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djrwood

Visiting Ypres, advice needed

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My Mum and Dad have paid for me and my dad to go to Ypres for a weekend at the end of september for my birthday. I’m really looking forward to visiting the World War One sites, particularly with this year being the hundredth anniversary.

 

any of you guys been before and have any reccomendations of places to visit? My dad retired last year from the RAF after 39yrs service. He’s been over to this area visiting the war sites numerous times so knows the main places to visit. Just hoping someone has found some little gems off the beaten track so it’s new for both of us to visit. Be happy to travel a couple of hours around Ypres

thanks in advance

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Best to do a tour with somebody like Holts or Ledger, that way you get a guide and it is all pointed out for you. I don't know if The Western Front Assn still do tours, they were the best at one time.

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Hi, be sure to go to the Menin Gate for the last post, it's done every night at 8pm but get there at least half an hour before, earlier at weekends. If you want a guided tour there are some shops just down from the Menin Gate where you can book them. I've been a few times & never bothered preferring to go wherever we wanted, a great guide book is Major and Mrs Holt's guide to the Ypres Salient. If you can take a cycle (or hire one there), loads of routes for cycling (or walking) that use the old WW1 train supply routes, you will see far more than if you drive around. Lots of small cemeteries from early in the war where they would bury the dead near where they fell. Tyne Cott cemetery and memorial worth a visit, while there go to Paschendale. Messine Ridge is  not very far and is where they detonated huge mines, the cratered landscape is plain to see still. A must in my book is to visit Poperinge just a few miles from Ypres, it's where the allies would rest after stints at the front. There are loads of original buildings still there (Ypres though looking old was destroyed during the war & was completely rebuilt), one very moving place is the old prison & small execution square where shell shocked soldiers where shot for cowardice, it's a museum of sorts, very sad but we'll worth going. The Cloth Hall in the centre of Ypres also contains In Flanders Fields, an excellent museum, allow a few hours to take it all in though.

At night go into the main square for some very good drink and food, you must have the Flemish Stew, just about all the restaurants do it, have it with Belgian Fries and crusty bread! one of the best places we found was right next to the Cloth Hall in the corner, think it was called Den Anker, not 100% but it was right in the corner next to Cloth Hall.

Hope this is of some use.

 

It wasn't Den Anker, although we did go in there & it's good, the one in the corner is In't Klein Stadhuis!!!

Edited by forestred

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Almost impossible to give sound advice as the whole battle front covers a huge area. We stayed for 3 days near Albert and had the benefit and experience of an ex-tour guide who was worth his weight in gold and got us into one of the tunnels that would not be available to the passing tourist. Take a camera and brace yourself for some shocking statistics and sites. Lots to see and hard to cram it all in if you are only there for a weekend.

Couldnt resist taking the picture below, of the cafe owners wall where we stopped for coffee. He explained in the past he cleaned up shell fuzes he picked up in his fields and if your ordered a meal costing 15 euro or so you got one as a gift !!! UK customs apparently complained due to people bringing them back and he stopped handing them out because of the hassle.

Just imagine the UK Police response to a wall of your garden being built like this.

 

1243260781_SOMME103.JPG.6130f252d0aef4dd9666880c57f51563.JPG

 

Edited by JJsDad

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We "freestyled" Ypres and it is a humbling place .The Cloth hall is an amazing start point to begin your lesson man,s stupidity ,the Newfoundlands losses such a horrific swathe cut through the young men of 1 area .Most roads /lanes seem to have memorials to the fallen at the side of them as the conflict covered such a vast area and killed thousands .

The Menin gate is a must see and as people have said get there early for a good view.I,m from a very lucky family my Great grandad,s both survived the horror of ww1 ,1 on the Somme with the Black Watch and the other Yorks n Lancs regt .We stopped at Andinkerke on the way and found my wife,s great cousin,s grave didnt even know he was buried there ,take some tissues it,s an emotional place and the lists on the memorials seem endless .

