World War One
The Somme Battlefield Tour of the 1st July 1916 -
4 Day / 3 Nights B&B
Suggested 2 / 3* Hotel / Gites in the Arras / Somme Area
The Battle of the Somme in WWI was one of the most costly in lives for both the Allies and the German Army. This Somme Battlefield tour takes you onto to the battlefield, visiting many memorials and cemeteries following the routes of Units and Divisions on the 1st day of the Somme battle in July 1916.
Day 1 - An early departure from the UK - We travel from the UK on the Euro-Tunnel Le Shuttle to France then onward to the Battlefields.
On arrival in the Arras area we will go directly to the Arras Allied Air Services memorial and CWGC Cemetery (DL1) (DL1 = Difficulty Level 1, please see the Health and Well being section on the T&C's page where Difficulty Levels are explained). Here your guide will explain the history behind the Commonwealth War Graves Commission the architecture and layout of the CWGC Cemeteries and explain how to find a casualty in a cemetery. He will then lead you through the cemetery pointing out some of the names on the Allied Air Services Memorial to the missing and brief you on Major Mick Mannock V.C.
We will then transit to the B&B or hotel and book in. There is now time to relax before either joining your guide for dinner in one of the many excellent restaurants in Arras, Pozieres or Albert or if you would prefer you can have private time to explore yourself.
Day 2 - After Breakfast we travel to the village of Serre, the scene of bitter fighting for the 31st Division and the Pals Battalions on July 1st 1916, the opening day of the Battle of the Somme. We walk to the Pals memorial in the Sheffield Memorial Park and visit Railway Hollow CWG Cemetery (DL2) (this location is quite remote and there are no toilets). Then a short stop at Serre Road No 2 CWG Cemetery, the largest CWGC on the Somme, to pay respects to the fallen. From Serre we travel to the Sunken Lane at Beaumont Hamel (DL2) to look at the Lancashire Fusiliers attack on the 1st of July 1916. We also look at the blowing of the Hawthorn Mine on a major Redoubt at that location, (made famous by the Geofrey Malins film footage of the blowing of the mine at that location at 07.20 on the 1st July 1916), we also discuss the implications of the mine explosion on the whole battle. A short stop for lunch, then we move on to Newfoundland Park to view the battlefield as it has been left since the battle. Here your guide will take you through the battle on the 1st July 1916 with focus on the actions of the 29th Division. You will also have time to explore the battlefield finishing off at the Newfoundland Park visitor centre (DL2) (toilets available at this location).
We will then return to our hotel or B&B for time to relax before joining your guide for dinner in one of the many excellent restaurants in the area or if you would prefer you can have private time to explore yourself.
Day 3 - After Breakfast we travel Montauban where on the 1st of July 1916 the British 18th (Eastern) Division and the 30th Division of XIII Corps advanced to battle, arm in arm with their French counterparts of the 39th 'Iron Corps' Division. Moving on to Mametz and firstly Danzig Alley CWGC to trace the furthest advance of the British 7th Division, then on to the CWGC Devonshire Cemetery. Moving to Fricourt we visit the Fricourt area to discover how the 21st Division of XV Corp attacked the village (DL1). A short visit then to the German cemetery at Fricourt to pay respects (DL1). We then travel to the town of Albert for a lunch break and a visit to the Albert WWI museum. After lunch and the museum visit we travel to La Boiselle to visit the mighty Lochnagar Crater (DL1). This was an underground mine set by the allies to be blown at the beginning of the Battle of the Somme.
We will then return to the hotel or B&B and relax before either joining your guide for dinner in one of the many excellent restaurants in the area or if you would prefer you can have private time to explore.
Day 4 - After Breakfast we transit to the Ulster Tower. Here we discuss the 36th Ulster Division's brave fight in that sector of the battlefield and also the Schwaben Redoubt on the 1st July 1916. We then take the short walk to Mill road CWG Cemetery (DL2) to pay respects, returning to the Ulster Tower cafe, where we can stop for refreshments. From Ulster Tower we move up to the Impressive Thiepval Memorial (DL1) were the names of over 72,000 missing in action are recorded, there will also be a visit to the Thiepval visitors centre (toilets available at this location) and a visit to the new Thiepval Museum. From there we transit to the village of Pozieres, where we visit the site of the 1st Australian Division memorial and Gibraltar bunker, we briefly stop at Pozieres CWG Cemetery before moving on to the Pozieres Tank memorial.
We then head to Calais for our journey home.
Please note - The above is only a suggested Itinerary
With this tour, you should be prepared to be out on the battlefields all day.
For groups of up to 10 people the ideal battlefield accommodation is the very friendly Battery Valley Farm B&B near Grandcourt
For Larger Groups, here are a few hotels to consider
Hotel Mercure Arras Centre Gare
Ibis Albert, Pay de la Somme Hotel