2024 D-Day 80th Anniversary Tour
from London, across the English Channel, to the beaches of Normandy
At a glance
May 29 - June 11, 2024 • England & France • 14 days
London • Portsmouth • Normandy Region • Paris
cross the English Channel just as the boys did in 1944 • visit all five landing beaches: UTAH - OMAHA - GOLD - JUNO - SWORD • special commemoration event at Juno Beach on June 6 • Falaise Gap • Verrieres Ridge • free time to take in the sights & sounds of the big 80th anniversary year • scroll down to see complete details
Sorry, this tour is FULL.
Allow us to recommend our Spring or Fall Northwest Europe Tour, which visits several of the D-Day Beaches but also includes Vimy Ridge, Flanders Fields and much more:
Spring Tour | Fall Tour
The Canadian story ...
At sea, by land, and in the air, Canada participated in one of the monumental events of WWII - D-Day - June 6, 1944.
In 2024 the allied nations return to Normandy to mark the 80th anniversary, with a commemoration of service and sacrifice and a celebration of the triumph of liberation.
On a small stretch of beach on the Normandy coast of France, Canada will join in paying tribute to 'The Greatest Generation', to whom we owe so much.
So much to see in Normandy ...
Many years have passed since those fateful days of 1944, but much remains of the occupation and liberation. See "Canada House" at Juno Beach. Visit big German guns on the cliffs above Gold Beach. See remnants of the ingenious Mulberry Harbour, and also tanks, and trucks and bunkers at Omaha and Utah.
But also, see the many poignant and meaningful monuments, big and small, which dot the shores and the adjoining countryside. It is an especially good feeling to arrive at some small place, somewhere in Europe, and see the Canada flag flying high. Be prepared to feel a deep sense of pride.
Special moments in 2024 ...
Ample free time is programmed into your trip to allow you to take in the celebratory sights and sounds of this next big D-Day anniversary.
Travelers can expect to encounter WWII period vehicles, living history re-enactment camps, live music, fly-overs, and more. Many town squares will feature a festive mood, unique to these D-Day anniversary years.
You'll have free time in Saint-Mère-Église, Saint-Marie-du-Mont and Arromanches, at Pegasus Bridge, and more. You will also enjoy several brief walks out on the battlefields, retracing the steps of the allied armies while quietly taking in the surrounding landscape.
Your Home away from Home ...
The Juno Beach Centre is the welcoming place for Canadians in Normandy. You will enjoy a feature tour inside the museum, along with a guided tour of the German bunkers buried below the sand dunes out front.
Over several days, you will see all the sections of Juno Beach in detail, along with various points of interest inland retelling the subsequent Battle of Normandy.
You will be part of a typically all-Canadian group, mostly couples, from all the across the country.
Join us for an unforgettable, life-changing journey, and follow in the footsteps of the Canadian liberators.
Tuesday May 28
For many of our Canadian travelers it is departure day, for the overnight transatlantic flight. Some travelers may choose to leave for Europe sooner to extend the start of the trip - let us know if we can quote you on pre-tour accommodations.
Guests who have other travels already in progress, or guests from other points of origin including the United Kingdom, the United States and elsewhere, will meet the start of the tour on Day 1 in London.
Day 1 - London
Wednesday May 29
In the mid-afternoon all clients can check into the group hotel. In the meantime, luggage is stored in the hotel baggage lock-up. Today you are free to explore London, an amazing city of history and monuments waiting to be discovered including the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, the Imperial War Museum, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Platform 9-3/4 at Kings Cross Station ... and so much more!
In the evening we gather in the heart of London for our Welcome Dinner, to share a glass of wine and set the stage for our special journey. Overnight London - Hilton London Bankside. [D]
Day 2 - The Build-Up to D-Day
Thursday May 30
We make an early departure, to begin exploring the story of D-Day. We'll pause in Southwick, to see where the leadership were making their plans for the landings.
After lunch, we visit The D-Day Story, located on Southsea Common right on the coast. This museum expertly tells the story of the D-Day build-up, and features a very rare LCT landing craft. From here it is a short stroll along the promenade to the beautiful Portsmouth Naval Memorial, which commemorates nearly 25,000 sailors of the two great wars who were lost at sea. Overnight Portsmouth - Marriott Hotel. [B,L]
Day 4 - Utah Beach
Saturday June 1
This morning we set out to visit the first landing beach - the western-most zone code named Utah on the eastern shore of the Cotentin Peninsula. Utah is a wide, flat expanse and offers great views from the dunes, whereupon numerous monuments have been placed to mark the American landings.
A short drive in from the coast takes us to Saint-Mère-Église, central to the region where the United States 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions parachuted into France to secure the western flank of the allied landings. You'll enjoy some free time here, to take in the sights and sounds of the anniversary year.
We visit a few additional points of interest inland connected to 'Easy Company' of the 101st, and take some further free time in the town of Saint-Marie-du-Mont. Overnight Caen - Novotel Côte de Nacre. [B,L]
Day 5 - Omaha Beach
Sunday June 2
Next up is the other American landing sector, code named Omaha Beach. The D-Day assault on this beach was, according to the veterans themselves, aptly depicted by the opening twenty minutes of the Steven Spielberg film Saving Private Ryan. The Americans suffered heavy losses here, due in part to the difficult terrain which favoured the defenders. We'll take a walk along the bluffs high above the beach, and also walk at the water's edge, to see both perspectives. We will also take some time for reflection at the Colleville-sur-Mer American War Cemetery which serenely overlooks the Normandy shore below.
