D-Day & Bomber County 2024
24-day tour departing 1st July 2024, escorted from NZ by aviation enthusiasts
Kevin & Melanie Salisbury.
Featuring main events
Festival of Speed, Goodwood
Summer MaDDness’s Big Weekend
Summer Evening Airshow, Shuttleworth
Royal International Air Tattoo, Fairford
Also including –
Singapore Air Force Museum, Dover Castle & Tunnels, Pegasus Bridge Memorial Museum, Merville Battery, Memorial Caen, Arromanches 360, Longues Sur Mer Batteries, Omaha Beach Museum, Pointe Du Hoc, St Mere Eglise Airborne Museum, Utah Beach Museum, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard,
Pathfinder Collection - RAF Wyton, National Rail Museum, Yorkshire Air Museum, Lincs Aviation Heritage Centre, BBMF Visitor Centre, Newark Air Museum, Bletchley Park, Bicester Heritage, Battle of Britain Bunker, RAF Museum – Hendon.
Tour Itinerary –
Meet & greet at Auckland Airport.
Our Singapore Air flight today departs Auckland at 2.10pm, arriving in Singapore at 9pm.
1 night Singapore – Crowne Plaza Changi Airport
We spend the morning at the Air Force Museum, a physical embodiment of the history, heritage, and values of the Republic of Singapore Air Force. It creatively combines original artefacts with interactive media, fighter jets, missiles, and anti-aircraft systems. The afternoon is yours to enjoy or join us for an optional river cruise or DUCK tour.
Alternatively, you can explore Singapore at your leisure until our late check out at 6pm.
You could do a city tour, visit the Zoo, the Gardens by the Bay, a bike tour or check out the shopping centres.
We will have time in the evening to spend at the Jewel Changi which is a nature-themed entertainment and retail complex linked to the airport. Its centrepiece is the world's tallest indoor waterfall, the Rain Vortex, that is surrounded by a terraced forest setting. Especially stunning in the evening when lit up. Our evening flight departs at 11.30pm
On arrival in the UK, we make our way to Dover Castle. Rising above the famous White Cliffs high above the Channel, Dover Castle is an icon of England. Built soon after 1066, this mighty fortress has been the site of royal intrigue and epic sieges and was at the centre of the crucial effort to evacuate hundreds of thousands of Allied troops from the beach of Dunkirk. We’ll walk through the tunnels hidden deep within the White Cliffs of Dover as state-of-the-art special effects, dramatic projections and real film footage bring to life the dramatic rescue of the British Army from the beaches of Dunkirk. Afterwards, travel through the atmospheric Underground Hospital and experience the sounds, smells and atmosphere of the castle's Second World War dressing station with its operating theatre, wards and corridors.
Just outside the castle walls you’ll find a granite plane memorial marking the site where a French aviator completed the first airplane flight across the English Channel. We then head down to Folkestone ready for our Channel Tunnel crossing in the morning. This evening is our welcome dinner.
1 night Folkestone – Holiday Inn Express Channel Tunnel
This morning we take the LeShuttle crossing to Calais and drive down to Caen. On arrival we visit Pegasus Bridge Memorial following the footsteps of the first troops to arrive to liberate France in 1944. Café Gondree was the first place to be liberated by the Red Berets who landed Horsa Gliders near the bridge. The original bridge is now the centrepiece of the museum, having been removed and replaced in 1994.
We have time for lunch, to explore the museum and walk to the monuments marking the glider landing sites.
2 nights Ibis Caen Centre
We start our day at Memorial Caen where the exhibitions will take us through the story of the bombardment of the city, the D-Day landings and the Battle of Normandy. Located underneath the museum, is the former command post of the German general Wilhelm Richter which played a crucial role during the first decisive weeks of the Battle. There is also a Cold War exhibition which takes you behind the scenes to discover the international tensions, the arms race, the propaganda, and the key events that shaped our world today.
After lunch we head up to the Merville Battery. This formidable German fortification was the site of some of the first fighting that took place on D-Day. Along with three bridges in the area, it was critical that the battery was put out of action at the beginning of the invasion. There are four 6-foot-thick steel-reinforced concrete gun casemates, a command bunker and other buildings and gun positions on this fully preserved site.
