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Solo travel to the EU

Old Jan 9th, 2014, 12:00 AM
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Solo travel to the EU

Senior traveling to England in Feb and/or March. I want to stay in a flat or B&B, seeking any places important to history of WW1 an WW2. I have been there 2 times before, seeing the big important places. Now I want to see what is important to me. I also love markets. Trips outside the city are possible. Any suggestions will be much appreciated.
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Old Jan 9th, 2014, 12:10 AM
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Just a quick note, the Imperial War Museum is closed until July while they do a huge installation on WWI. I am disappointed as I hoped to see it in April. www.iwm.org.uk for more info on their sites which are open, including the war rooms and Duxford near Cambridge

Will try to post more info later today.
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Old Jan 9th, 2014, 12:40 AM
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Bletchley Park
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Old Jan 9th, 2014, 12:41 AM
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When you say "England" do you mean just London? If you do leave the capital, then the IWM in Manchester is open and really good place to visit.

http://www.iwm.org.uk/visits/iwm-north

Manchester itself has much to see and do, both architecturally and historically and has a great choice of hotels, restaurants and shopping.
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Old Jan 9th, 2014, 02:42 AM
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I'm struggling to think of anywhere in Britain "important to history of WW1", almost as much as I'm struggling to think of anywhere in Britain that wasn't important to the history of WW2.

Virtually no WW1 event, of the sort that routinely gets a memorial built to it, took place in Britain. I'm aware of no monuments to where troops departed from (as there are to where Jewish children arrived escaping Nazis) - and I've never seen (though I've not looked hard) memorials to the Germans' bombing raids over Britain, which killed around 1,000 civilians between 1915 and 1919.

Otherwise, the key WW1-related sites have to be the war memorials: something practically unheard of before 1914, but which became absolutely ubiquitous (not just in every village centre and church, but somewhere in just about every large institution, from railway stations to schools to factories) by about 1930.

One reason for their ubiquity (apart from the enthusiasm of architect Edward Lutyens for designing them) is that British troops in those days were always buried close to the battle field, so there are virtually no WW1 military war graves in Britain. But the WW1 centenary industry is just getting under way, so there's no shortage of WW1-themed books in the shops (and on Amazon) for pre-research.

It's practically impossible, though, to walk round anywhere in Britain (obviously urban Britain in particular, but it's amazing how often this happens in the countryside once you start noticing) without seeing some WW2 relic. The tiny epilogue to the local WW1 memorial, showing how small the military death toll was by comparison - or the recent epi-epilogue in some institutions finally remembering those of their dead alumni who fought for the other side.

The gap, or architectural change in a row of houses (most houses in Britain still predate WW2) where the one bomb dropped. The Lutyens-designed war grave in a country churchyard, commemorating a returned RAF crew that had to crash-land. The industrial estate converted from a wartime airfield or a Displaced Persons refugee camp.

London, which has been repeatedly re-redeveloped since then, has less of all this than most other places, though the sheer range of London's war memorials (recalling almost every living thing, from Bomber Command, through Australians, to animals killed in war), especially between Green Park tube station, Hyde Park Corner and Marble Arch, is in itself extraordinary.

Churchill's war rooms are probably the most visited specific memorial in London, though there's quite a bit at the RAF museum in Hendon.

There are several wiki pages that try to group relevant physical sites, but they all offer just partial coverage. They include:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categor...United_Kingdom
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categor...United_Kingdom
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categor...g_World_War_II
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categor..._the_Luftwaffe
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categor...g_World_War_II
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categor...f_World_War_II

"Major" sites outside London include:
- Bletchley Park
- the whole of central Coventry
- the IWM aircraft museum at Duxford (nr Cambridge) and the nearby US military graveyard
- the Commonwealth war graves listed from http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery.aspx?cpage=1
- Liverpool's Western Approaches Museum (open only from March 1) http://www.liverpoolwarmuseum.co.uk/ the collection of war memorials around the city's Pier Head (probably the widest range of different kinds of memorial outside London) and the "daily life in WW2" bit of the nearby Museum of Liverpool (many of us argue that the Battle of the Atlantic, which all of this is about, was by far the most important battle of all for Britain's survival - and the one we came closest to losing)
- the D-Day museum, Portsmouth ( http://www.ddaymuseum.co.uk/ )
- the War Tunnels at Dover Castle (http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/d.../dover-castle/ )