We then move further west to Pointe-du-Hoc where the United States Army Rangers famously scaled 100' cliffs to secure the position. We close out the day with a short drive inland to La Cambe German Cemetery and an opportunity to respectfully consider the losses of the opposing army. More than 21,000 German soldiers lie here, some having not even reached their eighteenth birthday. Overnight Caen - Novotel Côte de Nacre. [B,L]
Day 6 - Gold Beach
Monday June 3
Day Six takes us to points of interest within the British landing zone of Gold Beach. This area was selected as one of two sites to construct the man-made Mulberry Harbour where ships could off-load the massive supplies needed for the invasion force. The view from the cliffs above reveals remnants of the harbour just off-shore. We then walk down into Arromanches, a lovely coastal tourist village, for some free time to wander.
We also make a visit to Longues-sur-Mer, a German coastal artillery position of four large naval guns which posed a serious threat to Allied ships off-shore and the landing beaches themselves. Our final stop in the afternoon is the British Normandy Memorial, newly dedicated in June 2021. Overnight Caen - Novotel Côte de Nacre. [B,L]
Day 7 - Sword Beach
Tuesday June 4
Our Tuesday brings us to the eastern most area of the D-Day landings, and Sword Beach. We get another expansive view of a landing zone at the water's edge, with a monument dedicated to the British forces who came ashore here.
The next stop is Pegasus Bridge near Caen, where you will learn the story of the pre-dawn paratrooper landings by the British 6th Airborne and the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion who secured this eastern flank with incredible precision. You then have free time to make a must-visit to the first house liberated on D-Day, the Café Gondrée, a special place filled with history and charm, while taking in the sights and sounds.
Our afternoon includes a visit to Ranville Cemetery, where some of the very first casualties of D-Day are laid to rest. This includes the Rousseau brothers, Emile Corteil and his Para Dog, and Wing Commander Lloyd Chadburn. Overnight Caen - Novotel Côte de Nacre. [B,L]
Day 8 - Juno Beach (Part 1)
Wednesday June 5
This is our first of two days along the 8 kilometers of shoreline that comprises Juno Beach. We begin by exploring Bernières-sur-Mer where we find 'Canada House,' easily the most iconic building of the entire Normandy coast. Just down the boardwalk stands one of many concrete defenses, barely unchanged since 1944.
After a short break, we take a battlefield walk along the shoreline to the eastern most point of the Juno sector and the village of Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer. Here we find yet another concrete defense, with the 50-mm German gun still sitting ominously in its place. Along the way we see more iconic beachfront structures.
The afternoon schedule is kept clear, to allow for attendance at an expected commemoration event hosted by Veterans Affairs Canada at Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery. Here are buried 2,044 Canadians who fell in the early hours of D-Day and the subsequent battles. Overnight Caen - Novotel Côte de Nacre. [B,L]
Day 10 - Juno Beach (Part 2)
Friday June 7
On this Friday morning we keep a clear schedule, to allow for attendance at an expected commemoration event hosted by Veterans Affairs Canada at Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery. It is the largest of the thirteen Canadian-designated war cemeteries.
In the afternoon we begin exploring areas inland from the Juno beachhead, following the path taken by the Canadians. We'll visit the monuments in the village square of Buron, then take a battlefield walk to the next village of Authie to see more tributes. We also make a stop at Carpiquet Airport to hear of the fierce battle for control of this strategic ground.
We close out the afternoon with an important Canadian pilgrimage to Abbey Ardenne, where a number of Canadians were illegally executed in the early days of June 1944. Overnight Caen - Novotel Côte de Nacre. [B,L]
Day 11 - Juno Beach (Part 3)
Saturday June 8
With the official commemorations concluded, and the crowds gradually dispersing, we double-back to the Juno Beach Centre for a high quality visit.
Our morning includes a tour inside the JBC, and a feature guided tour of the German command bunkers buried in the dunes out front. Once again, we'll take some time in reflection with a walk along the shoreline, to hear stories of heroism and bravery amidst the chaos of war.
We'll visit the spot where French General Charles de Gaulle set foot in his triumphant return onto French soil, marked by the Cross of Lorraine. And, we'll see more examples of the military hardware that helped the allies win the war. Overnight Lisieux - Mercure Hotel. [B,L]
Day 12 - The Battle of Normandy
Sunday June 9
For the final day on the battlefields we venture into the countryside south of Caen, where the Battle of Normandy played out in the weeks and months following D-Day.
We'll visit various historical points related to Verrières Ridge, including the monument at Point 67 which dominates the landscape. We stop in St-Lambert-sur-Dives where David Currie earned a Victoria Cross in the battle for the Falaise Gap.
Our visit also features another battlefield walk, this time through the village to a small bridge where the German Army attempted a desperate escape. Our day concludes with a stop at the German Tiger Tank in Vimoutiers.
In the evening we gather for our Farewell Dinner, to raise a glass to all who have served and to enjoy the company of new friends. Overnight Lisieux - Mercure Hotel. [B,L,D]
Day 13 - Paris
Monday June 10
It's a morning departure from Normandy and a little road trip to capital. We arrive mid-day, and the rest of the day is free for you to explore Paris at your leisure.
Sightseeing highlights could include The Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay, the Arc de Triomphe, Jardins de Luxembourg, Père Lachaise Cemetery, the Eiffel Tower, shopping along the Champs-Élysées, and so much more!
In the evening, when your bags are all packed, you're invited to the lounge to enjoy a final cocktail with your fellow travelers.
Overnight downtown Paris - hotel tba. [B]
Tuesday June 11
This morning is departure day for those Canadians returning home on the optional group flight - buffet or box breakfast is included, depending on departure time from the hotel. Some travelers may choose to remain in Europe longer to extend the end of the trip - let us know if we can quote you on post-tour accommodations.
Others guests will depart for home or continue their travels on other routes. [B]