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From London to Normandy and Paris, visit some of the Second World War's most poignant sites

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What's Included

  • Luxury accommodation throughout
  • Privately guided tours focusing on the Second World War in London, Normandy and Paris
  • Private transfers
  • Full support from your Travel Concierge before, during and after your trip
Use this itinerary to inspire your bespoke journey

At a glance

The Second World War lasted from 1939 to 1945 in Europe, a devastating period of history that reshaped the world, irrevocably changing or cutting short millions of lives, and whose aftereffects can still be seen and felt today.

On this often stirring trip, follow the conflict’s Western Front, from the early days of Battle of Britain and Blitz over London and southern England, to the arrival of American forces before the Normandy landings and liberation of Paris. With expert guides, visit some of the most poignant sites and hear the stories of challenges, loss and triumph.

Begin in London where you will learn how the civilian population coped under attack from the Luftwaffe, see the underground rooms where Winston Churchill’s government operated and visit the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral. You’ll also visit the incredible Imperial War Museum and American Air Museum at Duxford before heading south to Sussex. Here you’ll visit Chartwell, the country home of Britain’s most famous Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. Close to Portsmouth, see the country house and map room where the D-Day landings were orchestrated by Generals Eisenhower and Montgomery before yourself sailing across the channel to Normandy. On your first day explore the US sectors of Omaha and Utah, as well as the legendary Point du Hoc, Sainte-Mère-Eglise and the moving American Cemetery. On the following day visit Gold and Juno beaches which were attacked by British, Canadian, Australian and other Allied troops.

Finally, advance into Paris to hear stories of how the beautiful capital fared under occupation, about the French Resistance and of liberation.

Example Trip Itinerary

Days 1-3

London

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Airside meet and greet at London Heathrow airport

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in London

Accommodation in London

World War II tour of London World War II tour of London

As the bombs on fell during the Second World War, a period known as the Blitz, a stoic community spirit with a dose of black humour unified the civilian population. Buildings burned and homes, lives, livelihoods and entire neighbourhoods were destroyed, but the population prevailed in the face of this new danger, a stiff upper lip attitude that became known as Blitz spirit. Learn about the blitz on an evocative walking tour around the city, and visit The Churchill War Rooms, a museum comprising of the Cabinet War Rooms, a historic underground complex that housed a British government command centre throughout the Second World War, and the Churchill Museum, a biographical museum exploring the life of the cigar-toting leader.

St Paul's Cathedral St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul's Cathedral is famous for many reasons, not least as the setting for Princess Diana's wedding to Prince Charles. It is also an exceptional architectural achievement on the part of Sir Christopher Wren, who masterminded the rebuilding of London in the 17th century.

The Imperial War Museum and American Air Museum at Duxford The Imperial War Museum and American Air Museum at Duxford

Visit the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, a former RAF and USAAF airfield that now houses a number of historic aircraft collections in its hangars, including the Lancaster, Spitfire, Concorde and Vulcan, and a B-17, B-29 and B-52 at the American Air Museum. The airfield is also the site for restoration work and many airworthy warbirds still fly from here and we can organise an unforgettable flight in vintage aircraft ranging from a de Havilland Tiger Moth biplane to a twin-seat Supermarine Spitfire.

Westminster Abbey Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey stands next to the magnificent Houses of Parliament and is steeped in more than 1,000 years of history. It has been the setting for every coronation since 1066, as well as 16 royal weddings. It is one of Britain's most important religious buildings, and here you'll discover a panorama of British history. Please note that the abbey is a working institution and subject to last minute closures.

Churchill War Rooms Churchill War Rooms

Buried deep under the government buildings of Whitehall are the historic Churchill War Rooms. This is the place from which Churchill strategized during World War II and it remains incredibly atmospheric today.

Private transfer to your hotel in Sussex via Dover Castle Private transfer to your hotel in Sussex via Dover Castle

Dover Castle has been at the crossroads of British history for centuries, it has been described as the 'Key to England' due to its defensive significance throughout history. Perched on a hill above the town and famous white cliffs with views across the Channel to France, the story of Dover Castle is the story of Britain. Throughout the medieval period and into the 19th century, the castle has served as Britain’s first line of defence against invading armies from the Continent. It was in the Napoleonic era that the famous tunnels were first constructed to serve as barracks for English troops. In World War II, the tunnels were opened up again, and housed the command centre that controlled naval operations in the Channel Sea, playing a pivotal role in the evacuation from Dunkirk.

Days 3-5

Sussex

Accommodation in Sussex

Chartwell Chartwell

Visit Chartwell, the country home of Britain’s most famous Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. Chartwell was very much a family home and contains many personal objects which recount the history and lives of the Churchill family. The house was also a sanctuary for Sir Winston and today his studio contains the largest single collection of his paintings.

Nymans Nymans

A garden lovers' home for all seasons, with an extensive yet intimate garden set around a romantic house and ruins. One of the National Trust's premier gardens, Nymans was a country retreat for the creative Messel family, and has views stretching out across the Sussex Weald.

Here you can recharge your batteries , while you explore this beautiful place, discovering hidden corners through stone archways, walking along tree-lined avenues while surrounded by lush green countryside. From vibrantly colourful summer borders, to the tranquillity of ancient woodland, Nymans is a place of experimentation with constantly evolving planting designs and a rare and unusual plant collection. The comfortable yet elegant house, a partial ruin, reflects the personalities and stories of the talented Messel family, from the Countess of Rosse to Oliver Messel and photographer Lord Snowdon.

