Accompanied by a military historian, gain a deeper understanding of the monumental feat of Operation Overlord. In England, learn about the “behind the scenes” preparations for D-Day, then cross the channel to France and visit the beaches and villages of Normandy where brave soldiers changed the course of the war.

Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Remains of Mulberry Harbor at Arromanches  Sculpture of <i>Les Braves</i> at Omaha Beach  British cruiser HMS <i>Belfast</i> at London's Tower Bridge   Exhibit in London's Imperial War Museum. Credit: Mark Phillips/Alamy  Exhibit in the Churchill War Rooms in London. Credit: Alex Segre/Alamy  London's Tower Bridge  London's Trafalgar Square  Sainte Mère Église  German gun emplacements at Pointe du Hoc. Credit: Atout France/R-Cast  German gun emplacement on Omaha Beach  Sherman tank on Utah Beach  Beach at Arromanches  The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial overlooking Omaha Beach  Flowers at a grave site, American Cemetery, Omaha Beach.  Credit: David Maher  The Mémorial de Caen with its fascinating D-Day and Battle of Normandy exhibitions

D-Day: A Journey from England to France

8 days | Full tour details to be announced soon

Accompanied by a military historian, gain a deeper understanding of the monumental feat of Operation Overlord. In England, learn about the “behind the scenes” preparations for D-Day, then cross the channel to France and visit the beaches and villages of Normandy where brave soldiers changed the course of the war.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

brochure iconbrochure

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

This was our first organized tour, and what a way to start! The anniversary of D-Day in Normandy was a very moving experience: villages festooned with British, French, and American flags; the hundreds of World War II veterans--a generation that is passing away... revisiting the sites of their glory; the cemeteries honoring the dead.

- Joseph M.

This was a fantastic journey, excellent guides, well planned. As an extra bonus, we got meet WWII veterans on the boat from England to France and that was thrilling.

- Paul S.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

See All Journeys Dispatches ››

Accommodations

* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

The Chesterfield Mayfair

London, United Kingdom

Part of the esteemed Red Carnation Collection, the Chesterfield Mayfair is a multi-award-winning property ideally located in the heart of London. Charming and quintessentially British, it is situated just outside of Hyde Park and minutes away from Bond Street, Piccadilly, and the Royal Parks. Considered Room amenities include complimentary WiFi, hair dryers, air conditioning, electronic safes, and tea and coffee making facilities.

Number of nights: 2

Hôtel Riva Bella

Normandy, France

Overlooking the sea, Hotel Riva Bella is a sophisticated 4-star hotel that combines beachfront luxury and modern amenities. Centrally located near Caen and close to Ouistreham city center, the hotel features sweeping views of the ocean with free access to the full-service spa. The spa offers a thalassotherapy center, 2 saltwater swimming pools, fitness center, hot tub, sauna, and a hammam. Bedrooms are modern and spacious and include flat-screen TVs and complimentary Wi-Fi. Guests can dine in the dining room overlooking the beach and sea, or out on the terrace. 

Number of nights: 4

Activity Level

Level 2: Moderate 

Expectations:  Eight-day Special Interest tour featuring two regions and two hotel stays. Full-day excursions outside London and from the hotel located in Ouistreham. Some extensive walking tours of villages and cities, museums, and outdoor military sites; some extensive standing during outdoor tours and ceremonies.

Excursions can be over uneven terrain (e.g. groomed trails/hilly walkways, cobblestones, stairs without handrails, the absence of elevators); some longer walks to get to city centers where coaches are prohibited. Due to the nature of this tour, there is little free time except for the evenings. Travelers will cross the English Channel by an afternoon ferry ride from Portsmouth to Ouistreham.

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with long days of touring (both walking tours and coach time).

Testimonials

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

This was our first organized tour, and what a way to start! The anniversary of D-Day in Normandy was a very moving experience: villages festooned with British, French, and American flags; the hundreds of World War II veterans--a generation that is passing away... revisiting the sites of their glory; the cemeteries honoring the dead.

- Joseph M.

This was a fantastic journey, excellent guides, well planned. As an extra bonus, we got meet WWII veterans on the boat from England to France and that was thrilling.

