Private Somme Battlefields, Fromelles and Flanders Fields Tour with Last Post Ceremony in Ypres from Brussels

Discover northern France’s famous World War I battlefields, trenches, cemeteries and memorials on this private day trip from Brussels. Learn about the history and significance of the Battle of the Somme and see the battlegrounds where Australian and New Zealand troops fought alongside the Allies. Visit noteworthy sites including Thiepval Memorial, Lochnagar Crater and the Winston Churchill Plaque in Plugsteert; and see at the poignant engravings on monuments through the region.

Discover northern France’s famous World War I battlefields, trenches, cemeteries and memorials on this private day trip from Brussels. Learn about the history and significance of the Battle of the Somme and see the battlegrounds where Australian and New Zealand troops fought alongside the Allies. Visit noteworthy sites including Thiepval Memorial, Lochnagar Crater and the Winston Churchill Plaque in Plugsteert; and see at the poignant engravings on monuments through the region.

Gear up for your full-day trip to northern France’s World War I sites with morning pickup from your Brussels hotel. Enjoy the comfort and style of your luxury minivan as you listen to your guide explain the history of the war. Travel 2 hours south across the Belgium-France border to the Picardy region, where the Battle of the Somme took place along the Somme River in 1916. This area saw fierce fighting between the German army and the English and French forces, with a death toll of more than one million.

First visit the Australian Corps Memorial Park at Le Hamel and the Villers–Bretonneux Australian National Memorial, where many Australian soldiers lost their lives during the Battle of the Somme. See former trenches, look out across ‘no man’s land’ and pause for a moment of reflection among the headstones. Sites like these are important symbols in the annual Anzac Day commemorations, when Australians and New Zealanders across the globe pay tribute to their fallen men and women during WWI.

Traveling across Picardy’s broad green landscapes — once a bloody battleground — arrive at the Lochnagar Crater, an enormous hole in the ground caused by British mine explosions. At 100 feet (30 meters) deep and 330 feet (100 meters) wide, the crater is a stark reminder of violence during war.

Next visit the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, a major memorial commemorating thousands of British and South African soldiers who lost their lives here. Thiepval is perhaps the most significant memorial in the now peaceful Somme countryside. Here, more than 73,000 missing soldiers’ names are listed, and the scale of their sacrifices can really be appreciated. Nearby, down in the Ancre Valley, see where Irish Allied soldiers are honored at the Ulster Tower.

From the memorial, make your way toward Lille, and enjoy a stop along the way for lunch (own expense). After lunch, head to Fromelles and visit Pheasant Wood Military Cemetery, the Australian Memorial Park and VC Corner Cemetery and Memorial as you learn about the Australian forces who suffered huge losses in the area. Next, start your Flanders-region visits with a trip to see Plugsteert’s Winston Churchill Plaque and a Memorial to the Missing: some 12,000 men in total. Continue along Messines Ridge to gaze at the Monument for New Zealand (and Ireland), plus Hill 60 and Caterpillar Ridge where Australian miners laid tons of explosives.

Wrap up your Flanders visits with trip to Polygone Woods where the Australian and New Zealand monuments for the Battle of Passchendaele await. Take a peek inside the largest Commonwealth military cemetery in the world at Tyne Cot, site of 13,000 graves and a memorial to missing soldiers.

Back in Ypres, enjoy some free time for dinner, and then attend the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate. Finish with a drop-off back at your Brussels hotel.

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