The 10 best First World War battlefield tours for 2017 and 2018

On November 11 1918, the First World War came to an end with a ceasefire coming into effect at 11am. Earlier that morning, an armistice with Germany had been signed in a railroad carriage at Compiègne, with the conflict having lasted for four years, three months and 14 days. By the time the armistice had been agreed, the total number of military and civilian casualties had reached more than 40 million, making it among the deadliest conflicts in world history.

Reading books and watching programmes provides background, but nothing sheds more light on these bloodiest of battles than visiting the sites. A number of guides and battlefield tour specialists are already offering special itineraries to commemorate the lives lost during the outbreak of the conflict in Britain.

We have hand-picked a selection of the best battlefield tours in 2017-18, covering many of the major battlefields of the First World War, such as the Somme, Ypres, Messines, Amiens and Verdun. For those who would like to visit the battlefields of both the First and Second World Wars, there is an option that takes in the key sites of both. We have also listed a special tour to Passchendaele led by Royal British Legion guides, who are able to assist families in finding a loved one’s grave or memorial.

More than 40 million died in the First World War, making it among the deadliest conflicts in world history

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1. 1918 Centenary tour

This centenary tour takes in some of the major actions of 1918, a year that saw the balance of the war swing from a German success to an overall allied victory. Led by military historian Dr Bruce Cherry, this itinerary investigates the major events of the year, visiting iconic battlefields such as Villers-Bretonneux, the St Quentin Canal, Le Quesnoy, Mons and, fittingly, the site of the November armistice signing at Compiègne. This tour will be of particular interest to those with Australian, New Zealand and Canadian interests, and, of…

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