02 June 2020
Andante Travels has recently designed a new UK-based short break that focuses on the nerve centres of wartime Britain.
If you’ve given up on this year already, why not book yourself a trip for next summer? Join historian and expert Colonel Paul Beaver on a three-day tour of the nerve centres of the Battle of Britain, from underground bunkers to Bletchley Park and more. Highlights include insightful lectures from Paul, a full day exploring Bletchley Park, a visit to the Bentley Priory Museum and a tour of the Uxbridge Battle of Britain Bunker. Colonel Paul Beaver is an acknowledged expert on the Spitfire, the Battle of Britain, the Dambuster raid, Naval Aviation and Cold War operations, and he is also a Vice-President of the Spitfire Society.
The tour begins with a pre-dinner lecture hosted by Paul on double agents, and then guests will be free to enjoy an evening meal ahead of the next day’s visits. The second day will be spent exploring Bletchley Park, where the history and the ingenuity of the code-breakers who worked in this, the centre of the Government Code and Cypher School, will be discussed. It is estimated that the so-called Ultra Intelligence gathered in this Victorian country house, separated from the outside world, shortened the war by at least two years. With the development of Colossus, the first programmable electronic digital computer, the work carried out there also paved the way for the digital world that followed the war. Guests will visit the huts where the Enigma and Lorenz cypher machines were cracked, as well as the National Museum of Computing housed in Block H, the latest of the huts built at Bletchley that housed a number of Colossus computers developed by Tommy Flowers. Dinner will feature a special guest presenter.
The third and final day is dedicated to the fateful Battle of Britain, whose success helped to determine the outcome of the war. The day starts in Stanmore at the Bentley Priory Museum, once an Augustinian priory, subsequently an estate designed by Sir John Soane and the headquarters of the RAF Fighter Command during World War II. Here, guests will explore its role during those fateful summer and autumn months in 1940 during the Battle of Britain, when ‘the Few’, the fighter pilots under the command of ACM Sir Hugh Dowding, spearheaded the defence against the German attacks. After lunch, the group will travel to Uxbridge to visit the Uxbridge Battle of Britain Bunker, which housed the RAF Fighter Command’s No.11 Group Operations Room Bunker and was the nerve centre of the Battle of Britain. Guests can discover this remarkable piece of living history, as well as the Museum of the Battle attached to it.
The tour will run on 1 March and then again on 7 June 2021, and guests can secure their place with a deposit of just £99pp, which is currently available. The package last 3 days and costs £655pp including all meals, accommodation, services of the expert guide lecturer, all local travel and entry and trips to all sites mentioned in the itinerary. See Dogfights and Double Agents for more details.
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