I have developed this five-day tour with The Cultural Experience to offer an unparalleled opportunity to visit some of the outstanding sites associated with underground warfare on the Western Front during the Great War. It draws on thirty years of experience and research with access to a range of surviving galleries and caves. Full details of the tour are available at The Cultural Experience website.
Day 1 – Ypres and Messines.
Travel from London St Pancras by Eurostar to Lille. Drive to Ypres to discuss mining in the Salient and the epic tunnelling achievement which resulted in the huge mine explosions at Messines in June 1917, on the 100th anniversary of the Battle. Check-in to our hotel and attend the Menin Gate ceremony.
Day 2 – Arras & The Somme.
We take a guided visit of Wellington Quarry, used by British troops prior to the Battle of Arras in April 1917. Thence to La Boisselle to visit the Lochnagar Crater, the result of the massive mine exploded on 1 July 1916. We take lunch at Auchonvillers where we visit a cellar dressing station and a preserved trench. This afternoon we visit the eerie Bouzincourt cave system with its extant graffiti, relics and many chambers. Continue to Châlons-en-Champagne, our base for the rest of the tour.
Day 3 – Les Éparges & St Mihiel.
This morning we visit Les Éparges for the spectacular mine craters, bunkers and tunnel entrances. We break for lunch in Saint-Mihiel and then view the amazing trenches and bunkers at the tranchée des Bavarois and Bois Brulé.
Day 4 – Vauquois.
We spend a full day at the spectacular site at Vauquois taking the underground tour and visiting the trenches, spectacular mine craters, bunkers and the museum.
Day 5 – Aisne.
Our final destination is a specially arranged visit to the Froidmont Quarry, also known as the Creute or Cave of the Americans, on the Aisne to see remarkable wartime carvings. We stop for a lunchbreak in Laon. Thence commence our drive to Lille for our return train journey to London.
Your guide in the La Boisselle tunnels.