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World War II in London & nearby

Can anyone recommend a great guide/driver to show us World War II historical sites, such as in Southhampton?

Posted by
964 posts

Suzanne, I was born a few years after the war ended, and grew up near Southampton. As a child, I can remember walking past the endless bomb sites, it was just one crater after another- the city center was just about demolished. It was so severely attacked because it was a port. It was re-built in the 50's and now, I am not sure there is much left to see (although with those memories, I have never looked and realise you may have learned about something of which I have no knowledge).

Posted by
354 posts

As posters have said above, do you have anything specific in mind? I am not a WW2 buff but this summer I went to Chartwell in Kent (Winston Churchill's home), now a National Trust property. House and gardens in a lovely location. I didn't have high expections but was very pleasantly surprised and enjoyed it very much, and a lot more interesting on the historical side than I was expecting. Train from London then bus.
Another suggestion would be Bletchley Park, which I think you can get to from Euston. I have noticed that London Walks are now doing day trips there I thought I might give this a try next year.

Posted by
403 posts

The other posters have hit the nail on the head. You don't want or need a car for the London sites, and there aren't all that many places in rural England that (a) saw significant wartime activity and (b) have remained in their 1940s condition. One suggestion I do have is to take the short train ride out of Euston to Coventry. The medieval cathedral stands in ruins from the fire-bombing of 1940 next to the ultra-modern post-war cathedral; it is quite moving, and easily done by train with plenty of time left over for near-by non-WWII sites like Warwick castle.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks to all for the recommendations. I have been to London several times, but my husband, has not. However, he has read extensively about World War II and the various national leaders, so I'm trying to build an interesting WW II itinerary. I love to travel to Europe since I taught European history for many years. Our days in London are before our RS tour to Italy. Again, thanks!

Posted by
1399 posts

We toured Bletchley Park this summer - I loved it. We did have a car though. If you're interested in WWII, I think this is a great stop.

Posted by
3419 posts

We enjoyed touring Dover Castle. Lots of WWII connections. Also a good castle to tour! I haven't seen the Churchill War Rooms, but have read good things about them. We also enjoyed the air museum- just out of London, but can't quite remember where. Lots of interesting planes for my hubby (who is an airplane nut) and history for me.

Posted by
27 posts

I toured Bletchley as well. Very worthwhile if you're interested in the WWII code breaking (Enigma, etc.). It is possible to get there via train. Allow about 1 1/2 hours for travel each way, and you'll want to spend at least 3 hours there.