Day Trip to Ypres with Optional
(One Day Trip)
The Beautiful town of Ypres is synonymous with the Great War. It was held by the British Army from the beginning to the end of this tragic conflict and in that time was reduced to rubble.
After the war, the town was rebuilt in its former image using money paid by Germany in reparations, with the main square, including the Cloth Hall, being rebuilt as close to the original designs. The Cloth Hall today is home to In Flanders Fields Museum, dedicated to the role of Ypres in the First World War.
Today Ypres has the title ‘City of Peace’ and its many wonderful restaurants, bars and chocolate shops confirm this title and make it a delightful place to wander around or sit and watch the world go by. However, just outside its walls lie the old killing fields of the Ypres Salient where British and German troops alike shed their blood in this awful war.
Touring the sites of the Salient is a thought-provoking experience. Over 120 Commonwealth cemeteries, known as ‘The Silent Cities’, stand as a testament to the men who fell. Also the powerful memorials to them and the battles fought brings a sombre reality and quiet contemplation of a time that should never be forgotten. This is reiterated every evening at 8:00pm under the Menin Gate when the bugles are sounded during the Last Post Ceremony in a daily act of remembrance.
This one day trip gives you the highlights of Ypres and the surrounding Salient. You may spend your time in this picturesque town or tour the battlefields; the choice is yours.
Depart by coach from your chosen UK collection point and proceed to Eurotunnel Terminal Folkestone for your crossing to France and journey on to Ypres.
Upon arrival in Ypres, you will be dropped off in the Grote Markt (town centre). Here you can explore the town and have lunch before rejoining the coach for a short and informative battlefield tour of the Ypres Salient accompanied by a battlefield guide. Alternatively you may wish to stay in the town.
The battlefield tour visits Essex Farm which is probably the most visited cemetery of the western Front. It was here that John McCrae wrote the immortal poem ‘In Flanders Fields’. The cemetery also contains its original Advance Dressing Station and buried here is one of the youngest soldiers to die in the Ypres Salient, Valentine Joe Strudwick. We then travel to Langemark German Cemetery; one of few German cemeteries in the area. At its entrance is a mass grave containing 24,917 German Soldiers and two British. A visit is then made to Vancouver Corner and the Brooding Soldier Memorial. This memorial commemorates the 1st Canadian Division and the scene of 1915’s First Gas Attacks.
No tour to Ypres would be complete without a visit to Tyne Cot the largest Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery in the world with 11,956 burials. Centred on a captured German pillbox around which are original burials, the cemetery was expanded after the war by bringing in thousands of dead. At the back of the cemetery is the Memorial to the Missing, commemorating those who were killed in the area from August 1917 and who have no known grave. Our last visit is Hill 60 which was the scene of much fighting in 1915, much of it hand to hand. The Hill itself was devastated by shell fire and mine explosions. It is today a preserved grave and memorial site. There are also memorials to the Australian Tunnelling Engineers and the 14th (Light) Division. Cross the railway bridge on foot and take the first pathway on left to Caterpillar Crater. We then wind our way back into Ypres for our final stop at the Menin Gate.
From here you can re-enter the town for your evening meal before taking in the Last Post Ceremony under the Menin Gate at 8:00pm. After the service we re-board the coach and head back to Calais and the Eurotunnel terminal for our return train and then onto your designated drop off points.
ADS at Essex Farm Cemetery
The Menin Gate, Ypres