Normandy, Dunkirk and the D-Day Darlings

All tours on this holiday have now departed. Future departure dates will be confirmed in due course.

  • See two iconic locations of World War II on a single tour – the D-Day Beaches and Dunkirk

  • Dinner on board the Princess Elizabeth – which helped evacuate 1673 Allied soldiers – with performance from the wonderful D-Day Darlings

  • VE Day dinner in Caen at Le Mancel restaurant in the grounds of the chateau

  • Visits to key sites of the D-Day landings including the Musée du Débarquement

  • Expert commentary throughout from military guide, Michael How

2020 marks the 75th anniversary of VE Day, when the defeated Nazis finally surrendered, bringing to an end one of the bloodiest conflicts the world has ever known. The tales of heroism and sacrifice from an extraordinary generation of men and women are numerous and you will hear many of them during this exclusive tour to Northern Europe. Military guide, Michael How, will be with you throughout your trip to provide insight into the places you’re visiting and give a talk on VE Day in Caen. You will also visit Dunkirk beach and the Dunkirk War Museum as well as enjoying dinner on board the Princess Elizabeth in Dunkirk with a performance by the wonderful D-Day Darlings, finalists on Britain’s Got Talent.

ITINERARY

Day 1: Travel by coach from London Victoria Coach Station (approx 18.30) for coach transfer to Portsmouth.  Alternatively meet at Portsmouth ferry terminal for overnight ferry to Caen, departing at 22.45. Cabin accommodation with private facilities is confirmed.

Day 2: Time free and VE Day Dinner at Le Mancel restaurant
On arrival at Caen ferry terminal at 06.45am, transfer to the city centre with plenty of time to visit the old town, two cathedrals and a leisurely lunch, before checking in to the hotel in the afternoon for 2-night stay. Evening VE Day anniversary dinner at Le Mancel restaurant, located in the grounds of the Chateau de Caen, with talk from military historian and tour manager, Michael How.

Day 3: Comprehensive visit to many sites associated with 6 June 1944
Today you will make visits to many of the places associated with June 6, 1944, better known as D-Day. This morning, you will head to Ranville and the scene of the British airborne attacks, Pegasus Bridge, and its museum. There you will learn of the glider mission to capture the bridge intact in the early hours of June 6, 1944, commanded by Major John Howard. You will move on to the ‘Hillman’ German position before seeing the Sword Beach landing site. After lunch at the famous Courbet café  (included) you will journey to Bayeux to pay your respects at Bayeux War Cemetery, the largest British Cemetery on French territory. The German gun battery at Longues-sur-Mer is your next stop before you visit Omaha beach, where the US force was focused. You will follow that with the US military cemetary at Colleville-sur-mer before you return via General Montgomery’s headquarters at Creully.

Day 4: Arromanches and on to Dunkirk
You will spend the morning in Arromanches-les-Baines, where you will learn about the enormous Mulberry artificial harbour and pay a visit to the Musée du Débarquement. You will then transfer by coach to Dunkirk for check in to hotel for 2-night stay. Evening free.

Day 5:  Dunkirk visit and evening Princess Elizabeth dinner with performance by D-Day Darlings
Today, you will tour the poignant beach at Dunkirk where hundreds of civilian boats joined the 1940 evacuation of 198,000 British and 140,000 French and Belgian troops. You will learn more about this incredible story of valour at the Dunkirk War Museum. Evening dinner on board the paddle steamer Princess Elizabeth, which helped evacuate 1,673 Allied soldiers in Operation Dynamo with live performance from the D-Day Darlings, the UK’s premier Wartime musical act, a finalist on 2018’s Britain’s Got Talent, and endorsed by Vera Lynn herself.

Day 6: Our final visit to the Wormhout massacre site and small museum where 80 British soldiers were massacred in 1940.  We then return to London via the Eurotunnel crossing with arrival anticipated at London Victoria Coach Station during the afternoon.

NB: Exact order of excursions may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion. 

Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 47 passengers.

INCLUDED

  • Coach from London (or meet at Portsmouth) returning to London and throughout the tour
  • Overnight ferry with accommodation in twin cabin from Portsmouth to Caen
  • Two nights at the Mercure Port de Plaisance, Caen
  • Two nights at the Borel Hotel, Dunkirk
  • VE Day dinner at Le Mancel, Caen
  • Lunch at Le Courbet, Hermanville
  • Dinner and performance by the D-Day Darlings on board the restaurant ship, Princess Elizabeth
  • Tours and entrance fees throughout the tour conducted by Michael How
  • Tour manager/military guide throughout

NOT INCLUDED

  • Single room supplement
  • Holiday insurance
  • Meals other than those stated
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls etc
  • Porterage and gratuities 

HOTELS

Mercure Caen Port de Plaisance

Modern four-star hotel, well located in the city centre within walking distance of the main sights. Facilities here include a bar/lounge and very comfortable bedrooms with all modern amenities.

Hotel Website

Hotel Borel, Dunkirk

Modern four-star hotel, located in the town centre close to the harbour and a few minutes from the Princess Elizabeth where we will enjoy dinner and a talk from Simon Heffer.  Facilities include a bar and comfortable bedrooms with all modern amenities.

Hotel Website

MORE INFO

Your Host and Guide

Michael How is an experienced Battlefield Guide, a retired Metropolitan Police Officer Sergeant, who first visited the Old Western Front in the 1980's with colleagues. In the intervening years, he has organised and led many tour groups from across the globe, including Arnhem, Ypres, Somme, Dunkirk and Normandy. In June 2019 Michael was privileged to work alongside Dan Snow during the commemorations the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day landings, and his in depth military knowledge and awareness of the human sacrifice made, allows him to cover all aspects of warfare, enabling the visitor to gain a real understanding of the battle, it's causes and it' consequences. 

Your Entertainment

Following their success on 2018’s Britain’s Got Talent and their hugely successful debut Album “I’ll Remember You” charting number 15 in the official album charts and receiving a BRIT Break through Award, the UK’s premier Wartime Act, The D- Day Darlings, bring you their brand new stage show.The group was formed 10 years ago by founder and lead singer Katie Ashby, after Katie recognised the importance of this music and how it resonates with people like no other genre of music. Katie says, “To see how these songs affect people and how the melody and lyrics evoke such memories was truly eye-opening for me, and it was this that made me want to build a career singing these timeless songs and bring back memories for so many people.”  The Darlings, originally formed as a trio, became an overnight success and the group’s popularity grew with young and old alike, so more Darlings were signed up to join to the group, creating an army of girls to continue their mission of keeping the wartime spirit alive and into then ew generation.  Katie joined forces with The Royal British Legion, becoming official fundraisers for the RBL, raising thousands of pounds each year and when Dame Vera Lynn gave her endorsement of the group’s work, The D-Day Darlings truly became the UK’s most loved sweethearts and their popularity grew even further. Katie says, “Vera Lynn is my biggest inspiration and I want to continue her legacy both musically and as a woman, who contributed so much during the war and to have her blessing to do so, is just overwhelming.” 

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