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catfishmo

Flanders Field Museum or Memorial Museum Passchendaele?

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catfishmo

I will be in Ypres area next month. I have one evening, a full day, and the following early morning there before driving on to Boulogne. My two teenage daughters will be with me who are not Great War enthusiasts. We are staying at Amfora Hotel on square in Pops.

If I have to choose between Flanders Field Museum and Memorial Museum of Passchendaele, which would you recommend? Or should I try really hard to see them both? I am leaning towards the Passchendaele Museum as it apparently has numerous hands on displays and reconstructed trenches. Reviews from other visitors said both places take about 2 hours to see.

Here are the other places I wanted to visit and the time I'm estimating it will take to see the site.

-Hooge Crater museum (I am particularly interested in medical evacuation chain and this museum supposedly has some medical equipment. (1 hr)

-Hooge Crater Cemetery (trench system to explore and WW1 ambulances) (30 min)

-8 pm ceremony at Menin Gate

-Poperinge Railway station (supposedly has small models of rail scenes including medical) (20 min)

-Talbot House (1 hour)

-Poperinge Town hall death cell (15 min)

-Lijssenthoek cemetery (2-3 hours)

Any suggestions what to see on what day or revisions to my time allotments for seeing each site? Unfortunately I don't think we will arrive in the area until just after 4:30--the very time these places stop selling tickets so I think the only things we can see on day 1 is death cell and Menin Gate.

Any restaurant suggestions on a budget?

Is it easy to find Belgian waffles in Belgium? (That's the only thing of interest about Belgium to my 17 year old daughter : )

Any suggestions for things to do unrelated to WW1 that might be of interest to two teenage girls?

Thanks so much!

~Ginger

Charlotte NC

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mandy hall

I think you will be at Talbot House for longer than a hour.

By the time you have looked at the museum, then go into the main house and have a cup of tea, if the weather is nice, sit in the garden and just think what it would have been like 100 years ago, you will probably be there 2-3 hours. Maybe longer if you are captivated by the ambience of the place.

Mandy

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Herekawe

My preference is Memorial Museum of Passchendale and Hooge Crater makes a good comparison for a type of older style museum.

James

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Old Scalyback

Hi Ginger

I would say find time for both. But Tyne Cot is a must; this is one place that will bring home the scale of the awfulness of war. I was in Ypres in March for the centenary of the death of my wife’s great uncle who is named on the Menin Gate. My Family toured the main galleries of the In Flanders Fields while I spent an hour poring over trench maps in the Study centre, so I have not seen the latest displays. But I know it is designed to "shock and awe" teenagers and uses modern technology to do so! It will very likely have a section devoted to the casualty chain. I have been to Ypres many times in the last 40 years and never had a bad meal; even the fast food joints in the side streets are good and clean. If you choose to have supper in the square after the last post, book a table beforehand! One last tip,waterproof mascara for the girls and keep the kleenex handy, this trip will make a lasting impression on them.

regards Brian

Ps The CCS at essex farm may interest you

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hillgorilla

Museum at Zonnebeke, then walk up to Tyne Cot via the Australia walk.

Museum at Zonnebeke, then walk up to Tyne Cot via the Australia walk.

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hillgorilla

Regards waffles, carefour supermarket chain in France has a box of 18 on offer for just over 4 Euro.Would recommend eating out of Ypres for a real taste of Flanders. Found the place in zonnebeke near the entrance to the museum good. If you want to see mine craters, rather than Hooge head for Wijschaete on Messiness Ridge. If want peaceful contemplation would recommend cemetery at zandvoorde all unknowns, more of an impact to me than Tyne Cot. When heading to Boulogne would recommend Dover Memorial at Cap Blanc Nez and look across to the coast of kent, all those young men crossed the view you see.

Regards waffles, carefour supermarket chain in France has a box of 18 on offer for just over 4 Euro.Would recommend eating out of Ypres for a real taste of Flanders. Found the place in zonnebeke near the entrance to the museum good. If you want to see mine craters, rather than Hooge head for Wijschaete on Messiness Ridge. If want peaceful contemplation would recommend cemetery at zandvoorde all unknowns, more of an impact to me than Tyne Cot. When heading to Boulogne would recommend Dover Memorial at Cap Blanc Nez and look across to the coast of kent, all those young men crossed the view you see.

