Europe & Britain | Inspiration

7 incredible pieces of history you'll discover on our epic Battlefields tour 

World War I and World War II are two of the most significant events in human history. The horrors and sacrifices of these World Wars are never to be forgotten, and you can still walk among the front lines in Europe, where brave soldiers laid down their lives for freedom. In honour of Remembrance Sunday in the United Kingdom and Veterans Day in the United States, we look at 7 pieces of remarkable history you’ll discover on our WWI and WWII Battlefields tour.

EXPERIENCE IT FOR YOURSELF: WWI and WWII Battlefields

1. D-Day landing beaches in Normandy

The D-Day landing beaches are one of the most significant historical sites for Brits and Americans. On 6 June 1944, around 156,000 Allied soldiers landed on the beaches of Normandy in a heroic battle against the Nazis and the Axis powers. It was the largest seaborne invasion in history and is now known as D-Day. The battle led to the Armistice that ended World War II and the liberation of France, but there were almost 500,000 casualties, including over 125,000 US soldiers. 

Almost eight decades later, Normandy still bears the wounds of this battle. You can uncover the history of the D-Day landings on our Battlefields tour and pay respects to those who sacrificed their lives for Europe’s freedom. 

We’ll journey to the white chalk cliffs of the historic beaches including Juno Beach, Omaha Beach, Gold Beach, and Pointe du Hoc. As wander the beaches, you can imagine the terror and bravery of the thousands of soldiers as they landed on D-Day. You’ll visit the Memorial de Caen to learn about the importance of the battle, then visit the American Cemetery and Memorial to learn about the involvement of American, Canadian, British and Commonwealth soldiers in the D-Day landing. 

RELATED CONTENT: 76 years on: Where to retrace D-Day landings

2. Somme Battlefields

To get a true understanding of the horrors of WWI, you must visit the Somme Battlefields in Northern France. The Somme Battlefields on the Western Front were some of the deadliest in World War 1, with over one million soldiers killed, including British, American, Australian and German soldiers. You can still see the remains of trenches and shell holes and feel the sombre atmosphere as you learn about the indescribable suffering that happened here over 100 years ago between 1914-1918.

We’ll take you to the Villers-Bretonneux memorial to pay respects to the Australian soldiers who lost their lives in WWI and also visit Thiepval, a moving memorial which honours the 72,337 missing British and South African men who died and had no marked graves.

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3. Ypres Battlefields and Menin Gate

Our Battlefields tour will also take you to the Ypres Battlefields of World War I. Located at Ypres Salient in Belgium, hundreds and thousands of soldiers lost their lives here, including British and American soldiers. We’ll take you to important sites including Langemark, Tyne Cot, and Vancouver Corner. Explore the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 and see a replica trench.

Pay your respects at the Essex Farm Cemetery, home to the graves of 1,200 brave servicemen. This is also where Lt. Col. John McCrae wrote his poem, “In Flanders Fields”. In the afternoon, we’ll head to the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres and witness the poignant Last Post Ceremony. It pays tribute to over 100,000 soldiers who sacrificed their lives in WWI

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4. Vimy Ridge

We’ll visit the beautiful memorial at Vimy Ridge, where you’ll uncover the Battle of Vimy Ridge in World War I. The horrifying battle was fought by Canadian soldiers against German soldiers in April 1917, with more than 10,000 killed and wounded. It became a defining moment in Canada’s emergence as an independent and formidable nation.

5. Dunkirk

Journey to Dunkirk in northern France, to learn about the history of Operation Dynamo, or the Miracle of Dunkirk. The operation saw the evacuation of more than 338,000 Allied soldiers to Britain during WWII. The soldiers were evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk between 26 May and 4 June 1940. The operation was planned after a large number of British, French, and Belgian troopers were surrounded by German soldiers during the Battle of France and seemed doomed to perish. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called the rescue of the soldiers a “miracle of deliverance” in a speech to the House of Commons.

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6. Fromelles

Our Battlefields tour will take you to Fromelles to learn about the “worst 24 hours in Australia’s military history”. The Battle of Fromelles on 19 July 1916 involved an attack carried out by British and Australian troops on the German front line. The attack was meant to hold the German reserves at Fromelles to keep them from moving to the Somme where the Allies were launching a huge attack. The move was disastrous, with over 7,000 casualties, and over 5,533 Australian casualties. It is said to be the greatest loss by a single division in one day during World War I.

7. Imperial War Museum, London

The world-class Imperial War Museum is a must-see on our historic travel tours. You’ll discover extensive archives, recordings and exhibits on World War I and the impact it had on the world. You’ll even see an original Spitfire plan which saw action in the Battle of Britain. 

GET INSPIRED BY: London and Paris Explorer

Have you been on our Battlefields history tour? Let us know in the comments below…

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