The Long, Long Trail's Battlefield Guide to the Somme

The Somme is one of the most important British battlefields in France with a great deal to see. In consequence is one of the most visited. But it is a rural area with relatively few amenities - be prepared.

Somme vista

Basics

The 1916 battlefield of the Somme is an area north of the river of that name, largely between the towns of Albert and Bapaume. Much of the area is in the Departement of the same name, but some is in the Pas-de-Calais. Albert is the main centre for touring these battlefields. Most people in the tourist spots in the area speak English well, many fluently. The majority of local people in the villages and farms do not - but many are also British expats who have settled here. You'll be amazed how your best "Bonjour" is answered by "Good morning"! The currency in use is the Euro. Credit cards are widely accepted but beware: not all petrol filling stations in France accept British or American cards.

Getting to the Somme

By car from UK: Bapaume is a 140 km (just over 1 hour 30 mins) drive from Calais. This is by autoroute, which is a toll road for which you will need some cash. Route with map.

By car from airport: Bapaume is 133 km (around 1 hour 30 mins) drive from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. This is by autoroute, which is a toll road for which you will need some cash. Route with map.

By rail: Albert has a main railway station with local trains from Arras and Amiens, both main interchanges for the French railway system. Timetables

There is also a Somme station on the TGV Nord route, called Haute Picardie, which is in the middle of nowhere but has high speed trains from Paris and Lille.

What is there to see?

The Somme area is so full of places to go and things to see it is hard to know where to begin. "Must not be missed" sites include:

  • The Memorial to the Missing and attached Visitor Centre at Thiepval
  • The South African Memorial Museum at Longueval
  • The "Lochnagar" mine crater at La Boisselle
  • Devonshire Cemetery near Mametz
  • Newfoundland Park, trenches and memorials at Beaumont-Hamel
  • "Gibraltar" strongpoint and the site of the windmill at Pozières
  • The "pals" cemeteries and memorials at Serre
  • The Butte de Warlencourt

Tourist essentials

  1. The main tourist office in Albert is situated at 9, rue Léon Gambetta.
  2. Monday is closing day: most shops and facilities are closed, at least for the morning.
  3. Eating and drinking: there are restaurants, bars and cafes in Albert, most grouped around the central square facing the Basilica. The larger villages around - notably Pozières and Longueval - have some too. You will probably need a packed lunch or picnic when you are out on the battlefields for the day.
  4. Banks and ATMs (cash machines) : in Albert and Bapaume.
  5. Parking: a main free car park is next to Albert's town hall and there is a lot of on-street parking but paid in advance from slot machines. No problems parking at sites on the battlefields.
  6. Supermarkets: there are small supermarkets in Albert and Bapaume.

Accommodation

When booking any accommodation, buyer beware. The Long, Long Trail can not be held responsible for the availability, price or performance of any of the accommodation listed here. Obviously.

There is a wide selection of accommodation in the town and surrounding villages. Note, however, that accommodation is invariably full for 1 July. Book early.

Note: international dialling code to France is 33. Numbers are shown as they would be dialled from overseas. when calling in France itself, drop the 33 and add a zero at the front of the number.
 

Hotels

Le Gourmet *
Address: 10 rue de la Gare, 62450 Bapaume
Tel: 321 07 20 00
Fax: 321 07 98 81
Email: info@amfora.be
Website URL: www.le-gourmet.fr/
M. et Mme Ringard
Hotel. Situated in Bapaume town centre.
Hotel de la Paix *
Address: 43 Rue Victor Hugo, 80300 Albert
Tel: 322 75 01 64
Isabelle Daudigny
Hotel. Situated in Albert town centre.
Hotel de la Basilique **
Address: 3-5 Rue Gambetta, 80300 Albert
Tel: 322 75 04 71
Fax: 322 75 10 47
Email: contact@hoteldelabasilique.fr
Website URL: www.hoteldelabasilique.fr/
Hotel. Situated in Albert town centre.
Best Western Royal Picardie ***
Address: Avenue du General Leclerc, 80300 Albert
Tel: 322 75 37 00
Fax: 322 75 60 19
Email: reservation@royalpicardie.com
Website URL: www.royalpicardie.com
Hotel. Situated on the western edge of Albert.
 

