Contact Us
ABTAATOLTravel Awards 2015

01904 734 356

Open 7 Days A Week
ViewHide Gallery

Winston Churchill's Wartime Britain

(Tour code: WCH17)Trace the footsteps of Winston Churchill

Tread the hallowed ground of Britain's great statesman and peer into the political and personal life of one of the iconic leaders of the 20th century. We trace the steps of Churchill and paint an intimate portrait of his life from birth and political exile to his rise to power at the head of Britain's resistance to Nazi Germany, from wilderness to war.


Take advantage of our latest saving of up to £25 per person when booking your Europe, UK and Ireland Summer 2017 holiday on or before 31st October 2016. Terms & Conditions

Tour Highlights
  • Tour of Blenheim Palace
  • Guided tour of Bletchley Park
  • Talk from lecturer Dr Mark Roodhouse
  • Explore the Cabinet War Rooms
  • A visit to the Imperial War Museum
  • Visit the Imperial War Museum, Duxford
What’s Included (Full details)
  • Standard Class Rail
  • 4* Hotel Accommodation
    Breakfast Every Day
  • Optional Bag Concierge

Itinerary & Map

top ^
Departure Times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Overview - Sir Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Churchill

Churchill spent some time in exile from politics before returning to the House of Commons in the 1930s, raising his voice in opposition to the appeasement policy of the government and airing the news of Germany's re-armament. He slowly built a small following in the House, though his initial speeches fell on deaf ears. Churchill managed to access a wealth of secret information about Germany's re-armament. He was of the opinion that appeasement was a disastrous mistake and said that England had to choose between 'war and shame' - in the face of Germany's rapid military expansion. If the appeasement of Hitler continued, Churchill remarked that the choice of 'shame' would eventually lead to war on more unfavourable terms. The day Britain declared war on Germany following the Nazi invasion of Poland, Churchill was made First Lord of the Admiralty. Upon his appointment a message was signalled to the fleet by the Admiralty Board reading: 'Winston is back'. On May 10th Neville Chamberlain resigned, and following Lord Halifax's rejection of the post of Prime Minister Churchill was appointed on the recommendation of his predecessor, and led the wartime, all-party coalition government and country to victory.

Tower Bridge
Day 1

Meet in London

We meet at our London hotel, the 4-Star Ambassadors from 4pm this afternoon. This gives you plenty of time to see some of London's sights before the tour begins. We enjoy dinner in our hotel this evening.

  • Dinner
Bletchley Park
Day 2

Blenheim Palace & Bletchley Park

We transfer from our hotel this morning to Paddington Station by coach, here we take the train to Oxford where we travel to Blenheim Palace, Churchill's birthplace. Blenheim is a stately home of resounding splendour set in expansive parklands, home to the 1st Duke of Marlborough, John Churchill and was reportedly built by a grateful nation following the duke's military successes in the War of the Spanish Succession, culminating at the 1704 Battle of Blenheim.

The Palace was built in the fleeting English Baroque style and was used as a family home and a recognised national monument, and is still used as such today. We enjoy coffee, tea and biscuits on arrival, before a guided tour of the Palace and enjoy a talk on Churchill's childhood.

Following our time at Blenheim we take the coach to Bletchley Park. Once the base for the Government Code and Cypher School, where Alan Turing and his contemporaries worked to crack coded transmissions from the Axis forces, the site is now open to the public for educational visits. It is thought that due to the actions of Turing and his team the war was shortened by two years, and ever since Bletchley Park has been a symbol of English ingenuity and genius. Turing's famous 'Enigma' machine was the famous tool used to decipher German code and communications.

The British forces occasionally had to act against the German codes they had uncovered and knowingly fall into German traps or attacks in order to continue the illusion that they had yet to crack the Axis' codes. The famous 'bombes' were hulking devices that stood at 7 feet high and weighed nearly a tonne. The devices, at their peak, were reading close to 4,000 messages per day. The work at Bletchley was most important in combating Luftwaffe bombing raids and defeating U-boats in the Atlantic Ocean. Through the deciphering of code, Turing and his team were able to learn which city's were potential bombing targets and the position of German submarines in the various shipping lanes of the Atlantic.

