For many years now the first Monday of May has been a bank holiday but this year, for the second time only, it has been moved to Friday 8th May. This will coincide with VE Day, marking the 75th anniversary of the end of the 2nd World War. It will for many be a chance for remembrance and coming together as a country to commemorate those who sacrificed their lives for us. It may be a chance for some to take a weekend break and visit some of the memorials that exist all around Europe.
If a visit to one of these iconic sites has a place in your heart, maybe this is the time to go. Visit famous battlefields, memorials and cemeteries, take in the last post at Menin Gate in Ypres, walk along the beaches of Normandy, where the D-Day landings took place. There will be many events around the country to celebrate this momentous day in history. We have put together some ideas, both at home and abroad.
VE Day Anniversary Celebrations in the UK
- A procession down the Mall
- Services around the country including one at Westminster Abbey
- Battle of Britain memorial flight over Buckingham Palace
- A display by the Red Arrows
- A special broadcast of the Winston Churchill victory speech at 3pm
- Street parties up and down the country
Second World War Sites to Visit in Europe
- Auschwitz, Poland
- The American Cemetery, Colleville-sur-Mer in France
- The Reichstag, Berlin
- Warsaw in Poland
- Omaha Beach in France
- The Oskar Schindler Factory, Poland
- Anne Frank House in Amsterdam
- Holocaust Memorial, Berlin
VE Day Celebrations on the Royal Scot
Board the Royal Scot, one of the world’s greatest steam engines, and take a nostalgic trip along the picturesque Nene Valley Railway. You will stay overnight in a 3- or 4-star hotel.
In the Footsteps – Battlefield Tours
Do you have a relative or ancestor who may have served in the war? Are you considering visiting the Second World War battlefields of Europe or Italy? These tours can be tailor-made to suit you whether you would like an individual tour, travel as a couple or in a group.
Visit Auschwitz, Poland
This concentration camp, which was a former army barracks, was one of 40 such camps operated by Nazi Germany in 1940, and over 2 million visitors trod its grounds in the first 10 years. You will determine how much time you wish to spend there, but at least 3 to 4 hours is recommended to capture the essence of the museum. You can travel to Krakow from London in May for as little as £40 return. Journey time: 2.5 hours. There is a direct train connecting Krakow to Oswiecim, 2km from Auschwitz, with a journey time of around 2 hours.
World War II Sites to Visit in Germany
Germany has preserved so much of the history from this terrible war from Adolf Hitler’s famous mountain hideaway, Eagle’s Nest, to the medieval city of Nuremberg and the many historical sites in Berlin. There are many options to choose from here and you can spend a few days or much longer in this fascinating country. Choose the sites that interest you and book your flights. Flights to Germany are readily available to many cities from around £30 return, with an average flight time of 1.5 hours.
Finally: We must never forget
“THEY SHALL GROW NOT OLD, AS WE THAT ARE LEFT GROW OLD:
AGE SHALL NOT WEARY THEM, NOR THE YEARS CONDEMN.
AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN AND IN THE MORNING,
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.”