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Phil Wood

The visitor centre at Lijssenthoek cemetery doesn't close until 6pm and the cemetery itself never closes so you might fit that in on the first evening if you can get there by 4.30. I realise that it is probably the most important visit for someone with your interests but I would have thought that an hour and a half would be enough to take in the visitor centre - which is superb but is not very large.

I agree with Old Scalyback that Essex Farm should be considered - but as an ADS not a CCS. It's sobering to see the decaying bunkers where McRae and his fellow medics did their best.

I'm not a great fan of any of the museums but, in your place, I think I'd opt for In Flanders Fields as the one most aimed at teenagers - in the hope that it will engage your daughters' interest (if not they will probably find Ypres of more interest than Zonnebeke). Paschendaele is a far more traditional museum, better if it is cases full of objects that you want to see, but less engaging if you aren't already hooked on the Great War.

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catfishmo

Thank you all for the great input! I was unfamiliar with Tyne Cot & Essex Farm. Will have to find a way to fit it all in.

Hadn't thought about waterproof mascara, but already made a note about Kleenex. I can't even read about these places without getting misty eyed!

~Ginger

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hillgorilla

Just this week I have taken my teenage so, to the museum at Zonnebeke, he enjoyed it, and he is the 'normal' hoodie, longish hair, tablet and headphones type.

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roel22

When you visit the Last Post, make sure you're on time!

Last time I was there (early 80's) you could get there at a minute before eight and still be front row (with hardly ten, maybe fifteen visitors).

Last time my 14-year old went there with her school class (this summer) all she saw was the backs of the hundreds of people standing in front of her.

Roel

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JWK

For yóu I’d recommend the Passchendaele museum, for the off-spring the Flanders Fields.

Lyssenthoek, if you’re there first half of June, stages a theater-play right within the cemetary : http://poperinge1418.be/?page_id=160〈=en . (Apologies for the pigeon English on that website)

You have to buy tickets in advance if you’re sure you’re going.

I’m thinking of going myself actually, as this looks like one not to miss.

Talbot House (entrance in the side street to your left): 2 hours. Go there on the first morning.

A most definite yes, A magical place.

A tip for the Menin Gate ceremony: make your way to "out of town”, the Menin side of the gate. Crowds are (relatively!) much lighter there.

And if you happen to make your way to Gwalia Cemetery (which is as an island lost in acres of farmland. Beautiful place) on the outskirts of Poperinge (http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/51000/GWALIA%20CEMETERY ) please say hello from me to Allen Stocks (Died 11 july 1918, exactly 50 years before I was born).

He's at the back, close to two German soldiers.,

JWK

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Old Scalyback

Hi again Ginger.

The last post gets very crowded, particularly in summer. This is the Web address of the last post association which organises the event.

http://www.lastpost.be/en/home

If you are only going to be there once I would recommend getting there for 7PM to look around before the crowds arrive. Check the Calendar on the site, the more organisations and families laying wreaths the more crowded it will be. Look at the photos to get an Idea of the crowds. If you get there before the crowds pop up the south stairs(to the right), turn right and say hello To corporal L A Conquest of the East Surrey Regiment. My wife’s Great Uncle.

As you are unfamiliar with the area I would recommend a good guide book. Major and Mrs Holts Battlefield Guide would probably suit you, you will at least be aware of how much there is you will have to miss. Available on amazon.

Regards Brian

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Jockbhoy67

Essex Farm is a good choice if you're interested in Dressing Stations. There is also Cryer Farm Bunker/Dressing Station not far from Hooge although I am not sure how accesible it is to the public showing up now. You used to be able to organise a visit through Passchendaele Museum, maybe some other member can advise.My choices would be

1. The Re-vamped Passchendaele Musem,

2. Tynecot Cemetery,

3. Talbot House and Shot at Dawn in Poperinghe

4. Flanders Fields Museum.

5. Hooge.

and of course the Menin Gate ceremony, although, if you want to see it, you'll have to be there at least an hour before it starts, when i was there in November last year the crowds were massive.