There is a large shop and plant centre with our special collection of plants grown on site, a cafe offering a choice of seasonal food made by us, and a Grab & Go kiosk in the tea garden. Every day there are guided walks and talks in the garden and woods, a small gallery in the house with changing exhibitions for every season, a secondhand bookshop, shop tastings and mobility tours of the garden and woods.

For children there are plenty of opportunities for natural play, geocaching in the woods, pick up and go activities and seasonal trail.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in West Sussex

Days 5-7

West Sussex

Accommodation in West Sussex

Portsmouth tour Portsmouth tour

Portsmouth packs a historical punch with a story that goes back to the kings of France via the Mayflower and the D-Day Landings. Its literary connections encompass Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle and Jane Austen and the last legally valid dual ever held in England took place in the city. Accompanied by your guide, visit the Spinnaker Tower for panoramic views over Portsmouth and the Solent and discover naval history at the world-class Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Southwick House Southwick House

Until the dark days of the Second World War, Southwick House was an elegant private residence. In 1941 it was requisitioned and became the home of the Royal Navy School of Navigation. Two years later, the house was chosen as the command post for the planned D-Day Landings, spear-headed by General Eisenhower and General Montgomery. Today the building remains in use as the Defence College of Policing and Guarding but the Map Room where the planning for the invasion took place has been preserved, and the college is opened up to private visitors who wish to explore this unique and crucial part of history.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to the ferry dock

Transfer

Ferry from Portsmouth to Caen

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Bayeux

Days 7-10

Normandy

Accommodation in Normandy

Omaha Beach Omaha Beach

An 8km (5 mile) stretch of sand overlooked by cliffs, Omaha was the bloodiest of all the five Allied landing sectors with around 2000 casualties with the United States Army attack was held on the beach by strong defenses for much of the day. You can see the informative Omaha Beach Memorial Museum with its collection of uniforms, weapons and vehicles.

Sainte-Mère-Église and Airborne Museum Sainte-Mère-Église and Airborne Museum

Visit the small town of Sainte-Mère-Église where paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division landed on during the first hours of June 6. One of them, John Steele, was left dangling after he landed on the pinnacle of the church tower and his parachute got snagged. He was subsequently captured by the Germans but escaped to join the attack on the village, making one of the first places to be liberated in France. Also in town is the Musée Airborne is a French museum dedicated to the memory of American paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st airborne divisions who parachuted into Normandy.

Pointe du Hoc Pointe du Hoc

Pointe du Hoc was the site of a coastal battery within range of Utah and Omaha beaches, making its capture key to the success of the landings. It was attacked by the 2nd Ranger Battalion whose elite troops scaled the sheer cliff face before holding the promontory under sustained counterattack for two more days. The site has remained untouched ever since.

Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial

The poignant Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial overlooks the eastern end of Omaha Beach, holding the bodies of 9,387 soldiers who crossed the Atlantic to help liberate Western Europe.

Longues-sur-Mer battery Longues-sur-Mer battery

Longues-sur-Mer was the location of a German battery atop a cliff with magnificent views toward both Gold and Omaha Beaches. Mostly undamaged by naval and aerial bombardment, today is the only remnant of the Atlantic Wall defences to keep its big guns in place.

Arromanches and Gold Beach Arromanches and Gold Beach

Gold Beach, the middle of the five landing sectors, was the responsibility of the British Second Army who secured the beachhead and linked up with the Canadians to the east on Juno with around 1000 casualties. On the western end of the beach is the quaint port of Arromanches which was left remarkably undamaged by the fighting. It was used by the Allies as a location to construct prefabricated ‘Mulberry’ harbours from floating concrete caissons and roadways that were towed across the Channel, the remnants of which can be seen today. By June 12, more than 300,000 men, 54,000 vehicles, 104,000 tons of supplies had been landed here.

Private transfer to Paris via Monet's garden in Giverny Private transfer to Paris via Monet's garden in Giverny

Few fail to be charmed by the beauty of Monet’s paintings and at his garden in Giverny, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped right into one of his watercolours. Every inch is planted with an incredible variety of plants and flowers, bursts of colour amongst the soft greens of the weeping willows and bamboo trees. The water garden is perhaps the most beautiful of all, lily pads scattered across the still pond, an elegant Japanese-style bridge arching from one side to the other. Two wooden boats bob on the surface and are used by the gardeners to tend to the water lilies that provided so much inspiration to Monet during his lifetime.

Days 10-12

Paris

Accommodation in Paris

Two nights in Paris Two nights in Paris

A city trapped in the 19th century, dazzling visitors to this day with its charming cityscape. Paris is seductive, stunning whatever the weather, but above all, timeless. There is plenty to do and see in Paris, but it is a city that captivates its guests with the little things; strolling the cobbled avenues, people-watching in the finest French cafés, savouring fresh-baked pastries from your local boulangerie. Paris oozes chic, with trendy boutiques and haute-couture labels dotted all over every arrondissement. Paris is also home to the most visited art museum in the world, The Louvre, and boasts many other fascinating museums, with dynamic and developing exhibitions.

World War II walking tour of Paris World War II walking tour of Paris

Together with your private guide, you will delve into the past as you embark on a historical journey through the key moments of the German occupation in Paris. This captivating historical tour will cast a light on the defining moments of Paris during the war, from occupation in 1940 to liberation in 1944. In the Marais district, your guide will share somber stories of the Nazi invasion, and in the Ile de la Cité and Notre-Dame see hidden artillery impacts on the walls. Your guide will tell you all about local life during this time, including hopeful and courageous stories of those who risked their lives to protect the persecuted. You will learn about the efforts of the underground French Resistance movement that would light the spark of insurrection and help liberate Paris from its oppressors.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Charles de Gaulle airport

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World War II History Tour in England and France

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