Guest Houses / B&B

Avril Williams Guest House and Tea Rooms
Address: 10 Rue Delattre, 80560 Auchonvillers
Phone: 322 76 23 66
Fax: 322 76 23 66
Email: avwilliams@nordnet.fr
Website URL: www.avrilwilliams.com
Avril Williams
The Battlefields Experience
Address: 2 Rue des Cordeliers, 80560 Mailly Maillet
Phone: 322 76 29 60
Fax: 322 76 29 60
Email: info@battlefieldsexperience.co.uk
Website URL: www.battlefieldsexperience.co.uk
Rod and Jackie Bedford
Les Galets
Address: Route de Beaumont, 80560 Auchonvillers
Phone: 322 76 28 79
Fax: 322 76 28 79
Email: jlrenshaw@fastmail.fm
Website URL: www.lesgalets.com/
Julie Renshaw
Les Alouettes
Address: 10 Rue Du Mantier, 80360 Hardecourt Aux Bois
Phone: 322 85 14 56
Fax: 322 85 14 56
Email: lesalouettes2003@lesalouettes.net
Vic and Diane Piuk
Les Bieffes
Address: 27 Rue Pierre Lefevre, 80560 Mailly-Maillet
Phone: 322 76 21 44
Mme. Paulette Pecourt
Chavasse Farm
Address: Route de Beaumont, 80560 Auchonvillers
Phone: UK number 07855 850889
Email: chavasseferme@aol.com
Website URL: www.chavasseferme.com
Jonathan Porter, 50 Grays Park, Belvoir, Belfast, BT8 7EG
Les Sars B&B
Address: 37 Rue National, 62450 Le Sars
Phone: 321 07 05 01
Fax: 321 24 78 10
Email: contact@memorysomme.com
Website URL: www.memorysomme.com/
Mme Danièle Roussel
Bernafay Wood B&B
Address: 55-57 Grande Rue, Bois Bernafay, 80300 Montauban-de-Picardie
Phone: 322 85 02 47
Fax: 321 24 78 10
Email: bernafaywood@aol.com
Website URL: cf.geocities.com/bed_and_breakfast_bernafay_wood/index.htm
Jean-Pierre and Christine Matte
Otago View B&B
Address: 48 Rue Principale, 80300 Flers
Phone: 322 85 47 43
Email: mail@fieldsoffrance.com
Website URL: http://www.fieldsoffrance.com/index.html
Peter and Hilary Smith
Butterworth Farm B&B
Address: Route de Bazentin, Chemin de George Butterworth, 80300 Pozieres
Phone: 322 74 04 07
Email: contact@butterworth-cottage.com
Website URL: http://www.butterworth-farm.com/
Marie and Bernard Dellatre
Freeman Farm B&B
Address: 9 Rue de la Gare, 80300, Miraumont
Phone: 322 75 72 03
Email: tim@lostgeneration1914-18.com
Website URL: http://www.lostgeneration1914-18.com/
Tim and Gill Wright
 

Self catering

Dinnaken House
Address: 1 Place des Britanniques, Flers
Phone: a UK number 07917 460 613
Email: rory.dinnakenhouse@btinternet.com
Website URL: www.dinnakenhouse.com/
Rory Newsome
Rose Cottage
Address: Route de Flers, Longueval
Phone: a UK number 0121 430 5348
Fax: a UK number 0121 436 7401
Mrs Jeannie Alexander, 27 Courtway Avenue, Maypole, Birmingham B14 4PP
 

Camp sites

Camping Bellevue
Address: 80300 Authuille
Phone:
322 74 59 29
Fax: 322 74 05 14