Essential places to visit in Ypres, Belgium

ypres, belgium

The incoming centenary marking the conclusion of the Great War is fast approaching with poppies now available.

At this time of year, people also take time out to learn more about this tragic period during the turbulent 20th century.

Earning fantastic reviews, we reccommend trying to catch a screening of Peter Jackson’s ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’, a documentary featuring some painstakingly restored archive footage that dates back over 100 years.

Armistice Day takes place on Sunday, November, 11, this year.

As the anniversary approaches, we have taken time to look at some of the most essential places to visit when in Ypres, one of the most important locations during the First World War that attracts tourists from all over the world.

Menin Gate

Ypres Belgium, Menin Gate

The Menin Gate Memorial remembers thousands of soldiers who fell during the horrendous battles of the first World War, many of which took place close to the area.

Remembering those without a marked grave, the memorial is a grand, fitting memorial and one of the most visited key landmarks in the area.

Designed by British architect Reginald Blomfield, the memorial took just over 4 years to finish in line with his meticulous plans.

Multiple strategic offences took place in Ypres during the four-year war.

The town and surrounding area was one of the key locations fought over in Europe.

Millions of tourists originating from across the world have travelled to the memorial to both remember the fallen and pay their respects.

In Flanders Field Museum

Ypres Belgium, Flanders

Located in Ypre’s Cloth Hall, the In Flanders Field Museum is an essential visit for those looking to learn more about the local area’s involvement in the war.

Covering the entire four-year period, the Museum is fantastically detailed and provides a fascinating insight into battles with a range of period pieces collected for public display and the use of key testimony of those involved at the time.

Dealing with the effects of the invasion of Belgium right through to the construction of Menin Gate some 10 years after the war came to a close, visitors are taken on a poignant and memorable journey through one of the worst periods in the 20th century.

Tours and audio guides are available in multiple languages.

Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery

Ypres Belgium, Tyne Cot

The biggest of its kind in the world, the Tyne Cot Cemetery attracts visitors from across the world, particularly former and current Commonwealth countries.

A reflective and staggering experience, the size and scale of Tyne Cot is difficult to comprehend.

Here, thousands of military personnel have been laid to rest.

Carefully designed in 1920’s, Tyne Cot was opened by King George V, Grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II.

The cemetery is respectfully maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Many of those that fell during the infamous battles at nearby Passchendale were buried here.

Sanctuary Wood Museum Hill 62

Ypres Belgium, Trenches

Featuring one of the most well-preserved trenches remaining from the Great War, the Sanctuary Wood Museum can be explored and visitors are able to gain some insight into how soldiers operated whilst holed up on the notorious frontlines of the war.

Guided tours are available and you can also browse some period artefects and images dating back to the war.

Brooding Soldier Monument

Ypres Belgium, Brooding Soldier

The Saint Julien or Brooding Soldier Memorial commerates Canadian involvement in the war, particularly the second massive battle to take place in Ypres and surrounding area.

This was one of the first battles where soldiers were met with poison gas attacks.

The winner of a competition, the monument was designed by Frederick Chapman Clemesha in the 1920s.

There are multiple memorial sites in the area, each worth visiting to get a sense of the scale of loss and impact the war had on countries around the world.

Visit Ypres, Belgium

Browse the region’s fantastic range of accommodation here.

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