2023 The Flying Legends
the planes & airFIELDS of wartime britain
2023 The Flying Legends Battlefield Tour
The Planes & Airfields of Wartime Britain
At a glance
September 13-24, 2023 • 12 days
London • Cambridge • Lincoln • Cambridge
Imperial War Museum Duxford • Royal Air Force Museum Hendon • RCAF / RAF / USAAF Bases • Battle of Britain Bunker • Biggin Hill • Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome • Petwood Hotel (Dambusters) • International Bomber Command Centre • Hawkinge • Bletchley Park scroll down to see complete details
Tuesday September 12
For many of our Canadian travelers it is departure day, for the overnight transatlantic flight to England. 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.
Wednesday September 13
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 at the historic RAF Club for our Welcome Dinner, to share a glass of wine and set the stage for our special journey. Overnight London - Radisson Blu Edwardian Mercer Street. [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 - Radisson Blu Edwardian Mercer Street. [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 - Radisson Blu Edwardian Mercer Street. [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 Cambridge - Hilton City Centre. [B,L]
Sunday September 17
Today is a feature visit to the Imperial War Museum’s collection at RAF Duxford, housing 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.
Subject to suitable scheduling announcements from RAF Duxford in early 2023, this tour aims to incorporate the Battle Of Britain Airshow on this day. Overnight Cambridge - Hilton City Centre. [B,L]
Monday September 18
East Anglia calls us this morning, for an impressive 8th USAAF visit at the Parham Airfield Museum, home of 390th Bomb Group. The atmosphere of the original control tower is spellbinding. Parham 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 - Hilton City Centre. [B,L]
Tuesday September 19
The tour hits the road again, this time via East Anglia on the way to Lincolnshire. 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 Lincoln - Doubletree by Hilton. [B,L]
Wednesday September 20
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 - Doubletree by Hilton. [B,L]
Thursday September 21
Day Nine takes us to the International Bomber Command Centre for a tour. This world-class facility provides the most comprehensive record of Bomber Command in the world and serves 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 - Doubletree by Hilton. [B,L]
Friday September 22
It’s time to say goodbye to Lincolnshire and return to Cambridge. 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.
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 - Hilton City Centre.[B,L]
Saturday September 23
Our final day of the tour offers an 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.
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 - Hilton City Centre. [B,L,D]
Sunday September 24
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]