- Paul S.
Reading List

Highly Recommended

D Day: June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II
By: Stephen E. Ambrose
Stephen E. Ambrose’s D-Day is the definitive history of World War II’s most pivotal battle, a day that changed the course of history.D-Day is the epic story of men at the most demanding moment of their lives, when the horrors, complexities, and triumphs of life are laid bare. Distinguished historian Stephen E. Ambrose portrays the faces of courage and heroism, fear and determination—what Eisenhower called “the fury of an aroused democracy”—that shaped the victory of the citizen soldiers whom Hitler had disparaged.Drawing on more than 1,400 interviews with American, British, Canadian, French, and German veterans, Ambrose reveals how the original plans for the invasion had to be abandoned, and how enlisted men and junior officers acted on their own initiative when they realized that nothing was as they were told it would be. The action begins at midnight, June 5/6, when the first British and American airborne troops jumped into France. It ends at midnight June 6/7. Focusing on those pivotal twenty-four hours, it moves from the level of Supreme Commander to that of a French child, from General Omar Bradley to an American paratrooper, from Field Marshal Montgomery to a German sergeant. Ambrose’s D-Day is the finest account of one of our history’s most important days.
The Longest Day: The Classic Epic of D-Day
By: Cornelius Ryan
The classic account of the Allied invasion of Normandy.The Longest Day is Cornelius Ryan's unsurpassed account of D-Day, a book that endures as a masterpiece of military history. In this compelling tale of courage and heroism, glory and tragedy, Ryan painstakingly recreates the fateful hours that preceded and followed the massive invasion of Normandy to retell the story of an epic battle that would turn the tide against world fascism and free Europe from the grip of Nazi Germany. This book, first published in 1959, is a must for anyone who loves history, as well as for anyone who wants to better understand how free nations prevailed at a time when darkness enshrouded the earth.
DK Eyewitness London: 2020 (Travel Guide)
By: DK Eyewitness
Michelin Green Guide Normandy: (Travel Guide)
By: Michelin
World War II: The Definitive Visual History
By: DK
World War II: The Definitive Visual History is a comprehensive, authoritative, yet accessible guide to the people, politics, events, and lasting effects of World War II. Perhaps the most complex, frightening, and destructive event in global history, the Second World War saw the heights of human courage and the depth of human degradation. World War II presents a complete overview of the war, including the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party, fascism, Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, and the D-Day landings. This book also looks at the enduring effects of World War II during succeeding decades. Expanded with an all-new guide to battlefield and memorial sites and repackaged to honor the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, World War II: The Definitive Visual History covers key military figures, pivotal battles, political profiles, and strategies, as well as features on everyday life on the Home Front as ordinary citizens did their best to aid the war effort. Gallery spreads feature collections of uniforms, weapons, and other equipment. Maps, timelines, and side panels offer an inviting variety of entry point to the huge wealth of information.

