There are a select number of battlefield tours that every military history enthusiast should experience. Here we list nine of the finest, most reasonably priced worldwide tours available.
BIRD BATTLEFIELD TOURS
Bird Battlefield Tours is run and guided by military historians and authors, Tony and Nicky Bird. Nicky, for many years the V&A’s publisher, is a member of the Guild of Battlefield Guides. They specialise in convivial tours of WWI and WWII battlefields. They try not to bang on, but do not always succeed. Both Birds are interested in the experience of battle, how soldiers at the sharp end fought and lived, as well as the tactics and strategy that got them there. They welcome requests for tailor-made tours – from families wishing to see where their grandfathers fought or were buried, for example, or from groups of friends who want to travel together without the risk of joining a tour that may contain a bore.
TEL: 020 87520956
Mons and Le Cateau: 13-16 April 2015; D-Day and the Battle of Normandy: 10-14 March 2015, 12-16 September 2015; The Somme and Ypres: 8-11 May 2015, 15-18 July 2015, 20-23 September 2015; Art tour of Palladian villas of the Veneto: 2-6 June 2015; Waterloo: 14-17 October 2015.
DISCOVERING BATTLEFIELD TOURS
Discovering Battlefield Tours is a husband-and-wife-run Company, who offer groups of up to 14 people the opportunity to experience the historic Battlefields of France and Belgium.
All our tours are built around our customers’ specific requirements giving that personal and individual touch. Our pre-tour research allows our customers to go where they want to go and see what they want to see, while our small tours are perfectly suited to groups of friends or families, because we focus entirely on your party.
We strive to make your visit both informative and relaxing with interesting days giving way to leisurely evenings.
We pride ourselves on our customers’ feedback and letters of recommendation (some of whom have returned time after time) and our ability to deliver you a First Class Service.
TEL: 01747 812032
World War One & World War Two Battlefields in France & Belgium; Medieval Sites of Agincourt. We have no pre-fixed tour dates, as we travel when you want to travel.
Indus Experiences is an established tour company specialising in small group and individually tailor made holidays. Battlefield tours are primarily to India and Burma and each tour is led by an acclaimed expert in the field, who brings the past to life with their intimate knowledge and passion. Indus has a reputation for attention to detail, exceptional value for money, and for listening to their guests. Hence all travellers have their own dedicated consultant, who will work with them to design the journey – to see the battlefields of India and Burma for Remembrance or for pure interest.
Please call us to discuss your ideas and we will work together to craft a journey of a lifetime. Indus is based in Harrow, London. The company is fully bonded with ABTA and ATOL and is the winner of British Travel Awards 2013.
TEL: 020 8901 7320
Whether your interest lies in the early years of the then Arthur Wellesley, the Indian Mutiny, decisive Battles of Imphal and Kohima during WWII, or the poignant battles of Burma, Indus will craft a tour to your specific requirements.
GUIDED BATTLEFIELD TOURS
Our battlefield tours are inspired by both a passion for history and the belief that we must not forget the sacrifice of past generations. Our specialist guides bring the sites to life with the events that took place and also place them in their historical context.
We offer a comprehensive range of WWI and WWII tours in France, Belgium, and Holland. The cost of the tours includes all travel from the pickup point, bed and breakfast accommodation in a 3* or 4* hotel, refreshments each day, and entry to all museums.
Our tours are protected for you through ABTOT. We pride ourselves on providing our guests with a quality, personal experience; our greatest recommendation is the number of returning guests present on our tours. In addition to your expert guide, each tour is accompanied by a tour manager who will ensure your comfort and the smooth running of the tour.
TEL: 01633 258207
Our 2015 season begins on 29 March with Chapters from the Western Front (Ypres and the Somme) – Followed by The Forgotten Front – Walking tours are on 15 – 18 August and 12 – 15 September – Tour to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Dunkirk on 30 May – 2 June.
Kirker offers independent short break holidays to some of the world’s most famous battle sites, from the Western Front to Boer War battlefields in South Africa. The Kirker Concierge will arrange an expert local guide to bring the scene to life.
We also arrange a series of escorted Cultural Tours which provide opportunities to explore historic destinations including castles, forts, and battlefields throughout Europe and beyond. Groups typically consist of 15-20 like-minded individuals in the company of an expert tour lecturer. Highlights of our programme for 2015 include tours led by Neil Faulkner and military historian Hugh Macdonald-Buchanan, to Flanders, Gallipoli, and Waterloo.
