Tour info

Anzac Day 2017 - Western Front Tour

Lille Hotel Map

Tour Guide Biography

Tour Dates:

23-25 April, 2017

Tour Length:

3 Days/2 Nights

Tour highlights
  • Anzac Day Dawn Service at Villers-Bretonneaux
  • Tour of WWI battlefields & memorials in the Somme (France) on Anzac Day
  • Tour of WWI battlefields & memorials in Ypres (Belgium) & surrounding areas
  • Professional Western Front WWI tour guide
  • Fanatics tour leader for duration of tour
  • Total respect & reverence of the Anzac spirit & tradition at memorial sites
Each year the villages around the France-Belgium border come together to remember the role the Anzac forces played in repelling the German advances of World War I in a unique commemoration of Anzac Day. Our Western Front tours are led by local experts to ensure that you experience everything this important occasion has to offer.

Return Eurostar or Make Your Own Way

Our two night Western Front Eurostar package departs London on Sunday morning for Lille where we stay for two nights while exploring the Western Front battlefields and memorials and attend the 25 April dawn service at Villers-Bretonneux. The tour returns to London on Tuesday evening.

If you are coming from elsewhere in Europe or would prefer to arrange your own transport our Make Your Own Way package is also available.

Register Your Attendance

Everyone joining the Anzac Day services must register their attendance at the Western Front commemorative services on the Australian Department of Veterans' Affairs website HERE.

The Western Front

Whilst Gallipoli was the first battle that Anzac forces encountered during World War I, it was the Western Front in northern France and Belgium where Australian and New Zealand troops would go on to serve in their greatest number and, tragically, suffer its largest & most horrendous casualties.

Australian forces did not join the European war until 1916 after finishing their eight month campaign at Gallipoli. From Gallipoli they were moved to the north of France and were deployed to various areas of France and Belgium where they were to encounter gruesome trench warfare in a desperate and costly bid to prevent German troops forcing their way towards the English Channel.

Sadly, the Australians lost 53,000 lives out of the 313,814 troops sent into combat in France and Belgium. 23,000 Australians were killed capturing the village of Pozieres during the battle of the Somme in the summer of 1916. No place on earth has seen so much Australian sacrifice and it was this massive loss of life in France and Belgium that brought the full cost & tragic reality of war home to the Australian people.

Australian and New Zealanders alike fought in many battles over the stretch of three years in France and Belgium, with its battles leading to a significant loss of life but also forging a proud Anzac fighting spirit. Places such as The Somme, Villers-Bretonneux, Hill 60, Menin Gate, Le Hamel, Fromelles and Pozières mark a significant place in Australian military history.

Our Expert Tour Guide

Our tour is guided by local specialist Andy Thompson. Andy has been guiding groups in the area since 1982 and has worked with Fanatics since 2009. Andy's knowledge of the area is second to none and he is always happy to incorporate any requests from passengers to visit particular sites of interest (contact us with details ahead of the the tour).

The Sites

Our specialist Western Front tour guides have been leading groups to the area for many years and know all of the places of special interest for the Anzacs. They will also do their best to include any particular memorials tour members wish to visit (be sure to email us if you have a request).

The Hindenburg Line: The strongest and last line of the German army's defence consisted of three very well defended trench systems. The well designed trenches required two major attacks by the Australians and US forces over three stages to break the line and force German retreat.

Ypres and Flanders Fields: Ypres is a beautiful township in southern Belgium that played a critical role in the Allies' defence of the Western Front. Surrounded by lush green fields and rich fertile farmland, the landscape is dotted with a variety of cemeteries and memorials that serve as a lasting and eerie reminder of the bloody battles that raged day in & day out during the Great War.

Due to its location, Ypres went from being a quiet country town better known for its cloth trade to become a strategically critical crossroads that would eventually be reduced to rubble following constant bombardment during 1914. Some 5 million soldiers passed through Ypres on their way to the Ypres salient.

Menin Gate: During the Great War the Menin Gate was a mere wooden bridge spanning two banks to allow crossing of the moat and signal the journey to battle along the Menin Road - a place where many a soldier would pass through and, tragically, never return.

Tyne Cot Cemetery: The world's biggest Commonwealth cemetery with 11,908 graves and 34,927 names engraved on the rear wall of the cemetery. Tyne Cot still contains remnants from the WWI including several concrete pill boxes used by the German Army. These boxes were built above ground as the land was not suitable for digging trenches & bunkers, with its narrowing openings designed for firing on enemy, often at chillingly short range. The empowering size of Tyne Cot Cemetery serves as a sad & sombre reminder of the sheer magnitude of death and suffering that war has inflicted on the modern world over the past century.

Other sites include Le Hamel, Pozieres, Passchendaele, Polygon Wood & Hill 60.

Ibis Styles Lille Centre Hotel

We stay at the 3-star Ibis Styles Lille Centre hotel featuring modern decor, wifi & bar. The hotel is located a short walk from the main town square, Eurostar terminal and all of Lille's vibrant restaurant, shopping & nightlife.

The City of Lille

The city of Lille and its surrounding areas were at the centre of conflict during both the First and Second World Wars. Located on the France-Belgium border, Lille today stands at the heart of one of Europe's major metropolitan & cosmopolitan regions, boasting an array of historical & architectural sights combined with sophisticated & modern entertainment, shopping and dining.

Western Front 2017 - Return Eurostar Package
  • Return Eurostar train travel between London & Lille
  • Two nights twin share hotel accommodation in central Lille
  • Anzac Day dawn service
  • Guided tour of the Somme and Ypres Battlefields
  • Anzac Day souvenir hoodie
  • Breakfast on Monday morning
  • Professional Western Front WWI tour guide
  • Fanatics tour leader
Western Front 2017 - Make Your Own Way Package
  • Two nights twin share hotel accommodation in central Lille
  • Anzac Day dawn service
  • Guided tour of the Somme and Ypres Battlefields
  • Anzac Day souvenir hoodie
  • Breakfast on Monday morning
  • Professional Western Front WWI tour guide
  • Fanatics tour leader