Also Recommended

D-Day Illustrated Edition: June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II
By: Stephen E. Ambrose
Now illustrated with an extraordinary collection of over 125 photos, Stephen E. Ambrose’s D-Day is the definitive history of World War II’s most pivotal battle, June 6, 1944, the day that changed the course of history.D-Day is the epic story of men at the most demanding moment of their lives, when the horrors, complexities, and triumphs of life are laid bare. Distinguished historian Stephen E. Ambrose portrays the faces of courage and heroism, fear and determination—what Eisenhower called “the fury of an aroused democracy”—that shaped the victory of the citizen soldiers whom Hitler had disparaged. Drawing on more than 1,400 interviews with American, British, Canadian, French, and German veterans, Ambrose reveals how the original plans for the invasion had to be abandoned, and how enlisted men and junior officers acted on their own initiative when they realized that nothing was as they were told it would be. The action begins at midnight, June 5/6, when the first British and American airborne troops jumped into France. It ends at midnight, June 6/7. Focusing on those pivotal twenty-four hours, the book moves from the level of Supreme Commander to that of a French child, from General Omar Bradley to an American paratrooper, from Field Marshal Montgomery to a German sergeant. Ambrose’s D-Day is the most honored account of one of our history’s most important days.
Memoirs of the Second World War
By: Winston S. Churchill
The quintessential account of the Second World War as seen by Winston Churchill, its greatest leader As Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1940 to 1945, Winston Churchill was not only the most powerful player in World War II but also the free world's most eloquent voice of defiance in the face of Nazi tyranny. Churchill's epic accounts of those times, remarkable for their grand sweep and incisive firsthand observations, are distilled here in a single essential volume. Memoirs of the Second World War is a vital and illuminating work that retains the drama, eyewitness details, and magisterial prose of his classic six-volume history and offers an invaluable view of pivotal events of the twentieth century.
Codebreakers: The Inside Story of Bletchley Park
By: Oxford University Press USA
Familiar to anyone versed in the history of World War II or interested in the study of modern intelligence work, Bletchley Park was arguably the most successful intelligence operation in world history, the top secret workplace of the remarkable people who cracked Germany's vaunted Enigma Code. Almost to the end of the war, the Germans had firm faith in the Enigma ciphering machine, but in fact the codebreakers were deciphering nearly 4,000 German transmissions daily by 1942, reaping a wealth of information on such important matters as the effort to resupply Rommel's army in North Africa and the effect of Allied attempts to mislead the Germans about the location of D-Day landings. Indeed, Winston Churchill hailed the work of Bletchley Park as the "secret weapon" that won the war. Only now, nearly half a century since the end of the Second World War, have any of the men and women in this group come forward to tell this remarkable story in their own words--a story that an oath of secrecy long prevented them from revealing. In Codebreakers, F.H. Hinsley and Alan Stripp have gathered together twenty-seven first-hand accounts of one of the most amazing feats in intelligence history. These engaging memoirs, each written by a different member of the codebreakers team, recount the long hours working in total secrecy and the feelings of camaraderie, tension, excitement, and frustration as these men and women, both British and American, did some of the most important work of the war. These talented people share not only their technical knowledge of cryptography and military logistics, but also poignant personal recollections as well. Walter Eytan, one of a handful of Jews at Betchley Park, recalls intercepting a message from a German vessel which reported that it carried Jews "en route for Piraeus zur Endlosung (for the final solution)." Eytan writes "I had never heard this expression before, but instinctively, I knew what it must mean, and I have never forgotten that moment." Vivienne Alford tells of her chilling memory of hearing that the atomic bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima, and the stillness that came over her and her co-workers in Naval Section VI. And William Millward confides that he is still haunted by the work he did in Hut 3 nearly fifty years ago. "I sometimes wonder, especially during the night, how many sailors I drowned." Few readers will finish this book without feeling that the codebreakers were essential to the outcome of the war--and thereby of major importance in helping to shape the world we live in today.
Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour
By: Lynne Olson
The acclaimed author of Troublesome Young Men reveals the behind-the-scenes story of how the United States forged its wartime alliance with Britain, told from the perspective of three key American players in London: Edward R. Murrow, the handsome, chain-smoking head of CBS News in Europe; Averell Harriman, the hard-driving millionaire who ran FDR’s Lend-Lease program in London; and John Gilbert Winant, the shy, idealistic U.S. ambassador to Britain. Each man formed close ties with Winston Churchill—so much so that all became romantically involved with members of the prime minister’s family. Drawing from a variety of primary sources, Lynne Olson skillfully depicts the dramatic personal journeys of these men who, determined to save Britain from Hitler, helped convince a cautious Franklin Roosevelt and reluctant American public to back the British at a critical time. Deeply human, brilliantly researched, and beautifully written, Citizens of London is a new triumph from an author swiftly becoming one of the finest in her field.
The Bayeux Tapestry: The Life Story of a Masterpiece
By: Carola Hicks
