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Ypres

For all students of the First World War, the significance of the losses that were suffered in the battlefields of the Ypres Salient cannot be over emphasised. The memorials in this region are numerous, and considerable effort has gone into preserving the memory and the sacrifices that were made by soldiers on both sides of battle.

The ‘In Flanders Fields’ interactive museum based in the former Cloth Hall at the centre of Ypres, offers a very personal record of how the war affected those involved in it. This museum encourages families of former soldiers to bring memorabilia for display along with their personal stories, which makes for an incredibly moving visit.

Beyond the town, expert guides are available to show you all the significant cemeteries and explain their particular connections. Your students will be encouraged to seek out references to members of their families and to appreciate how most of the soldiers lying all around them were little older than they are now, when they died. The literary connections of the trenches are highlighted with handwritten versions of the poetry composed at any given site. The trenches and bunkers can also be experienced first-hand.

Many of the local towns have their own specific museums as a mark of respect to those who fought and gave their lives to protect their homes, such as Talbot House in Poperinge. The cells and execution pole behind the modern day town hall in Poperinge are particularly poignant. It has been preserved exactly as it would have been for British soldiers, with bullet holes in the wooden pillars showing where teenagers were shot for desertion, simply for being afraid.

Sample Itinerary

Ypres is only one and a half hours from Calais so your first day will depend very much on your departure point and the time it takes you to get to Dover/Folkestone.

Day 1

Travel and visit the ‘In Flanders Fields’ Museum. See the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate (or we can arrange for 2-3 students to take part and lay a wreath).

Day 2

Day excursion with a specialist guide. Visits to include the town of Messines and Bayern Walk Reconstructed German Trenches, Hooge Crater Cemetery and Museum, Hill 60, Polygon Wood and Tyne Cot Cemetery. Finishing with Passchendaele Memorial Museum and then Langemark Cemetery and Talbot House.

Day 3

Visit to Fromelles to arrive for 1200; picnic lunch at appropriate spot in Fromelles (the scene of some of the bloodiest battles of the Great War), visit the cemetery, the new Fromelles Museum (opened 2014) and the surrounding area before returning to Ypres via Essex Farm Cemetery.

Day 4

Travel home day with visit en-route.

Deeper study of literature, tactics or any specific battle will require staying for an extra day or so in the area.

Visits And Excursions

Each group will have its own special interests and curricular needs, that’s why every visit can be completely tailored around you. You’ll find some suggestions below, but you can always call us to discuss more options.

Rondo Recommends:

A - Art & Architecture | C - Culture | G - Geography | H - History | L - Leisure | P - Performing Arts | Sc - Science, Tech & Engineering | G - General Tourist Attraction

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields

H

This interactive museum in the centre of Ypres tells the story of the Second World War through the experiences of the soldiers involved and the human effects across the region.

Tyne Cot Cemetery

Tyne Cot Cemetery

H

The largest British and Commonwealth cemetery in the world is bound to overawe students and impress upon them the magnitude of the struggle and the loss of young lives in this conflict.

Essex Farm Cemetery

Essex Farm Cemetery

H

Another of the largest Commonwealth cemeteries that emphasise the staggering loss of young British men.

Passchendaele Museum

Passchendaele Museum

H

Situated in the Zonnebeke Chateau, the Passchendaele Museum makes an ideal starting point for a tour of the Salient battlefields. The displays chronicle the story of World War I, with a recreated bunker and trenches for students to experience without having to go out in the mud. It is possible to take part in a Living History Event, where students aged 14 and over can visit the museum, walk in the footsteps of the platoon during the attack on 4th October 1917, and finally arrive at Tyne Cot Cemetery.

Langemark Cemetery

Langemark Cemetery

H

It is important to appreciate the losses on both sides in a war and this German cemetery is a good way of reinforcing that point.

We work closely with the owners of four hostels in Ypres, all designed to accommodate school groups. Our offer will depend on availability at the time of booking, so the sooner you book the more chance you have of having your first choice accommodation.

It is easily possible to combine Ypres with visits to the Somme. The Albert accommodation we use in the Somme is run by the same company as the Ypres accommodation, so this can easily be arranged.

Menin Gate Hostel - (Click for more information)

This simple hostel is well run and ideally placed across the road from the Menin Gate.

The other hostels in the group are all located around the town centre and only five minutes’ walk from the Menin Gate.