Scattered throughout England are thousands of memorials, museums and cemeteries, all of which allow us to look back into the history of the many conflicts that this country has been involved in. These taster tours, include the services of an experienced guide who will join you as you visit these sites, bringing the locations to life.
Tours Available in the South West
The county found itself thrust into the English Civil War in 1642 when one of the first skirmishes of the war was fought between 800 Parliamentarian troops and 120 Royalist troops with 600 Militia at Marshalls Elm, near Glastonbury. The nearby town of Somerton learnt of this action and 43 years later was to become involved in another war when the Duke of Monmouth’s army marched through the area and used the town’s church of St Mary as a temporary barracks. This tour which takes you across some of the most hard-fought for territory in the country, visiting locations where some of the battles took place, such as the Battle of Langport 1645 and the Battle of Sedgemoor 1688.
D-Day Preparations - Braunton Sands, Devon
By the start of 1944 some two million American service men and women had arrived in what was known as the ‘Friendly Invasion’. They were allocated to training areas across the country, where camps and special facilities were established, one of these training grounds was in the area of Braunton Sands in Devon. However, in 1943 the beach and adjoining area of sand dunes known as Braunton Burrows were used for extensive live firing exercises with weapons from mortars to flamethrowers. Remains of those training facilities litter the area today, some in remarkably good condition, and serve as fascinating objects for discussion. During the day-long walk your guide will explain the amphibious training in readiness for D-Day, telling of the tragic losses during ‘Exercise Tiger’ further along the coast in April 1944.
First and Second World War - Weymouth
Weymouth and Portland are steeped in History. In the First World War there was an Australian convalescent centre here and some 10,000 Australians are estimated to have passed through the town. Sadly, nearly 100 still lie in the Commonwealth War Cemetery plot in one of the towns cemeteries. In the Second World War a sailor in the Royal Navy won a Victoria Cross in Portland Harbour defending his ship against German aircraft and in 1944 thousands of American soldiers passed though Weymouth and Portland on their way to fight in Normandy, France and into Nazi Germany. There is plenty of evidence that relates to these events in the area and our expert guide will help you discover the evidence, using some historical detective work.
Where Australian Rest – Wiltshire
The chance to follow in the footsteps of the Australians who served in the First World War, with a visit to Durrington in Wiltshire. Here we learn about the Training of General Monash’s 3rd Australian Division on Salisbury Plain and its preparation for the Battle of Messines. The Cemetery contains over 200 First World War burials and we will learn about some of the soldiers buried here. During our taster you will also be able to see some of the ‘Rising Sun’ cap badges left as lasting memorials to the Australian soldiers in Wiltshire and visit some of the areas where their training camps and hospitals were.
From the Utmost Ends of the Earth – Bulford
Joined by our expert guide we will visit the ‘Kiwi Trail’ and learn more about the contributions of the New Zealand soldiers in the First World War. Understand why the Kiwi was built here and how it was constructed. Our tour will also include a visit to the resting places of some of the New Zealand soldiers, who far away from home made the ultimate sacrifice in the First World War.
Tours available in the South East
The Story of One Village and Two Wars - Lenham, Kent
With its close proximity to the English Channel and France, Lenham has a lot of history covering both world wars. Close to the village lies a 200-foot chalk cross carved into the scarp slope, to remember those who fell in the Great War and now commemorates the dead of both World Wars. In June 1944, a V1 rocket launched from France landed on a location now known as Newlands Stud, which was home to a Brigade Workshop, this attack resulted in over 100 casualties of whom 52 were killed. Inside St Mary’s Church there are many memorials to the soldiers who died at Newland Stud and at Lenham CWGC you will find 36 First World War Burials and 49 Second World War Burials. Join our expert guide as we step back into the history and explore what happened here.
History of London
Take a walk through the history of London, following a route that passes many historical sites and memorials, with our expert guide on hand throughout. Starting at Hyde Park Corner, itself is the site of Tyburn where public executions used to happen, whilst Wellington Arch and Apsley House is where the Duke of Wellington lived. Walking onto The Bomber Command Memorial at Green Park, before heading to Buckingham Place. A short detour off The Mall takes us to St James’s Palace, a magnificent example of Tudor architecture. Next, we will visit the South African Artillery Memorial and Guards Memorial, situated in Horse Guards, which of course backs onto Downing Street. Whitehall is bursting with history and here we find many memorials including the memorial to The Women of World War II and perhaps the most significant war memorial – The Cenotaph. Carrying on down Whitehall to the Palace of Westminster, here most statues are of individuals. Then it’s over Westminster Bridge, passing the Boudicca Rebellion statue and the Battle of Britain Memorial on the Embankment, where our tour ends at Big Ben.
This three hour fully guided tour starts on the Embankment where we will look at the War Memorials around the MOD Main Building and Gardens, before heading along Horse Guards Road, past the Gurkha Memorial. Continuing down Whitehall towards Downing Street where we take in the statues of Slim, Montgomery, the Women at War Memorial and The Cenotaph. Walking down past the FCDO Office and Treasury we will walk around Parliament Square and look at the many memorials and statues to be found here. Around the back of the Treasury, past the Churchill War Rooms into Horse Guards Parade. Up the Mall to Admiralty Arch continuing towards Buckingham Palace passing the Duke of Cambridge Column, St James Palace and the Victoria Monument. At Constitution Hill we find the Commonwealth Gates. Then up to Bomber Command Memorial before crossing a small park to Wellington Arch, in this vicinity we will find many memorials including the Australian and New Zealand War Memorials, before we end our tour at Apsley House.