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Bayeeux area Most Child-friendly (12yr old) WWII sites etc?

Highworth, United...
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Bayeeux area Most Child-friendly (12yr old) WWII sites etc?

We are stopping near Bayeux for three days in August to get a taste of the area and are travelling with our 12 year old daughter. (We will already have spent a week in Pontorson.)

So - re WWII - please can anyone tell us which sites they think might be interesting/suitable for us to visit and learn something and feel the atmosphere without having to participate in a several hour tour that would be too much for Annabel who hasn't started her WWII history yet at school? Ideally we'd like to be able to dip into things over the few days rather than try to do everything in one very long day.

Somebody mentioned an American diner they stumbled on near the American Cemetery that would be good to incorporate in a trip. Does anybody know anything about this?

There may also be something else, other than WWII-themed visits, that would be appropriate for us?

Any advice would be gratefully received.

Many thanks. Sarah

Bayeux, France
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1. Re: Bayeeux area Most Child-friendly (12yr old) WWII sites etc?

Pointe du hoc will interest her. It's been left practically as it was 65 years ago. The craters and bunkers are all there. you can go in a troop shelter that has lights in and th ecommand post which is open now after 8 years of being closed.

Walking round the front of the command post one gets a full view of the hight and sheerness of the cliffs.

Longues gun battery also has the guns in place in the casemates,

On other themes there's the bell foundry at Villedieu lespoelles where you can see the bells being made in the same manner as centuries past.

The souterroscope is an old slate mine.

Cerza zoo near Lisieux is a great day out for a family.

Cite de la mer at Cherbourg has an aquarium rising through three floors of the building.

Los Angeles
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2. Re: Bayeeux area Most Child-friendly (12yr old) WWII sites etc?

We stayed at a wonderful B&B which is a 1800 hectare farm about 15 minutes from the beaches. A wonderful host, Odile and a fabulous farm with fresh fruits, plus the horses and other animals. The rooms are elegantly designed and decorated, large and clean. Odile makes a fabulous breakfast each day for all those staying with her. Our 13 year old son loved the place.

Los Angeles
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3. Re: Bayeeux area Most Child-friendly (12yr old) WWII sites etc?

Forgot to mention the B&B -- ferme du pressoir. I wrote about our trip in a trip report (Our Month in France).

Essex
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4. Re: Bayeeux area Most Child-friendly (12yr old) WWII sites etc?

I would recommend the 360' Cinema on the cliff tops at Arromanches, the film show mixes D-Day footage with modern views of the same locations. It does not 'go on' for very long, but is quite atmospheric. Yes, it includes war footage, but I honestly don't think there is anything that a 12'er would not be able to handle. You get a great view along the coast too, you can see the remains of the Mulberry Harbour, and down into Arromanches.

Arromanches is a 'nice seaside town' anyway, with the Mulberry Harbour there, the small museum is good - an hour or so in there, or less would not be 'too much' I think! Then you can go for a walk on the lovely sandy beach, a 'paddle' and an ice cream etc.

In Bayeux, definitely go to visit the tapestry. Unless there is a huge queue when you get there, my advice is to bypass all the introductory 'stuff' and just get to looking at the tapestry itself. You will all be amazed with the colours and the design. Your DD might be interested in the needlework - but if that does not interest her, the story that it tells, the horses and the 'activities' going on in the borders of the work surely will - some of them are quite funny too.

Highworth, United...
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5. Re: Bayeeux area Most Child-friendly (12yr old) WWII sites etc?

Many thanks for the helpful replies - I think the idea of Arromanches would be good to start with and the 360 cinema, then add other suggestions will make better sense afterwards. We actually live three miles away from where the top secret resistance training took place (the highly trained local people who would have been used to slow a German invasion down as long as possible - life expectancy 3 weeks!) during WWII in the UK and have a bunker that you can go into with a private guide, so I although we don't have the usual WWII knowledge we know quite a bit about another side of it.

The foundary also looks interesting and the tapestry tips are useful too - I gather we won't be there more than an hour or so.

Sarah

Bayeux, France
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6. Re: Bayeeux area Most Child-friendly (12yr old) WWII sites etc?

Where was the training site?

Essex
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7. Re: Bayeeux area Most Child-friendly (12yr old) WWII sites etc?

Well, it was all around Highworth, at Coleshill House and Hannington Hall

highworthhistoricalsociety.co.uk/abouthighwo…

…bbc.co.uk/local/…8516010.stm

Bayeux, France
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8. Re: Bayeeux area Most Child-friendly (12yr old) WWII sites etc?

Thanks, There's allways something new to learn

Essex
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9. Re: Bayeeux area Most Child-friendly (12yr old) WWII sites etc?

SOE also had a training school at Beaulieu, been there recently and found out about it then!

beaulieu.co.uk/attractions/secret-army-exhib…

Highworth, United...
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10. Re: Bayeeux area Most Child-friendly (12yr old) WWII sites etc?

Essexwanderer you know your stuff - I suppose that's how you get to make over 6000 posts! I five a few hundred metres away from the post office in Highworth where the new recruits turned up, answered a series of coded messages to the Post Mistress, then were sent by bike up to Coleshill Manor (burnt down in the 1950's) where they were trained etc. We also had radio training at Hannington a couple of miles away too. The Post Mistress kept her history a complete secret for 50 years (I think) from everybody including her family as per the official secrets act, only telling people in her old age. There's a plaque outside the house to commemorate it now. So it's only in recent years that it's all become common knowledge. The National Trust arranged their first WWII open day last year and were inundated with enthusiasts and people just wanting to know more. The bunker was open. It was so popular they are going to do them regularly - interesting stuff.

Sarah