We take a tour around the huts and grounds which have been restored magnificently. Tonight we enjoy a talk by specialist speaker Mark Roodhouse at the hotel.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
The Cabinet War Rooms
Day 3

The Cabinet War Rooms

Professor Mark Roodhouse accompanies the group this day. This morning we begin with a self-guided tour of the Cabinet War Rooms, now known simply as the Churchill War Rooms. Because of the threat of aerial bombardment and Germany's subsequent obsession with bombing British cities, it seemed prudent to move vital offices below ground. Churchill declared the underground bunker which formed as his command centre to be 'The room from which I will direct the war.' Operational maps of the different theatres of operations were updated hourly by officers of the armed forces, the complex is preserved much as it was in the war and is a fascinating museum to discover. During the course of the war, the Cabinet Rooms underwent extensive renovations, including being reinforced by a vast layer of concrete dubbed 'the Slab', with the aim of enhancing the protection available to those inside during the German Blitz campaign. The layout of the War Rooms allowed for a variety of uses and includes areas dedicated to typist and switchboard operators, dormitories for staff, Trans-Atlantic communication rooms and Churchill's very own private bedroom and office area. The Churchill Museum is also part of this complex and is a collection of exhibits that comprehensively charts the years of Churchill's life. Originally the War Rooms could only be visited by request in the decades after the end of World War Two and after receiving close to 5,000 requests a year, it was decided that the Cabinet Rooms would be opened to the public. Before departing, we will walk to Parliament Square to see the statue erected in his honour.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Winston Churchill
Day 4

The Imperial War Museum

Today we transfer by coach a short distance to the Imperial War Museum. Truly one of Britain's many great museums the IWM is a sprawling building that houses countless exhibits, attractions, tanks, bombs, weapons, aircraft and the stories of the people who lived through the war in England. The museum welcomes you with the imposing figures of two 15-inch (381mm) naval guns, both were fired in action during the Second World War. You have time to explore the museum under your own steam, as there is so much to see here you are never less than captivated. Perhaps explore the Aviation rooms and marvel at some of the military's most iconic aircraft including the legendary Lancaster bomber and Spitfire fighter plane. The RAF Lancaster bomber is perhaps one of the most recognisable planes in military history and was used extensively during the Second World War as the primary means of delivering devastating payloads containing thousands of tonnes of bombs across the European mainland.

The IWM is also home to one of the world-famous supersonic passenger jet, the Concorde. Operating for just over 30 years, the BAC Concorde was able to travel at twice the maximum speed of sound, clocking speeds of 1,354 mph at its cruising speed and was primarily used for transatlantic flights. Following our time here we transfer by bus back to our hotel, your evening is then free to relax or to take a stroll through London.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5

Homeward bound

After breakfast, you are free to depart at your leisure.

  • Breakfast
Guest Speaker
Guest Speaker

Professor Mark Roodhouse

Professor Mark Roodhouse is a senior lecturer in 20th century history at the University at York, specialising in the economic and social history of modern Britain. Previously educated at Cambridge and Oxford before his time at York, Mark was an adviser for the BBC2 documentary 'Wartime Farm'. He is a director for the Centre for Historical Economics and Related Research, and an editor of the Borthwick Papers.

Sage PayAmerican ExpressMasterCard SecureCodeVerified by VISAABTAATOL ProtectedAITO
GRJ Independent

Tailor make this tour with
Great Rail Journeys Independent

Click to enquire

Get in touch with one of our Travel Specialists

Helping you plan your holiday...

Julie Longfield
Phil Conde
James Eaton
Kathryn Cambridge



Sign up for our free newsletter

Order Brochures Contact Us View Shortlist 0