Ibis Caen Centre
The Mulberry Harbour in Arromanches-les-Bains became known as Port Winston, after British wartime leader Winston Churchill, who was closely involved in its conception. A staggering 2.5 million men, 500,000 vehicles and four million tonnes of supplies arrived via Port Winston. Despite its sombre reminders of the shattering war effort, including what is left of the harbour, Arromanches has a pleasant, lively atmosphere and is a charming seaside town.
The unique 360 Cinema is perched on the cliff-top overlooking the town and harbour. We will be dropped off for an unforgettable film show to start the day, then make our way down to the town and the remains of the harbour on Gold Beach where there will be free time to explore and have lunch.
We then continue West towards Omaha Beach, stopping at the Longues Sur Mere Batteries, the only ones where you can still see some of the original cannon, capable at the time of firing shells weighing 45kg at a distance of 22km. The view from the firing command post dug into the cliff offers a vast panorama over the Bay of the Seine.
Our last visit of the day is the Omaha Beach Museum, which showcases an important collection of uniforms, vehicles, personal objects and weapons, after which we make our way into Bayeux for our 3 night stay.
3 nights Hotel d’Argouges
Today is yours to enjoy at leisure. Stroll into town, take a moment at the cemetery, visit the Bayeux Tapestry or cathedral, wander the shops or you could do a day trip to Mont St Michel.
Heading West today, our first stop is at Pointe Du Hoc. We will spend a little time in the visitor centre and walk out to the monument on the cliff edge in this battle-scarred area on the left flank of Omaha Beach which remains much as the Rangers left it. The monument consists of a simple granite pylon positioned atop a German concrete bunker with tablets at its base inscribed in French and English.
Our next stop is St Mere Eglise, home of the Airborne Museum and known for the story of the parachutist John Steele who landed on the church steeple after being injured by shrapnel. He was captured but later escaped and survived the war. The museum houses a C47 and is dedicated to the American paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne.
It’s a short drive to our final visit, Utah Beach Landing Museum which features a wide range of German and American war items related to the military engagements which took place during the D-Day landings and a rare Martin B 26 ‘Marauder.’
This morning we board our ferry for the crossing to Portsmouth. On arrival we will have some time for a pre visit to the Historic Dockyard. With so much to see at the dockyard you can choose a few things to check out before tomorrow’s all-day visit. The main attractions here are The Mary Rose Museum, HMS Victory, HMS Warrior, HMS M.33, Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower, Royal Navy Submarine Museum and a harbour cruise.
Note: the Royal Navy Submarine Museum and Explosion! Museum of Firepower are not open on Tuesdays so these will be on tomorrows list of visits.
2 nights Royal Maritime Hotel
Today is a full day at the Historic Dockyard. Our hotel is just a 5-minute walk from the dockyard, so you have freedom to come and go as you please.
If you would like to do something different there are lots of great local visits including Fort Nelson - home to the Royal Armouries national collection of artillery and historic cannon – the big guns, The Round Tower, Spinnaker Tower, Southsea Castle - an artillery fort originally constructed by Henry VIII. There’s a model village, the Royal Marines Museum and Gunwharf Quays shopping centre is a short walk from the hotel.
Royal Maritime Hotel
The Festival of Speed is motorsport's ultimate summer garden party, an intoxicating celebration of the world's most glamorous sport. Nowhere else will you get so close to the cars and bikes as they blast up the hillclimb track; nowhere else will you enjoy such unrestricted access to the machines and the drivers who made them famous.
We’ll see the latest F1 monsters from teams like Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren, supercars making their global dynamic debuts, screaming up the hill, the future of motoring and tech at the First Glance Paddock and FOS Future Lab.
1 night Hilton Watford
Today we visit the three collections at the heritage centre.
1. The RAF Wyton History Timeline. This covers the history of RAF Wyton from its beginnings as a Royal Flying Corps station in 1916 to its present use as the HQ Joint Forces Intelligence Group.
