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The Last Post / WWI Battlefield Tour – 7th – 10th October

October 7, 2022

BASED IN IEPER AND FEATURING ARRAS
WITH VISITS TO HILL 62, THE TYNE COT MEMORIAL, VIMY RIDGE & MESSINES RIDGE

This tour commemorates the victories and sacrifices of the First World War and falls four years after the 100th anniversary of the end of that great conflict.

Based in the historic Belgian town of Ieper, the tour features a carefully selected and varied choice of sightseeing opportunities, although we would stress that the itinerary’s pace has been kept relaxed and not packed to the point where more becomes less.

Staying in Ieper will give you the opportunity to attend the moving Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate, while you will also only have to walk across Ieper’s attractive main square to visit the excellent In Flanders Fields Museum and the St George’s Regimental Chapel which we also highly recommend.

The tour features a trip to the Messines Ridge which, due to the work of the British sappers, experienced what was, up until the Second World War, the greatest man-made explosion in human history. We also include visits to Arras and Vimy Ridge in France.

THE LAST POST CEREMONY IEPER (YPRES)

This simple, but very moving ceremony is held every night, 365 days a year at the Menin Gate. Members of the local Fire Brigade, plus occasional visiting military personnel, sound the ‘Last Post’ at exactly 20.00 in memory of those who fell in defence of the town, in the Great War, 1914-18.

THE 3* NOVOTEL CENTRE

Excellently located in the centre of Ieper, the 3* Novotel offers a high level of comfort and in stylish rooms with satellite tvs, safe, hairdryer, free wifi and tea & coffee making facilities. The Novotel’s bar and restaurant are shut currently due to staff shortages, but there’s a great choice of eating and drinking establishments in the immediate area.

EXACTLY WHAT’S INCLUDED

Optional supplements:-
single room £120
travel insurance £35

The Visits

The Menin Gate in the centre of Ieper, at which the moving Last Post Ceremony is held nightly, 365 days a year, records the names of the nearly 55,000 British and Imperial Soldiers who were killed or missing in the area and have no known grave. The hotel is around a 400m walk from the Menin Gate.
Tyne Cot is the second largest British & Imperial War Cemetery in the world. It is situated on the site of the Battle of Passchendaele, the toll of which for the attacking British & Imperial troops was even higher than on the Somme.
Vimy Ridge is where the Canadians won a great strategic victory in 1917 when, very unusually for WWI, the battle plan worked, albeit with a stroke of good fortune. The area has since been ceded to Canada and it is Canadian guides who guide visitors around the site while telling the story of the dramatic battle and its significance.
Hill 62 is the only battlefield in the area that has been preserved in its original state. This will be an optional visit at the end of the tour. The cost is around €10 per person, payable on the day and, as it’s less than 5-miles out of town, the coach will drop those passengers not wanting to go, back at the hotel.

THE ITINERARY

Friday – After leaving Dorking at 07.30 and crossing the channel via Eurotunnel, the group will arrive in Ieper by early afternoon. After checking-in at the hotel, the remainder of the day is free, giving you the opportunity to attend the moving Last Post Ceremony held nightly at 20.00 at the Menin Gate (less than 5 minutes from the hotel). You will find that Ieper offers a good choice of restaurants, cafes and bars and most restaurants will work around visitors attending the Last Post Ceremony.

Saturday – Keeping things relaxed, the morning is free in Ieper until 13.00. Two ideas if you have already been to the excellent ‘In Flanders Fields Museum’ would be visiting the St George’s Regimental Chapel (located just south of the Cloth Hall) and/or taking a walk around the town’s extensive ramparts. There’s also a Saturday morning market held on the town’s main sqaure.
In the afternoon the coach will embark on a tour of local battlefield sites including the Messines Ridge and Tyne Cot War Cemetery. At the end of the afternoon there will be an optional trip to Hill 62. Those not wanting to join the visit will be dropped back at the hotel.

Sunday – Venturing southwards into France, the programme today combines visits to Vimy Ridge, where the Canadians won a hugely significant battle in 1917, and the town of Arras which was an important garrison for Allied troops in WWI. Arras is an attractive town and there will be time for lunch and those who wish to can visit the Carrierre Wellington, the extensive military caves excavated during WWI (entrance not included). The coach will return to the hotel by late afternoon.

Monday – Departing the hotel after a leisurely breakfast, the coach drives to the charming city of Bruges where there is free time for lunch and sightseeing in what’s widely recognised as the best preserved mediaeval city in Northern Europe. The expected time of arrival back at Dorking is 19.30.

To Book

Call 07771 793294 & ask for Neil,
or use our contact form to email me.