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abigailbarrie1

Battlefield Tour? Best Travel?

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abigailbarrie1

Hello all, 
I am planning on going on a trip to France/ Belgium in September, and I'm looking for the best means of travel between the war memorials and cemeteries. The main ones I want to visit are the Vimy Ridge memorial, the Tyne Cot Cemetery, St. Symphorian Military cemetery, and the Menin Gate Memorial. What's the best way to travel among these places? I know they are pretty scattered about, are their trains that service these sites, or buses. I don't want to join a structured tour, because I want the flexibility of doing it on my own. 
Also, are their any other memorials or cemeteries I should check out in the area? 

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Fergie
Posted (edited)

Are you able to hire a car. I did most of those sites 2 years ago on a motorcycle. I stayed in Mons which was about 1 1/2 hrs from Ypres and very close to St Symphorian Cemetary where you will find the first and last british casualties of the war and the first posthumous VC of the war, Lt Maurice Dease.

Edited by Fergie

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abigailbarrie1

I looked into the prospect of renting a car, but I am only 21 Years old and I'm not sure of the restrictions and cost of doing so? Also, do you need an International drivers license? I currently hold a full Canadian drivers license. 

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aengland

Definitely drive yourself given the list of places you want to visit..... have you driven abroad before?

 

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abigailbarrie1

I have briefly driven in France, around the Calais area, but nothing too major. I can read their road signs and know the rules of the road well enough. How much are the tolls usually? Are their many in that specific area?

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Fergie
Posted (edited)

I don't remember any toll roads in Belgium. Not sure about International Drivers Permit, but as I may need one after Brexit it may be worth looking into, you get them from the post office in the UK so not sure about Canada,but they are not expensive, £5.50 about $10 canadian.

Edited by Fergie

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Malcolm Linham

If you decide to hire a car then can I suggest the following visits.

 

1/ The Brooding Soldier at Vancouver Corner  Belgium 

2/ One of Newfoundland Caribou , the nearest to your itinerary is the one at Monchy-le-Preux about 20 k from Vimy Ridge.

 

Malcolm 

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nigelcave
19 hours ago, abigailbarrie1 said:

Hello all, 
I am planning on going on a trip to France/ Belgium in September, and I'm looking for the best means of travel between the war memorials and cemeteries. The main ones I want to visit are the Vimy Ridge memorial, the Tyne Cot Cemetery, St. Symphorian Military cemetery, and the Menin Gate Memorial. What's the best way to travel among these places? I know they are pretty scattered about, are their trains that service these sites, or buses. I don't want to join a structured tour, because I want the flexibility of doing it on my own. 
Also, are their any other memorials or cemeteries I should check out in the area? 

It is an unlikely combination for any one tour company and, more importantly, any one tour, I would have thought, particularly  St Symphorien. An Ypres tour would almost certainly give you both Tyne Cot and the Menin Gate and a lot more besides. Vimy is a bit of an outlier as well - it would probably have to be a tour that included Ypres to the Somme and then Vimy would likely be included (and would be a three to four day tour, I suspect). St Symphorien is your major problem, being well away from the front during most of the war; you would need a specialist 1914 or 1918 tour, I think.

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keithfazzani

If you are driving and have a sat nav you can pre- download all the CWGC sites from here https://www.poigraves.uk/pages/cwgc.php

This makes travelling from place to place much easier and means that you are not reliant on maps, which if you are on your own in a strange country can be challenging. 

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chaz
49 minutes ago, keithfazzani said:

If you are driving and have a sat nav you can pre- download all the CWGC sites from here https://www.poigraves.uk/pages/cwgc.php

This makes travelling from place to place much easier and means that you are not reliant on maps, which if you are on your own in a strange country can be challenging. 

Reccomended, we use all the time. Although some can be misleading, but as long as you use your eyes and common sense you won't go up a one way or down into a stream.

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sassenach
On 08/04/2019 at 19:00, nigelcave said:

It is an unlikely combination for any one tour company and, more importantly, any one tour, I would have thought, particularly  St Symphorien. An Ypres tour would almost certainly give you both Tyne Cot and the Menin Gate and a lot more besides. Vimy is a bit of an outlier as well - it would probably have to be a tour that included Ypres to the Somme and then Vimy would likely be included (and would be a three to four day tour, I suspect). St Symphorien is your major problem, being well away from the front during most of the war; you would need a specialist 1914 or 1918 tour, I think.

There are a couple of day tours from Ypres to Vimy, and separate ones to the Somme.

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keithfazzani
12 hours ago, chaz said:

Reccomended, we use all the time. Although some can be misleading, but as long as you use your eyes and common sense you won't go up a one way or down into a stream.

 

Yes I would agree common-sense is required. I did once end up in a field! But generally they are excellent and certainly get you near enough to follow the CWGC signs.  

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Marilyne

hi,

 

considering the good weather in September and your youth, Id suggest a combination of train and bikes, if the prospect of renting a car and drive on the right might disturb you.

You can plan the travel between the main cities by train, but to get to the big amount of little hidden cemeteries on the Ypres Salient and around Mons, a bike (or just legs... walking works miracles!!) is ideal!

Just remember that in Flanders, bikers (cyclo-terror...eeeuhh...tourists as they are called) are rude, drive like crazy, don't like walkers, don't sign where they're going and think they are the kings of the road.

 

you say September, but another way to visit the Ypres Salient is touring it on the tracks of the Four Days of the Yzer from 21st to 23rd August... just saying!!

 

Marilyne

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