80th Anniversary of D-Day: Churchill’s London to Battle of the Bulge
Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed to so few by so many.
On our 80th Anniversary of D-Day: Churchill’s London to Battle of the Bulge Tour, we study not only History’s most influential men but also the ordinary men that made the Allied victory possible.
In London, you will see where Winston Churchill led Great Britain through its “darkest hour,” and visit some of his favorite spots, including the tobacco shop where he bought his Cuban cigars. Among the highlights of our study of Churchill will be a lecture by Phil Reed, the former director of the Churchill War Rooms and an expert on Churchill, as well as a private tour of the prime minister’s country home that includes access to sites normally inaccessible to visitors.
In Normandy, France, you will walk the sands of Omaha Beach stirred by the memories of the young men who came ashore under fire in June of 1944. As we make our way to Bastogne, you will explore the town squares, woods, and fields where the paratroopers landed in the predawn hours on 6 June.
The final part of this D-Day tour covers the Battle of the Bulge, one of the most epic and decisive battles of World War II. We will visit the Siegfried Line and explore the Ardennes battlefields, where the Allies broke the back of the Nazi war machine. The victory would affect the lives of millions.
All guests on the 80th Anniversary of D-Day: Churchill’s London to Battle of the Bulge Tour will attend the official June 6 Commemorative ceremonies at the Normandy American Cemetery at Colville-sur-Mer, when we will honor and pay tribute to our fallen heroes.
With the number of WWII veterans decreasing rapidly, it may be one of the last times that there will be veterans attending the ceremony. Join us for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
- London: Visit to Winston Churchill's home at Chartwell where he wrote some of his most famous speeches and his renowned history of World War II in his study
- London: Stop at the tobacconist where the prime minister obtained his favorite Cuban cigars and St. Margaret’s chapel, where Churchill married Clementine Hozier
- Bletchley Park: See the top-secret wartime codebreaking center that the prime minister called the, “goose that laid the golden egg and never cackled”
- Normandy: Attend the 80th Anniversary of D-Day Commemorative activities at the American Battle Monuments Commission Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mere
- Normandy: See where Harrison Summers single-handedly took out more than 100 German soldiers during a daring D-Day morning attack
- Battle of the Bulge: Explore the depths of the Hurtgen Forest to visit the hill where D-Day Ranger hero Leonard Lomell led a desperate defense, a fight he remembered as his, "Longest Day"
- Battle of the Bulge: Walk amongst the still formidable German defensive bunkers that made the Hurtgen Forest such a terrible struggle for the GIs who entered the "forbidden woods" in the autumn of 1944
DAY 1 Overnight flight to London (May 28)
Guests travel independently to London on an overnight flight with arrival on May 30.
DAY 2 London (May 29)
Arrive this morning in London and make your way to the tour hotel in the neighborhood of Kensington.
Following a mid-afternoon meet-and-greet gathering we will proceed the Cabinet War Rooms, Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s top-secret underground command center. It was from here, safe from the German bombs pounding London, that Churchill directed Britain's war effort. We cap off our informative visit with a lecture by Phil Reed, former director of the Churchill War Rooms and an expert on Churchill.
DAY 3 London (May 30)
We begin our day at the magnificent Blenheim Palace, residence of the Duke of Marlborough and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill in 1874. The palace opened in 1722 as a gift from the British people to Churchill’s illustrious ancestor, John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, in honor of his great victory over the French at the 1704 Battle of Blenheim.
After Blenheim, we travel to Bletchley Park, the top-secret wartime codebreaking center that the prime minister called the, “goose that laid the golden egg and never cackled.” Here, mathematical geniuses such as Alan Turing and others worked in tireless anonymity to decipher Germany’s secret codes and lay the groundwork for modern computers. We will see the restored wartime facilities as well as the famous bomb machine, which enabled the efficient breaking of German codes. We will discuss Churchill’s realization of the importance of the codebreakers and his crucial role in keeping Bletchley operating despite opposition.
DAY 4 London (May 31)
We will spend the morning exploring Churchill’s London, seeing some of the sites that were so important in his daily life. We stop at JJ Fox, where the prime minister obtained his favorite Cuban cigars and St. Margaret’s chapel, where Churchill married Clementine Hozier and other sites associated with his life. After lunch at Claridge’s, one of the prime minister’s favorite eateries, we will travel to the Battle of Britain Museum.
In addition to the restored aircraft and displays, at the museum, we will see the “Ops Room,” the command center for British defenses during the Battle of Britain. It was from here that Churchill oversaw operations during the final climactic air battles over Britain in September 1940.
DAY 5 Poole (June 1)
We leave London for Kent and what one historian called “the most important country house in Europe": Chartwell, home to Winston Churchill for 40 years. From Chartwell the future prime minister warned about Britain’s lack of preparedness to face the threat of Nazi Germany. He also would come here to escape the pressures of his office and convene his “little cabinet.” Our private tour will include access to sites normally inaccessible to visitors. We then continue south to Portsmouth, the home of the Royal Navy.
Here we will spend time at the Historic Naval Dockyards museum and see Admiral Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar as well as an original copy of the Overlord plan at the Royal Navy Museum.
DAYS 6-10 Normandy (June 2-6)
We will spend days 5-9 in Normandy (five nights) where guests will visit all the key sites mentioned below and attend the official 80th Anniversary of D-Day Ceremonies at the Normandy American Cemetery. Once you are assigned to a departure date and historian, we will send more detailed information and itineraries specific to your group.
