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Experience Normandy’s Newest D-Day Attractions Ahead of the Milestone 80th Anniversary

Experience Normandy’s Newest D-Day Attractions Ahead of the Milestone 80th Anniversary

This year marks a milestone anniversary for D-Day, and whether you’re a regular visitor or new to the area 2024 is a great time to visit. To mark the occasion, Normandy is putting on a huge variety of events across the region, but the beaches are the place to be to experience some of the newest additions to the area’s D-Day attractions, so why not sail across the Channel with DFDS and explore them for yourself.

Kayaking around the Mulberry Harbour in Arromanches-les-Bains

Remains and ruins from WWII are commonplace across Europe, but a select few have remained largely out of reach for decades. For those who want to get up close to a piece of WWII history and don’t mind getting their feet wet, this is an unmissable experience. One of the most extraordinary military construction projects of all time and the brainchild of Winston Churchill himself, the Mulberry Harbours were floated in piece by piece and installed immediately after D-Day to provide an access point for ships and supplies in this newly liberated area of France. Today, the remains of the harbours and other D-Day landmarks are clearly visible jutting out of the sea, and undoubtedly the best way to see them is by kayak. This exhilarating excursion takes visitors to within touching distance of the harbour remains, and even close enough to paddle through these enormous structures. An unforgettable experience for the adventurous explorer!

Standing with Giants Art Installation, British Normandy Memorial

Ideally located in a peaceful spot looking out over Sword Beach and framed by the lush green fields and colourful meadows of the beautiful Normandy countryside in Ver-sur-Mer stands the British Normandy Memorial. Three years after its unveiling, the 80th is the first milestone D-Day anniversary to be commemorated here, and a special installation named “Standing With Giants” has been commissioned especially for the occasion. Designed and constructed using recycled materials by Oxfordshire artist Dan Barton and a group of dedicated volunteers, 1,475 silhouettes will stand at the site, each representing a soldier under British command who died during the assault on the 6th June 1944. The silhouettes can be seen at the memorial until the 31st August – the day after the Battle of Normandy ended in 1944.

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Airborne Museum, Saint-Mère-Église

Since US parachutist John Greene landed on the village church, his parachute tangled in the steeple, Saint-Mère-Église has become a centre of pilgrimage for those interested in the planes and parachutists of D-Day. A lifesize model of Greene dangles from the steeple today, commemorating this famous moment. Directly opposite is the Airborne Museum, which has the most comprehensive collection of aeronautical exhibits, artifacts, and vehicles from the Second World War. Following a vast extension and renovation project, a permanent exhibition about the American gliders has recently been unveiled. In this huge hangar visitors can learn about these incredible aircraft, from their design and construction to their implementation and effect during the invasion of Normandy. The museum’s park has also been redeveloped and beautifully landscaped, with vehicles from D-Day itself as centrepieces in this beautiful garden. From the 1st-9th June the museum’s military reenactment camp, Camp Geronimo, will be opening its doors to visitors for an extra special event to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

 

D-Day Experience, Saint-Côme-du-Mont

The D-Day Experience near Carentan offers one of the most immersive D-Day experiences in all of Normandy. A 3D movie theatre catapults you into the action on Utah Beach in June 1944, and a state-of-the-art 4D flight simulator, built in a converted C-47 aircraft, lets you experience the cross-Channel flight of the same plane on its journey over occupied Normandy. This year, a new exhibition about the little know but vitally important 2nd Naval Beach Battalion has been unveiled at the brilliant D-Day Experience in Saint-Côme-du-Mont. The 2nd Naval Beach Battalion scouted Utah Beach ahead of the D-Day landings and were considered the best of the best in terms of their skill and bravery. The unit laid the groundwork for the formation of the Navy SEALs, the United States’ primary special operations force. This fascinating exhibition tells the story of this most elite of forces and how their actions influenced the outcome of D-Day at Utah Beach and this area of Normandy.

 

Musée du Débarquement, Arromanches

The Musée du Débarquement in Arromanches was the very first museum dedicated to the events of 6th June 1944 in Normandy, opened in 1954 at the heart of the D-Day landing beaches. Over the years its popularity and steady accumulation of artifacts and exhibits necessitated additional space and following an extensive 30-month renovation project the newly rebuilt and expanded Musée du Débarquement was opened last year, directly opposite the original museum and right on the seafront. The new ultra-modern 1200m² space features additional exhibits on the planning, execution, and aftermath of D-Day, supported by genuine weapons, tools, and vehicles used in the invasion. Life-sized models and detailed to-scale dioramas bring the exhibits to life and thrust visitors into the scenes and surroundings of the Normandy beaches 80 years ago.

 

Getting there

DFDS offers up to 54 crossings per day on its Dover to Calais service, with day trip fares starting at £39 return for a car and four people and short break fares starting at £99 return for a car and up to four people. Browse a selection of fragrances, cosmetics and electronics in DFDS’ Duty Free shops and save up to 50 per cent off UK high-street prices.

Upgrade your ticket to include access to the exclusive Premium Lounge with complimentary hot and cold drinks and snacks from £18 per person. Add Priority Boarding to be one of the first to board and disembark the ferry from £10 per car each way.

Travel on the newly refurbished ships on the Newhaven-Dieppe route from just £87 one way for a car and two people. Sail in style as you enjoy a delicious meal at the onboard restaurant, sit back and relax in one of the comfort lounges, or indulge in some retail therapy at the expanded Duty Free shop.

For more information or to book visit www.dfds.com