Remembrance Sunday on the 11th November brings with it a time to commemorate the contribution of the British and Commonwealth military and service men and women in the two World Wars and all other conflicts. Across the country, there will be numerous parades, exhibitions and other events celebrating the achievements and, especially, honouring the memory of those who gave their lives in the wars. If you are looking for something to do on this day and want to learn more about these many historical events, the following article is about battlefield tours and museums offering interesting guided walks and exhibitions centering around the two World Wars.
Belgium Battlefield Tours
You can take a day trip from Bruges to Flanders’ WWI battlefields alongside an expert historical guide who will show you all the landmarks and explain to you their history. Visit the German Military Cemetery, admire the Kollwitz sculptures, pay your respects at the Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery to fallen WWI soldiers. The experience may be quite emotionally stirring, however, it is so important to remember the victims of the wars and remain aware of the past.
Many famous landmarks you can visit here are for example the Trench of Death, a stretch of what was the Western Front during WWI, where many soldiers fell. Others include the Yser Tower or the Gate of Peace and the Essex Farm Field Hospital should not be missed either, with its famous bunkers in which John McCrae wrote the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’. For the best Belgium battlefield tours, it is advisable to start in Bruges and continue towards the In Flanders Field Museum.
In Flanders Field Museum
We highly recommend that you also get the audio guide when visiting this museum, as it really is a place that can teach you so much about the past. This museum has extremely well curated exhibits that speak volumes of the terrible, turbulent past of this area. Make sure to check tickets in advance, as it is naturally a popular Remembrance Sunday event to visit.
As Belgium has some of the most preserved museums and battlefields, and was also the country that took one of the biggest blows during the First World War, it is a very popular destination for those that want to learn more about this great conflict and those wishing to honour the fallen. Belgium is a very doable destination to go to from the UK; take the underground train and arrive in Calais, a few hour car drive to Belgium, or take a ferry to to Hoek van Holland in the Netherlands and then a train or drive down to Belgium. Naturally, while visiting this beautiful country, don't forget to stop in some of the most beautiful cities; Brussels, Bruges, Ghent or Leuven. Belgium has so much to offer and it would be a shame not to see as much as possible, as it is quite a small country where it is easy to move around. While you’re visiting Belgium, definitely try some delicious fries with mayonnaise, a true Belgian classic (contrary to popular belief, french fries come from Belgium and not… France) or a Belgian waffle with some whipped cream.
While enjoying all of Belgium’s delicacies, don’t forget to keep at least one or two whole days free to visit the battlefields and museums. Visiting First World War battlefields is a very humbling and worthwhile experience and a trip such as this one on Remembrance Sunday (or any other day of the year) will surely make you appreciate the era we live in now and honour those who could not be so lucky. We must never forget this part of humankind’s past.
Written by Andrea Veselá