Battle of Britain Tour

Battle of Britain Tour
Battle of Britain Tour
Battle of Britain Tour
Battle of Britain Tour
Battle of Britain Tour
Battle of Britain Tour
Battle of Britain Tour

The Battle of Britain takes its name from the speech given by Prime Minister Winston Churchill to the House of Commons on 18 June 1940: “What General Weygand called the ‘Battle of France’ is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin”.

The Battle of Britain

23rd to 27th September 2024

The Germans had rapidly overwhelmed France and the Low Countries, leaving Britain to face the threat of invasion by sea. The German high command recognised the logistic difficulties of a seaborne attack, particularly while the Royal Navy controlled the English Channel and the North.

The primary objective of the German forces was to compel Britain to agree to a negotiated peace settlement. In July 1940, the air and sea blockade began, with the Luftwaffe mainly targeting coastal-shipping convoys, as well as ports and shipping centres such as Portsmouth. On 1 August, the Luftwaffe was directed to achieve air superiority over the RAF, with the aim of incapacitating RAF Fighter Command; 12 days later, it shifted the attacks to RAF airfields and infrastructure.

The Battle of Britain takes its name from the speech given by Prime Minister Winston Churchill to the House of Commons on 18 June: “What General Weygand called the ‘Battle of France’ is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin”.

Itinerary

Day 1

Meet at 09.00 at: Meet up at The Royal Air Force Club, 128 Piccadilly, London W1J 7PY, introductory brief and look at the Club and Battle of Britain memorabilia.

Drive to Bentley Priory. In the Second World War, Bentley Priory was the headquarters of RAF Fighter Command, and it remained in RAF hands in various roles until 2008.

Arrive at Bentley Priory for snack lunch and tour of Battle of Britain Museum.

Drive to Uxbridge to view Bunker and Visitor Centre. This bunker is an underground operations room at RAF Uxbridge, formerly used by No. 11 Group Fighter Command during the Second World War. Fighter aircraft operations were controlled from there throughout the War but most notably during the Battle of Britain and on D-Day.

Drive to: The Red Lion Hotel, Royal Lane, Hillingdon, Hillingdon, UB8 3QP

Dinner at: The Hotel and Battle of Britain Talk

Day 2

RAF Biggin Hill and RAF Kenley were subjected to some of the most sustained attacks on a fighter station by the Luftwaffe in 1940.

Breakfast at: The Hotel

Drive to: RAF Kenley for briefing and conducted Airfield Walk

Visit:  Local church where Battle of Britain pilots are buried.

Light lunch at The King’s Arms at Biggin Hill

Drive to:  Biggin Hill and visit Biggin Hill Museum and Chapel, followed by Heritage Hangar tour, and sit in a Spitfire.

Drive to: The Landing Hotel, Churchill Way Biggin Hill, Westerham, TN16 3BN,

Dinner at: The Hotel and Battle of Britain Talk

Day 3

RAF Hawkinge played a major part during the Battle of Britain. No other major fighter base was as near to occupied Europe than Hawkinge and many fighter squadrons used Hawkinge as a forward base so that they could get to the Luftwaffe as soon as radar detected enemy aeroplanes approaching southeast England.

Part of the old base now houses one of the leading museums dedicated to the battle. It is crammed full of relics from the battle and also has static replicas of aircraft that flew in the battle. It is also the sited of original buildings from the old RAF base which was in the thick of the fighting.

Breakfast at: The Hotel

Travel to:  RAF Hawkinge and visit the Battle of Britain Museum.

Lunch at:  The Jackdaw pub at Denton

Visit:  Hawkinge Cemetery

Travel to:  Capel Le Ferne and visit the Battle of Britain Memorial.

Drive to: Best Western Premier Dover Marina Hotel & Spa, Dover Waterfront, Dover, CT17 9BP,

Dinner at: The Hotel and Battle of Britain Talk

Day 4

Chain Home, or CH for short, was the codename for the ring of coastal Early Warning radar stations built by the Royal Air Force before and during the Second World War to detect and track aircraft. Initially known as RDF, and given the official name Air Ministry Experimental Station Type 1 (AMES Type 1) in 1940, the radar units themselves were also known as Chain Home for most of their life. Chain Home was the first early warning radar network in the world, and the first military radar system to reach operational status. Its effect on the outcome of the war made it one of the most powerful weapons of what is today known as the “Wizard War”.

Breakfast at: The Hotel and check out

Drive to:  Swingate Chain Home Radar Station (also sometimes referred to as Dover Radar Station) was one of the earliest of the initial Home Chain of which there were eventually 32 sites nationally. It is believed to have been the second built nationally after the experimental prototype station at Bawdsey.

Lunch at:  Bridge Arms, 53 High Street, Bridge, Canterbury CT4 5LA.

Guided Walking Tour of Canterbury or free time

Explore the historic city of Canterbury on a guided walking tour. Hear tales of murder, ghosts, artists, and royalty from your qualified Green Badge Guide as you stroll through the medieval lanes and magnificent Cathedral Precincts.

Many historical structures fill the area, including a city wall founded in Roman times and rebuilt in the 14th century, the ruins of St Augustine’s Abbey, the Norman Canterbury Castle, and the oldest extant school in the world, the King’s School.

Canterbury Cathedral was founded in 597, the cathedral was completely rebuilt between 1070 and 1077. The east end was greatly enlarged at the beginning of the 12th century, and largely rebuilt in the Gothic style following a fire in 1174, with significant eastward extensions to accommodate the flow of pilgrims visiting the shrine of Thomas Becket, the archbishop who was murdered in the cathedral in 1170. The Norman nave and transepts survived until the late 14th century, when they were demolished to make way for the present structures.

Drive to: Howfield Manor Hotel, Howfield Lane, Canterbury, CT4 7HQ,

Dinner in the hotel

Day 5

Breakfast at: The Hotel and check out

Return to London

Visit: St Paul’s Cathedral and guided walk.

The cathedral survived the Blitz although struck by bombs on 10 October 1940 and 17 April 1941. The first strike destroyed the high altar, while the second strike on the north transept left a hole in the floor above the crypt. The latter bomb is believed to have detonated in the upper interior above the north transept and the force was sufficient to shift the entire dome laterally by a small amount.

On 12 September 1940 a time-delayed bomb that had struck the cathedral was successfully defused and removed by a bomb disposal detachment of Royal Engineers under the command of Temporary Lieutenant Robert Davies. Had this bomb detonated, it would have destroyed the cathedral; it left a 100-foot crater when later remotely detonated in a secure location. As a result of this action, Davies and Sapper George Cameron Wylie were each awarded the George Cross.

Return to RAF Club for farewell Lunch and return home.

Battle of Britain Tour
5 days
£2,250
Book now