Normandy Battlefields Day Trip: Omaha, Sword and the British Airborne Sector
Location: Bayeux, France
Duration: 9 hours
Retrace the first days of the Battle of Normandy on this World War II battlefields tour from Bayeux. Visit important WWII sites including Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach, the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, Pegasus Bridge, the Merville Battery Museum, Sword Beach and the Hillman Bunker as your guide tells you about the events of D-Day involving British forces. If you have a relative who fought in the war or are simply interested in 20th-century history, you’ll find this Normandy beaches tour a fascinating and moving experience.
Numbers are limited to eight people on this small-group tour by minivan, ensuring a more personalized day trip.
This full-day Normandy battlefields tour starts with pickup from Bayeux by minivan. Your first stop is Pointe du Hoc, where the German battery was attacked by US Rangers on D-Day. Hear about the daring feat of the Rangers who scaled the cliffs to destroy the German gun position — a scene that was portrayed in the war film Saving Private Ryan. The massive fortifications and bunkers were completely destroyed, leaving the site like an eerie lunar landscape.
Next, drive along the coast to Omaha Beach, the battlefield that saw the most causalities of any D-Day landing. Then make your way up to the beautiful Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, where 9,387 service men rest in peace.
See Pegasus Bridge and its sister bridge, the sites of one of the most successful D-Day operations. It was vital for these bridges to be captured intact in order to deny the Germans a crossing point over the Orne river and canal, which together run parallel to the sea from Caen. The paratroopers held their position despite numerous enemy counter-attacks until they were joined by British troops advancing south from Sword Beach.
You’ll then visit the Merville Battery Museum to learn about the men of the 6th British Airborne. This small group of determined British soldiers managed to succeed in their D-Day mission to capture and destroy German guns that were strategically placed to shoot down Allied forces.
Further west you’ll visit Sword Beach, the easternmost landing site of the Allied invasion where the British 3rd Infantry Division landed on their way to Caen. Continue to the Hillman Bunker, part of the inland defenses of the Sword Beach sector. Here, visit the underground bunkers that were once connected by trenches and surrounded by barbed wire and minefields to protect the Germans gun batteries against Allied attacks.
Your last stop is the Bayeux War Cemetery, the largest WWII cemetery of the Commonwealth soldiers in France containing 4,648 graves of soldiers who fought in the Invasion of Normandy.
At the end of the day, relax on the drive back to the original departure point in Bayeux.
Please note: Due to special events taking place to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, this tour could be amended on June 5, 6, and 7, 2014. It may not be possible to access the beaches, in which case alternative sites will be included instead.