Belgian Beer & Battlefield Humour
Note – Suitable for groups of 4 to 50 people. Not available on Mondays.
Timings – A minimum of 6 to 7 hours to complete the itinerary, available either by coach or bicycle.
Summary - This itinerary explores the humour of the “Wipers Times”, a satirical newspaper that remarkably was published by some British troops in Ypres during WW1. The newspaper provides a key insight into the use of humour to attempt to reduce anxiety on the frontline. The tour explores references to local landmarks in Ypres and nearby battlefields made by the publication, including the home of the printing press, now home to the Kazematten Brewery. Along the way visit a local chocolatier and the Hooge Crater Museum (lunch included). This itinerary is available by either coach or cycling.
Ypres City Tour
- A local storyteller will introduce visitors to the story and birthplace of the “Wipers Times” in the heart of Ypres. All participants will receive a copy of the Wipers Times.
- The tour makes five stops within the town of Ypres, uncovering the fascinating story of the newspaper and includes a visit to a local chocolatier and the Casements Visitors Centre.
Nearby Battlefields & Memorials
Visitors then travel by road or cycle to nearby battlefields, craters and small cemeteries discovering some lesser-known areas, just outside of the township of Ypres around Railway Wood. A 1.2-kilometre walk takes visitors through some former battlefields of fierce fighting in 1917, that feature prominently in the battlefield humour of the “Wipers Times”. The walk ends at the Hooge Crater Museum.
Hooge Crater Museum
- A typical Flemish “breughel” styled dish, similar to a ploughman’s lunch, is served on arrival at the Hooge Crater Museum. Perhaps a glass of “Wipers Times” beer with lunch?
- A tour of the museum enables visitors to immerse themselves in the life of a soldier at the front, with countless artifacts, some rare original film footage, and a newly restored original Ford T Ambulance. After the museum, visitors will have special access to explore some of the nearby trenches and a bunker on private property as well as handle some unique WW1 artefacts.
The Kazematten Brewery is one of the oldest surviving structures in Ypres. Tucked away underneath the ramparts, the British troops used the space as a mess for the officers in WW1, which led to the realisation of the “Wipers Times” newspaper. Today the Kazematten Brewery is a small family brewery, experimenting with various brewing styles using mostly local ingredients. On this tour enjoy a private tour and taste three beers, including the Wipers Times 14, the brewery’s most famous award-winning brew.