Following breakfast, we will board the cross-channel ferry and embark for Normandy as the troops did in 1944. In the afternoon, we will begin our visit to Normandy at Ste-Mere-Eglise, one of the villages where the American Airborne Division descended on D-Day. Here we will view and explore the iconic church where John Steele and his landing on the steeple are memorialized. We also visit La Fiere Bridge where the 82nd Airborne Division successfully delayed a German Panzer counter-attack against the Allied landing forces.
We will begin “The Longest Day” at Brécourt Manor where Lt. Dick Winters with members of Easy Company successfully silenced German artillery firing on American troops landing at Utah Beach. From there we will visit Utah Beach itself, where the 4th Division landed, and the Invasion Museum that depicts their heroics. Next we will stop at Ste-Marie du Mont where the unique Renaissance-style steeple used as an observation post by the Germans still stands. From there, we will proceed to the town of Carentan where we will follow the exact steps taken by American Paratroopers during the Battle of Normandy.
There will be a visit to Pointe-du-Hoc, where Rudders’ Rangers scaled the cliffs to neutralize heavy German guns defending the expanse of beaches on D-Day.
We’ll spend the morning at Omaha Beach where the Americans landed and faced the strongest German resistance of the day and incurred the greatest losses. We will walk the beach and visit some of the German defense fortifications. We explore these sands from the tide’s ebb to the distant dunes to understand the emotions of the young soldiers of the 1st and 29th Infantry Divisions as they approached the “gates of hell.”
We will pay our respects at the American Cemetery with its 9,387 American soldiers’ graves stretching along the top of the bluff overlooking the beach. In the afternoon we will view the battery at Longues-sur-Mer, a fine example of the great defenses that made up Hitler’s Atlantic Wall. We will proceed along the British Beaches from there to Pegasus Bridge, where the first shots were fired on D-Day. Here the British Sixth Airborne led by Major John Howard with a miraculous glider landing carried out a surprise attack that yielded great success in overtaking this crucial bridge across the Caen Canal.
DAY 10 Normandy (June 6)
Today we attend the official Commemorative ceremonies at the American Cemetery at Colville-sur-Mer.
DAY 11 Compiègne (June 7)
After checkout from our Normandy hotel, we work our way through the region, transitioning to the town of Compiègne before Day 12's journey to the Netherlands.
DAY 12 Arnhem (June 8)
After breakfast, guests depart on the Thalys high-speed train to Brussels. We meet our coach and driver and travel to Aachen, Charlemagne’s first capital and the first German city in Germany captured by the allies. There we visit the site of the German command bunker during the battle as well as the remnants of the famous Siegfried Line outside of Aachen. In the fall of 1944, these concrete emplacements guarded Germany’s western border from advancing British and Allied forces. Our visit to these impressive concrete fortifications will illustrate some of the obstacles our men faced battling their way into Germany.
DAY 13 Bastogne (June 9)
Today we journey into the forbidding woods of the Hurtgenwald, the scene of the longest and costliest battle fought by American forces during the campaign in northwestern Europe. From September-December 1944, the U.S. First Army battled to penetrate the Siegfried Line. The Germans destroyed several American divisions and set the stage for what would follow during the Battle of the Bulge. Our visit to the “Hell of the Hurtgen” will take in some of the most famous sites of this bitter battle, including Schmidt and Vossenack, the Kaall trail, and the hidden German bunker complex at Simonskall. We conclude with a stop in Bergstein, the last great fight of the battle where Point Du Hoc hero Len Lomell experienced his “Longest Day” of the war.
Next, we study the Battle of the Bulge at the Baugnez Crossroads and the site of the infamous Malmedy Massacre. From Malmedy, we travel to the small Our River crossing of Dasburg, where Operation Wacht am Rein, the last great German offensive of the war, began. From Dasburg, we follow the route the Germans took as they battled the 28th Infantry Division all the way back to Bastogne. It was the defense of the 28th Division, which had suffered terrible losses in the Hurtgen, which bought the time Eisenhower needed to rush the 101st Airborne up to Bastogne. We will see the sites of some of the 28th’s most epic stands, including Marnach, Clervaux, Marvie, and the Grotto of Notre Dame.
Arriving in Bastogne early in the afternoon, we will see sites associated with the “Battled Bastards” epic defense of the city, including the famous “Nuts” cave of General McAuliffe and the unparalleled collection of World War II armored vehicles and artifacts.
DAY 14 Luxembourg (June 10)
The 16-mile perimeter around Bastogne is our focus today. We visit the most important sites associated with the siege and the epic counter-offensive. From Noville, where elements of the 101st first encountered the Germans, we travel around the perimeter to see the surviving foxholes around the town of Foy, the site of the Christmas Day attack that almost broke the perimeter, and Assenois where George S. Patton’s Third Army broke the siege lines. We then follow the American counterattack from Bastogne, finishing up at Houffalize, the final objective of the 101st during the January counter-offensive.
DAY 15 Frankfurt (June 11)
Before heading out for the airport, we will have an opportunity to visit some of the sites associated with the four-day battle for Frankfurt in March 1945. Overshadowed by the famous Rhine Crossing at Remagen, the battle for the Bridge at Frankfurt was an equally important achievement. The centrally located bridge secured by the 5th Infantry Division and 6th Armored Division gave U.S. forces a much larger base from which to carry out further operations. We see the site of the famous bridge over the Rhine taken at great cost as well as the scene of some of the fiercest house-to-house fighting of the war.
DAY 16 Home (June 12)
Morning dropoff at Frankfurt airport or continuation if taking one of our post-tours.
- May 28 - June 12, 2024 - We have reached our capacity of single rooms. All single room guests are waitlist only.
- Nuremberg & Berchtesgaden Extension (three nights)
- 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.