From tragic battles to tales of triumph, this special-interest exploration of two World Wars kicks off in the vibrant British capital of London. Meet your Travel Director and fellow companions this evening for a traditional English pub Welcome Reception.
Towering Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey feature on this half-day introductory sightseeing tour with a Local Specialist, which includes views of Buckingham Palace. This afternoon, we visit the Imperial War Museum, which tells the story of those whose lives were shaped by war from World War I to today. See extensive archives and recordings, as well as a Spitfire that saw action in the Battle of Britain. Maybe enjoy London after dark, spending your evening at leisure meandering along the Thames, riding the London Eye or watching the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London.
We journey south to Portsmouth and leave British shores bound for Caen by ferry this afternoon. After dinner on the ferry, we transfer to our hotel in Caen.
We journey to the historic D-Day Normandy Landing Beaches, including Juno Beach, Pointe du Hoc and Omaha Beach. Visit the D-Day Museum in Arromanches as well as the American Cemetery and Memorial to learn about the Canadian, American, and Commonwealth involvement in this unbelievable battle for supremacy.
Take yourself back to June 6, 1944. Imagine the terror and bravery of thousands of soldiers who landed on the beaches of Normandy to free Europe from the Nazis. This morning, we visit the Memorial de Caen to learn about the significance of Normandy and the day that changed World War II. You'll also receive a D-Day Landings souvenir booklet, before travelling to Paris, the 'City of Lights'.
Join your Local Specialist to visit the remarkable church of Saint-Sulpice, then delve into the lives of Parisians, wandering through the enchanting hidden squares and secret passages of one of Paris's oldest neighbourhoods. Our walking tour concludes in one of the city's loveliest squares which is a real favourite among the locals. Spend the rest of the day on your own to see the sights. Consider an Optional Experience to the opulent Palace of Versailles. This evening, you may wish to enjoy a traditional Parisian Cabaret.
The bloody battlefields of the Somme take centre stage today. Stop at Villers-Brettoneux to visit the memorial to the Australian soldiers who lost their lives in WWI. Carry on to Thiepval to see the poignant memorial which honours the 72,337 missing British and South African men who died with no known graves. We journey to Amiens for an evening at leisure.
Today we visit the memorial at Vimy Ridge dedicated to the Canadian soldiers, who fought a battle here in 1917. This horrific battle, and the bravery of the men who fought in it, came to symbolise Canada's coming of age as a nation. We then journey to Dunkirk, where Operation Dynamo miraculously saw over 330,000 Allied troops evacuated to Britain. We stop in Fromelles, where there was a combined operation between British troops and the Australian Imperial Force, described as the "worst 24 hours in Australia's military history".
Some of the biggest battles of World War I are explored at Ypres Salient in Belgium, where we will see such sites as Tyne Cot, Langemark and Vancouver Corner. Stop in Zonnebeke for an included visit to the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917, where you can see a replica trench. See Essex Farm Cemetery where over 1,200 brave servicemen are buried and where Lt. Col. John McCrae wrote his immortal poem, 'In Flanders Fields'. Spend the rest of the afternoon your own, before making your way to Menin Gate to witness the moving Last Post Ceremony to pay tribute to over 100,000 soldiers who laid down their lives more than a century ago.
Travel to Bruges and perhaps try the delicious local chocolate and Belgium's famous frites - the perfect fried chips! Explore the cobblestone streets and medieval façades reflected in the still waters of the canals. Continue to Amsterdam, where we spend the next two nights.
Gabled townhouses dating back centuries and leafy canals provide a beautiful backdrop for our orientation tour. Enjoy free time afterwards to explore the city on your own. Later, we Dive Into Culture and gain insights into the art of making cheese and wooden clogs, before we Connect With Locals, joining the Pauw family for a gezellig Be My Guest Farewell Dinner.
Say tot ziens to this magical city and the fields of bravery dotted across Western Europe at the end of a remarkable trip. Find out more about your free airport transfer at trafalgar.com/freetransfers.