TEL: 020 7593 2283
The Western Front , 5-11 September 2015; The Battle of Waterloo, 10-13 July and 2-5 October 2015; Istanbul & Gallipoli, 13-21 June and 20-28 September 2015
Leger Holidays is one of the UK’s leading providers of battlefield tours, with 30 years of experience. Our 2015 portfolio includes tours linked to the centenary of the First World War and the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Next year also marks 200 years since the Battle of Waterloo, and Leger will be operating a special anniversary tour. Ideal for anyone interested in finding out more about conflicts, as well as for those taking a personal journey to research family history, a tour with Leger Holidays offers a real opportunity to walk in the footsteps of heroes.
All of Leger’s battlefield tours are accompanied by specialist, experienced battlefield guides, who have an in-depth knowledge of warfare, and are practiced in bringing history to life while being sensitive to individual pilgrimages. For groups travelling together, Leger offers a dedicated specialist advisor to ensure the tour best meets your requirements.
TEL: 0844 846 7919.
Over 50 tours covering WWI, WWII and other conflicts including the Boer and Zulu Wars of South Africa and the American Civil War.
Valor Tours, Ltd has been leading authoritative tours to destinations of military historic interest for over 30 years. As well as going to key European battle sites in the company of WWII veterans, we have visited every significant island battle site in the Pacific. Now, as age catches up with the veterans, our traveling companions are drawn from a younger generation of history buffs and family members of veterans anxious to see the places their fathers and grandfathers made famous. Many of the relics of battle – the beached hulks of landing craft, the concrete gun emplacements, the bullet-pitted strong points – are still visible. More importantly the memories and the memorials remain. On these tours we rekindle and honour the courageous exploits of America’s fighting men and women who went off to war 70 years ago.
2015 Tours include – Return to Vietnam/Laos, Ghost Soldiers of Bataan, WWI Centennial Series, D-Day Normandy Invasion, Battle of the Bulge/Eagle’s Nest, 70th Anniversary Battle for Okinawa, Return to Guadalcanal.
Damn the Dardanelles – The Gallipoli Campaign
In the centenary year of the Gallipoli campaign, pre-eminent First World War historian Gary Sheffield will lead you on a tour of the landing beaches and significant sites of this controversial campaign. We will visit Anzac Cove, Cape Helles, and Suvla Bay, as well as the associated battlefields and cemeteries. Professor Sheffield will offer fresh insight into the campaign and will discuss topics including: military strategy and tactics, the challenges of naval warfare and amphibious landing, issues of command, and the experience of the ordinary soldiers and sailors on both sides. We will look at a variety of perspectives, not only that of the British, Australian, and New Zealanders, but also of the French (the neglected ally) and the victors in the campaign, the Turks.
TEL: +44 (0) 1722 713 820
WEB: www.historicaltrips.com, www.historicaltrips.com/damn-the-dardanelles (Tour page)
Damn the Dardanelles – The Gallipoli Campaign, 6-13 September 2015
BATTLEFIELD TOURS (THE WAR RESEARCH SOCIETY)
Our highly acclaimed family run tours have taken thousands of people to visit the battlefields throughout the world over 30 years.
During the next four years we are organising tours to commemorate the Centenary of such battles as Neuve Chappelle, Ypres, Looks, Aras, The Somme, Vimy Ridge, Messines, Passchendaele, Cambrai, The Advance to Victory, and 100th Anniversary of Armistice in Ypres and Thiepval, as well as the 70th Anniversary of Crossing the Rhine.
Come and experience history being brought to life by our experience and caring guides, visit the grave of a loved one, and the battlefield they fought on, or simply walk in the footsteps of your ancestors.
Our tours incorporate visits to Normandy Beaches, Arnhem, Nijmegen, The Dambusters Raid, Colditz Castle, Stalg Luft 3 (The Great Escape), Berlin, Auschwitz, South Africa, the Boer and Zulu Wars, Russia, Stalingrad, Jursk, Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Gulag Visit to Solovetski.
TEL: 0121 430 5348
2015 Tours run from January – November
To see this article as it appeared in issue 53 of Military History Monthly, click here.