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Really Good Visit

Visited here on the 13th November as part of a coach party, didn't quite know what to expect having... read more

Reviewed yesterday
Jon068
,
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Very moving visit

e tea stop whilst on our way to France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of 1st world war. we'd... read more

Reviewed 2 days ago
MrsDouglas568
,
Blackburn, United Kingdom
via mobile
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Reviewed yesterday

Visited here on the 13th November as part of a coach party, didn't quite know what to expect having visited a large number of WW1 battlefields but from our arrival onward we were made welcome, reception was the only wait we had as there was only one receptionist working but otherwise all good. The restaurant was very impressive with loads of choice and all reasonably priced. The train was well worth booking as it gave us a really good idea of what the arboretum is all about, in all a really moving experience. Our thanks to everyone for the help and respect shown to my Wife and myself.

Thank Jon068
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

e tea stop whilst on our way to France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of 1st world war. we'd heard great things about it but nothing prepared us for what we saw. arrived early to take advantage of a hearty breakfast and was greeted by lovely volunteers who were extremely helpful. we were looking for a few thing in particular including regiments, and more specifically war veterans and everyone we asked were extremely well informed and,able to direct us to exactly where we wanted to see. Apart from the main memorial of the fallen etched on stone tablets, there were hundreds of regimental memorials scattered within the gardens. the place is huge and a fitting tribute to all the men, women and animals who served. I had read a few negative reviews about the service of remembrance on the 11th. all I can say is, the plans were huge and being set up as we were there on the Friday morning. The numbers attending could not have been anticipated and as for the complaint about the cafe, I would have thought it would have been pleasing to see so many people attending to pay their respects. I am sure following our experience and that of others I have spoken to, the staff will have done their utmost to hold a service fitting for the fallen

1  Thank MrsDouglas568
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

Unfortunately we must agree with some of the previous reviews, we went last year and it was lovely, so respectful and moving.
We knew that this year it would be very busy so left home an hour early and got there before 9am and our first surprise was the “park and ride” only seemed to be two buses so it took us nearly an hour from there to get to NMA.
We were looking forward to a nice breakfast but the queues were horrendous so ended up with just a cold sandwich and a coffee. We noticed that there were a lot of people sat in the restaurant without any food or drink but just taking up the spaces for people who actually had purchased food and coupled with the huge toilet queues this made it a very uncomfortable place to be.
I also have to ask why was the service moved round to the back? Unless you were well to the front, and probably having to stand for a couple of hours, you couldn’t actually see anything because it was all at ground level and this coupled with the totally hopeless speaker system made for a very poor experience!
I suspect the organisers did take heed of the extra numbers but I guess they totally miscalculated?
It’s a shame as what should have been a truly memorable and respectful experience for the 100th Anniversary simply wasn’t!!

3  Thank ChrisnWendy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
memorialarboretum, Head of Markting at National Memorial Arboretum, responded to this reviewResponded 2 days ago

Many thanks for your feedback, we are very sorry if you have been left disappointed by your experience on Sunday, this was most certainly not our intention.

Traditionally our Armistice Day service, which is ordinarily a ticketed event, is held on the Armed Forces Memorial and our Remembrance Sunday service at the base of the Armed Forces Memorial. To enable as many people as possible to participate, this year our service was held at the rear of the Armed Forces Memorial in an open area with a screen broadcasting activities that were taking place on the Memorial and at the service site. Remembrance Sunday is never ticketed and, in common with all services, is free to enter for everyone. Therefore, forecasting visitor numbers is an imprecise science and, as a charity, we have to resource events based upon these predictions. Ordinarily on Remembrance Sunday we welcome around 4,000 visitors to site and this year had planned for double this number. In total 12,000 people visited the Arboretum on Remembrance Sunday. We are a UK registered charity and we do not receive any government funding for our day-to-day activities. As such we need to cater for the numbers we genuinely expect. We genuinely did expect just 8,000 people and we were/ are confident that our infrastructure, both on and off site, was adequate for this number of people

In order to manage the event, we had communicated extensively about travel, parking etc and encouraged people to arrive early. We opened our Remembrance Centre an hour earlier than normal, laid on three accessible shuttle buses, implemented additional traffic management signage in the local area and posted pre-booked parking tickets in advance. Despite considered planning, unfortunately, on the day, the busy flow of traffic was further compromised by some vehicles which had been left unattended outside of the allocated parking areas. When we had reached our expected capacities for the event we implemented a dynamic crowd management plan and worked with sound engineers to try to remedy sound issues that some visitors reported experiencing. Unfortunately, due to the layout of the service area, this still did not alleviate the problem despite our best efforts.

