The D-Day landings began the liberation of German-occupied northwestern Europe from Nazi control, and laid the foundations of the Allied victory on the Western Front.
The British and Canadian forces landed at Gold, Juno and Sword beaches and we see all three of these as well as Pegasus Bridge and where the first wave of the attack took place after landing in gliders.
We visit the beaches along Normandy’s coast where the American landings took place at Juno Beach, where we see the bunkers and then onto Omaha Beach, known as Bloody Omaha. We visit the Normandy American Cemetery and we also go to St. Mère Eglise, where the ‘Band of Brothers’ fought.
For the 75th anniversary year of the D-Day landings, we are running this special tour that combines riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles with learning about the D-Day landings and seeing the places this happened.
After invading Poland in 1939, the war in Europe escalated when Germany invaded large parts of Europe in 1940 including Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. By June, France has also been invaded and having to retreat from the invading Germany army, British and Allied troops evacuated northern France via Dunkirk in May and June 1940.
The USA joined the war with Germany in December 1941.
War continued across much of Europe, North Africa and in the Far East during 1941 and 1942.
In 1943 and 1944, the Allies began to take control back from Germany and Italy in Europe and from the Japanese in the Far East.
On 6 June 1944 (D-Day), the Western Allies invaded northern France in a series of landings from Britain. The landings were on five beaches, the code names of which are well-known: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.
These landings were successful, and led to the defeat of the German Army units in France. Paris was liberated on 25th August of 1944 and the Western Allies continued to push back German forces in western Europe during the latter part of the year and into the next. In May of 1945 Adolf Hitler committed suicide in Berlin and Germany surrendered on 7 May.
The D-Day landings were therefore the start of the offensive to take back occupied Europe from Germany and so D-Day was one of the critical parts of the war. This D-Day tour therefore looks at and celebrates what happened during those landings.
Day One (Thursday)
We will be catching a ferry from Portsmouth to Cherbourg sailing at 9am. On board the ferry, there will be an introduction to the D-Day landings and how it impacted WWII. We disembark the ferry at around 1pm and ride along the coast of Normandy to get an overview of the D-Day landings area. We arrive at our 2-star hotel in Caen at about 5pm. We stay at the same hotel for all 3 nights.
Day Two (Friday)
On day 2 we concentrate on the British and Canadian beach landings.
We will visit Pegasus Bridge, the scene of the first actions of D-Day, where Airborne British troops stormed the position from gliders. We will see where those gliders landed and we will visit the Memorial Pegasus Museum where the original bridge is located.
We see the Airborne graves in Rainville, followed by the main the British landing beaches, starting at Sword Beach, then Juno Beach and finally Gold Beach.
We will also visit a number of centres, museums and memorials along with seeing the defences at Asnelles and the Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches, much of which is still visible out to sea.
Day Three (Saturday)
On day 3 we concentrate on the American landings at Utah and Omaha beaches.
The film Saving Private Ryan told the story of ‘Bloody Omaha’ and what happened to the Americans who attacked the western Normandy beaches. We visit where there happened and where the terrible American sacrifice took place. We will visit the Normandy American Cemetery and the memorial to the 29th Division.
We also visit the Overlord Museum-Omaha Beach.
We also look at the story of the ‘Band of Brothers’ who were the men of Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, who landed behind enemy lines.
At Utah Beach examine the successful landings and visit the Utah Beach Museum.
Day Four (Sunday)
Day 4 is spent riding the local area, seeking out great roads to ride, before returning to Cherbourg to catch the 5pm ferry, which arrives back in Portsmouth at 7pm.
- Crossing the English Channel by ferry
- Two star accommodation
- Breakfast every day
- 1 evening meal
- Experienced tour guide to lead the tour and to explain the story of the D-Day landings
- A back marker / sweep
- Tour1 T-Shirt
- Comprehensive tour itinerary
- Booklet about the landings
- GPS routes for your sat nav
- Tips for riding in Europe guide
What’s not included….
- Accomodation before the tour starts, or after it ends
- Petrol (gas) you use
- Motorway and other road tolls
- All other meals and drinks
- Motorcycle rental, should you need it (we can help arrange this)
Our group sizes normally range from 10 to 14 motorcycles.
Each day, we normally start riding at 9am sharp. We try to avoid motorways wherever possible and only use these when there is no real alternative. We take mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks and of course find somewhere for lunch. Our plan is to normally arrive at the hotel by around 6pm.
We ride at a pace to suit all of the riders. We stick to all speed limits in towns, but in rural areas we ride at, let’s call them ‘more appropriate’ speeds. We generally ride in staggered convoy on straighter roads.
As we have pre-booked hotels and a schedule to stick to, we ride in all weathers. During any exceptionally inclement weather, we will pull over for short periods. We could experience a range of different types of weather, so bring waterproofs, just in case.
Each of our rides has a difficulty rating and this tour is rated as ‘easy’. That means this tour can be ridden by any rider, but we expect that you have been riding large motorcycles for at least a year and that you have some experience of, and are comfortable with, riding in groups of at least eight motorcycles before. While it will be better if you have ridden in mainland Europe before, this is not essential. While there is not much motorway riding on the tour, as a guide, you will be expected to be able to ride at 70mph on motorways. We do not ride fast on this tour. There will be plenty of stops, and some days will be shorter, but the longest days will include around 8 hours of riding, with plenty of breaks.