D-Day +68; WWII Tour of Museums & Sites in England, France

Lyon Air Museum is sponsoring a “Tour of a Lifetime” experience that will appeal to everyone interested in World War II history. In the Spring of 2012 we will travel to England and France on a journey of discovery and remembrance. In twelve unforgettable days we will visit historic sites in both countries that played a key role in winning the war in Europe. We will visit the fabulous American Air Museum at Duxford, England (the creation of which was due in large part to Major General William Lyon’s efforts), in the heart of southeastern England, where the sounds of thousands of heavy bombers reverberated time and time again as “The Greatest Generation in Aviation” flew relentless and costly missions aimed at destroying Germany’s ability to wage war. On the 68th anniversary of D-Day we will visit the very room where “Ike” Eisenhower and his staff completed the planning for the liberation of western Europe, then begin a two-day tour of the places in Normandy where it happened! We will see the now-tranquil sands of Omaha Beach, which were once stained with American blood. We will gaze in wonder at the bomb craters and the sheer cliffs at Pointe du Hoc, which American Rangers climbed to neutralize big guns that could have wreaked havoc on the landing ships. We will visit the museum at Utah Beach and walk the streets of St. Mère Église, where American paratroops landed in the midst of devastating enemy fire. On a much lighter note, we will enjoy the sights and sounds of two of the world’s greatest cities: regal London and glorious Paris, “The City of Light.”

Elegant hotels, excellent meals, dedicated and knowledgeable tour guides, and a well-paced schedule make this tour a perfect way for the first-time visitor to experience these historic places, while the experienced traveler will appreciate the opportunity to re-visit familiar sites in an unhurried manner.

A star attraction at the American Air Museum at Duxford is their B-17G, "Mary Alice.'

A star attraction at the American Air Museum at Duxford is their B-17G, “Mary Alice.’

The Lyon Air Museum Tour Itinerary

Thursday, May 31

The tour group assembles at Los Angeles International Airport, where we board a non-stop, overnight British Airways flight to London’s Heathrow Airport.

Friday, June 1

We arrive at Heathrow, clear Customs & Immigration, are met by the Tour Leader and transported by private coach to the Radisson Portman, a modern, high-rise, four-star hotel overlooking Portman Square.

The balance of the morning and afternoon is free for rest and settling in.

This evening, a gala “Welcome to London” cocktail reception and three-course dinner in a private room of the hotel set the stage for the exciting events to follow.

The Portman Hotel is ideally situated in the heart of London’s fashionable Mayfair district, overlooking verdant Portman Square, a quiet oasis in the bustling city.

The Portman Hotel is ideally situated in the heart of London’s fashionable Mayfair district, overlooking verdant Portman Square, a quiet oasis in the bustling city.

The Portman Hotel is ideally situated in the heart of London’s fashionable Mayfair district, overlooking verdant Portman Square, a quiet oasis in the bustling city.

Saturday, June 2

Start the day with a bountiful breakfast buffet in the hotel. Then we’re off to experience London!

We’ll see Buckingham Palace, The Mall and Admiralty Arch, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. Then St. Paul’s Cathedral, which miraculously survived the Nazi bombs that leveled the areas around it. Next, the infamously historic Tower of London, where a “Beefeater” will give us a tour featuring a look at the Crown Jewels.

Returning to our private bus we’ll ride across Tower Bridge to the Anchor at Bankside, an ancient pub overlooking the river, from which Samuel Pepys watched the Great Fire of London. We’ll enjoy a hearty “pub lunch,” then travel back to Whitehall for a guided tour of the Cabinet War Rooms, the authentically preserved underground headquarters of the British High Command that served as the nerve center of Britain’s war planning effort during World War II.

The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben

The Tower of London

The Tower of London

The Anchor Pub

The Anchor Pub

The Map Room in the Cabinet War Rooms

The Map Room in the Cabinet War Rooms

Dinner this evening is at your leisure, on our “À la Carte” dining program. You will be given a voucher good for up to a specified amount, to cover the cost of a proper meal. If you wish to dine in the hotel, simply turn the voucher in with the bill, paying any additional charges by cash or credit card. The hotel will then bill the Lyon Master Account for vouchers redeemed, at the amount spent, up to the value of the voucher. If you choose to dine elsewhere, do not present the voucher to the restaurant. Pay the entire bill by cash or credit card and return the voucher to the Tour Leader with a receipt for the restaurant charge. You will then be reimbursed for the actual amount of the bill, or the amount of the voucher, whichever is lower. This reimbursement will be either in the form of cash in the local currency, handed to you on the spot, or a check in the equivalent U.S. dollars, sent to you after you return home.

