80th Anniversary of D-Day: Churchill’s England and D-Day to the Rhine
Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed to so few by so many.
On this 80th Anniversary of D-Day tour, you will begin in London, where Sir Winston Churchill led Great Britain through its “darkest hour,” and then follow Eisenhower’s Army from England to the Rhine. Prime Minister Churchill was the single individual who led the Allies from the early days of the American and British alliance to defeat the Nazis in World War II. Opening this window into his life, you will visit the command center of the British war effort, the Churchill War Rooms in London. You will also enjoy a Welcome Dinner featuring experts on Churchill and other VIPs who will join and speak to your group.
In England, you will visit two important Churchill homes, his birthplace, Blenheim Palace, and his exquisite brick manor home called Chartwell Home and Gardens. Investing his architectural imagination in his estate, its gardens, the arts, and diplomacy, Churchill master-minded the Allied war effort from this country home. You will see his living quarters and the very dining table where Churchill and famous guests conducted governance, and enjoy the gracious gardens where he spent many hours, painting, reading, and writing.
Stephen E. Ambrose first designed this itinerary in 1978 when he began his intense study of the D-Day invasion, the Normandy Campaign and western front in WWII. As part of his research, Ambrose travelled with countless veterans to find the sites where they trained in the United Kingdom and the battlefields where they made history in Europe. His extensive study of the European Theater of Operations led to his bestselling books on the subject, D-Day: June 6, 1944, Citizen Soldiers, Band of Brothers, and Pegasus Bridge, among others. Ambrose also wrote several volumes about General Eisenhower during WWII, including his two-volume set of biographies and The Supreme Commander: The War years of Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Ambrose’s research produced the unrivaled experience that we offer guests on all of our tours. His expertise was directly handed down to the next generation of historians who have continued to document the battlefield memories of hundreds of WWII veteran soldiers and officers at the very places where they fought. Their vast canon of knowledge is what makes our D-Day tour so authentic. Your historian will share these personal stories and their WWII expertise with you at every stop.
All guests on our 80th Anniversary of D-Day tours will attend the official June 6 Commemorative ceremonies at the Normandy American Cemetery at Colville-sur-Mer where you will honor and pay tribute to our fallen heroes.
NOTE: You can expect that unpredictable closures and/or logistical changes might interfere with any scheduled visit. This is especially true for the Commemoration ceremonies and the days surrounding 6 June 2024 in Normandy. If necessary, we will re-route and/or substitute an alternative when required. If logistics permit, you will enjoy surprise stops along the way.
- England: See the Churchill War Rooms, the underground British command center; Bletchley Park, the intelligence center where the Enigma machine decrypted Axis codes; and Chartwell House and Gardens, where Churchill lived and worked
- Normandy Beaches: Visit the invasion beaches of Omaha and Utah, one of the most moving things you will ever do, and stand at Pointe-du-Hoc, where the Rangers scaled the cliffs
- American Cemetery: Attend the official June 6 Commemorative ceremonies
- Ste-Mere-Eglise: See where the first American Airborne troops landed on D-Day
- Arnhem: Study Operation Market Garden, drive along “Hell’s Highway” and cross the “Bridge to Far”
- Bastogne: Wrap up the tour learning about Bastogne, the Ardennes and the Battle of the Bulge
DAY 1 Overnight flight to London
Guests travel independently to London on an overnight flight with arrival on May 29.
DAY 2 London
Arrive in London on the morning of Day 2 and check into the hotel.
In the afternoon you will visit the Churchill War Rooms. In the evening, the group will gather for a Welcome Reception and dinner. With introductions all around, your historian will give your first lecture. Experts on Churchill and additional VIP’s will join and address the group as well.
DAY 3 London
You will visit some of the important sites that figured prominently in Churchill’s England, including Blenheim Palace and Bletchley Park. You will have free time in the evening to enjoy the city on your own.
