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Ypres to Arras and back in a day?


neverforget
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With any luck, I have my 60th birthday coming in July, and my wife has just surprised me with the news that she has booked three nights for my son, daughter and myself at the Apartment Menin Gate House.

She has done this so that I can at last embark on my own little pilgrimage to honour my relatives K.I.A, and my kids are by all accounts both keen to accompany me.

I have to say that this is going to be my first ever visit to the continent, so I am completely unfamiliar with travelling abroad. I intend to take my car, and was wondering if any more experienced members could help with advice.

The two places that are particularly poignant to us are Ypres and Arras. Whilst at Arras, I would also have to visit Triangle Wood near to Vis en Artois.

I was wondering, in the light of us only having three nights, whether it would be possible, or feasible to leave Ypres early in the morning, drive to Arras and then Vis en Artois, and finally back to Ypres for bedtime?

If i`m being completely unrealistic, my option would be to forfeit one of the nights in Ypres for a night in Arras. I am a complete battlefield virgin, so any thoughts would be most welcome.

Many thanks for looking.

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Quite feasible, Triangle wood you will find quite easily and is a treat to visit. Knowing your relation was in the 5th Oxs & Bucks you could drive over the Harp and visit Wancourt on the way to Triangle Wood hence following his route to the action of 3/5/17.

Should you decide to spend a night at Arras there is plenty of accommodation there with the Holiday Inn Express right by the train station quite popular with battlefield visitors. The Harp is not far out of town and just off the road you will need for Triangle Wood.

Enjoy.

Andy

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you say July, dont forget that is a high importance time and many places will be busy.

traffic, visitors as well as normal holiday makers.

as long as its not the 1st many Somme areas are closed to ticket only.

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NF, you could do it easily. Ypres to Arras is 37 miles as the crow flies and a route which takes you along most of the old front in between is just under 50 miles. If Google Earth is to be believed it would take 1hr 8m. Sheldrake is clearly a very wise and careful driver. Three years ago we did an early start from Arras, visited lots of cemeteries for my footballers, got trapped in Messines when they were doing the drains, got completely lost around Zandvoorde (this has happened more than once), visited Tyne Cot and Crest Farm, then out to Lijsenthoek and then back via Vimy to Arras which we reached at about four in the afternoon.

I really envy you seeing it all for the first time.

Pete.

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Quite feasible, Triangle wood you will find quite easily and is a treat to visit. Knowing your relation was in the 5th Oxs & Bucks you could drive over the Harp and visit Wancourt on the way to Triangle Wood hence following his route to the action of 3/5/17.

Should you decide to spend a night at Arras there is plenty of accommodation there with the Holiday Inn Express right by the train station quite popular with battlefield visitors. The Harp is not far out of town and just off the road you will need for Triangle Wood.

Enjoy.

Andy

Thank you Andy. My visit will be greatly enhanced by the wealth of information/diaries etc. that you have so kindly provided for me. :thumbsup:

That is a sensible itinerary. Ypres to Arras is around 90 minutes. Use Via Michelin or Google to plot your route or use a satnav

Thank you sheldrake. Appreciate the advice.

you say July, dont forget that is a high importance time and many places will be busy.

traffic, visitors as well as normal holiday makers.

as long as its not the 1st many Somme areas are closed to ticket only.

Thank you too chaz. My birthday is 29th, so hopefully it will be a little quieter by then. It`s a good point though, I hadn`t thought about it being in high season. Haven`t had time to think at all yet, as I only found out about an hour ago. I`m still feeling quite stunned.

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NF, you could do it easily. Ypres to Arras is 37 miles as the crow flies and a route which takes you along most of the old front in between is just under 50 miles. If Google Earth is to be believed it would take 1hr 8m. Sheldrake is clearly a very wise and careful driver. Three years ago we did an early start from Arras, visited lots of cemeteries for my footballers, got trapped in Messines when they were doing the drains, got completely lost around Zandvoorde (this has happened more than once), visited Tyne Cot and Crest Farm, then out to Lijsenthoek and then back via Vimy to Arras which we reached at about four in the afternoon.

I really envy you seeing it all for the first time.

Pete.

Cheers Pete. It sounds like you have a great crack when you`re over there.

I`ve left it late, but I know for sure that this first visit is by no means going to be my last. I am going to get bitten over there, and I fully realise that I will feel the need to return as soon and as many times as possible.

I can`t tell you for how long and how much I have been dreaming of doing this, and I`m a bit overwhelmed that my wife has done it for me, and that my kids feel that they want to pay their respects too. It`s going to be very special.

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Enjoy the trip. Remember to post all of the details when you return!

Roger

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Enjoy the trip. Remember to post all of the details when you return!

Roger

Cheers. Will do!

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I am going to get bitten over there.

Last time I stayed in Ypres it was very hot and I got bitten by mosquitos. There is a thead somewhere with the mosquito and Belgium in the title with some sage advice. Ignore my contribution of course, mosquitos have six legs and not eight.

Pete.

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Things tend to be quieter on the battlefields at the end of July and in August - no school groups at the major sites and many of the locals will be on holiday. If you are in Ypres on a Sunday night, then maybe that is the day to visit the Arras area - the motorways will (usually!) be quieter (very, very few trucks) and the town traffic (should you venture into Arras) will be less busy. Remember not to park on the main square in Ypres on Friday night - or get off v early, as Saturday = market day.

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http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=74603&hl=cherisy

NF,

you might find this thread of use, although the last time I visited the area the statue at St. Michaels was missing.

