2023 The Flyboys
Air War Tour
the planes & airstrips of wartime britain
2023 The Flyboys Air War Tour
The Planes & Airstrips of Wartime Britain
At a glance
September 12-24, 2023 • 13 days
London • Lincoln • Cambridge
Imperial War Museum Duxford • Royal Air Force Museum at Hendon • RCAF / RAF / USAAF Bases • Battle of Britain Bunker • Biggin Hill • Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome • Petwood Hotel (Dambusters) • International Bomber Command Centre • Hawkinge • scroll down to see complete details
Tuesday September 12
For many travelers, it's departure day from Canada for the overnight transatlantic flight to London! Some Canadians may choose to leave for Europe sooner to extend the start of the trip, while others will plan to meet up with the tour in London amidst travels already in progress.
Guests from the United Kingdom, the United States and elsewhere can meet the tour in London on Day 2.
Wednesday September 13
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 late afternoon we meet at the group hotel, ensure everyone is successfully checked in, then head out into the heart of London for our Welcome Dinner - to share a glass of wine and set the stage for our special journey. Overnight London - hotel tba. [D]
Thursday September 14
The tour takes flight, with a short drive south to visit historic Biggin Hill - featuring the Heritage Hanger and the Memorial Museum. Biggin Hill was one of the primary fighter bases from which the Spitfires and Hurricanes scrambled to defend London during the Battle of Britain, and several RCAF squadrons were based here. Biggin Hill is arguably the most famous of all the RAF Stations of WWII.
For lunch we visit a nearby historic restaurant, frequented by RCAF crew while stationed at Biggin Hill during the war.
We return to London, and enjoy the afternoon visiting local monuments in the city including the imposing Bomber Command Memorial, The Firefighters Memorial, and several more. Overnight London - hotel tba. [B,L]
Friday September 15
We rise early and escape the big city, heading southwest to Kent and the channel coast. We'll visit the Battle of Britain Memorial at Folkestone, the 'National Memorial to the Few' featuring the memorial, the wing and the wall. While here, you might wish to pop into the Cockpit Café, known as 'the café with the best view in Kent' - overlooking the channel coast toward France.
We'll take a tour of the Battle of Britain Museum at nearby Hawkinge, which boasts the largest BofB memorabilia collection. A short walk takes us to nearby Hawkinge CWGC Cemetery, which includes a small group of burials of pilots who died during the Battle of Britain.
During the day we'll pause for lunch atop the cliffs overlooking the English Channel, and in the afternoon we make our way home. Overnight London - hotel tba. [B,L]
Saturday September 16
This morning we take some time in reflection at the Runnymede Memorial, which commemorates over 20,000 air forces who died and have no known grave - including 3,000+ Canadians.
Our day continues at the fascinating Battle of Britain Bunker. Much of the BofB was coordinated from here and the preserved Operations Room, along with the new exhibit space, make for a fantastic tour. We conclude our time here with lunch at another historic site nearby.
In the afternoon we visit the Royal Air Force Museum at RAF Hendon, the official museum of the RAF, which in 2018 was greatly expanded and upgraded for the 100th Anniversary of the RAF. Here you can get up close with both vintage and modern aircraft. Overnight London - hotel tba. [B,L]
Sunday September 17
It’s time to say goodbye to London and make our journey north to Lincolnshire.
Along the way we make a stop at Bletchley Park, once the top secret centre for Allied code-breaking efforts which contributed substantially to the success of the Allied war effort. Overnight Lincoln - hotel tba. [B,L]
Monday September 18
Today's local excursion begins at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre, a must-see visit which features Avro Lancaster Bomber NX611 Just Jane. A great gift shop also awaits!
We will sit for lunch down the road in Woodhall Spa at the historic Petwood Hotel. The bar at Petwood was frequented by officers of the legendary 617 Dambusters Squadron and relics of their exploits adorn the walls - you can almost imagine them standing next to you, enjoying a pint.
Later we visit RAF Coningsby and the home of Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, featuring one of only two flying Lancaster bombers (the other is based in Ontario at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum). Their 2014 reunion in the skies over England made headlines on both sides of the Altantic. Overnight Lincoln. [B,L]
Tuesday September 19
Day Eight takes us to the International Bomber Command Centre for a tour. This is a world-class facility, providing the most comprehensive record of Bomber Command in the world and serving as a wonderful point for remembrance.
In the afternoon we visit RAF Scampton Heritage Centre, housed in an original WWII hanger. It was from here that The Dambusters took flight for their famous raid. Scampton is also home to the UK's famous flying team, the Red Arrows. Overnight Lincoln. [B,L]
Wednesday September 20
The tour hits the road again, this time via East Anglia on the way to Cambridgeshire.
We’ll pay an extended visit with our friends at Horham Airfield Museum and the Red Feather Club, home to the 95th Bomb Group of the 8th USAAF. Horham has been amazingly restored and preserved, and a visit here is literally a step back into history. Overnight Cambridge. [B,L]
Thursday September 21
East Anglia calls us back this morning, for another impressive 8th USAAF visit at the Parham Airfield Museum, home of 390th Bomb Group. The atmosphere of the original control tower is spellbinding. Parham, like Horham, has been preserved to such an extent that it leaves a lasting impression.
We return to Cambridge for free time in the afternoon to visit this historic county and university town. Overnight Cambridge. [B,L]
Friday September 22
Today is a opportunity to experience the broader history of military aviation. We take the coach into the quiet Essex countryside to tour the amazing Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome, a hidden gem which hearkens back to the earliest days of aviation. Perhaps you might want to join the Propeller Club, or stop in at the Mess Hall Café & Shop.
On our return in the afternoon we pay our respects at Cambridge American Cemetery at Madingley, the final resting place and commemorative site of nearly 9,000 U.S. service personnel who gave their lives in the skies over Nazi Europe. Overnight Cambridge. [B,L]
Saturday September 23
Our final day of the tour offers a feature visit to the Imperial War Museum’s collection at RAF Duxford. Duxford has an impressive array of both WWII and post-war era aircraft, and much more. It is an extensive site that offers a rich experience, and will be one of the highlights of the trip.
In the evening we gather for our Farewell Dinner, to raise a glass to all the Flyboys who took to the skies. Per Ardua Ad Astra.
Overnight Cambridge. [B,L,D]
Sunday September 24
Morning departure via Heathrow Airport for those returning home on the group flight, while others may extend their stay at their option or return home via other routes. Buffet or box breakfast depending on departure time from the hotel. [B]