DAY 4 London
You will have a tour of the city featuring more of Churchill’s favorite places in London and visit the Oxbridge Bunker, the command center used by Churchill during the Battle of Britain, and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
DAY 5 London to Portsmouth
After breakfast you will begin the short ride to Portsmouth, where we will take the ferry to France. We will begin our tour of WWII sites in Normandy as time permits. Dinner at the hotel.
DAYS 6-9 Normandy
Following breakfast at the hotel, you will visit the Historic Portsmouth Dockyard and cross the English Channel by ferry in the afternoon, embarking for Normandy as the troops did in 1944.
During the several days you spend in Normandy, your visit will include the following sites, and maybe others:
Pegasus Bridge: Where the first shots were fired on D-Day
Brécourt Manor: The medieval family home where Lieutenant Dick Winters led the men of Easy Company to silence the German artillery firing at Utah Beach on D-Day
Utah Beach: Where the American 4th Division landed, and where the Invasion Museum stands today amid the stunning dunes.
Omaha Beach: Where the Americans experienced the greatest losses on D-Day
Pointe-du-Hoc: Where the Rangers scaled the cliffs and neutralized the heavy German guns
Normandy American Cemetery: Pay your respects at the deeply moving cemetery where nearly 10,000 graves memorialize the dead from the Normandy Campaign
Ste-Mere-Eglise: Where the first American Airborne troops landed on D-Day
La Fiere Bridge: Where the 82nd Airborne successfully delayed a German Panzer counterattack against the Allied landing forces on D-Day
Ste-Marie-du-Mont: The church where the Germans used the unique Renaissance-style steeple as an observation post
Carentan: Proceed from this town captured by the 101st in the exact steps taken by American Paratroopers during the Battle of Normandy
Longues-sur-Mer Battery: A fine example of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall of defense
DAY 9 80th Anniversary of D-Day Commemorative Ceremonies
Starting early in the morning, you will spend several hours observing the pageantry that marks June 6 every year. At the close of this momentous day, your bus will depart towards the Netherlands with an overnight in historic Compiegne, France.
DAY 10 Compiègne to Arnhem
After breakfast, you will begin your study of the Operation Market Garden campaign, the daring and early Allied strike directly for Berlin that failed. Control of the bridges at Eindhoven, Nijmegen, and Arnhem was essential for the Allies to make the strike into Germany. Your bus will drive along “Hell's Highway,” the road the troops used to get there, and you will view where the Allies broke through to connect with the British in Arnhem. You will also visit Nijmegen where the 82nd Airborne crossed the Waal River at tremendous risk.
You will re-cross the Rhine at the “Bridge Too Far” in Arnhem. There, your historian will recount the desperate three days that the British 1st Airborne under General John Frost held that bridge. We will finish the day at the Airborne Museum at Oosterbeek.
DAY 11 Arnhem to the Ardennes
The Ardennes is where Hitler risked almost every bit of firepower the Nazis still possessed in his last-ditch counterattack. It was a massive and overwhelming, but failed and final, German offensive that American historians named the Battle of the Bulge because of the bulbous enormity of the attack. The offensive started on December 16, 1944 and it came as a complete surprise to the Allies.
You will begin the day by viewing the German line of defense called the Dragon’s Teeth. The next stop is at the town of Lanzereth where Lieutenant Lyle Bouck of the 394th Infantry Regiment of the American 99th Division was one of the first soldiers to see the German columns coming on, and where he and his platoon of eighteen men held off a full-strength German SS Battalion for ten hours until relief arrived. You will see and hear how they did it, a breathtaking tale of heroism.
On the second day of the 1944 German offensive, the enemy experienced several breakthroughs that forced many Americans to surrender near the town of Malmedy. At that location, the blood-thirsty German battalion commander Joachim Peiper lined up about 150 GIs and fired at them point-blank, killing more than half while the rest barely escaped alive. You will pay your respects at the memorial to their sacrifice. Along the way, you will stop again to see Parker’s Crossroads where a Memorial and Howitzer M2A1 mark the spot where the 589th Field Artillery Battalion under Major Arthur C. Parker controlled the only route to supply the Seventh Armored Division during the Bulge for several days. As you proceed on to your evening lodging, you will enjoy a scenic ride through the Ardennes Mountains.
