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Suggestions for children


AndyGB
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Hi

I'm hoping to take my two daughters (13 & 14) and my parents (60 & 61) over to the Somme area for a weekend in the spring.

My great-grandfather was killed near Villeret (St Quentin) in 1917 so we will be visiting the area and trying to find the positions marked on the trench maps I've got and I am hoping we would be able to get across to Ypres for the last post ceremony on the Saturday night.

I'd be interested in knowing what sites people would recommend we visit as we have such a diverse age group and if you thought traveling to Ypres would be a bit too much for a weekend trip ?

Thanks

Andy

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Hi Andy,

You don't say how many nights you were planning to spend away, nor where you are travelling from in the UK (to give an idea of how long your days in the car might be).

Maybe you could spend your first night in the Ypres area. The children might find the "In Flanders Fields" experience in the centre of Ypres interesting, and you could take them to the "trenches" at Sanctuary Wood, finishing up with the Last Post.

Next day go on to the St Quentin area, do your exploring there, with maybe the second night there in case you want to do more exploring, before heading homewards - taking in Vimy Ridge trenches just north of Arras en route (and perhaps doing a tunnel tour there). Another fascinating tunnel tour is the spectacular new Wellington Quarry in Arras, much discussed on this forum. The two main squares in Arras are really beautiful.

If you had time, between St Quentin and Arras, you could take a quick look at the Albert area: the Lochnagar crater at La Boisselle, Thiepval memorial and visitor centre, and the Somme 1916 museum in the centre of Albert.

If the children are not already well-versed in WWI, get them at least to read the relevant "Horrible Histories" book.

If you have any relatives who fell in WWI, find out where they are buried on www.cwgc.org and try to visit one of their graves en route - it makes the whole thing extremely personal. (EDIT: Sorry, I forgot that the purpose of your visit was to visit a fallen relative...)

Angela

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My seven year old daughter loved the 'dugout experience' at the Passchendaele experience.

Having visited the Wellington tunnels at Arras, I'm taking her there in October, expecting her to like that as well.

Mick

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Sorry, my parents live near Brighton (although we will be travelling down to there from Yorkshire) so it's about a 2 hour drive to Dover. I'm not sure about my parents ability to leave on the Friday so it might be an early ferry crossing on Saturday morning, returning late Sunday but as you say two nights would make it much more do-able.

Our eldest 'did' WW1 in her history class last year and took some of the paperwork I had at the time in to school and then lost it ! The youngest is doing the same this year, but hopefully she'll bring everything back home when they have finished with it :mellow:

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Can I presume that your children's school doesn't take year 9 over there? If I am correct, then why not write to the school in advance, tellng the Head that you will be taking your daughters out of school for two days....the Friday and Monday....and where you are going and why.

Drive down to your parents on Thursday night. Book a ferry at 8.30, so leave Brighton at 6am. It will make it part of the adventure, and at 60 and 61 your parents aren't old (I am 56, so am a bit biased!)

The 8.30 ferry will get into Calais about 11am (with the hour lost), so you could go via Dixmuide (Yser Tower and Trenches of Death), then down to Ypres. Book into Varlet Farm, so you can get to the Passchendaele Experience , Essex Farm, maybe Langemark, and Tyne Cot. Get to Varlet, then into Ypres for the 8 o'clock and eat in town. Next morning, after a gargantuan breakfast and armed with a packed lunch, head down to the St. Quenton area. Book into Avril's for the Saturday night, so it is under 2 hours from Varlet to St. Quentin. You then have most of Sunday to look around the Somme. You could maybe take in Newfoundland Park, Serre, Thiepval, Lochnagar, etc.....head back to a ferry at Calais about 6, gain the hour, back to parents' by 9 for a good night's sleep and drive home on the Monday.

Grandparents and grandchildren.....no problem!

They will all love it.

Bruce

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Hi Bruce

No, they don't. It's probably not really an option considering the distances involved and travelling by coach.

Thanks for the suggestions, it sounds ideal for what I am wanting the kids to get out of the weekend. Is the Passchendaele Experience another name for the In Flanders Fields museum ?

We've decided to go over the Easter bank holiday weekend, travel out early Good Friday and back home late afternoon on the Sunday.

Andy

Can I presume that your children's school doesn't take year 9 over there? If I am correct, then why not write to the school in advance, tellng the Head that you will be taking your daughters out of school for two days....the Friday and Monday....and where you are going and why.

Drive down to your parents on Thursday night. Book a ferry at 8.30, so leave Brighton at 6am. It will make it part of the adventure, and at 60 and 61 your parents aren't old (I am 56, so am a bit biased!)

The 8.30 ferry will get into Calais about 11am (with the hour lost), so you could go via Dixmuide (Yser Tower and Trenches of Death), then down to Ypres. Book into Varlet Farm, so you can get to the Passchendaele Experience , Essex Farm, maybe Langemark, and Tyne Cot. Get to Varlet, then into Ypres for the 8 o'clock and eat in town. Next morning, after a gargantuan breakfast and armed with a packed lunch, head down to the St. Quenton area. Book into Avril's for the Saturday night, so it is under 2 hours from Varlet to St. Quentin. You then have most of Sunday to look around the Somme. You could maybe take in Newfoundland Park, Serre, Thiepval, Lochnagar, etc.....head back to a ferry at Calais about 6, gain the hour, back to parents' by 9 for a good night's sleep and drive home on the Monday.

Grandparents and grandchildren.....no problem!

They will all love it.

Bruce

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Andy,

The Passchendaele experience is a museum and a 'dug out experience' located at Zonnebeke, whilst the In Flanders Fields museum is within the Cloth Hall at Ypres.

I forgot to add that when I took my 7 yr old daughter, I also had my parents (in their 60's) all of whom enjoyed the visit.

(p.s. I'm also over on the Somme at the same time as you !)

Mick

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My little boy is 4 and is quite happy wandering around most places in Ypres/the Somme. He seems to prefer trenches and bunkers, but will quite happily go to Cemeteries. Last weekend we wandered round Polygon Wood looking for Bunkers and splashing in puddles with our wellies on. He loved it! and then quite happily sat in Johan's bar for an hour afterwards.

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I work as a battlefield tour guide, so I know that a coach from a school in Yorkshire IS a possibility. Most choose to go via the Hull to Zeebruge route, as did I when I self-guided by school for years, from Merseyside.

My next trip is a school from Devon. From there, it is 6 hours to Dover....no worse than from Yorkshire. Granted, it is a bit of a trial, but with some dvds and an early start, a day spent travelling out, and back, should not preclude a trip.

Going during the Easter holidays is a good idea. the weather should be a bit better.

I am positive that both generations will enjoy the visit.

Bruce

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