A Near Run Thing
The Classic Waterloo Anniversary Tour
Our ever popular Classic Waterloo Anniversary Tour covers the battles of Ligny, Quatre Bras and especially Waterloo itself – and takes place over the annual anniversary weekend when there will be re-enactors dressed in period uniform on the battlefields. We will be staying in historic Waterloo town, home to Wellington's Headquarters and local restaurants serving the cuisine for which the Belgians are famous. Your tour guide will be General Ashley Truluck, Chairman of the Society of Army Historical Research and Managing Consultant at the Cultural Experience – who has made a particular of study of Wellington and lived near Waterloo for several years. At each battlefield we get out onto the ground to see and feel what it was like for commanders and soldiers of the period.
The Waterloo campaign in June 1815 ensured reletive peace in Western Europe for the next fifty years. It was the first time that the two greatest commanders of the era, Napoleon and Wellington, met each other in battle and it was to be the last campaign for both of them. It was also the last campaign for grand old Marshal Blucher whose Prussian Army, having been trounced at Ligny, nevertheless arrived in the nick of time to tip the scales in the Allies' favour as Wellington's 'infamous army' hung on grimly to the ridge at Waterloo.
What you said:
"Ashley's friendly approach, passion and light-hearted but in-depth commentaries made this tour special and ther battles come alive".
Day 1 - Brussels.
We travel by Eurostar arriving in Brussels in time to visit the spectacular Grande Place, with its awesome gold-painted Guildhalls and Town Hall, and drive via the Rue Royale to see where Wellington was based in Brussels and the Royal Park where his troops assembled. Then on to Waterloo town to visit the building where he planned the battle and wrote his famous Waterloo despatch. Check-in to our comfortable Waterloo hotel, our base for the tour.
"I never heard of a battle in which everybody was killed; but this seems likely to be an exception, as all were going down by turns".
Captain John Kincaid, reminiscence of Waterloo 1815
Day 2 - Ligny & Quatre Bras.
At Ligny we see where Napoleon's right wing clashed with the Prussians on 16 June 1815. We view Napoleon's windmill at Fleurus, walk through the village of Ligny and travel up to the Blucher's command post on the Prussian ridge to discuss how he managed to slip Napoleon's trap and retreat to Wavre. After a light lunch we will stand on the crossroads at Quatre Bras where Wellington halted the advance of the left wing of Napoleon's army and then follow Wellington's skilful withdrawal to the defensive position at Waterloo on 17 June, hotly pursued by Napoleon, whose headquarters we will visit at Le Caillou.
Day 3 - Waterloo.
Today we spend the whole day on the battlefield of Waterloo 18 June 1815, starting at Hougoumont (with its new visitor centre) – key to Wellington's critical right flank. Then to the centre of the Allied ridge to see where Napoleon's infantry columns were seen off by the epic British cavalry counter-attacks and walk down to La Haye Sainte to hear the story of its heroic, but doomed, defence. After lunch we see where French cavalry attacks were brought to a shuddering halt by Wellington's resolute infantry squares. In picturesque Plancenoit village we see where the Prussians fell on Napoleon's right flank. Finally, we walk the very route of the advance of the Imperial Guard and its defeat by Wellington's elite Guards and Light Troops. An epic day!.
Day 4 - The Museums.
We complete our anniversary weekend with a visit to the new Waterloo Visitor Centre which includes the Lion Mound viewing platform, the Waterloo Panorama, and the excellent new Museum and Audio Visual display. Finally, we return to Brussels to pay our respects to the British dead at evocative Evere Cemetery. The quick Eurostar journey should see us back in London by early evening.