At the National Memorial Arboretum we host and plan many large and successful events and we can only apologise again that you felt let down on this occasion. We will ensure your comments and those of others are factored into our formal event review. We do hope to welcome you back to future events.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 days ago

Visited with family for the 100 year anniversary on 11 November. I have visited before and really enjoyed the day but on Sunday 11th it was shambolic. The organisers must have anticipated large crowds but the traffic was dreadful with hardly anyone trying to organise it. The queue into the Park and Ride was endless and in the end people abandoned cars on the roadside so the buses from the park and ride couldn't get through. This meant that people decided to walk in the roadway which was a real danger. I know of people who travelled to the event and didn't get in on time and turned round and went home.

Once inside, the queues for the toilets were very lengthy. The main event took place to the rear of the main memorial. There was only one screen so all the thousands of people who could not squeeze into the limited space to see the screen did no see anything. What a disgrace for people who had come to pay their respects and were treated so disrespectfully by the organisers.

Surely, they knew this was going to be a popular event and could have made it an admission by free ticket only.

1  Thank moiramees
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
memorialarboretum, Head of Marketing at National Memorial Arboretum, responded to this reviewResponded 2 days ago

Many thanks for your feedback, we are very sorry if you have been left disappointed by your experience on Sunday, this was most certainly not our intention.

Traditionally our Armistice Day service, which is ordinarily a ticketed event, is held on the Armed Forces Memorial and our Remembrance Sunday service at the base of the Armed Forces Memorial. To enable as many people as possible to participate, this year our service was held at the rear of the Armed Forces Memorial in an open area with a screen broadcasting activities that were taking place on the Memorial and at the service site. Remembrance Sunday is never ticketed and, in common with all services, is free to enter for everyone. Therefore, forecasting visitor numbers is an imprecise science and, as a charity, we have to resource events based upon these predictions. Ordinarily on Remembrance Sunday we welcome around 4,000 visitors to site and this year had planned for double this number. In total 12,000 people visited the Arboretum on Remembrance Sunday. We are a UK registered charity and we do not receive any government funding for our day-to-day activities. As such we need to cater for the numbers we genuinely expect. We genuinely did expect just 8,000 people and we were/ are confident that our infrastructure, both on and off site, was adequate for this number of people.

In order to manage the event, we had communicated extensively about travel, parking etc and encouraged people to arrive early. We opened our Remembrance Centre an hour earlier than normal, laid on three shuttle buses, implemented additional traffic management signage in the local area and posted parking tickets in advance. Despite considered planning, unfortunately on the day the busy flow of traffic was, as you have indicated, further compromised by some vehicles which had been left unattended outside of the allocated parking areas.

At the National Memorial Arboretum we host and plan many large and successful events and we can only apologise again that you felt let down on this occasion. We will ensure your comments and those of others are factored into our formal event review. We do hope to welcome you back to future events.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 days ago

My wife and I had been meaning to visit for ages and we are both glad we did. We found it all very moving on a glorious September day. AS the site is so large,we decided to take the train around the arboretum as other people have recommended on Tripadvisor. This gives a good insight with commentary and we were glad we did it. WE spent the whole day here walking around after the train trip and have still not managed to see it all. Will definitely be returning to take in the rest. There is also a restaurant and shop to visit. The guides are very helpful and knowledgeable too

Thank Jagman42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 days ago via mobile

My wife and were invited to to the NMA for the Armistice 100. Over the last five years it has developed into a 'place to see'. The history, the serenity and the layout is second to none. I fully recommend anyone to make a visit. Helping to make visits is the staff around the whole area, pleasant, friendly and extremely knowledgeable.
Thank you for our day of remembrance.

2  Thank DarraldJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 days ago

so disappionted, could not hear or see, surely you were expecting the large numbers that came. not enough buses we walked miles to the event to make sure we got there. very badly organised hope someone takes responsibility for ruining so many peoples day

2  Thank dennis w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
memorialarboretum, Head of Marketing at National Memorial Arboretum, responded to this reviewResponded 2 days ago

Many thanks for taking the time to review your recent visit to the National Memorial Arboretum. We are aware that a proportion of our visitors were delayed getting onto the site and being unable to hear the relay of the service in certain areas of the grounds. We are very sorry if you have been disappointed by your experience on Sunday, this was most certainly not our intention.