One of Europe’s greatest artistic treasures, the Bayeux Tapestry depicts the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. For all its fame, its origins and story are complex and somewhat cloudy. Though many assume it was commissioned by Bishop Odo—William’s ruthless half-brother—it may also have been financed by Harold’s dynamic sister Edith, who was juggling for a place in the new court. In this intriguing study, medieval art historian Carola Hicks investigates the miracle of the tapestry’s making—including the unique stitches, dyes, and strange details in the margins—as well as its complicated past. For centuries it lay ignored in Bayeux cathedral until its discovery in the 18th century. It quickly became a symbol of power: townsfolk saved it during the French Revolution, Napoleon displayed it to promote his own conquest, and the Nazis strove to make it their own. Packed with thrilling stories, this history shows how every great work of art has a life of its own.
D Day: A Captivating Guide to the Battle for Normandy
By: History, Captivating
The D-Day Companion: Leading Historians explore history’s greatest amphibious assault
By: 13 world-leading historians
''Soldiers, sailors and airmen of the allied expeditionary force: You are about to embark upon the great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hope and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere are with you ..." -General Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1944Published to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Normandy Landings, The D-Day Companion book brings together the perspectives and opinions of leading military historians from both sides of the Atlantic. Operation Overlord saw the Allied Generals Eisenhower and Montgomery pit their wits against Hitler in a bold bid to liberate continental Europe. Featuring a foreword by Major Richard Winters, real-life commander of Easy Company as featured in Stephen E Ambrose's Band of Brothers, this is a unique and incisive examination of the momentous events that surrounded June 6, 1944. Each chapter of this book focuses on a different aspect of the D-Day landings, from the build-up to the attack to the experiences of the troops on the ground.
The Normandy Battlefields: D-Day and the Bridgehead (WWII Historic Battlefields)
By: Leo Marriott, Simon Forty
With their 70th anniversary just around the corner, the D-Day landings have lost none of their impact. Even today the vestiges of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall speak of the huge undertaking necessary for the Allies to gain a foothold in Normandy. In this beautiful new full-color book, the reader goes “on-site” to the sacred battleground from its scarred medieval villages to the remains of modern means of destruction. The huge armada that attacked from Britain left behind many signs of their passage: from the huge caissons of the mulberry harbor around Arromanches, the gun emplacements at Longues and Merville, to the multitude of hardware used as memorials—tanks, artillery, pillboxes—and the many graves and cemeteries that honor those who died on both sides. It is in memory of the dead that much of what can be seen on the ground survives, but as the last few survivors reach their 90s, a new audience requires information about the events of the past that can only come from seeing the ground where the battle was fought. Today, the beaches are a fascinating mixture of the new and the old, including the new visitors’ center at Colleville and the renovation and expansion of the Utah Beach museum—even as further new memorials jostle with the older sites that have changed little in 70 years.The Normandy Battlefields details what can be seen on the ground today using a mixture of media to provide a complete overview of the campaign. Maps old and new highlight what has survived and what hasn’t; then-and-now photography allows fascinating comparisons with the images taken at the time—particularly the aerial views—and computer artwork provides graphic details of things that can’t be seen today.The book describes the area from Cherbourg to Le Havre by way of the key D-Day locations, providing a handbook for the visitor and an overview for the armchair traveler. It covers, wherever possible, the forces from both sides and the memorials to those young men who fought so many years ago.
Dawn of D-DAY: These Men Were There, June 6, 1944
By: David Howarth
June 6, 1944, is one of the most famous dates in world history, and, as David Howarth shows, a defining date in countless personal histories. In this intimate chronicle, the 7,000 vessels, 12,000 aircraft, and 750,000 men committed on D-Day are taken for granted. Instead, we see D-Day through the eyes of the men on the ground as Howarth weaves together the larger story of the beginning of the battle of Normandy with the stories of the beachhead itself. The scope of Howarth's vision—focusing on England and France, on sky, beach, and hedgerow, on divisions and squads—makes Dawn of D-Day a franker portrayal than any other of the turning-point of the war on the Western Front and the greatest amphibious operation in history.Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Arcade imprint, are proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in history--books about World War II, the Third Reich, Hitler and his henchmen, the JFK assassination, conspiracies, the American Civil War, the American Revolution, gladiators, Vikings, ancient Rome, medieval times, the old West, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.
If Chaos Reigns: The Near-Disaster and Ultimate Triumph of the Allied Airborne Forces on D-Day, June 6, 1944
By: Flint Whitlock
