The Battle of Britain was a military campaign of the Second World War, in which the Royal Air Force defended the United Kingdom against large-scale attacks by Nazi Germany's air force, the Luftwaffe. It has been described as the first major military campaign fought entirely by air forces. 2020 marks 80 years since the campaign took place and 75 years since the end of World War II. To mark these anniversaries, TML Travel Group will be offering interested groups a limited number of four-day Battle of Britain themed weekends throughout 2020 visiting sites and museums associated with the campaign.
FRIDAY – From your local departure point, we travel to Hughenden Manor in Buckinghamshire, which has a fascinating history as the former home of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, as well as a secret wartime past. The manor was taken over by the Air Ministry during the Second World War and between 1941 and 1946 more than 3,500 hand drawn target maps were produced here for RAF Bomber Command. About 100 people were based here and artists, designers, architects and cartoonists were recruited to produce the maps for Bomber Command HQ based at Naphill near High Wycombe.
Hughenden offers a vivid insight into the charismatic personality and colourful private life of the most unlikely Victorian Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, who lived here from 1848 to 1881. You can browse among an extraordinary collection of personal memorabilia in rooms on the ground and first floor, and there's even a Victorian playroom for younger visitors. On the top floor is a special exhibition space with a timeline of Hughenden's history for you to explore.
A secret wartime past is revealed in the new Second World War rooms, with interactive exhibits and eye-witness accounts. Experience the immersive wartime displays in the ice house bunker and find out why Hughenden was high on Hitler's hit list. Hughenden was home to a secret map-making operation in the Second World War, so secret it only came to light 60 years later after a chance encounter one of the house volunteers had with a visitor. She overheard a man telling his grandson he’d been stationed here during the Second World War and this led to a decade-long unravelling of the story.
The formal garden has been recreated based on the original designs of Mary Anne Disraeli and there are woodland walks surrounding this country home throughout the rolling parkland.
Late afternoon, we arrive in Watford and the Hilton Watford, which will be your base for this very special Battle of Britain Weekend. Enjoy some time at leisure this afternoon before dinner in the hotel restaurant this evening. Meals - Dinner
SATURDAY - This morning following breakfast we head to RAF Bentley Priory, which is now a museum dedicated to the Battle of Britain and where Hugh Dowding masterminded the operation & see his office as it was complete with original furniture. It was also featured in the 1969 film 'Battle of Britain' featuring Sir Lawrence Olivier as Air Chief Marshall Hugh Dowding. RAF Bentley Priory played a pivotal role during the Battle of Britain as Headquarters Fighter Command.
The Museum explores the important Battle of Britain history of Bentley Priory through the stories of The One, The Few & The Many. Explore and experience Bentley Priory Museum’s important Battle of Britain history through an Award Winning audio visual film which highlights the incredible leadership of ‘The One’ ACM Dowding, engaging displays telling the courageous stories of the ‘The Few’, the aircrew, and a recreation of the Filter Room, which highlights the importance of ‘The Many’, the people working within the ‘Dowding System’ – the technologically innovative first large-scale centralised air defence command and control system.
During your visit, you’ll also learn about Bentley Priory’s wider history, from its origins as a priory, to being the home of the 1st Marquess of Abercorn and the Royal residence of Queen Adelaide.
As a spectacularly restored Grade II listed mansion house, Bentley Priory’s architecture is as inspiring as its history. Explore the role of renowned architect, Sir John Soane, on the development of Bentley Priory.
This afternoon, we head for the The Battle of Britain Bunker, Uxbridge to see were the battle was coordinated using the Dowding System. The bunker also featured in the 1969 film. The bunker housed RAF Fighter Command’s No.11 Group Operations Room throughout the Second World War, the room from which most of the RAF’s side of the Battle of Britain was co-ordinated. Key decisions that would decide the fate of the nation were taken in the bunker throughout 1940 and it was thanks to the tireless work of the plotters and controllers that the RAF’s fighter pilots managed to keep the Luftwaffe at bay.
Late afternoon, we return to your hotel the Hilton Watford, where you can enjoy some leisure time ahead of dinner in the hotel restaurant this evening. Meals - Breakfast, Dinner
SUNDAY – This morning following breakfast, we embark on a full day excursion to Brooklands Museum near Weybridge. In the run up to World War One, future Word War Two military leaders Hugh Dowding, Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris, David Henderson & Hugh Trenchard all learned to fly at Brooklands. Brooklands was also a major centre of aircraft production during the first and second world war producing both the Hawker Hurricane and the Wellington Bomber amongst many others. The Hawker Hurricane played a major part in the Battle of Britain, more so than the Spitfire. Hawker produced the Hurricane at Brooklands until late 1942 – in total 3,012 Hurricanes were produced at Brooklands. Brooklands also sustained bombing during the Battle of Britain being only 150 miles from the nearest German airfields in Northern France. Further raids took place throughout September 1940 & the Spring 1941. See the museums very own Hawker Hurricane and Vickers Wellington Bomber on display in the new 'Brooklands Aircraft Factory & Flight Shed' exhibition halls, which opened in November 2017. In addition to being a major aircraft manufacturing site throughout the 20th century, Brooklands was also the birthplace of British Motorsport and the home of Concorde. Spend a day exploring this fascinating site.
Late afternoon we return to your hotel in time for dinner and your final night. Meals – Breakfast, Dinner
MONDAY – Today following breakfast, it is finally time to say goodbye to the Hilton Watford as we head for home, but not before we have made a visit to the RAF Museum at Hendon, which houses a world-class collection of over 100 aircraft, special exhibitions, films, interactives, engines, missiles and more. On arrival, enjoy an exclusive Battle of Britain behind the scenes aircraft tour. For a supplement, we can arrange a group lunch as part of your tour.
This afternoon we take the memories of this very special Battle of Britain Weekend tour home with us as we arrive back at your original departure point this evening. Meals - Breakfast
The 4* Hilton Watford in Hertfordshire is the ideal base from which to explore the surrounding area and many of the sites and locations associated with the Battle of Britain. The hotel offers spacious guest rooms and enjoy à la carte dining at the popular Jaime's Restaurant within the hotel. Unwind in the hotel’s own LivingWell Fitness Centre. Central London is only 20 minutes away by train from Watford.
LIFTS - YES
GUEST ROOMS - Each of the guest rooms offer modern comforts including - High-speed Wi-Fi - 24-hour Room Service - Ample desk space - Flat-screen TV, premium cable, and pay-per-view movies feature - Hairdryer - Iron/Ironing board - Tea/Coffee making facilities - Ensuite Bathroom - Direct Dial Telephone - Safe - Alarm Clock
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All tours are operated by TML Travel Group Limited and are subject to availability and terms & conditions of the TML Travel Group trading charter. All prices are per person based on sharing a twin/double bedded room and are valid for new bookings only. Single occupancy supplement and Insurance not included. New coaches may not be available on all tours. Offers maybe withdrawn at any time. Every attempt is made to keep the information guides up-to-date, however tours maybe subject to change and you will be notified. if this is the case. WE REQUIRE A MINIMUM OF 35 PAYING PASSENGERS IN ORDER TO OPERATE THIS TOUR.