Podge’s Belgian Beer Tours

Beer & Battlefields Tour 2024

Wednesday 04 September – Sunday 08 September 2024

Our unique Beer & Battlfields Tour is based at the comfortable (with great breakfasts!) Novotel In Flanders Fields, right in the heart of immortal Ypres. this pretty town was at the centre of the salient and the four Battles of Ypres 1919-1918. It was completely rebuilt from piles of rubble, on its original pattern and is today home to loads of brilliant beer bars for an evening beverage! Have a look at Podge's Ypres Bar Guide for up to date intel on the best spots for a beer.

Podge WW1 2014 299

Siobhan in 2014 talking about the Zeebrugge Raid, 1918 at the memorial in Zeebrugge, with Podge peeking out behind her!

This Tour will centre on battlefields and breweries in the Ypres Salient in Flanders and will, as usual, include visits to well known and some less well known sites, but all Tours have a different itinerary. We will have the services of Siobhan McGinn as our guide to Flanders Fields and she will be giving us the benefit of her studies during the MA in British First World War Studies which she completesd in 2014. In addition, her ongoing research into British Army Courts Martial Statistics for the military crime of drunkenness, of which there were some 33,000 in the First World War. We will also look at battle sites, follow the brilliant story of the Zeebrugge Raid 1918, British and German concrete blockhouses, museums, the exploits of Fray Bentos Mark IV Tank and we'll see a special private replica rebuild of a First World war tank, constructed by a remarkable young man, which currently rests, fascines-and-all in a barn in Flanders.

Please let Siobhan know if you have a relative in any of the hundreds of CWGC in the Ypres Salient which you would like to visit, and we'll try to fit it into our itinerary.

No battlefield tours are quite like these! Join us.

Nice head on a Hommel Bier

A tasty Hommelbier, but what were the British Expeditionary Force drinking to cause so many courts martials?

We are based in Chelmsford in Essex and we use a UK hired coach to travel. We try to use Le Shuttle (Eurotunnel) from Folkestone to get to and from Belgium, but if not available we go by ferry from Dover to Calais. Most of our Travellers join the Tour at our main pick up point outside The Woolpack Pub, 23 Mildmay Road, Chelmsford CM2 0DN and most come from other parts of the UK, and some from further afield, especially USA. Lots of our Travellers stay the night before a Tour (and often the night of our return) at Chelmsford Travelodge only a few minutes walk from The Woolpack or at the Premier Inn near the Railway Station, about a 10 minute walk to the pick up point at The Woolpack. We all usually pop in to The Woolpack the night before departure for a meet, greet and a few beers with Siobhan who is your Tour Manager, Tour Guide and drinking pal for the duration.

AWM Provost Marshall Beer Photo

Australian Provost Marshal Sign - beer only! (Image Australian War Memorial, AWM)

Our Galloways luxury coach (49 seater coach with toilet) starts from Suffolk and on the way to Folkestone (or Dover if we go by ferry) and picks up at several points, as agreed with Siobhan, as below:

Ipswich, Bus Stop, Tesco Store, Pinewood, Ipswich IP8 3TS.

Colchester, McDonald's, Tollgate West, Stanway, Colchester C03 8RG

Chelmsford, The Woolpack, 23 Mildmay Road, CM2 0DN.

Dartford, BP Garage (formerly Esso) 474 Princes Road, DA1 1YT. On the return leg we drop off at Dartford Railway Station DA1 1DR

Swanley, Unit 4, Moreton Industrial Estate, London Road, BR8 8DE.

Ashford, pull in Outside Dobbies Garden Centre, Opposite Premier Inn, Ashford Eureka Leisure Park, Rutherford Road, Ashford, Kent, TN25 4BN.

Folkestone, Shell Garage, Stop 24 Services, J11, M20, Kent, CT21 4BL.

We are booked in on the ferry crossing departing Dover at 10.05hrs outbound and 19.00hr on the return leg from Calais.

This Tour is currently being built so keep an eye on this web page or subscribe to our monthly email newsletter for updates - there is a form to do this at the foot of this page. The final detailed and timed itinerary will be posted here at least four weeks prior to departure. If you would like to join us please send Siobhan an email or call on +44 (0) 7722 724 558 for details on how to secure a place and pay the £160pp deposit for this Tour, or if you have any questions about this Tour. Should your plans change, we are happy to return your deposit to you in full provided the date of the return request is more than six weeks before the departure date of the Tour.

Post WW1 Beer poster Ypres

Post WW1 beer poster Ypres Vermeulen Brewery

Tour Price is £955 per person sharing a twin or double room

Single Supplement: £285

We regret that we need to charge a single supplement for travellers who would like their own hotel room. This is because increasingly hotel room prices are quoted with very little difference between single person or two person occupancy.

Deposit payable to secure a place on this Tour is £160 per person.

Send Siobhan an email to find out how to pay the deposit

Included in the cost of this Tour are:

Hotel accommodation and breakfasts;

Hotel city taxes;

Luxury coach travel on a 49 seater coach with toilet;

All brewery visits, tours and brewery beer tastings;

Entrance fees to attractions, museums and historical sites;

All items marked with an asterisk above and on the individual detailed tour itinerary when issued;

Copies of Podge’s City Bar Guides and Maps for the town where we stay or spend some time;

Still and sparkling water on the coach;

Pick up from one of our agreed joining points on the way to Folkestone or even on the other side of the channel.

Courier Services from Siobhan McGinn, your Tour Guide.

Travellers are responsible for the costs of all food and drink apart from items marked with an asterisk on the detailed itinerary plus all passport and insurance costs.

All itinerary times are local and approximate.

Personal insurance is not included in the Tour price but is required to be taken out by Travellers on Podge's Belgian Beer Tours, as is carrying the free UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) which is the 2021 replacement for the old EHIC. You can still use your EHIC card so long as it is in date, then you need to apply for the GHIC replacement online.

All Tours are subject to our Terms and Conditions.