“Gentlemen, do not be daunted if chaos reigns; it undoubtedly will.” So said Brigadier S. James Hill, commanding officer of the British 3rd Parachute Brigade, in an address to his troops shortly before the launching of Operation Overlord―the D-Day invasion of Normandy. No more prophetic words were ever spoken, for chaos indeed reigned on that day, and many more that followed. Much has been written about the Allied invasion of France, but award-winning military historian Flint Whitlock has put together a unique package―the first history of the assault that concentrates exclusively on the activities of the American, British, and Canadian airborne forces that descended upon Normandy in the dark, pre-dawn hours of 6 June 1944. Landing into the midst of the unknown, the airborne troops found themselves fighting for their lives on every side in the very jaws of the German defenses, while striving to seize their own key objectives in advance of their seaborne comrades to come. Whitlock details the formation, recruitment, training, and deployment of the Allies’ parachute and glider troops. First-person accounts by the veterans who were there―from paratroopers to glidermen to the pilots who flew them into the battle, as well as the commanders (Eisenhower, Taylor, Ridgway, Gavin, and more)―make for compelling, “you-are-there” reading. If Chaos Reigns is a fitting tribute to the men who rode the wind into battle and managed to pull victory out of confusion, chaos, and almost certain defeat. Author/military historian Flint Whitlock graduated from the Army's Airborne School at Ft. Benning, GA, in 1965 and spent five years on active duty, including a combat tour in Vietnam. He is the author of nine books, six of which are about World War II, and is currently the editor of WWII Quarterly. He has appeared in documentaries on The History Channel and on the Fox Channel's "War Stories with Oliver North," and now lives in Denver, CO.
The American People in World War II: Freedom from Fear, Part Two (Oxford History of the United States) (Pt. 2)
By: David M. Kennedy
Even as the New Deal was coping with the Depression, a new menace was developing abroad. Exploiting Germany's own economic burdens, Hitler reached out to the disaffected, turning their aimless discontent into loyal support for his Nazi Party. In Asia, Japan harbored imperial ambitions of its own. The same generation of Americans who battled the Depression eventually had to shoulder arms in another conflict that wreaked worldwide destruction, ushered in the nuclear age, and forever changed their way of life and their country's relationship to the rest of the world.The American People in World War II--the second installment of Kennedy's Pulitzer Prize-winning Freedom from Fear--explains how the nation agonized over its role in the conflict, how it fought the war, why the United States emerged victorious, and why the consequences of victory were sometimes sweet, sometimes ironic. In a compelling narrative, Kennedy analyzes the determinants of American strategy, the painful choices faced by commanders and statesmen, and the agonies inflicted on the millions of ordinary Americans who were compelled to swallow their fears and face battle as best they could. The American People in World War II is a gripping narrative and an invaluable analysis of the trials and victories through which modern America was formed.
The Bedford Boys: One American Town's Ultimate D-day Sacrifice
By: Alex Kershaw
June 6, 1944: Nineteen boys from Bedford, Virginia--population just 3,000 in 1944--died in the first bloody minutes of D-Day. They were part of Company A of the 116th Regiment of the 29th Division, and the first wave of American soldiers to hit the beaches in Normandy. Later in the campaign, three more boys from this small Virginia town died of gunshot wounds. Twenty-two sons of Bedford lost--it is a story one cannot easily forget and one that the families of Bedford will never forget. The Bedford Boys is the true and intimate story of these men and the friends and families they left behind.Based on extensive interviews with survivors and relatives, as well as diaries and letters, Kershaw's book focuses on several remarkable individuals and families to tell one of the most poignant stories of World War II--the story of one small American town that went to war and died on Omaha Beach.
D DAY Through German Eyes - The Hidden Story of June 6th 1944
By: Holger Eckhertz
This is the hidden side of D Day which has fascinated readers around the world.Almost all accounts of D Day are told from the Allied perspective, with the emphasis on how German resistance was overcome on June 6th 1944. But what was it like to be a German soldier in the bunkers and gun emplacements of the Normandy coast, facing the onslaught of the mightiest seaborne invasion in history? What motivated the German defenders, what were their thought processes - and how did they fight from one strong point to another, among the dunes and fields, on that first cataclysmic day? What were their experiences on facing the tanks, the flamethrowers and the devastating air superiority of the Allies?This book sheds fascinating light on these questions, bringing together statements made by German survivors after the war, when time had allowed them to reflect on their state of mind, their actions and their choices of June 6th. We see a perspective of D Day which deserves to be added to the historical record, in which ordinary German troops struggled to make sense of the onslaught that was facing them, and emerged stunned at the weaponry and sheer determination of the Allied soldiers. We see, too, how the Germans fought in the great coastal bunkers, perceived as impregnable fortresses, but in reality often becoming tombs for their crews. Above all, we now have the unheard human voices of the individual German soldiers - the men who are so often portrayed as a faceless mass.
Saving Private Ryan (Two-Disc Special Edition)
By: Dreamworks Video
Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Edward Burns. An explosive WWII drama in which Private James Ryan becomes the object of a desperate and dangerous rescue mission in war-torn Germany after authorities learn his three other brothers already have been killed in combat. 2 DVDs. 1999/color/169 min/R/widescreen.
24x36 World Wall Map by Smithsonian Journeys - Tan Oceans Special Edition (24x36 Laminated)
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Travel Guard provides an on-tour Insurance Plan. On-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only). It also includes up to $25,000 medical and up to $500 dental expense coverage, and 24-hour worldwide travel and medical assistance. Please click here to view complete coverage details.

Please visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1-800-208-6142 to learn about additional (optional) coverage.