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WilliamRev

Ginger - just a few thoughts:

I think that Lijssenthoek cemetery will only take you about an hour - the unmanned visitors centre consists of a number of (fascinating) display boards (no actual exhibits, unless they have added things in the last 18 months), which will take you no more than 30 mins or so to fully take in (a lot less if you have impatient teenagers in tow), and whilst the cemetery is huge (2nd only to Tyne Cot) 30 mins will be quite sufficient.for that.

Talbot House, on the other hand, will take you at least 2 hours because there is a museum as well as the house itself. Everyone (including teenagers) will find it a fascinating and moving experience (tea/snacks often available, plus free loos). Do a little preliminary reading first, so that you can explain to your teenagers what exactly Talbot House is, and what a unique and special place it was in WW1.

Passchendaele Museum in Zonnebeke is a far better museum than In Flanders Field if you have time for only one - it is in the heart of the 3rd Ypres battlefield (free loos), and can visit Tyne Cot Cemetery at the same time (you have to have a 50 Euro-cent coin to use the Tyne Cot loos),

Hooge Crater Museum is little but excellent, and it has a great bar and cafe (and loos), so great for a lunchtime/teatime visit. Hooge Crater cemetery is just another cemetery; there are some slightly chaotic trench remains in the grounds of the Hooge Chateau Hotel next door (entry: put 1 euro each into honesty-box).

Essex Farm is small - a cemetery and a row of small concrete bunkers, and easily done in 15 mins, but if you are interested in medical matters then I think that you will find it fascinating/unmissable. All the coach tours/student tours seem to stop off here, so it can sometimes be empty, and sometimes alarmingly busy! You could easily divert there for a brief visit on your final morning on your way home - it is several miles north of Ypres on the main road, so north-east of Pop.

Last June I had to get to the Menin Gate a full hour before the ceremony to get a place inside the gate where I could see anything, otherwise (on two other evenings) I had to stand in the crowds outside the gate with no view of the proceedings (I'm 6 foot 1 inch tall).

Also as Brian has just said, by far the best book to buy is The Holt's Battlefield Guide to Ypres Salient (and you may spot the odd extra thing to see - the Ypres Salient is small, and you can pack a lot into a whole day).

William

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catfishmo

More excellent ideas--thanks!

One more question... From a parent's perspective, which sites should I insist my girls visit (weighing what would be of interest to two teens and what they should see to appreciate the sacrifices of men)?

I figure that since both Pops and Ypres have a square with shops, anything non-essential for them to see they can just enjoy the shops and culture while I indulge in history.

Incidentally, while we are there the Geko Ypres Car Rally is going on. Any idea of those folks are WW1 enthusiasts or just car buffs (in other words, will we have the WW1 attractions to ourselves)?

Again my thanks for your input!

~Ginger

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Herekawe

Hi Ginger

I have taken two of my teenagers one male and one female around this area. While you know your kids best allow for a bit of shock and awe. Tyne Cott is good not only is it a large cemetery with a few little twists like the original graves, bunkers and the memorial wall, plus its in the middle of the battlefield. The Passchendaele Mem Museum at Zonnebeke is very good and its layout is interesting as you go up and then underground and so on. You get to smell poison gas if that's still going. Short trip to Hooge Crater via Polygon Wood if you go that way.

No doubt with a little research you can find the graves of a few teenagers, not much older than our children.

What I am saying is that it is quite hard for even cynical and dis interested (they think they are) teenagers not to get caught up in the whole thing at least for a few hours.

Cheers

James

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David Filsell

I think the Ypres museum is, and has been for a long time. a crock. Busy, poorly laid out and half the reactive video stuff doesn't react. Its last re-incarnation was testimony to the war as a lions/Donkeys thing. The display is now better, but not in the league of the Passchendaele museum. There is also a splendid bar opposite which treats a huge variety of Trappist beers with the reverence normally accorded to fine wine. Much as I like Ypres,

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Old Scalyback

Hi Ginger

The car rally will likely mean no parking in Ypres town Square on the day and some temporary road closures on the route. It will have no effect on the number of visitors at WW1 sites except to concentrate them at the accessible sites. If Parking in Ypres is congested there is parking on Hornwerk just outside the moat which is little used, out through the Menin Gate ,first right.

