D-Day Beaches Tour

November 11, 2015

The beaches of Normandy were the site of one of the most important allied offensives of the Second World War, with troops storming the beaches in an attempt to push on and recapture France from Nazi occupation.

Even now, more than 60 years on from the Normandy Landings, the beaches bear the scars of that fateful day, and continue to attract tourists who seek to understand the true scale and magnitude of what happened in June 1944.

Taking a tour of the beaches and the surrounding areas makes for a poignant but fascinating and educational trip, so we’ve prepared a tour for you, as it can be difficult to know where to start!

Visit our Great Journeys page for a full itinerary of this tour, or check out our brief guide below.

Caen

Caen is as beautiful and as Gallic a town as you can imagine, but still bears scars from heavy and sustained bombing during the Second World War. In Caen you will find the Museum for Peace, which is one of the best war memorials around, and nearby you will find Pegasus Bridge, the site where the invasions began with an aerial assault, which has its own museum. You can also visit the beach at Ouistreham, (codenamed Sword) where British troops landed on the day.

Juno Beach

A site now famous as the beach where Charles de Gaulle became the first French soldier to set foot in France since 1940, Juno Beach is also located near Mulberry Harbour, where the allies constructed an ingenious artificial port, which you can learn about in the Musée du Débarquement. It’s also a short drive to Gold Beach and Longues-sur-Mer, which bore witness to some of the campaign’s most intense fighting, 2 huge 150mm artillery guns remain at this site as a chilling reminder.

Bayeux

The first town to be liberated on the day of the landings, Bayeux is home to the War Cemetery, with over 5000 graves, including those of British soldiers, and the Musée Mémorial de la Bataille du Normandie, where you can relive the conflict through personal photos and accounts.

Omaha Beach

If you’ve ever seen Saving Private Ryan then you’ll know Omaha Beach as the site of the US-led landing in the film’s opening scenes. There is a memorial on the beach to the lives lost during the conflict, and an American cemetery nearby, the largest of its kind in Europe.

Utah Beach

Utah Beach saw British and American troops work together to secure an important beachhead and factory at Cherbourg. The beach is home to another Musée du Débarquement, where you can see a genuine B26 Marauder from the campaign. Nearby Pointe du Hoc is a beach which is pockmarked by huge impact craters from the heavy shelling on the day.

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