Messines Ridge in June 1917. Finally, we head to Ploegsteert (‘Plug Street’) Wood, site of the brief ‘Christmas Truce’ of 1914 and the battalion HQ of Winston Churchill during his six months in the trenches.

Overnight: Ypres

Day 3

The Battle of the Somme

Today is devoted entirely to visiting the haunting Somme battlefield. We begin with a visit to the front line trenches and memorials to the Pals battalions at Sheffield Memorial Park, before a light lunch at ‘Ocean Villas’ cafe in the village of Auchonvillers. We move on to the Newfoundland Memorial Park, given to Canada in gratitude for the sacrifice of the Newfoundlers here on July 1st 1916, before visiting the Thiepval Museum and Sir Edwin Lutyens’ impressive, unflinching Memorial Arch, inscribed with the names of 72,000 of those who fell and are missing on the Somme. We end the day with a visit to the Lochnagar mine crater at Ovilliers, and a walk into the sinister Mametz Wood, described by Siegfried Sassoon as “a menacing wall of gloom [with] an outburst of rapid thudding explosion”.

Overnight: Arras

Day 4

Miners and Mechanised Warfare at Arras and Cambrai

This morning we visit Vimy Ridge, the scene of bitter fighting during the Battle of Arras in 1917, before moving on to the Wellington Quarry Underground Tunnel Museum in the city of Arras. This unique museum tells the often-overlooked story of the New Zealand miners, who constructed a network of tunnels under the German front lines. We are able to descend into the tunnels and hear stories of hand-to-hand encounters between Commonwealth and German miners deep underground. In the afternoon we drive to Flesquières and hear an account of the Battle of Cambrai before visiting the British tank ‘Deborah’, and hearing her story from the man who found her on the Cambrai battlefield and has spent many painstaking years restoring her. We return to our hotel late in the afternoon and enjoy some free time before dinner.

Overnight: Arras

Day 5

The Last Days of War

On our final day, we drive to the village of Ors, the scene of the last battle of the war on November 4th 1918. No fewer than seven VCs were won in one morning by those storming the Sambre-Oise canal, and among those killed was renowned war poet Wilfred Owen — we pay our respects at a series of sites with which he is associated. Finally, we return to Calais for our ferry crossing, arriving in London in the late afternoon.

Itinerary 2019

Day 1

We meet in London before heading to Dover, where we make our crossing to Calais. Upon arrival, after freshening up at our Ypres hotel, we walk to the Menin Gate, which was built to commemorate the 50,000 men who fell in the Salient and have no known grave. Every evening, the town’s fire brigade sound the Last Post in tribute to those who died here. After the ceremony, we return to our hotel for dinner.

Day 2

This morning, we visit the ‘In Flanders Fields’ Museum, housed in Ypres’ meticulously reconstructed Medieval Cloth Hall. Here, we find the story of the First World War in the West Flanders region presented to us in exhibits and collections. Then, we leave Ypres for Essex Farm Cemetery, where the Canadian doctor John McRae - author of ‘In Flanders Fields’ - treated the wounded. After a visit to the German Cemetery at Langemarck, we pay our respects at Tyne Cot Cemetery, Passchendaele, the largest on the Western Front, before driving out to the ‘Pool of Peace’ at Spanbroekmolen. This water-filled crater is the site of the largest of 19 mines detonated before the battle of Messines Ridge in June 1917. In 1914, it was the site of a windmill, but at the end of the First Battle of Ypres, the German Front Line was established here so it saw a lot of change. Finally, we head to Ploegsteert (‘Plug Street’) Wood, site of the brief ‘Christmas Truce’ of 1914 and the battalion HQ of Winston Churchill during his six months in the trenches.

Day 3

Today is devoted entirely to visiting the haunting Somme battlefield, where the landscape really tells a story. Shellholes, cemeteries and remains of trenches are a sobering reminder of the horrors of war, and The Remembrance Trail lets visitors explore the main sites of remembrance to be found in this area. We begin with a visit to the front line trenches and memorials to the Pals battalions at Sheffield Memorial Park, before sitting down to a light group lunch at ‘Ocean Villas’ cafe in the village of Auchonvillers. From here, we move on to the Newfoundland Memorial Park, which was given to Canada in gratitude for the sacrifice of the Newfoundlers here on July 1st in 1916, before visiting the Thiepval Museum and Sir Edwin Lutyens’ impressive, unflinching Memorial Arch, inscribed with the names of 72,000 of those who fell and are missing on the Somme. We end the day with a visit to the Lochnagar mine crater at Ovilliers, and a walk into the sinister Mametz Wood, described by Siegfried Sassoon as “a menacing wall of gloom [with] an outburst of rapid thudding explosion”.

Day 4

A visit to Vimy Ridge, the scene of bitter fighting during the Battle of Arras in 1917, is how our day begins. Once we’ve had time to take in the site, we move on to the unusual Wellington Quarry Underground Tunnel Museum located in the city of Arras. This unique museum tells the often-overlooked story of the New Zealand miners, who constructed a network of tunnels under the German front lines. Here, we descend into the tunnels themselves and hear stories of hand-to-hand encounters between Commonwealth and German miners deep underground. In the afternoon, we make our way out to Flesquières and hear an account of the Battle of Cambrai, before visiting the British tank ‘Deborah’, and hearing her story from the man who found her on the Cambrai battlefield - and who has also spent many painstaking years researching her story. We return to our hotel later in the afternoon and enjoy some well-deserved leisure time before we have our final group dinner.

Day 5

On our final day, we drive to the village of Ors, the scene of the last battle of the war on November 4th, 1918. No fewer than seven VCs were won in one morning by those storming the Sambre-Oise canal, and among those killed was renowned war poet Wilfred Owen — we pay our respects at a series of sites with which he is associated, including the spot where he died along with his grave. Finally, we return to Calais for our ferry crossing, arriving in London in the late afternoon.

What's Included

  1. Tour Manager & Guide Lecturer
  2. Meals - Most meals included
  3. Transport - Return ferry crossing and all local travel
  4. Hand-picked hotels throughout the tour

Revolution in the air, war afoot…

The 20th century saw the world dominated by war. It was a time of unknowing atrocity and dubious morality; an age of resistance, risk and revolution.

Take an alternative look at 1940, examining what could have been, had Operation Sea Lion  gone ahead. Uncover the Nazis’ Face of Evil, following their beginnings in Munich’s beer halls to the Nuremberg trials.

In this modern era, victims of war are more distant and responsibility more dubious. Travel with us as we examine whose hands are stained with innocent blood; and question who is to blame for the horrors inflicted upon mankind...

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To book your tour without flights from the US, please call our team on 888-591-0830

2019 Tour Details

$2,245
  • 5 Days
  • 9th Jul - 13th Jul 2019
  • Code: QGW19A
  • Available
  • Guaranteed Departure
  • without flights
  • sgl supp: $255