2. The Photo Reconnaissance Collection. This collection was previously the JARIC History Collection formerly housed at RAF Brampton and recently expanded to cover all aspects of photo reconnaissance/imagery intelligence.
3. The Path Finder Collection. This is the most comprehensive collection of RAF Path Finder Force memorabilia which was started in 1996 and has grown considerably over the years.
We will have lunch at the heritage centre before continuing North to York
3 nights Holiday Inn York City Centre
Day 13 – Saturday 13th July - Craven Collection Classic Motorcycles & Summer MaDDness’s Big Weekend (B)
We start our day with a private tour of the Craven Collection, over 250 motorbikes are on show spanning from the 1920s to 2006 plus a mountain of motoring memorabillia. The museum supplies the film industry with many bikes used in programs such as Heartbeat and also featured on the show Shed & Buried.
The rest of the day will be at the Melbourne Raceway just outside York where the Summer MaDDness’s Big Weekend is on. This is a 2-day car show with Slingshot Monster Trucks & rides, On the Edge Motorcycle Stunt Show and the Straightliners Drag Racing, including the usual fun, fairground, food & trade village.
If you prefer to do something else, we are based in York for the weekend so you can choose your activities for both days.
Holiday Inn York City Centre
We walk to the National Railway Museum first, home to iconic locomotives and beautiful collections, you can wander through halls and explore the stories, places and engineering marvels behind the railways, see world-changing inventions like the Japanese Bullet Train and stand face-to-face with the world’s fastest steam locomotive, Mallard. In the afternoon there is free time to choose your activities, we suggest a walk through the Medieval Shambles and will escort you there. If you prefer, you can spend the whole day at your leisure in York. There’s lots to do including The York Dungeon, The Minster, York Castle, the JORVIK Viking Centre, a city cruise, chocolate tours, walking tours and a cold war bunker. Alternatively, have your whole day at leisure or you can return to Summer MaDDness for a second day.
Those brave enough might like to take a Ghost Tour through the city this evening.
Holiday Inn York City Centre
Authentically based on an original World War II Bomber Command Station, this unique history museum is filled with a great combination of original buildings to explore, including the restored Control Tower and more than forty aircraft exhibits, from early biplanes to the unique Halifax Bomber "Friday the 13th" and modern Cold War military jets such as the Victor, Nimrod and Tornado jet fighters. After enjoying our time here we’ll head down to Lincolnshire for our stay in the lovely village of Woodhall Spa. The village is home to the tiniest shoe shop in the country, the famous Kinema in the Woods and two Dambusters memorials, One in the form of a breached dam with operations and names. The other is a pyramidal black marble memorial to all members of 617 Squadron who lost their lives in the Second World War. Our hotel for the next few days is steeped in British history and was once home to 617 Squadron – The Dambusters.
The centre is home to two of the world’s rarest aircraft Lancaster NX611 ‘Just Jane’ and Mosquito NF11 and is now widely seen as a living memorial to the 55,573 men of Bomber Command who lost their lives during WW2.
The International Bomber Command Centre aims to remember over a million men and women from across the world who were part of Bomber Command’s efforts during WWII, to educate and to tell the stories of those affected by the bombing campaigns across Europe. We will explore the Peace Gardens, Walls of Names and the Spire with a guide, and then have time in the Chadwick Centre which uses state-of-the-art technology and interactive displays to tell the story of Bomber Command, through the eyes of those who witnessed events first-hand.
After lunch we’ll spend time in Lincoln at leisure. We suggest visiting the Cathedral or the Castle with Medieval Wall Walk, Victorian Prison & Magna Carta.
On the way back to the hotel we will stop for dinner at the Bluebell Inn. Built in 1257, the famous haunt of Hunters, Poachers and Royalist Fugitives through the years to RAF heroes of the Second World War including the famous 617 (Dam Busters) Squadron who, along with many other famous people over the years, have signed the ceiling.
