If you and your spouse or partner are history buffs, then you may want your children to follow in your footsteps and develop an interest in history. Reading history books is all very well, but there is nothing quite like actually visiting sites of historic interest to help engage kids with what happened in the past.
Leave England behind
You have probably already visited most of the museums you can get to easily in the UK, so why not go a little further afield and integrate a battlefield tour into your next European holiday? With war and conflict seemingly destined to be part of the human condition for many years to come, it can be both interesting and emotionally educational to show your children a little of how wars have been fought in the past and the human cost involved.
Recent battlefields offer the most when it comes to getting your kids interested in history, such as the battlefields of both the world wars. Belgium, for example, has the battlefields of Flanders, the subject of the famous poem by WW1 soldier John McCrae. Your family can visit the sites and see the original trenches, witness the Last Post ceremony, visit Commonwealth cemeteries and learn more about the battlegrounds that were most significant to the war. Alternatively, you could move forward to WW2 and explore D-Day, seeing for yourself where the Allies landed in Normandy, France in 1944 to launch this pivotal event in the war against the Nazis.
If less recent history is more your thing, though, you may want to visit the battlefield of Waterloo, where British and allied soldiers led by the Duke of Wellington fought and defeated the French army of Napoleon Bonaparte. At Waterloo, you and your family can explore the site and see the various villages and hamlets that were so strategically important to the outcome of the battle, as well as learn more at the many museums located in the area. You can also treat yourself to a souvenir of the occasion by applying to the London Mint Office for a free Waterloo Campaign Medal, a replica of the original medal from 1815 that was awarded to the soldiers who fought at the Battle of Waterloo.
What is undeniable is that you and your family will have a fuller, more satisfying experience if you book to view the sites with an expert tour guide. An experienced battlefield guide will be able to tell you so much more about what took place at the site, bringing the fighting to life with vivid and colourful descriptions of the various armies’ movements and the personalities involved. The battlefield guides will be able to convey what the participants felt and will really bring the event home.
Indulge your passion for history and pass it on to your kids with an engaging and educational adventure to some of the battlefields of Europe, learning from the guides just what war means.
Copyright © 2016 Paul Woollacombe