Traditionally our Armistice Day service, which is ordinarily a ticketed event, is held on the Armed Forces Memorial and our Remembrance Sunday service at the base of the Armed Forces Memorial. To enable as many people as possible to participate, this year our service was held at the rear of the Armed Forces Memorial in an open area with a screen broadcasting activities that were taking place on the Memorial, and at the service site. Remembrance Sunday is never ticketed and, in common with all services, is free to enter for everyone. Therefore, forecasting visitor numbers is an imprecise science and, as a charity, we have to resource events based upon these predictions. Ordinarily on Remembrance Sunday we welcome in excess of 4,000 visitors to site and this year had planned for double this number. In total 12,000 people visited the Arboretum on Remembrance Sunday. We are a UK registered charity and we do not receive any government funding for our day-to-day activities. As such we need to cater for the numbers we genuinely expect. We genuinely did expect just 8,000 people and we were/ are confident that our infrastructure, both on and off site, was adequate for this number of people.

In order to manage traffic to the event, we communicated extensively about travel, parking, etc, and encouraged people to arrive on site early. We opened an hour earlier than normal, laid on free shuttle services and implemented an additional traffic management plan. When we had reached our expected capacities for the event we implemented a dynamic crowd management plan and worked with sound engineers to try to remedy sound issues that some visitors reported experiencing. Unfortunately, due to the layout of the service area, this still did not alleviate the problem despite our best efforts.

At the National Memorial Arboretum we host and plan many large and successful events and we can only apologise again that you felt let down on this occasion. We do hope to welcome you back to future events.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 days ago

We have been attending the Annual Remembrance Service at the National Memorial Arboretum for many years. We lay the wreaths at the RAMC and the QARANC memorials. We thought that this year Armistice 100 - marking the end of the first World War 100 years ago would be special, especially as it fell on the 11 November. What a disappointment with the organisation of this commemorative occasion.
*The sound system was non existent, why were there not large screens around the site, so that you could watch and listen to the service, no matter where you were on the site, as this has been done before.
*Dignitaries and officials had the prime locations.
*The bag piper was appalling. If you had watched the news in the evening and listened to the pipers from around the country you would know how dreadful he sounded.
*The parade march past, felt like it was a separate event, everything on this special day appeared to be disjointed. Such a shame.
*Additional toilets are required for large events, to avoid the long queues and congestion around the shop and those waiting to purchase food and drink.
The only positive thing I can say is you knew there would be a large number of people attending the service, that you arranged for additional parking and a shuttle bus service.
Not sure if I will come again next year.

2  Thank Linda R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
memorialarboretum, Head of Marketing at National Memorial Arboretum, responded to this reviewResponded 2 days ago

Many thanks for taking the time to review your recent visit to the Arboretum.

We are aware a proportion of our visitors were unable to hear the relay of the service in certain areas of the grounds. We are very sorry if you have been disappointed by your experience on Sunday, this was most certainly not our intention.

Traditionally our Armistice Day service, which is ordinarily a ticketed event, is held on the Armed Forces Memorial and our Remembrance Sunday service at the base of the Armed Forces Memorial. To enable as many people as possible to participate, this year our service was held at the rear of the Armed Forces Memorial in an open area with a screen broadcasting activities that were taking place on the Memorial and at the service site. Although we were unable to provide an additional screen in Heroes’ Square on this occasion, the service was broadcast over our speakers in Heroes’ Square for those who did not wish to go to the service site itself.

A very small proportion of the more than 12,000 visitors watching the service on Remembrance Sunday were acting in an official capacity representing organisations. Over 1,000 chairs were provided at the service site, the vast majority were unreserved and were utilised by members of the general public. In the interest of fairness to all visitors these could not be reserved in advance of the event and were allocated on a first-come-first-served basis on the day.

Our Remembrance Sunday parade is normally held a short time after the end of the service. Logistically this allows people who are participating in the service, and visitors who wish to participate in the parade, to make their way to the start of the parade and to receive a briefing from the parade marshal. During this time our team are also able to clear the parade route of crowds which can take a few minutes.

Remembrance Sunday is never ticketed and, in common with all services, is free to enter for everyone. Therefore, forecasting visitor numbers is an imprecise science and, as a charity, we have to resource events based upon these predictions. We genuinely did expect just 8,000 people and we were/ are confident that our infrastructure, both on and off site, was adequate for this number of people.

In order to manage the event, we had communicated extensively about travel, parking, etc, and encouraged people to arrive early. We opened an hour earlier than normal, laid on free shuttle buses and posted parking tickets in advance.

