Can this be done in a day trip? We will be in Bruges from Friday night til sometime on Monday when we will return to The Netherlands. I would very much like to go to Ypres. We will not have a car, bit could see the town and the museum. Perhaps on out way back to Haarlem? This is the most poorly planned trip I have ever taken!! I appreciate all of your help!!
Yes, but without a car, you can't see much of the battlefield remnants or memorials. Brugge and Ieper are not situated very far from each other, but unfortunately, there's no direct connection by rail. Looking at the NMBS and De Lijn websites, the duration of the trip varies from 1:30 to 1:40. Your all-rail option is Brugge/St. Pieters to Gent to Kortrijk to Ieper. Other options are combinations of bus and train via Roeselare and Turhout.
The old center of Ieper itself is small enough that you can explore on foot.
In the same situation, I'd probably use a day tour from Bruges to take care of the visit to the Ypres and the battlefield historic sites. IMO, that would be the best method as not only will they provide transportation, but you'll be able to cover the most significant sites with an expert Guide. Again IMO, you'll learn a lot more and it will be a much more interesting and rewarding travel experience.
I did a brief search online and there appears to be a few companies offering tours from Bruges - take your pick....
Check Trip Advisor to get some idea of the quality of tours provided by the various firms. One of them seemed to get exceptional ratings.
I've visited some of the historic sites in that area, and they're very interesting (I believe one of my Grandfathers served in this particular part of the front, Hill 62 / Sanctuary Wood). I also found it very moving to visit both the Commonwealth (Tyne Cot) and German cemeteries there. It's hard to imagine what it must have been like for those fighting "the war to end all wars".