Tunnellers on the Western Front - The Underground War

  • 4 Day Tour
  • 3 Sights Visited
  • 4 Star Rating

Day 1

Local departure by coach, then to Belgium for a three-night stay.

Day 2 - Flanders

We begin in Flanders where tunnelling for the British Army began in 1915. At Hill 60, we see evidence of the craters and learn the story of the Tunnellers, also visiting the mighty Caterpillar Crater. We then travel via the site of Vampire Farm – a massive British dugout built by the Tunnellers – to Zonnebeke to visit the Passchendaele War Museum and their dugout experience. After lunch at Hooge we look at the story of 177 Tunnelling Company and see the unique RE Grave. We then travel down the Messines Ridge, the scene of the ‘big bang’ in June 1917 when 19 mines were blown simultaneously, and see the Spanbroekmolen and Peckham craters. At Kemmel we look at the fate of trapped miners and on the Ploegsteert Memorials see the only Tunneller V.C.: Sapper William Hackett. We end the day in Ypres for the moving Last Post Ceremony.

  • Included meals: Breakfast

Day 3 - Somme

We travel to the Somme, where, by special arrangement, we visit the caves located under the village church at Bouzencourt, which are rarely opened to the public. They are a system of medieval caves, located 40 feet under the village church, that were extended during WW I by British tunnellers and used for troop accommodation. Covered in the graffiti of soldiers who stayed in them from 1916-18, it is like entering a time capsule. There are names, poems, regimental cap badges, other drawings and carvings made into the chalk walls, which make this a unique visit. After lunch we visit the Tunnellers graves at Becourt, look at the story of the Livens Flame Projector, and visit the scene of the Hawthorn Mine at Beaumont- Hamel. Filmed and photographed, the explosion here has become an iconic image of the Great War. We end the day at Thiepval where many tunnellers are commemorated.

  • Included meals: Breakfast

Day 4

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 £89; travel insurance from £35.50.

Please note entrance fees to museums and places of interest are at extra cost. Museum package available whilst on tour approx. cost €30 

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.