Battle of Waterloo Campaign Tour
(Four day battlefield tour)
2015 marked the 200th anniversary of perhaps the most iconic battle ever to take place in Western Europe; the battle of Waterloo.
Napoleon’s abdication in April 1814 saw the end of twenty-one years of warfare that had begun in the wake of the French Revolution. Millions had died and now the warlord had to be caged and exiled on the Mediterranean island of Elba. However, the peace was not to last. Napoleon spent only nine months and 21 days in uneasy retirement on Elba, watching events in France with great interest. Finally on 26 February 1815, when the British and French guard ships were absent, he slipped away from Portoferraio with a handful of officers and 1,050 soldiers of his personal escort. They landed on the southern coast of France on the 1 March 1815. Nineteen days later Napoleon had reached Paris slowly building his forces along the way as soldiers and general alike rallied to his cause.
With the coalition forces gathering to invade France, Napoleon decides to strike first moving his army across the border into Belgium to strike at Brussels. One man would stand in his way: Arthur Wesley, ‘The Duke of Wellington’. They had never met in person or in battle but soon these two military giants would meet in a shallow valley south of the small town of Waterloo.
Day One: Depart by coach from your chosen UK collection point and proceed to Dover for our channel crossing by ferry and then on to Waterloo to check in to our hotel. The rest of the evening is at your leisure when you are free to enjoy a meal and one of the famous Belgium beers.
Day Two: After breakfast we begin our battlefield tour with visits to:
Quatre Bras: A look at the stopping action fought by Wellington and his Allied Divisions.
Le Caillou Museum: Here Napoleon and his generals breakfasted on the morning of the 18th, but in reality it was a senior management crisis meeting to discuss the coming battle.
Ligny: Where Napoleon took on the Prussians with the right wing of his army in an attempt to drive them away from Wellington and the Allies.
The Old Windmill at Bussy: Wellington conferred here with Blücher, agreeing to support each other in the coming days’ battles.
Day Three: This day is spent exploring the battlefield of Waterloo with visits to:
The Lion Mound: This imposing memorial erected to the Prince of Orange give a stunning panoramic view over the battlefield.
The Château of Hougoumont: This was heroically defended by the Coldstream Guards with the German and Dutch Allies.
La Haie Sainte: This central bastion was held until late in the day by the riflemen of the King’s German Legion.
The Sand Pit: Next to La Haie Sainte, this area was defended by the famous 95th Rifles.
La Belle Alliance: This small Coaching Inn was Napoleon’s centre and from here he controlled the French forces. Across the battlefield from the French ridge we see where Ney’s valiant cavalry took place in the afternoon only to be repulsed by the British squares and to our right is the ground occupied by The Grand Battery.
Wellington’s Left Flank: This brings us to the small farmsteads and hamlet of La Papelotte, la Haie and Frischermont. This area was defended by Saxe-Weimar’s Dutch Brigade who stood resolute against Durutte’s 4th Division.
Other sites and areas of interest: Captain Mercer’s Horse Artillery battery, Picton’s death and memorial, the charge of the Scots Greys and numerous other plaques and monuments that cover this historic battlefield.
Day Four: On the final day, before heading for the port, we visit the village of Waterloo and the excellent Wellington Museum where Wellington stayed before and after the battle and wrote the famous despatch which is how the battle acquires its name.