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Thanks guys, really appreciate the advice!! Really looking forward to heading over there for the weekend

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Wow. Thats a nice trip. As an 8yr old on a family camping trip in the late 60s i was too young to apprciate what i was seeing. I recall seeing some of the trench lines though.

I must go to the Menin gate in the next few years as my great uncles name is on there.

Have a rewarding time there

Edited by del.gue

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Definitely Tyne Cot and Menin Gate, also the In Flander's Fields museum.  Also the Hill 62 Sanctuary Wood museum is a small museum with some amazing artefacts and also original trenches that have been cleared and through which it is possible to walk.  Also got a small cafe - Mrs. CTP and myself were the only people there at the time and for some reason the owner sat watching us with apparent suspicion as if she'd seen our pictures on a wanted poster.  Hill 62 and Tyne Cot are such peaceful places, and it's difficult to believe that a century ago were witnessing one of the blackest episodes in human history.  Incidentally, my late uncle was one of the longest serving RAF officers, putting in 47 years after joining at 18 and flying right up until retirement at 65.  His flight log - all 5 volumes - was presented at his request to the RAF museum at Hendon and they reckoned he had the 3rd. highest no. of flying hours in the RAFs history.

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Buy a copy of "Wipers Times" on Amazon & read it before you go. The book is a collection of the newspaper actually  produced from 1916-1918 starting in the salient. It's a fascinating insight into life in the trenches - it's just amazing what you can get used to if you HAVE to...

Incidentally you'll see how much the ideas/scripts of Blackadder Goes Forth were pinched from the paper too!!

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 Hard to imagine that the town was reduced to rubble.The main square looks pretty much as it did it 1914. So much to see and a very sobering experience .Have visited half a dozen times and still find new sites to visit.Ordinance all over the place with farmers leaving shells and bombs at the road side for collection by the army.Every child should visit and see the horrors of war displayed at sites and museums .The courage of those who endured the carnage is beyond belief .

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August 5th to 9th this year.   Royal British Legion re-enactment of the 2028 Great Pilgrimage (GP 90).   On that occasion thousands of Brits, many of them war widows, toured the main battle grounds and trench lines.   This time two members of every RBL Branch, one a wreath layer and one a standard bearer, in the country are attending.   We have two days of battle field and cemetery tours then, on the 8th, we are to hold a parade to the Menin Gate for a wreath laying ceremony.   There should be about 2600 of us going so it will be a little bit crowded and the local hotels will be a wee bit full as well.

I am truly honoured to be representing my branch and laying our wreath of remembrance.   

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On 10/06/2018 at 18:07, catchthepigeonmutley said:

Definitely Tyne Cot and Menin Gate, also the In Flander's Fields museum.  Also the Hill 62 Sanctuary Wood museum is a small museum with some amazing artefacts and also original trenches that have been cleared and through which it is possible to walk.  Also got a small cafe - Mrs. CTP and myself were the only people there at the time and for some reason the owner sat watching us with apparent suspicion as if she'd seen our pictures on a wanted poster.  Hill 62 and Tyne Cot are such peaceful places, and it's difficult to believe that a century ago were witnessing one of the blackest episodes in human history.  Incidentally, my late uncle was one of the longest serving RAF officers, putting in 47 years after joining at 18 and flying right up until retirement at 65.  His flight log - all 5 volumes - was presented at his request to the RAF museum at Hendon and they reckoned he had the 3rd. highest no. of flying hours in the RAFs history.

Sanctuary Wood Museum and the trenches at the rear are well worth a look! As is the "in Flanders fields" museum in Ypres.....Tyne Cot Cemetery and the Menin Gate are a must during a visit!

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On ‎09‎/‎06‎/‎2018 at 13:32, Vince Green said:

For best use of your time,  do a tour with somebody like Holts or Ledger, that way you get a guide and it is all pointed out for you. I don't know if The Western Front Assn still do tours, they were the best at one time.

You still do a lot better with a guide IMO, a good guide points out things you would not know from just visiting the places 

Edited by Vince Green

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