The Old Contemptibles at War

5 days from £459pp.

Menin Gate

Visit: Menin Gate, Battlefields

St Symphorien Cemetery

Visit: St Symphorien Cemetery, Battlefields

More than a century after some of the first shots of the Great War were fired, join us as we travel through Belgium and France following the Old Contemptibles – the regular army who fought some of the first battles of the war at Mons, Le Cateau and Ypres. This excellent tour, with some new visits for 2016, is based in the superb Novotel Ypres, located just a five-minute walk from the Menin Gate.

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

    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

    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

    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

    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. 

    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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    You will stay for four nights at the 3-star Novotel in the centre of Ypres, just a few minutes walk to the Menin Gate, Market Square and In Flanders Fields Museum. The hotel has a lift, bar and restaurant. The hotel is ideally placed for this tour and has become a firm favourite within Leger's Battlefields programme, due to its excellent location and standards of service.


    Novotel Ypres Centrum

    Novotel Ypres Centrum

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    Novotel Ypres Centrum

    The family-run Hotel Seemoewe occupies a privileged location on the banks of the Obersee Lake in the attractive little village of Einruhr, a wonderful base for those seeking a relaxing holiday in the heart of traditional Germany. The hotel owners, Gunther and Irmgard are renowned for the warmth of welcome that they extend to each and every guest. The hotel boasts a delightful terrace overlooking the lake, a lounge, bar and 50 comfortably furnished en-suite bedrooms. Step into the stylish restaurant where the hotel staff actively take a personal interest in providing an enjoyable dining experience.

    • English Speaking Staff
    • Guest Lounge
    • Bar
    • Restaurant
    • TV
    • Tea and Coffee Making Facilities
    • Hairdryer
    • Bath and/or Shower
    • Telephone

    If you prefer, then you can join the tour at the hotel. To do this, we will require a copy of your passport for identification purposes and you must advise us at the time of booking.

    No reduction will be given if you should choose to do this.

    All hotel rooms benefit from private bathroom facilities.
    Some hotels have tea and coffee making facilities. Please check the tour pages for more information or call our Customer Service Department on 01709 830333.
    Most hotels have a lift, please call our Customer Service Department on 01709 830333 for more information.
    Some hotels have ground floor rooms. Please email for information on individual hotels or call our Customer Service Department on 01709 830333.
    Your hotels will supply towels in your room.

    We are unable to guarantee that the hotel will be able to meet your dietary requirements. We find that the majority of European countries do not generally cater for vegetarians and that the meal supplied may well be what everyone else is having minus the meat.

    We will of course endeavour to arrange for a vegetarian meal at the hotel. We do however suggest that you advise us of your dietary requests at the time of booking and recommend that you speak to the receptionist on arrival with regard to your request.

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    Call our reservations team on:
    01709 787 463