Flanders Fields in 48 hours - child-friendly tour
The child-friendly tour is especially designed for families with children and gives you the opportunity to make the most of your 48 hour visit to Flanders Fields. Start your journey at the In Flanders Fields Museum, located in Ypres' imposing Cloth Hall. Visit military cemeteries, the Menin Gate, Nieuwpoort, Talbot House and other points of interest.
Grote Markt 34, Ieper
Step in the footsteps of Andrew, a boy who visited the In Flanders Fields Museum. His story is told in the book ‘Andrew’s Dream Museum’. You can buy this book in the museum shop or order it on the museum website. Have a look at all the objects of the First World War or listen to the personal stories of people whose lives were heavily influenced by the war. Don’t forget to climb the bell tower to have a look at Ypres and the former battlefields.
After lunch we leave Ypres and head over to Essex Farm cemetery. A 15-year-old soldier named Joe Strudwick was buried here. A lot of young boys thought that war would be an adventure in a distant country. That is why they lied about their age and joined the army. Did you learn something about the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ in school? ? The author John McCrae wrote the poem on this cemetery in honour of his friend that was buried here.
This cemetery is also known as Studentenfriedhof because so many young soldiers died here. The cemetery is very different from a British cemetery. There are no flowers or white graves, only big trees and big stones with a lot of names on them.
Cable Railway Cordoba – Heuvelland
Rodebergstraat 75, Heuvelland
We head over to Heuvelland, a hilly area where they fought intensely during WW I. We take the cable railway over the fields and are astonished about the beautiful landscape where the war took place. Spot the recently started vineyards from above.
We head back to Ypres for dinner and to attend the Last Post ceremony under the Menin Gate.The Menin Gate is a gigantic construction, but still not big enough to mention all the names of the fallen British soldiers, who didn’t have a grave because their bodies were not identified. The Gate ‘only’ mentions 55,000 names on the walls. The other soldiers names are written on two other monuments. Every evening at 8 pm all traffic stops, silence falls and the bugle players of the Last Post Association play the traditional final salute to the fallen soldiers. Have a look at YouTube for a video clip of the ceremony.
Gasthuisstraat 43, Poperinge
In December 1915 a new club house opened in Poperinge. Every soldier was welcome here to relax after the cruel experiences at the front. Soldiers could borrow books, play the piano, go to the chapel, … During your visit at this club house you will be given a tablet and have to try to find the cat in the house. If you find this animal you will get a sticker as souvenir.
Nieuwpoort Visitor centre: Kustweg 2, Nieuwpoort
We continue our journey toward the coast. German troops were stopped in Nieuwpoort by opening the locks so the sea water flooded the entire area around the city. A new visitor centre ‘Westfront Nieuwpoort’ opened its doors in October 2014. This centre will tell the story of the flooding of the plains. During the summer you can take the boat in Nieuwpoort to Diksmuide (www.seastar.be). You sail on the Yser river and see the area where the soldiers engaged in severe fights and combats.
Ijzerdijk 42, Diksmuide
Go for a second trench experience in Diksmuide. This kilometre-long network of revetments, saps and dug-outs was one of the most dangerous Belgian positions on the Western Front, situated just 50 metres from a German bunker. As a result, the trench was subjected to almost constant fire and attacks from the Germans.