Sunday, June 3

You have three choices today:

1. Spend the day on your own in London, doing independent sightseeing, shopping at the fabulous department stores, perhaps taking a ride on the “London Eye,” a giant Ferris wheel with enclosed cabins that offer spectacular aerial views of the vast city.

Bath’s Magnificent Royal Crescent

Bath’s Magnificent Royal Crescent

Immaculate Focke-Wulf FW-190 at the RAF Museum

Immaculate Focke-Wulf FW-190 at the RAF Museum

2. Escorted by the Assistant Tour Leader, travel by fast InterCity train to the beautiful and historic city of Bath, famous for its ancient Roman baths. You will be given a walking tour of Bath by a professional guide, with lunch included.

3. Travel with the Tour Leader to the RAF Museum in North London. Situated on the site of the London Aerodrome, the museum houses over 100 aircraft from around the world, including some very early examples, plus military planes through to the latest modern-day jets. We will travel to this fabulous museum in a private coach.

On our way back to central London we’ll visit and tour HMS Belfast, a preserved, World War II vintage Royal Navy cruiser, permanently anchored in the Thames.

We’ll return to our hotel for a bit of a rest before going “out on the town” for the evening. Instead of staying together as one group we will divide into two parties, each of which will attend one of two “live” theater productions, followed by a late supper at one of London’s fine restaurants.

HMS Belfast framed by Tower Bridge.

HMS Belfast framed by Tower Bridge.

Monday, June 4

Today’s itinerary features a tour by motor coach to Duxford, where we’ll tour the American Air Museum that was created due in large part to the efforts of Major General William Lyon. It is one of the many important exhibits at this vast installation. Duxford, still an active airfield, is (OMIT: now) a branch of the multi-site Imperial War Museum. It was an RAF base in WW I and WW II through to the late 1960s.

Before returning to London we’ll pay our respects to the thousands of young men who died during the bombing campaign against Nazi Germany, by visiting the nearby Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, where many of them ended their tour of duty by making the supreme sacrifice.

The American Air Museum at Duxford displays an incredible collection of preserved warbirds, including a P-47, B-17, B-24, B-29 and B-52, plus over a dozen other historic aircraft, all under one very large roof!

: The RAF Imperial War Museum at Duxford also presents a wide range of important planes.

The “AirSpace” Hangar at IWM Duxford also presents a wide range of important planes, including a Concorde.

Lunch will be provided en route; dinner tonight will again be on our À la Carte plan.

Tuesday, June 5

We depart London today by private coach and head south to Portsmouth, the most important of the several embarkation points for the D-Day invasion. En route, a special treat!

Did you ever wonder what it was like for the American Airmen stationed in England during the war, when they traveled by steam-powered train to London on a weekend pass? Well, you’ll get a taste of it today, without the jostling crowds and without the threat of a German bomb dropping on you!

After departing London on our private touring coach we’ll stop at Alton, the northernmost terminus of the Mid-Hants Railway, a private, historic line staffed by railway enthusiast volunteers. We’ll take a delightful ride behind a magnificently restored British steam locomotive, traveling in immaculately preserved vintage “carriages,” just like the ones the GIs rode. Upon arrival at the end of the line at New Alresford we’ll rejoin our coach and continue on to “New Place,” a unique, sophisicated country hotel complex near Portsmouth.

After checking in we’ll enjoy a three-course group dinner in the hotel’s elegant dining room.

Dramatic vintage steam action on the Mid-Hants Railway!

Dramatic vintage steam action on the Mid-Hants Railway!

A bedroom at the casually elegant “New Place” hotel, and its dining room

A bedroom at the casually elegant “New Place” hotel, and its dining room

Wednesday, June 6

 

After a bountiful breakfast in the hotel we travel to the nearby village of Southwick, where we will tour Southwick House, a stately manor home that was taken over by the Royal Navy during World War II. In 1944, in the months leading up to D-Day, Southwick House was the headquarters of the Allied commanders, including Naval Commander-in-Chief Admiral Ramsay, Allied Supreme Commander General Eisenhower and Army Commander-in-Chief General Montgomery. The large wall map used in planning D-Day is still in place, showing the positions of the involved forces at the moment the first landings commenced. We’ll stand in the very room where Eisenhower and his staff planned the invasion, then waited for the first reports from the beachheads, exactly 68 years earlier. This memorable event will be followed by a visit to the Golden Lion, a nearby village pub that was frequented by “Ike” and “Monty.”

Next, we travel to by motor coach to the Tangmere Military Aircraft Museum, located on the site of RAF Tangmere, one of many bases where Spitfires and Hurricanes rose to intercept German bombers during the Battle of Britain. The museum has a wide range of aircraft and artifacts ranging from pre-World War II planes to modern jets. Lunch will be provided en route.

