The Old Contemptibles at War

  • 5 Day Tour
  • 3 Star Rating

Day 1

Local departure by coach, then to Belgium and the Novotel Ypres for a four-night stay.

Day 2 - Mons: First Shots – War Horses at Audregnies

We start with the Battle of Mons and travel to Casteau to see where the first shots were fired in August 1914. At Nimy Bridge we look at the first Victoria Crosses awarded to British troops and then see the excellent new Mons War Museum. After lunchtime in central Mons we visit the unique St. Symphorien Cemetery where British and German dead rest side by side, and where some of the first and last casualties of WWI are buried. At nearby Audregnies we examine the largest use of cavalry in 1914; when two regiments of war horses charged the Germans in August 1914.

  • Included meals: Breakfast

Day 3 - Retreat From Mons – Battle of Le Cateau

Following Mons the British Army split and at Le Cateau General Smith-Dorrien’s men fought a substantial battle to hold their ground. We start following the retreat south from the Belgian border and drive down near the Mormal Forest to the Le Cateau area. We look at the Guards at Landrecies, seeing their memorial, and then see where the Suffolk Regiment fought in August 1914, seeing their battlefield memorial site. After lunch we visit the Le Cateau Cemetery and follow the positions held on 26th August to the left flank at Esnes where General Snow’s men held the vital left flank.

  • Included meals: Breakfast

Day 4 - Ypres: Death of an Army – In Flanders Fields Museum

The remnants of the Old Contemptibles fought their largest battle in 1914 at Ypres, a battle which cost them more than 56,000 casualties. We start just outside the Menin Gate and take a walk through Ypres Town Cemetery, seeing the 1914 burials. We then see the In Flanders Fields Museum, one of the most important WW1 museums in Europe. After lunch at Hooge we travel to Zillebeke Churchyard and see the ‘Aristocrats Cemetery’ where many officers who fell in 1914 are buried. In Messines we see the new WWI visitors centre and visit the church crypt where Adolf Hitler sheltered from British shells in 1914. We end with the story of the Christmas Truce at St. Yvon, seeing the new Christmas Truce memorial at Prowse Point.

  • Included meals: Breakfast

Day 5

Return home.

  • Included meals: Breakfast

Prices are per person, based on two sharing.

Extras: optional excursions; entrance fees to museums and places of interest; single room supplement £129; travel insurance from £35.50. 

FAQ's about our tours

Certain excursions are included in the price of your holiday. If you choose not to go on an included excursion, for whatever reason, no refunds will be made.
Yes, you will receive one with your Travel Documents, which are sent 7-10 days before departure.
We believe that our holidays may not be suitable for children under 8 years old (except for Disneyland Paris bookings) however, we will consider individual requests on application. Customers aged 18 and under at the time of travel must be accompanied by an adult, parent or guardian aged over 18 years old.
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We do have holidays that are suitable for wheelchair users, however the person using the wheelchair will need to be able to get on and off the coach if a coach tour is booked. Our coaches are not suitable for someone who is wheelchair reliant as we can only take folding wheelchairs that are stored in the luggage compartment.

We cannot guarantee that assistance will be available for the disabled person / wheelchair user and such bookings will only be accepted if that person is travelling with an able-bodied person who is fully able to attend to the needs of his/her co-traveller.

Passengers travelling by Eurostar in standard class seats must be able to walk 200 yards (183 metres) unaided. Please note; only collapsible wheelchairs are permitted on board standard class Eurostar coaches, as these must be stored in the luggage storage areas. Any passengers who are wheelchair reliant are required to be allocated in the 'Standard Premier' coaches where wheelchair user spaces are located. As these spaces are limited to 1 per train you must advise us immediately if you require them in order that we can reserve with Eurostar.

Excursions on our tours visit places of interest and public buildings. These may not be able to accommodate people with walking difficulties and wheelchair access may not be available. Excursions which include sightseeing tours may involve walking long distances and sometimes over cobbled or uneven surfaces.

The accommodation we use on our tours may not have ground floor rooms and in some instances lifts will not always be available. Occasionally access to your hotel may involve walking distances from the coach park and some hotels have a flight of steps to the Reception.

It is very important that checks are made with regard to the suitability of a tour for you prior to you make any booking with us.