Andy

It`s a great thread, Andy, and of fantastic help to me thanks. I`m quite taken with your idea of approaching via the advance, so it`s all coming together piece by piece. I know it`s going to be a whistle-stop tour. I just hope the youngsters have the stamina to keep up with me.

If you remember, after a long and exhaustive investigation, we determined that the the likely place of Uncle Albert`s demise was in the top end of Nut trench, seen here;post-95959-0-68553000-1451949645_thumb.j

This spot will be my holy grail. I just hope that I will be able to access it.

Thanks again for your much appreciated input.

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Things tend to be quieter on the battlefields at the end of July and in August - no school groups at the major sites and many of the locals will be on holiday. If you are in Ypres on a Sunday night, then maybe that is the day to visit the Arras area - the motorways will (usually!) be quieter (very, very few trucks) and the town traffic (should you venture into Arras) will be less busy. Remember not to park on the main square in Ypres on Friday night - or get off v early, as Saturday = market day.

I think we`re there on Sunday but I can`t ask my wife the booked dates at the moment as she has retired to bed.

Great advice though, and much appreciated. :thumbsup:

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I have done Ypres - Arras - the Somme 4 or 5 times in the past years, every time in July or August. In one day.

No problem. Of course I did not visit everything.

But certainly Arras centre, Vimy, Notre Dame de Lorette, Thiepval, Newfoundland Park, Delville, Mametz ...

Back home approx. 10 pm.

And I hesitate to add (please, ladies, forgive me), but ... there were no women in our 2 or 3 men company.

I think this makes a difference.

And we did not have meals in restaurants.

That makes even more difference.

Aurel (still wondering if he should delete line 5 and 6, but then I am serious, hence no smileys.)

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That is very interesting, as I was hoping to take in Thiepval and possibly Tyne Cot whilst over there, and this post is most encouraging.

I can see your point regarding the benefits of travelling in an all male party, but my daughter will cope with the hardships ok I think. She's roughed it on plenty of fishing and camping trips with us in the past bless her.

Many thanks for your post.

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Last time I stayed in Ypres it was very hot and I got bitten by mosquitos. There is a thead somewhere with the mosquito and Belgium in the title with some sage advice. Ignore my contribution of course, mosquitos have six legs and not eight.

Pete.

:):) For some reason, I seem to be one of the fortunate few that are pretty well immune to little biting insects. Perhaps this is due to my spending so many hours amongst them whilst fishing, or perhaps they just don`t fancy me.

It`s a good job my wife won`t be coming though. One bite from anything, even an ant, and she`s in trouble.

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If you make a 'long' day of it, certainly Thiepval and one or two other Somme sites would be quite manageable, given the long daylight hours. Opt for a packed lunch (possibly best to get the makings on a Saturday ...) and then plan for a nice evening meal back at base: so, say an 0800 departure, give or take, then you should be back in plenty of time for a bracer before dinner (possibly best pre-booked if you are going to make a night of it). One word of caution: 'facilities' are distinctly limited on the Arras battlefield, so make the most of any opportunities that come your way. Not a problem on the Somme.

A day in the Salient will enable you to cover all the major sites; the key thing is to make the most of the day and relegate the main meal to the evening (and Ypres is as pleasant a spot on the Western Front to 'dine out' as any other and better than most).

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What made a difference to us were the lovely long evenings, we would have a quick break and found that we had the roads and cemeteries to ourselves ( not Tyne Cot). I had made very detailed plans as we had a lot to cover, but the driving from one place to another was easy. Finding particular out of the way, lonely cemeteries was a challenge, but we made it!

Safe travel, that will be a most special birthday present

Cheers

Shirley

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my other half likes looking around the cemeteries, bless her, she agreed ( even found the house) that we buy a place there.

Ive been told next time we go there is decorating to do, BUT, we have to get out for a couple of days exploring.

she cant wait to get to Beaumont to look around the trenches.

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Thanks again Nigel. I`m definitely including Thiepval now. I`ll play it by ear and see how I`m going as regards to Tyne Cot, but hopefully I`ll be able to take that in too. We are in for three long days, and three short nights.

Shirley, that`s very kind. I`ve heard that they drive on the wrong side of the road over there, which is something that I`m trying not to think about at the moment. I suspect I may be learning some choice new French and Belgian insults and swearwords.

chaz, what can I say? You are a very lucky man!

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I've a similar trip in mind for this summer to take some photos for a book I'm writing.

There's stuff around Ieper but I reckon I can manage a day trip from there to take some photos round the Givenchy area and Thiepval. Mrs H has been warned about the potential lack of "facilities" as mentioned by Aurel at post #15 - she's well used to finding a bush to go behind. Previous trips confirm that the way to get the best out of short photographic trips is plenty of research - I go with the sat nav loaded up with places to visit and "real maps" indicating my likely photo viewpoints and marked up with what it is I'm shooting. In this case, I have "stuff" around the Red Dragon Crater area and St Pierre Divion. The Ieper stuff can be more leisurely.

John

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You`re dead right. This trip is going to involve proper military planning beforehand, in contrast to the one made by the relatives I will be paying my respects to.

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  • Admin

This memsahib is used to nipping behind a bush or a tree too, I can say that I have never held up a party I have been with, and I tend to travel with mostly male groups.

Michelle

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Ypres to Arras in a day easy peasy. Just look out for bunkers. There are many to see and well worthwhile stopping every now and then for a shufty. Plugstreet Memorial is also a must. My favourite memorial. Just beautiful and such a well designed building.

All the best,

Nick.

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