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The Battle of the Somme

Spend the day getting an intimate view of the Battle of the Somme, one of the deadliest battles in history. With an expert guide, you’ll visit landscapes still scarred by the trench warfare that defined this brutal chapter in World War I. This private tour provides a comprehensive introduction to the Great War and trench warfare.

You’ll also hear about Britain’s tactical and strategic decisions that lead to the five-month slog, which gained only six miles (under 10 km) at the cost of a million dead, and the individual stories of tragedy, heroism, and loss, getting to know some of the many soldiers who fought and died on these fields. Historians call World War I ‘the seminal tragedy of the 20th century’, and the Somme is, perhaps, the defining battle of that war. This tour encompasses many of the pivotal locales, including Thiepval, Pozières, and Longueval.

You’ll be picked up from your hotel in Lille or Arras by your driver-guide and begin your tour at Beaumont-Hamel to see the best-preserved sections of the Western Front. The trenches that came to define the war are still clearly visible here, snaking across the ground, as are countless craters left by shelling and the remnants of barbed-wire barriers. You’ll visit the Newfoundland Memorial Park and learn about the volunteer Royal Newfoundland Regiment of the 29th Division, and their doomed attack on entrenched German positions.

From there, head to Thiepval, where you’ll visit the British Memorial and Museum. The memorial, which has a striking silhouette, is built on the site of a German position that was stormed by British troops on the first, bloody day of the battle. It’s inscribed with the names of the 72,337 British and South African soldiers who went missing during the Battle.

At Lochnagar Mine, you’ll see the still-gaping crater left by the Tunnelling Companies of the Royal Engineers and their failed attack on German forces. From there, head to the village of Pozières to see a memorial and burial ground dedicated to fallen Australian soldiers. You’ll end the day at Longueval, where you see the Memorial to the Missing from New Zealand, which is inscribed with the names of 1,272 men, and the Pipers' Memorial, which is dedicated to the memory of all the bagpipers who died during the war.

The tour will include a stop for lunch.

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Audley Travel Country Specialist Samantha

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Other experiences in Arras

These activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences around where you're staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident's eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can suggest tours and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the local ways of life.

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    Sunset with exposed shipwreck Crested Eagle from World War II

    Dunkirk and Operation Dynamo

    Dunkirk and Operation Dynamo

    Visit the small port city of Dunkirk to learn about Operation Dynamo, the audacious evacuation plan that saved the bulk of British forces during the darkest days of World War II, using a fleet of civilian vessels.

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