From a parental perspective it is the numbers that will get to them. The one thing to avoid them seeing are the old 1920s slide show machines in some of the older museums, these contain shocking images of decomposing mutilated corpses, among other things.

Finally if you are arriving from the direction of Brussels you will be passing close to the American In Flanders field Cemetery in Waregem and all the Belgian road signs use the Flemish name for Ypres, Ieper.

Regards Brian

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catfishmo

I think the Ypres museum is, and has been for a long time. a crock. Busy, poorly laid out and half the reactive video stuff doesn't react. Its last re-incarnation was testimony to the war as a lions/Donkeys thing. The display is now better, but not in the league of the Passchendaele museum. There is also a splendid bar opposite which treats a huge variety of Trappist beers with the reverence normally accorded to fine wine. Much as I like Ypres,

Looks like we missed the end of your thoughts. Would love to hear what you have to say : )

What I am saying is that it is quite hard for even cynical and dis interested (they think they are) teenagers not to get caught up in the whole thing at least for a few hours.

Cheers

James

I hope so. I started studying WW1 last July, reading about 6 hours a day for 9 months. Needless to say it was on my mind and came out often at dinnertime conversations. My girls would look at each other and roll their eyes. I don't want to cram it down their throats, but these men have so many life lessons to teach us. May we be wise and listen.

Hi Ginger

The car rally will likely mean no parking in Ypres town Square on the day and some temporary road closures on the route. It will have no effect on the number of visitors at WW1 sites except to concentrate them at the accessible sites. If Parking in Ypres is congested there is parking on Hornwerk just outside the moat which is little used, out through the Menin Gate ,first right.

From a parental perspective it is the numbers that will get to them. The one thing to avoid them seeing are the old 1920s slide show machines in some of the older museums, these contain shocking images of decomposing mutilated corpses, among other things.

Finally if you are arriving from the direction of Brussels you will be passing close to the American In Flanders field Cemetery in Waregem and all the Belgian road signs use the Flemish name for Ypres, Ieper.

Regards Brian

Would it be wise to take the train from Pop to Ypres to avoid parking in Pop? We are staying on the square in Pop. Where do we park there?

Glad you mentioned the American cemetery as I've had a related question. Did Americans fight at Passchendaele or did they come through the area later?

Unfortunately we will not be visiting Brussels. We are flying from the French Riviera to Lille, renting a car and driving to Pop/Ypres. Then driving south to Auxerre just south of Paris to see Guedelon castle, a castle they are building from the ground up using 12th century methods (See the first 2 minutes of this video ). On our way to Auxerre, I want to stop by Boulogne as it was such an important place in the history of the British evacuation chain.

We will be in London for about 6 days, and the war museum is at the top of my list. Any other WW1 attractions in London? I considered taking a day trip to Boulogne from London, but it is kind of expensive and the train times did not work out well.

Again, my thanks to you all for your suggestions!

~Ginger

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andiS

Just got back from taking my 13 year old for the first time, I'd say the Paschendale museum by a long way - IFF isn't (imo) a museum, it's a son et lumiere these days. The word my son used was 'pants'. So far as I can tell the main value of it is soaking up all the school parties who would otherwise clog up Paschendale and Hooge Crater (the latter is great btw)

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andiS

You get to smell poison gas if that's still going.

It is, brilliant idea that is

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sassenach

In London as well as the Imperial War Museum you should certainly see the Cenotaph and the tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey. I'm sure you'll know the history of both. I would also suggest the National Army Museum in Chelsea.

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Le_Treport

One good point about IFF is the view from the very top of the tower! Worth the climb to see the salient points of the points of the Salient :)

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17107BM

Is not the National Army Museum closed for a revamp?

Sorry if i have it wrong.

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sassenach

You're quite right; my apologies.

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