Above left: Southwick House. Above Right: Southwick House’s D-Day Map Room and the Golden Lion Pub. Left: The Tangmere museum is a Little-known gem!

Above left: Southwick House. Above Right: Southwick House’s D-Day Map Room and the Golden Lion Pub. Left: The Tangmere museum is a Little-known gem!

Thursday, June 7

This morning we’ll visit the Portsmouth Historic Waterfront, where three stellar attractions await: HMS Victory, Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar; HMS Warrior, a gigantic warship powered by both steam and sail (it was the “nuclear deterrent” of 1860!); and the Mary Rose, a warship of King Henry the 8th’s fleet that sank near Portsmouth in 1545. It was salvaged in 1982 in what was at the time the most complex and expensive marine archeological project ever attempted.

After lunch we’ll travel across the English Channel to Normandy as the troops did in June 1944: By sea! But in much greater comfort! The Mount St Michel, flagship of the Brittany Ferries Line, is as luxurious as a cruise ship, with elegant restaurants and shops. We’ll enjoy a gourmet dinner aboard the big ship as we proceed to Caen, France, where we’ll transfer by coach to the Holiday Inn Caen.

Above left: HMS Victory. Above right: HMS Warrior. Above: Crossing the Channel in Style, on the Mont St. Michel.

Above left: HMS Victory. Above right: HMS Warrior. Above: Crossing the Channel in Style, on the Mont St. Michel.

Above left: Duty-free shopping on the ferry is tempting! Above right: The centrally located Holiday Inn Caen.

Above left: Duty-free shopping on the ferry is tempting! Above right: The centrally located Holiday Inn Caen.

Friday, June 8

Today we continue to observe the 68th anniversary of D-Day by visiting the Caen Memorial Museum, then Bayeux, the first town in Normandy liberated by the Allies. We view the “Bayeux Tapestry,” a 224-foot-long, hand-embroidered cloth which depicts another cross-channel event: the invasion of England by the Normans, in 1066. We then travel to Arromanches-les-Bains, where the Allies established an ingenious, floating artificial harbor, code named Mulberry, without which the invasion might have failed. Then we visit the site of “Pegasus Bridge,” captured by British forces early on D-Day.

Lunch will be provided en route; dinner this evening will again be on the À la Carte plan.

Top left: The Caen Memorial is regarded as the best WWII museum in France. Top right: Festive Bayeux.

Left: The Caen Memorial is regarded as the best WWII museum in France. Right: Festive Bayeux.

The astonishing Bayeux Tapestry is a “must see,” with vibrant colors and exquisite detail, as the segment to the right attests.

The astonishing Bayeux Tapestry is a “must see,” with vibrant colors and exquisite detail, as the segment to the right attests.

Above left: The floating “Mulberry” harbor was an engineering triumph. Above right: The original “Pegasus” bridge was replaced by a new bridge several years ago, but has been preserved as part of the Pegasus Bridge Museum.

Left: The floating “Mulberry” harbor was an engineering triumph. Right: The original “Pegasus” bridge was replaced by a new bridge several years ago, but has been preserved as part of the Pegasus Bridge Museum.

Saturday, June 9

We continue to observe the 68th anniversary of D-Day with a visit to the American Sector, including Omaha Beach, Pointe du Hoc, Utah Beach and its museum, and St. Mère Église, where elements of the 82nd Airborne Division landed in the early hours of June 6, 1944. A visit to the Airborne Museum in the heart of town concludes our tour of the American sites, except for the most important one. En route back to Caen we visit the American Cemetery and Memorial overlooking Omaha Beach at Colleville-sur-Mer, where over  9,000 Americans who gave their lives for freedom on D-Day and in the subsequent campaign to liberate western Europe are buried and honored.

Omaha Beach as the Germans saw it.

Omaha Beach as the Germans saw it.

Above left: Pointe du Hoc, with bomb craters still visible. Above right: The museum at Utah Beach.

Left: Pointe du Hoc, with bomb craters still visible. Above right: The museum at Utah Beach.

Below left: The Airborne museum at St. Mère Église. Below right: The American Cemetery and Memorial.

Left: The Airborne museum at St. Mère Église. Right: The American Cemetery and Memorial.

Lunch will be provided in St. Mère Église; dinner tonight will again be on the À la Carte plan.

Sunday, June 10

Today we travel by private coach from Caen to glorious Paris, a pleasant journey through gorgeous Norman countryside. En route, we stop for a look at historic Rouen, where we’ll have lunch, and nearby Honfleur. In Paris we check into the elegant Westin Paris Hotel for a two-night stay.

