There are a select number of battlefield tours that every military history enthusiasts should experience. Here is a promotion of the finest, most reasonably priced worldwide tours available.
GALINA INTERNATIONAL BATTLEFIELD TOURS
Galina began organising battlefield tours for adult and school groups to France, Belgium, and the Netherlands in 1989. In those days, 30 people at the Last Post Ceremony in Ypres was regarded a crowd. Times change, but we remain the longest-established, independent, family-owned battlefield company in the UK.
We also arrange tours for individuals as well as groups wishing to attend major anniversary events, drawing on our long experience as Official Tour Operators to organisations such as the Normandy Veterans Association.
This year, we have expanded our portfolio with a new range of UK-based tours for groups from as few as 15 people staying in 3*/4* accommodation (with free places for group organisers); ideal for weekend breaks.
Our guides are selected and trained by us and have an academic or military background, great experience, and enthusiasm for sharing their knowledge.
Galina is a member of ABTA (no. Y4466).
TEL: 01244 340 777
SELECTED TOURS: Somme 100th Anniversary: 29 June-3 July, 2016; Arnhem Anniversary: 15-20 September, 2016; Hadrian’s Wall: 1 or 2 days; Battle of Hastings: 1 or 2 days; Portsmouth Historic Dockyard: 1 or 2 days
ARRAS BATTLEFIELD TOURS
Jonathan Nicholls led his first battlefield tour to the Somme in 1978 with a group of Metropolitan Police officers. Taking many veteran soldiers with
him over the following years, he learned from them – the boys who actually fought the war. Consequently, when on the battlefields, his narrative is coloured by a wealth of soldiers’ stories from the bloody battlefields of the Somme, Arras, and Ypres. He simply ‘brings it to life’ with unique passion and humour. When he is not employed as the principal guide for The Daily Telegraph tours or The Guardian tours, he operates by 4×4 and minibus, independently taking small groups to visit the graves of their loved ones, which are researched in detail. Recommended by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
SELECTED TOURS: The Somme 2016, Arras 2017, Messines and Passchendaele 2017 – continuous
THE CULTURAL EXPERIENCE
The Cultural Experience offers expert-led historical and battlefield tours around the world, covering a myriad of eras. All tours have been carefully planned and designed to create a three-dimensional version of history. We use experienced expert guides, chosen for their ability to put these three dimensions together in an engaging and entertaining manner, so you can virtually touch and feel what it would have been like on the day! The Napoleonic period is one of our favourites, with ‘classic’ tours including Wellington in Portugal, The Retreat to Corunna, Wellington in Spain, and Wellington over the Pyrenees. We also enjoy taking clients to WWI, WWII, and American Civil War battlefields.
TEL: 0345 475 1815
SELECTED TOURS: Battle of Verdun, 17-20 March; Walking the Peninsula 17-22 May; D-Day Landings & Paris 27 Jun–1 Jul; Franco-Prussian War 19 – 26 Jul; Russian Revolution 12–20 September 2017
BIRD BATTLEFIELD TOURS
Bird Battlefield Tours is run by military historians and authors Tony and Nicky Bird. Nicky, a member of the Guild of Battlefield Guides, worked for many years at the V&A, and also guides art historical tours. They have both written and lectured extensively on WWI and WWII but try not to bang on during their convivial, personal tours.
They specialise in guiding small groups to the Somme, Ypres, Verdun, and elsewhere, including Normandy, Gallipoli, Waterloo, and WWII bomber bases of East Anglia. Invaluable, illustrated itineraries with comprehensive background are provided at no extra cost (prices include all meals and wine).
They welcome requests for bespoke tours – from families wishing to see where their grandfathers fought, or from groups of friends who simply want to travel together without the risk of joining a tour that may contain a bore.
TEL: 020 8752 0956
SELECTED TOURS: Ypres/Somme: 19-22 April 2016; D-Day: 27-30 May 2016; Ypres/Somme: 17-20 June 2016; Bruges/Waterloo: 4-7 July 2016; Verdun/Bastogne: 19-23 September 2016.
To see this article as it appeared in issue 69 of Military History Monthly, click here.