Visiting Ypres and the Salient - Belgian Flanders
World War One Battlefields has been on the web since 2004. It provides an online guide to areas of the Western Front as they are today, with historical information and photographs alongside modern photos of each area.
JULY 30th 2021 UPDATE: Apart from a short period last summer, for over 12 months visits to the Western Front battlefields have been impossible due to the coronavirus pandemic and associated restrictions. The latest UK guidance is that those who are fully vaccinated can now visit Belgium (although it remains on the Amber list) and not have to quarantine on return, although they will need to take a test on day 2 after returning. Also, travellers need a negative test prior to travelling out and another taken in Belgium prior to travelling home.
For a couple of days, France was also in this same Amber category; however, after only a couple of days, the UK Government changed this to “Amber Plus” – meaning that even fully vaccinated travellers would have to quarantine for 10 days on their return. This has effectively put France out of reach for the vast majority – even though there are stories now emerging that the risk of the Beta variant which prompted this was based on data that included cases from the French territory of Reunion (which ironically is on the Amber list itself).
Once it is possible to travel to the Western Front battlefields again, this website provides practical information – see pages on Visiting the Somme and Visiting Ypres. There is information on how to best reach the battlefields and where to stay. For those with limited time, there is a page listing Five must-see Somme sites – useful if you have only one day to spend in the area. Helping you to make the most of your battlefield visit is the main purpose of this website.
There are many more pages on what to see in the two main areas of interest on the Western Front, Ypres/Flanders and the Somme. For Flanders, these include Tyne Cot, the Menin Gate in Ypres and Passchendaele, whilst in the Somme, there are pages on the Thiepval Memorial, the Newfoundland Memorial Park and Beaumont Hamel, among others.
The most recent site update is a page covering Fromelles, a site with links to the Australians, and the most recent war cemetery created by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Another new page covers Villers-Brettonneux, in the Somme area and again associated particularly with the Australians. Other recent updates are to the Bayernwald page (with information added on Croonaert Chapel Cemetery) and to the Plugstreet page.
There are some excellent guidebooks and other resources for visiting the battlefields. These are also listed on the relevant pages.