Tunnellers on the Western Front - The Underground War

4 days from £329pp.


Livens Gas Projector

Visit: Livens Gas Projector, Battlefields

Caterpillar Crater

Visit: Caterpillar Crater, Battlefields

Messines Ridge

Visit: Messines Ridge, Battlefields

The Last Post Ceremony

Visit: The Last Post Ceremony, Battlefields

The war beneath the Western Front in Belgium and France was the Underground War, fought by tunnellers deep beneath the surface where they blew charges to destroy each other or positions on the surface. This tour follows their story in WWI visiting mine craters, Royal Engineer memorials and a unique experience in the tunnels beneath Bouzincourt on the Somme.

    We make our way to the port of departure and coach interchange where you will join your tour coach for the crossing to the continent. Upon arrival in France we head to Belgium and our hotel for a three-night stay.

    We begin our tour in Flanders where tunnelling began for the British Army in 1915. At Hill 60, one of the most mined sites near Ypres, 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. Continuing on to Zonnebeke visiting 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. Later at Kemmel we look at the fate of trapped miners and then on the Ploegsteert Memorials to see the only Tunneller VC: Sapper William Hackett. We end the day in Ypres for the moving Last Post Ceremony.

    • Included meals: Breakfast

    We travel to the Somme for our specially arranged visit to the medieval caves located under the village church at Bouzincourt, which are rarely opened to the public. Approximately 40 feet underground the caves were extended during WWI by British tunnellers and used for troop accommodation. You will see names, poems, regimental cap badges, other drawings and carvings made into the chalk walls by the soldiers. Access to the cave system is made through a 3 feet high hole in one of the interior walls of the church, the floor in the cave system is chalk and, if damp, can be slippery. You are able to stand upright, but there are places where the cave roof gets lower and you will have to crouch (the tunnels have no lighting so it is essential that you bring a torch). Following our cave visit we see the largest British mine crater on the Western Front at La Boisselle. We lunch at Thiepval and visit the Memorial to the Missing and the visitor centre. In the afternoon we visit 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.

    • Included meals: Breakfast

    We leave the hotel after breakfast and travel to the channel port. You will leave your tour coach behind as you join your transfer vehicle for your return journey to your original departure point

    • Included meals: Breakfast

    At a Glance

    Tour Includes

    • 3 nights hotel with continental breakfast
    • Specialist Battlefield Guide
    • Convenient local joining points
    • Travel by executive coach or upgrade to Silver Service

    Included Excursions & Visits

    • Battlefield visits as described

    Optional Excursions & Visits

    • Entrance fees to museums & places of interest (extra cost)

    Notes

    1 x museum package available whilst on tour approx. cost €35. Package includes entrance to the Passchendaele Museum and Hooge Crater Museum with a sandwich lunch (including drink) at Hooge Crater Café on day 2, entrance to Thiepval Visitor Centre and a baguette lunch (plus drink) to be eaten at a location on the battlefield on day 4. It also includes a 15 page tour booklet. Please note this is offered as a complete package only and must be paid in Euros (cash).

    Single Room Supplement from £89.00 (4 days).

    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.
    You can check weather averages at here.

    Accommodation

    On executive coach departures you will stay for three nights at the 4-star Best Western Hotel Alize in Mouscron. The hotel does not have a restaurant, but snacks are available from the bar and there is a good selection of restaurants and bars nearby in the town’s main square. 

    Silver Service departure will stay at the 4-star Best Western Ambassador in Menen.

    Belgium

    Best Western Ambassador Hotel Menen

    Best Western Ambassador Hotel Menen

    Belgium

    Best Western Plus Hotel Alize Mouscron

    Best Western Plus Hotel Alize Mouscron

    Best Western Ambassador Hotel Menen


    The Best Western Ambassador Hotel is situated within walking distance from the Market Place and the railway station. The hotel is a stylish and calm environment and offers the facilities of a bar, free wi-fi/internet corner and lounge. The hotel is close to the main centre and you can buy chocolates, liquor or tobacco in one of the several shops in Menen. All bedrooms feature telephone, T.V. with BBC channels, tea and coffee-making facilities, hairdryer and en-suite bathroom.

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

    Best Western Plus Hotel Alize Mouscron


    The Best Western Plus Hôtel Alize Mouscron is conveniently located in the heart of Mouscron. Whilst the Alize does not have a restaurant, the hotel is within walking distance of Mouscron Market Place and its bars and restaurants. The hotel has become a firm favourite with Leger clients and is ideally based for exploring the Battlefields of Flanders and Ypres. All bedrooms feature modern furnishings, large flat screen T.V.s with English channels, tea and coffee-making facilities and free wi-fi. Guests enjoy a full breakfast buffet in a stylish dining setting. Other hotel amenities include a fitness room and sauna.

    • English Speaking Staff
    • Guest Lounge
    • Bar
    • WiFi Available
    • 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.

    ;

    Travel Information

    Departure times given for each region are approximate. Please check your travel documents to confirm the actual timings.

    Front row seats can be reserved for £14pp (up to 6 days duration), £22pp (7 & 8 days duration) and £25pp (9 days duration and over) on all European tours. In addition to this seats on the second row can be reserved for £7pp (up to 6 days duration), £14pp (7 & 8 days duration) and £15pp (9 days duration and over). This offer is only available for bookings of two or four persons on the front row and is subject to availability. Guaranteed front/second row seats cannot be reserved on feeder journeys to/from the U.K. port. Children under 15 years cannot occupy a front row seat due to French Law.

    Please note: On some coaches the legroom on front seats may be slightly less than that available on other seats due to the presence of a modesty board in front.

    If your tour is cancelled for any reason and front/second row seats are not available on your new tour you will be refunded the supplement. No other compensation will be payable.

    Alternatively, we can take seating requests on your booking. However, requests are not guaranteed. All seat numbers are confirmed on travel documents approximately 7-10 days prior to departure.

    We guarantee that all passengers on the same booking will be seated together on the main tour coach. Seats on the transfer coaches to and from the U.K. port are not allocated.
    Hot and cold drinks are served on the main tour coaches. Prices are approximately £1 or 1.25 Euro per drink. Prices will be confirmed by the driver. Drinks may also be served on the transfer coaches but this is not guaranteed.

    Transfer coaches are routed approximately 2-3 weeks before departure and will depend on where passengers are booked to travel from on any particular date as to which route is taken. If you require further detailed information regarding the route to the port you can contact our Customer Service Department on 01709 830333 two weeks before you are due to travel.

    With regard to the route taken by the main tour coach, this is determined by the driver.

    All main tour coaches have on-board toilets. Transfer coaches to and from the U.K. port may not have on-board toilets. When non-British coaches are used on transfers and tours (air or TGV holidays only) an on-board toilet may not be available. However, comfort stops will be made during long journeys.
    All coaches feature air-conditioning. Should the air-conditioning system break down for a period exceeding 12 hours, compensation will be awarded up to a maximum of £10 per fare-paying passenger per tour.
    We operate a passenger interchange at the Channel port. Transfer coaches, including taxis, minibuses, Megabus and National Express operate to and from the U.K. port. You will join your main tour coach at the port.
    One medium sized suitcase per person, which should weigh no more than 20kg when full. We may refuse to carry larger or heavier cases. Hand luggage can be stored in the overhead racks aboard the coach.
    It could be either - This will be confirmed in your travel documents.

    Customer Reviews

    Book Now

    OR

    Call our reservations team on:
    01709 787 463