World War 1 Tour

Ypres, Belgium, Europe

World War 1 Tour

By popular request, this tour aims to complement our existing Normandy Beaches Tour. It is the ideal tour for novices and the experienced motorcyclist alike. It is also a very pillion friendly tour.  Our tour guides have a keen interest in military history and we feel that the historic sites, motorcycling on the continent and fantastic food in the evening are a winning combination.

For this tour we will be based for three nights in one hotel, located in Leper (Ypres or Wipers as it was known to the British Tommy). Ypres is now known as 'the city of peace' - it was one of the first places where chemical warfare was used - Mustard gas also known as Yperite - taken from the name of the city. 

Ypres is a great place to stay with much to see and lots of restaurants. Highlights include the Cloth Hall, Menin Gate, medieval quarter.

Organised by British Bike Tours

World War 1 Tour


Itinerary

Day 1 - Dover - Cambrai - Vimy Ridge - Ypres (160 miles approx)
Arrive at Dover for the short crossing to Calais. You will be met by a 'British Bike Tour' guide who will accompany you throughout the trip.

For newcomers to touring we will guide you through the booking in procedure and will help you secure your motorcycle when on the ferry. The crossing takes approx 90 minutes.

On departure we will head out on the motorway for approx 90 miles to our first stop - Cambrai. The Battle of Cambrai was the scene of the first ever major tank battle; 381 British tanks punctured through the Hindenburg Line in 1917. The German counter attack that followed was one of the first to use 'Stormtrooper' tactics. In 1998 a tank from the Great War was unearthed on Flesquières ridge in northern France. The tank was later identified as the British Mark IV Deborah D51, which took part in the 1917 Battle of Cambrai. The site is now a designated World War 1 memorial.

From Flesquieres we will head across country to the Canadian memorial at Vimy Ridge. We will get the chance to explore the trenches before heading North East to Ypres and our hotel.

Day 2 - Ypres - Ypres Salient - Flanders  (80 miles approx)
Day 2 sees us visit the areas around Ypres and Flanders.  In the morning we will visit the Tyne Cot Cemetery (the largest British Cemetery in the world); from there we will head to the Sanctuary Wood Museum and Hill 62.  At Sanctuary Wood we can explore the extensive trench system. Before lunch we will visit the Messines Ridge and Irish Peace Tower before visiting the Hooge Crater Museum.  The Hooge Crater was the result of a massive explosion - a 190ft tunnel was dug by the Royal Engineers under the German lines and the resulting explosion created a 120ft wide x 20ft deep crater.

After lunch we will visit various other museums and memorials in the area including the Ploegsteert, Hyde Park Corner/Royal Berkshire Cemetery, Christmas Truce Memorial and Yorkshire Trench. 

In the evening we will go the Menin Gate Memorial - From 11 November, 1929 the ‘Last Post' has been sounded at the Menin Gate  memorial every night and in all weathers. The only exception  to this was during the four years of the German occupation of Ypres from  20 May 1940 to 6 September 1944. During this period the  ceremony was continued  in England at Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey. On  the very evening that Polish forces liberated Ypres in the 2nd World War,  the ceremony was resumed  at the Menin Gate, in spite of the heavy fighting still going on in other  parts of the town.

Day 3 - Ypres - The Somme - Ypres  (150 miles approx)
Day 3 sees us travel south across country to the Somme area. The first stop will be the fascinating Arras -Wellington quarries.  The British had the idea of linking two existing quarries together by 20kms of tunnels.  The tunnels would provide an underground pathway to the front line and would also have the facility of to house 24,000 soldiers in safety.  The work was carried out in great secrecy by the Tunnelling Company of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. These were men who had been recruited from amongst the gold and coal miners and were thus already skilled in their trade.

The stone and earth removed was carefully distributed to ensure that German aircraft would not notice the digging. The secrecy was so complete that the few thousand Arrageois who had decided to remain in their homes had no idea as to what was taking place beneath their feet (or for some, beneath their houses).  The rest of the day will be spent visiting some of the many museums and memorials of the Somme including Ulster Tower Memorial, Lochnagar Crater, Thiepval Memorial.

Day 4 - Ypres - Calais - Dover (120 miles approx)
In the morning we will visit either the fabulous Flanders Field Museum in the nearby Cloth Hall or Talbot House Museum in Poperinghe.  Then its onto our bikes for the short ride to Calais and home.

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