DAY 12 The Ardennes to Luxembourg
After breakfast, you will visit Bastogne where a critical siege during the Battle of the Bulge forced the American defenders to rally and stop the German attack. Here you will view the route of the initial American retreat and the place where the 101st Airborne and elements of the 10th Armored Division held off fifteen German divisions for six days. At this historic crossroads town, you will feel the energy of that week. As part of the captivating town of Bastogne, you will tour General McAuliffe’s Headquarters where he replied “NUTS” to German surrender demands. Your visit will also include the Bastogne Barracks and such battle sites as Noville – Foy and some of the foxholes used by Easy Company. You will also view the German Cemetery.
After leaving Bastogne, you will travel to Luxembourg and view Patton’s Grave, where the field general rests among his men at the American Cemetery. The afternoon will afford relaxing free time in the center of this bustling and charming old-world city followed by dinner on your own.
DAY 13 Luxembourg to Frankfurt
After checking into the hotel in Frankfurt on this last evening, you will enjoy a Farewell Dinner and a general discussion about your enriching tour into history.
DAY 14 Flight Home
Early morning departure to the Frankfurt International Airport for flights home.
Itinerary Changes and Delays: We take all reasonable efforts to adhere to the published itinerary. However, if the services and accommodations described for this tour cannot be supplied due to causes beyond our control, we reserve the right to change or substitute comparable services and accommodations. We also reserve the right to pass on to tour participants additional cost or savings.
DAY 1 Nuremberg (Day 14)
You will continue the journey toward the Bavarian Alps, stopping first in the historic city of Nuremberg where Hitler staged his infamous Nazi rallies and where the International Tribunal conducted the Nuremberg Trials after the war. Following lunch in the picturesque market center dominated by the Frauenkirche, you will tour the Nazi Party Rally Grounds and visit the Courthouse where the Allies convened the tribunals. When it is available, the Nuremberg Trials Courtroom 600 will cap off your experience.
DAY 2 Munich (Day 15)
You will continue south through Bavaria toward Munich, stopping first at Dachau, the site of some of the most nefarious acts committed against humankind during the war. The liberation of Dachau by Anglo-American forces in 1945 exposed for the first time the undeniable and very real extent of Nazi brutality. In total, over 200,000 prisoners from more than 30 countries were confined in Dachau. Most notably Jews, the tens of thousands of victims at Dachau also included many resistance fighters, clergymen, politicians, communists, writers, artists, and royalty. After that somber experience, there is a short drive to Munich where you will learn about the founding of the Nazi Party during the 1920s.
DAY 3 Berchtesgaden and Obersalzberg (Day 16)
You will take a city tour of Berchtesgaden and Obersalzberg, and then see the view from atop the Eagle’s Nest, the remains of the vast Nazi Party complex that the Allies liberated in May 1945. Perched at 6017 feet, the Nazi Party commissioned the Eagle’s Nest as a 50th birthday present to Hitler in 1937, during the height of German optimism. When finished, the complex and road network leading to it were considered feats of engineering genius because of the challenging terrain and because they were completed after only 13 months.
For your final night, you will enjoy the camaraderie of another Farewell Dinner in Munich.
DAY 4 Flights Home (Day 17)
Morning transfer to Munich Airport (MUC).
- May 28 - June 12, 2024 - Waitlist Only!
- Nuremberg & Berchtesgaden Extension (three nights) - Waitlist Only!
- Post-tour option: Berlin Extension, June 13 - 17
TOUR COST $8,490
Prices are per person based on double occupancy. For a single room add $1,790.
$2,390 per person based on double occupancy; for a post-tour single room add $690.
Nuremberg & Berchtesgaden Extension
$1,790 per person based on double occupancy; for a post-tour single room add $490.