But just walk almost anywhere and keep your eyes peeled.
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Old Jan 9th, 2014, 08:21 AM
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You are not traveling to the EU, you are traveling to the UK.
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Old Jan 9th, 2014, 08:49 AM
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You are not traveling to the EU, you are traveling to the UK.>

So the UK has dropped out of the EU?
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Old Jan 9th, 2014, 08:52 AM
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I liked Bletchley Park very much. If you're not familiar with it, you might want to read up on the WWII codebreakers.
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Old Jan 9th, 2014, 11:29 AM
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the Imperial War Museum sadly is closed until July 2014 - it used to have at least a re-creation of life in a Tube station during the war - with special effects - not sure if that has been around lately though.
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Old Jan 9th, 2014, 11:44 AM
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One place linked to both wars is the German War Cemetery in Cannock Chase.

wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannock_Chase_German_war_cemetery
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Old Jan 9th, 2014, 11:46 AM
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Of course you could consider a short trip to Belgium or Northern France too.
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Old Jan 9th, 2014, 11:53 AM
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Northern France too. Like to Dunkirk?
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Old Jan 9th, 2014, 12:19 PM
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The Dunkirk museum is most excellent. It's small but informative and they have a great display of relics.

I need to find me a a wrecked plane for my man cave.
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Old Jan 9th, 2014, 12:19 PM
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Some specific items relating to WW1 that are easy to find (apart from the Cenotaph):
- the bombing damage from 1917 on the base of Cleopatra's needle
- the monument to Edith Cavell besides St Martin in the Fields
- the monument to Captain Charles Fryatt in Liverpool St station
(and there are some relevant portraits in the National Portrait Gallery).

I could also point you to the rather poignant memorial to the 1917 bombing of a school in Poplar, but it's a bit out of the way and distinctive from so many others only in that it includes so many children.
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Old Jan 9th, 2014, 02:02 PM
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Have we mentioned the CENOTAPH on Whitehall, the large impressive monument to WWI? When I was in London last June, the memorial was under renovation, presumably for the centennial of the “Great War” 1914-1918 to commence this year.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cenotaph,_Whitehall

Several years ago I visited the Cathedrals at Coventry – very moving.

Another impressive WWII site is the American cemetery just outside Cambridge.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambrid...y_and_Memorial

Peg, as another solo traveler and history buff, I wish you a great trip. The only problem is - we can never do it all.
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Old Jan 9th, 2014, 02:28 PM
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I am thrilled to see another solo mature traveler with a 'theme'. a trip is an adventure not only a vacation.

1. I was just in London again in May and had a wonderful visit at the retirement home for military in Chelsea. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Hospital_Chelsea Unfortunately they had a special event there that day and I only spoke with one of the residents. I have been told the café is open to non residents and would be a good place to chat with apensioner ..there is a museum on site too.
2. I have two suggestions for accommodations but I do not know if they have any historic significance to the locations.
I did stay in a 100 yr old town house bnb you can contact Maggie at AtHomeinLondon.com.
or crosspollination.com ask steve.
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Old Jan 10th, 2014, 08:04 AM
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I am thrilled to receive so much information. It is wonderful that you all have the goodness to help me on this journey. I am printing out all the responses and will begin the process of putting together this adventure. I am dismayed at myself using EU not UK. I have been to Belgium and want to see Normandy Dunkirk and will go to Northern France to sites there. The War Museum closed is a real bummer but that the way it goes. I watched the PBS program about codebreakers from Bletchley Park and just finished reading "The Cartographer of No Man's Land: A Novel" by P.S.Duffy, a wonderful book about WW1 and a Canadian soldier's experience. I know the trip is awhile away but I am already excited. Many thanks, Peggy
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Old Jan 10th, 2014, 09:05 AM
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peggy,

They are "light" reading but you might like the Maisie Dobbs mystery series by Jacqueline Winspear, set during and after WWI.
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Old Jan 10th, 2014, 09:30 AM
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Leelaurino, agree –

“I am thrilled to see another solo mature traveler with a 'theme'. a trip is an adventure not only a vacation.”

I appreciate your suggestion about visiting the Royal Hospital for Chelsea Pensioners. I didn’t realize that there were so many points of interest on the site open to the public. I am currently reading a bio of Thomas Hardy which describes the writer’s visits to interview the Pensioners for material for his novels back in the 1870s.

So much history in London…
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Old Jan 10th, 2014, 05:41 PM
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If you are interested in WWI literature, I recommend Pat Barker's Regeneration series: Regeneration, The Eye in the Door, and The Ghost Road.
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