Walking The Somme
The Battle Explored on Foot
Walking The Somme
The Battle Explored on Foot
Your Holiday Essentials
From the preserved old front line to woods still scarred by trenches and bunkers - to walk the chalk down lands of the Somme battlefields is to understand the past through the landscape. After a catastrophic opening day, the 1916 Battle of the Somme was a deadly crucible in which modern warfare was forged.
With our popular expert historian Simon Jones, we combine eyewitness accounts with scholarly insights to gain a deep understanding of the five-month battle and its impacts. We also include fighting on the Somme from 1915 through to the final 'Hundred Days' of 1918. We base ourselves in the historic town of Arras to explore life behind the lines for this poignant tour.
The 1916 Battle of the Somme was the first battle in which the British Citizen New Armies fought en mass; the catastrophic losses had a profound impact on the British psyche. The disaster of 1 July 1916 was followed by a series of mainly failed attacks against a well-prepared adversary. At enormous cost the British Army began to learn how to defeat its opponent. Innovations such as a night attack, tanks and, above all, coordination between infantry and the creeping artillery barrage, pointed to the future of warfare. But the Germans also evolved a flexible, in-depth, defence, to which the British would again have to adapt their attack tactics. Only in the last months of 1918 did revolutionary changes in fighting methods bear fruit for the Allies.
- With WW1 expert, author & historian Simon Jones
- An exploration of Serre Front where the British attacks failed on both 1 July and 13 November 1916
- Walk from Hébuterne to follow the attack by the Rangers during the ill-fated Gommecourt diversion
- We walk the route of tank 'Dinnaken' through the village of Flers during the first ever tank attack on 15 September 1916
- Visit the preserved battlefield of the Newfoundland Memorial Park
- See the Hawthorn mine crater
- Visit the famous Sunken Road
- Follow the advance of the remarkable night assault on Bazentin Ridge on 14 July 1916
- Explore the cavalry charge at High Wood
- Return Standard Premier Eurostar from London
- 3 & 4 Star Hotels
- Buffet breakfast each morning
- A three-course dinner party each evening hosted by your expert historian and tour manager
- Two drinks i,e wine or beer with dinner each evening and a welcome drink on first evening
- Dedicated Tour Manager
- Entrance fees for all site visits
- Local travel in modern, comfortable, air-conditioned coach
- Pre tour information booklet
- Access to the Cultural Experience app
- Helpful and friendly travel advice
- The company of like-minded travelers
"I was most appreciative of the highly professional and stimulating guiding. It was also a lot of fun! I look forward to similar skills and erudition on another tour in the future."
Day 1 - Arras.
Depart London St Pancras for Lille on the Eurostar. Drive to the Somme were we begin with an exploration of Serre Front where the British attacks failed on both 1 July and 13 November 1916. Less well-known are the desperate French assaults of 1915 and the dramatic halt of the German advance by New Zealanders in March 1918, all fought over the same battlefield.
Day 2 - Gommecourt - Rossignol Wood and Tanks at Flers.
In the morning we walk from Hébuterne to follow the attack by the Rangers during the ill-fated Gommecourt diversion. At nearby Rossignol Wood the Germans inflicted heavy British casualties during their withdrawal of early 1917; when they retook the ground in 1918, VCs were gained by the most decorated British Chaplain of the war, Theodore Hardy, and 'New Zealand's greatest soldier', Dick Travis. After a picnic lunch, we walk the route of tank 'Dinnaken' through the village of Flers during the first ever tank attack on 15 September 1916.
Day 3 - Beaumont Hamel - Bazentin Ridge – Flers.
In the morning we walk through the preserved battlefield of the Newfoundland Memorial Park, into Beaumont Hamel village and on to the Hawthorn mine crater and the famous Sunken Road, comparing failed and successful attacks. After a picnic lunch, we follow the advance of the remarkable night assault on Bazentin Ridge on 14 July 1916 and the cavalry charge at High Wood.
Day 4 - The Battle of Amiens.
By following the Canadian Scottish in the epic battle of 8 August 1918 we discover how this technological and highly orchestrated all-arms attack drove deep into the German position, an advance however still dependant on the heroism of an Orkney piper. Return to Lille for our afternoon Eurostar return journey to London St Pancras.
Recommended Reading List
- Attack: An Infantry Subaltern's Impression of July 1st, 1916
- Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme and the Making of the Twentieth Century
- First Day of the Somme
- The Hell They Called High Wood: The Somme 1916
- The Storm of Steel
Simon Jones MA, formerly curator at the Royal Engineers and King's Liverpool Regiment Museums, has guided at battlefields around the world since 1997. The author of books on tunnelling and gas warfare during the First World War, he has taught the First World War at Liverpool and Lancaster Universities and has Masters Degrees from Liverpool and Leicester Universities.