Located on the former World War II airfield of Winthorpe, this museum displays a diverse collection of more than 90 aircraft and cockpit sections covering the history of aviation. The aircraft on display include 13 National Benchmark aircraft; 34 Significant aircraft and 21 Noteworthy aircraft as listed in the National Aviation Heritage Register. In addition to the aircraft the museum displays a diverse range of aviation artefacts and a collection of more than thirty-five aero engines. Many aircraft will be open to climb into including the Vulcan & Shackleton.
We then head south to Bicester which will be our base for the next three days.
3 nights Holiday Inn Express Bicester
Once the top-secret home of the World War Two Codebreakers, Bletchley Park is now a vibrant heritage attraction. Immersive films, interactive displays, museum collections and faithfully recreated WW2 rooms will guide you on a journey to discover the past at Bletchley Park. Exhibitions, set within beautifully restored historic buildings, tell the story of this once top-secret operation. Find out more about the brilliant minds and complex machines that made this vital work possible and discover the global impact Bletchley Park had on the outcome of WW2.
On our return to Bicester we stop in at Bicester Heritage for a tour, home to over 40 best-of-breed automotive specialists. The former RAF Bicester site on which Bicester Heritage is now based is of national historic importance. Neglected for the best part of 40 years, it was added to Historic England’s ‘At Risk Register’ in 2008 and designated the most ‘at risk’ of all Defence Estates in the UK. Since Bicester Heritage’s tenure, over 95% of the buildings have been delicately restored or re-activated for modern business use, with the site now held as a national exemplar of constructive conservation by Historic England. The time-warp base is truly unmatched in evocative character, with even the paint colours being correct to 1930s British Standards. An active airfield and test track complete it’s dynamic operation. The tour ends rather conveniently at the Wriggly Monkey Brewery where we can grab a pint before returning to the hotel.
If you prefer, a short walk from the hotel is Bicester Village, a designer retail shopping outlet with 150+ boutique brands. Or head into town for the day.
Holiday Inn Express Bicester
We have a late and leisurely departure today so you might like to relax a bit or wander down to Bicester Village.
We depart at lunchtime for Old Warden where we witness The Collection aircraft and exciting visitors take the skies, explore the history behind some of the most iconic vehicles and machines, and get up close and personal with some aviation icons as the much loved ‘Paddock Uncovered’ experience returns. The Collection, housed in six huge hangars, includes early 20th century aircraft, cars, buses and motorbikes through to steam engines and farm machinery. We will also have time to visit Shuttleworth House and explore the beautiful Swiss Gardens. It’s a varied day out and always a favourite with its country picnic atmosphere.
Holiday Inn Express Bicester
We spend the day at RIAT, the world's largest and most prestigious military air show. Spectacular in the air and on the ground with a two-mile-long static display (serviced by a shuttle bus). With a fantastic line-up of international displays and 7 hours flying it will be a day to remember. We enjoy the show from our Cotswold Club enclosure, the Air Tattoo's summer garden party and entry includes a tasty lunch, unlimited tea and coffee, and an afternoon treat. The enclosure is directly on the crowd line for a great view of the fantastic flying display. After the show we travel on into Heathrow.
Day 22 - Monday 22nd July - Battle of Britain Bunker & RAF Museum Hendon (B, D)
The Battle of Britain Bunker housed RAF Fighter Command’s No.11 Group Operations Room throughout the Second World War. Most of the RAF Fighter Command’s side of the Battle of Britain was coordinated from this room. Key decisions that would decide the fate of the nation were taken in the Bunker throughout 1940 and it was thanks to the tireless work of the plotters and controllers that the RAF’s fighter pilots managed to keep the Luftwaffe at bay. Our guided tour takes us down 76 steps to see the original rooms and plotting table. Alternatively, you can do a virtual video tour of the Bunker. This will be followed by some time in the state-of-the-art exhibition hall detailing the development of the UK’s air defence system from the First World War to the end of the Second World War.
In the afternoon we’ll head over to the RAF Museum at Hendon which is dedicated to the history of aviation & the RAF. There is a vast collection of aircraft, engines, weapons, uniforms, and other artifacts including the world’s only surviving example of a Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-8, the Avro Lancaster S-Sugar, and the Vickers Wellington bomber.
