Touring the Battlefields - Introduction

Beaumont-Hamel park on the Somme This section of the site offers a brief history of battlefield tours and offers tips on the 'how and where' with regard to visiting the sites located on the Western Front.

It is written by James Power, managing director of the non-profit Somme Battlefield Tours Ltd based in the U.K.

Although the following pages discuss tours originating from Britain the principles nevertheless apply no matter where you embark upon your tour.

The sidebar to the right groups the topics available within this section.


Just about anyone who develops even the mildest interest in the Great War at some point feels drawn to visit the battlefields of the Western Front.  It is difficult to pinpoint why the Great War of 1914-1918 continues to cast such a long shadow over later generations.

Many who study the Great War somehow feel a strong sense of empathy towards those from all sides who suffered such terrible losses in this so-called 'war to end all wars'.

Maybe it was the very nature of the colossal losses so concentrated in such a narrow band of conflict we now call the 'Western Front' and the absence of any ideological hatred which became the hallmark of wars to come?  Maybe it was the cataclysmic reshaping of the Europe of yesteryear that is the often shaky footing of the Europe of today?

The more one tries to understand the suffering experienced by those who were consumed by this war, the more one feels drawn to visiting the battlefields of 1914-1918.  A mental imagery forms in the mind of the reader of the Great War of how these battlefields must have looked all those years ago - and how they may look today.

Next - The First Battlefield Tours

Russia mobilised 12 million men during the war; France 8.4 million; Britain 8.9 million; Germany 11 million; Austria-Hungary 7.8 million; Italy 5.6 million; and the USA 4.3 million.

- Did you know?