Above left: Rouen’s cathedral was a favorite subject of the Impressionists; Monet painted it over 30 times! Above right: Picturesque Honfleur.

Left: Rouen’s cathedral was a favorite subject of the Impressionists; Monet painted it over 30 times!         Right: Picturesque Honfleur.

The ideally situated Westin Paris Hotel.

The ideally situated Westin Paris Hotel.

There is no city on earth where we would take you to a train station for dinner ─ except Paris! Since the early 1900’s the restaurant Le Train Bleu in the vast Gare du Nord has been welcoming travelers and locals 	alike, presenting exquisite food in an unforgettably opulent setting. So that’s where we’ll dine tonight!

There is no city on earth where we would take you to a train station for dinner ─ except Paris! Since the early 1900’s the restaurant Le Train Bleu in the vast Gare du Nord has been welcoming travelers and locals alike, presenting exquisite food in an unforgettably opulent setting. So that’s where we’ll dine tonight!

Monday, June 11

A full day in Paris at your leisure, with an optional sightseeing tour available for first-time visitors; otherwise, enjoy the sights of this glorious city on your own, visit the Louvre, or shop at the fabulous department stores, Galleries Lafayette and Printemps.

As a Grand Finale to your tour, tonight’s dinner will be aboard a Bateau Mouche, a luxurious cruise ship that glides through the “City of Light” on the River Seine.

Paris Icons: The Arc d’ Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower.

Paris Icons: The Arc d’ Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower.

A Bateau Mouche cruises past Notre Dame.

A Bateau Mouche cruises past Notre Dame.

Tuesday, June 12

And so we come to the end of our great travel adventure . . . with memories that will last a lifetime!

After a final bountiful breakfast in the hotel we’ll transfer by private coach to Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport, where we’ll board a British Airways flight to London Heathrow. There we will connect to our non-stop flight to Los Angeles.

Program Specifications, Terms and Pricing

This custom-designed travel program is presented by Lyon Air Museum in partnership with Casterbridge Tours, a UK-based professional tour company with a long history of high-quality service. The tour has been created to complement the style and intellectual content of Lyon Air Museum’s programs of education and its celebration of “The Greatest Generation in Aviation.”

This tour is limited to a maximum of 38 participants plus two Tour Leaders. It has been designed to accommodate adults only. Persons with physical disabilities are welcome, but we cannot guarantee access to all European program venues for those who are unable to walk or climb stairs unassisted. If you have any disabilities or mobility issues, contact Lyon Air Museum before signing up for the tour.

Unlike “bargain” tours in which only a few meals and events are included, this is a complete, deluxe travel experience with no hidden fees or “extras.” All air, land and sea transportation, as specified in the itinerary, is included. Admission to all of the listed tour venues is included. All taxes, fees and gratuities are included. Our meal program includes a full breakfast (either buffet or à la carte) in the hotel every day except arrival day, several lunches, and dinner every day except departure day. All group dinners are three courses with a choice of two entrees. Quality French wines are included with all group dinners.

The tour price is $6,995 per person, based on double occupancy (two persons to a room) in either twin- or double-bedded rooms in quality hotels with private bath. Queen-size beds may be available on request.

For participants who are traveling alone we will, at your request, attempt to pair you up with another single traveler. If you occupy hotel rooms alone a single supplement of $1,795 will apply.

Program price includes a fully paid Comprehensive Travel Insurance Policy with health, cancellation and property coverage. (Details provided on request.)

A deposit of $1,000 per person is required to secure a reservation on this tour.

IMPORTANT! The program price is subject to change, due to fluctuations in international currency exchange rates. However, after you have paid the published tour price in full, your participation is guaranteed at that price.

Payment in full is required no less than 90 days before departure. Deposits and final payments can be made by cash or check. Checks are to be made payable to Lyon Air Museum.

In the unlikely event that we are obliged to cancel this tour, all deposits and payments will be refunded in full. If a group member withdraws from the tour in the period from the date of booking until 90 days prior to departure, the cancellation fee is equal to the deposit paid and any insurance premium paid at the time of booking. For cancellations between 89 and 76 days before departure, a refund of 50% of the full tour cost, less any insurance premiums, will be made. For cancellations between 75 and 61 days before departure, a refund of 40% of the tour cost, less any insurance premiums, will be made. For cancellations between 60 and 15 days before departure, a refund of 25% of the tour cost, less any insurance premiums, will be made. For cancellations from 14 days before departure, no refund will be made.

To reserve space on this spectacular tour, complete the enclosed registration form and forward it with your $1,000 per-person deposit to Lyon Air Museum, 19300 Ike Jones Road, Santa Ana, CA 92707; Phone: 714-210-4585 Fax: 714-210-4588; E-mail: info@lyonairmuseum.org