We’ll say goodbye to our coach and driver today and this evening we have our Farewell Dinner.
24 Day Tour including return Singapore Air economy flights Auckland-Auckland
$14995 per person Twin/Double Share Room
$17490 for a Single Room guaranteed
Land Only joining in UK
$10,995 per person Twin/Double Share Room
$13250 for a Single Room guaranteed
$500 non-refundable deposit required on booking with full balance due by 1st April 23
For bookings after 1st April, the full balance payable immediately.
The $500 deposit is refundable should the tour not reach minimum numbers.
Premium Economy and Business Class are subject to availability and will be quoted on request.
Flights joining the tour from Australia or elsewhere will be quoted on request.
Please ask if you would like any variations to the above arrangements. We are quite flexible! You may choose a different return date or decide to stop over on the way back to break the journey. Costs are subject to availability.
Flight availability is limited again this year. Book early to secure your place, especially if you would like any deviation from the below group held flights.
Early booking is essential to ensure that we keep the group flights and secure the main event tickets. Your deposit can be covered for loss for unforeseen circumstances with insurance, so it is recommended to insure straight away.
Any changes to the flights need to be made as soon as possible as there may be additional costs on other dates an availability is limited.
Flights below (subject to change) – overnight in Auckland post tour may be required.
1st July SQ286 AKL-SIN 1410-2100 overnight in Singapore
2nd July SQ322 SIN-LHR 2330-0555 arriving 3rd
23rd July SQ317 LHR-SIN 1125-0730 arriving 24th
24th July SQ4281 SIN-AKL 0850-2225 (operated by Air NZ)
Note: we were unable to get a group airfare returning in the evening on 22nd July. However, we can request individual changes to flights so please ask if this would be your preference.
Premium Economy and Business Class are subject to availability and will be quoted on request.
Flights joining the tour from Australia or elsewhere will be quoted on request.
TERMS & CONDITIONS
Tour costs - Tour costs are based on specially negotiated airfares on which special conditions apply, and on double/twin share accommodation. Costs are based on a minimum number of 15 passengers. For passengers travelling alone, a single supplement is payable, or there is the possibility of a same sex room share. If you cannot be matched, the single supplement is payable.
Fitness - A reasonable level of fitness is required to make the most of the museums and sightseeing. Due to the nature of some of our hotels you may be expected to manage a set of stairs; however, we will manage your luggage on these occasions. Most hotels have showers over the bath as is common in the UK & France.
Reservations and Payment - Your reservation will be confirmed on receipt of a non-refundable deposit of $500.
Final balance - is due by 1st April or immediately, if booked after 1st April.
Changes to Tour Costs - Tour costs are based on exchange rates as at December 2023, and are subject to change. Airfares are based on group departures and taxes correct as of December 2023. Should these costs change, it may be necessary to make a surcharge on the tour. Once full payment has been received, no surcharge will be made in respect of currency or fuel surcharges. However, changes imposed by governments, or their agencies are not covered by this guarantee.
Fees as a percentage of tour price
Up to 1st April
Loss of deposit
1st April – 31st April
1st May onwards
Changes to Itinerary - If improvements can be made to the itinerary or circumstances beyond our control make it necessary to make changes, we reserve the right to do so.
Cancellation refunds and flight changes - Notice of cancellation must be in writing. Changes to flights once ticketed will incur charges. After the final balance has been paid, the following scale of charges will apply.
Insurance - For cancellations, we regret that we are not able to make refunds against any unused part of the tour. It is therefore essential that you have sufficient insurance to cover your loss. We strongly recommend a complete and comprehensive travel insurance policy. We accept no responsibility for any loss caused by insufficient or lack of insurance cover.
Optional Return Dates - The international airfare on which this tour is based allows individual passengers to return independently on a space available basis.
Passports and Visas - A current passport 6 months validity is essential. NZ, Australian and UK passport holders do not require visas. Non-NZ passport holders must be in possession of a re-entry permit. Passports and visa are not the tour operator’s responsibility.