The War in the Air

Tour Introduction

‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed, by so many, to so few’

The immortal words uttered by Winston Churchill that brilliantly summed up the sacrifice and heroics of the RAF in winning the Battle of Britain. The importance of dominating the skies during the Second World War was crucial as it meant that an invasion of Britain became unrealistic. This tailor-made experience gives you the opportunity to see those heroics first hand, with visits to airfields and headquarters from where the battle was orchestrated. Britain also played a big part in America’s involvement in the European theatre of the war with both the use of its airfields for bombing raids and airborne invasion and in housing US troops before D-day. The evidence of American air power is still clear throughout the English countryside, with numerous airfields that housed the Bomber Groups, most with dedicated museums. There are numerous chances to see examples of the aircraft that were used in the operations, and even see them in action at air shows if you so desire. The beauty of doing this tour on an individual basis is that you can pick and choose what story you would like to follow and intersperse your themed visits with time spent in picturesque countryside or more bustling, vibrant cities.

Our Tailor-made Tours

Our tailor-made tours aim to offer a high quality experience that suits you. Visit historic and cultural sites of your choice in as much luxury as you desire, and we’ll pay impeccable attention to detail at every step of the way. Whether it’s a short city break complete with museums and galleries or exploring the world’s most famous battlefields, we will do everything in our power to ensure you have the immersive experience you are looking for.

Background

What to see:

• Bletchley Park
• 2nd Air Division Memorial Library
• Norfolk Aviation Museum
• Hardwick Airfield
• Old Buckenham Airfield
• Parham Airfield + museum
• Museum of the British Resistance Organisation and the Auxiliary Units
• Shipdham Airfield + museum
• Tibenham Airfield
• Thorpe Abbots + museum
• RAF Bentley Priory (Fighter Command HQ)
• RAF Museum, London
• Imperial War Museum
• Cabinet War Rooms
• RAF Duxford & American Air Museum
• RAF Uxbridge
• American Military Cemetery at Madingley
• Duxford holds a WWII air show on 10th & 11th September 2016
• Also holds an American air show 28th & 29th May 2016
• Battle of Britain Memorial
• Battle of Britain Museum at Hawkinge, Kent
• Any other sites can be visited on request

Other Sites to Visit

• London
• Cambridge
• Norwich

Any of these sites can be combined to construct your perfect itinerary.

Accommodation

We generally provide accommodation in good quality 4*, preferably historic, hotels where possible. However we can provide accommodation that suits your budget, please enquire for more details.

Transport

You may choose to make this a self-drive tour or we can arrange for your expert guide to pick you up and take you from destination to destination.

Guide

You will be provided with an expert guide who can take you from A to B, you can utilise their services for as much of the tour as you like. 

Itinerary

Day 1 – Travel to Norwich and visit the Norfolk Aviation museum with its collection of aircraft and artefacts, including some rarities like a workable replica of the Colditz escape glider. Free time to explore the medieval city of Norwich.

Day 2 – Today explore a number of Airfields used in the bombing raids on Germany throughout the war. Most of those visited, including Hardwick, Old Buckenham and Shipdham were used by US Bombing groups and have small dedicated museums. Travel on to the famous university town of Cambridge.

Day 3 – Pay your respects at the American Military Cemetery in Madingley, the resting site of 3,800 American service men and women, most of whom were crew members of British based aircraft. At RAF Duxford, peruse the numerous exhibitions including the new American Air Museum (opening March 2016), and get up close and personal with some of history’s most famous planes including the Spitfire, Vulcan and Concorde. Enjoy a free evening in Cambridge, one of the country’s most historic and beautiful cities.

Day 4 – Before reaching your final base in London, pay a visit to Bletchley Park. Churchill called those who worked at Bletchley ‘the golden geese that never cackled.’ Headed by Alan Turing, the team of codebreakers and mathematicians worked tirelessly, with the help of the Enigma machine, to intercept German intelligence. It is said that the success of those at Bletchley shortened the war by two years.

Day 5 - An excursion out of central London will take you to three RAF sites. Firstly to RAF Uxbridge where Churchill uttered his famous words about ‘the few’. The underground control room is preserved much how it was during the crucial days of the battle of Britain. Then onto Bentley Priory Museum, which acted as the headquarters for Fighter Command through the war. Finally, back towards London is the RAF Museum, which houses many fine examples of aircraft through the ages.

Day 6 – At the Cabinet War Rooms, you will be at the heart of government operations during the war. The exhibition has been brilliantly preserved and the map room is untouched since the day it was left in May 1945, here you really get a feel for the scale and tension around what was a huge operation. Finish the tour at the fabulous Imperial War Museum, with its First and Second World War exhibitions.

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