At the National Memorial Arboretum we host and plan many large and successful events and we can only apologise again that you felt let down on this occasion. We do hope to welcome you back to future events.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 days ago

Second time we've visited last time was ''ride to the wall'' 2017. My complaint this time was the lack of buses from Park and Ride we were told there were 3 but saw only 2 so after driving nearly 2 hours stuck in traffic we then held our own minutes silence in a car park. My other complaint was the overflowing toilet close to the Christmas Truce Memorial. We watched an elderly disabled gentleman struggling to use the toilet, please can we treat these old soldiers with more respect.

2  Thank Jan T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
memorialarboretum, Head of Marketing at National Memorial Arboretum, responded to this reviewResponded 2 days ago

Many thanks for taking the time to feedback about your visit on Remembrance Sunday. We are aware that a proportion of our visitors were delayed getting onto the site. We are very sorry if you have been disappointed by your experience on Sunday, this was most certainly not our intention.

In order to manage the event, we had communicated extensively about travel, parking etc and encouraged people to arrive early. We opened our Remembrance Centre an hour earlier than normal, laid on three shuttle buses, implemented additional traffic management signage in the local area and posted parking tickets in advance. Despite considered planning, unfortunately, on the day, the busy flow of traffic was further compromised by some vehicles which had been left unattended outside of the allocated parking areas.

Traditionally our Armistice Day service, which is ordinarily a ticketed event, is held on the Armed Forces Memorial and our Remembrance Sunday service at the base of the Armed Forces Memorial. To enable as many people as possible to participate, this year our service was held at the rear of the Armed Forces Memorial in an open area with a screen broadcasting activities that were taking place on the Memorial. Remembrance Sunday is never ticketed and, in common with all services, is free to enter for everyone. Therefore, forecasting visitor numbers is an imprecise science and, as a charity, we have to resource events based upon these predictions. Ordinarily on Remembrance Sunday we welcome in excess of 4,000 visitors to site and this year had planned for double this number. In total 12,000 people visited the Arboretum on Remembrance Sunday. We are a UK registered charity and we do not receive any government funding for our day-to-day activities. As such we need to cater for the numbers we genuinely expect. We genuinely did expect just 8,000 people and we were/ are confident that our infrastructure, both on and off site, was adequate for this number of people

The Arboretum has extensive provision for visitors with access requirements, including disabled toilets in the Remembrance Centre and Far East Prisoners of War exhibition building. A detailed access guide, which is updated regularly, is available for download from our website and details the facilities we are able to provide. We encourage any visitors who have particular accessibility concerns to contact the Arboretum in advance of their visit to site, and our team are always happy to assist where we can on the day. As an outdoor site, situated on a flood plane, it is not unfortunately possible to provide permanent toilet facilities in the outer areas of our grounds. The temporary facilities provided are regularly checked and cleaned by a third party contractor who provides them, although if these aren’t as expected we do encourage visitors to contact us our team who can assist.

At the National Memorial Arboretum we host and plan many large and successful events and we can only apologise again that you felt let down on this occasion. We do hope to welcome you back to future events.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 days ago via mobile

What a huge disappointment November 11 was, couldn’t hear the service and we weren’t far from the rostrum area! Sound system was non existent! Travelled a long way to be there for that special day , never again in our lifetime will it happen.
So many people were just walking off!!!!
Let yourselves down @ the National Arboretum!

3  Thank Glamama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
memorialarboretum, Head of Marketing at National Memorial Arboretum, responded to this reviewResponded 3 days ago

Many thanks for taking the time to review your visit to the National Memorial Arboretum.

We are aware of a proportion of our visitors being unable to hear the relay of our Remembrance Sunday service in certain areas of the grounds. We are very sorry if any visitors have been disappointed by their experience, this was most certainly not our intention. It's important to note that Remembrance Sunday is never ticketed and, in common with all services, free to enter for everyone.

Forecasting visitor numbers is an imprecise science but, as a charity, we have to resource events based upon these predictions. The Arboretum team did anticipate a large number of people for our Remembrance Sunday commemorations and made extensive arrangements, with planning taking place over many months. However, given unprecedented public interest in this centenary year, we in fact welcomed many more people than we had planned for.

In order to manage the event, we had communicated extensively about travel, parking, etc, and encouraged people to arrive early. We opened an hour earlier than normal, laid on free shuttle buses and posted parking tickets in advance. Clearly though, based upon yesterday’s experience, we need to review our plans and we are committed to ensuring that people can be comfortably accommodated at future events.

Thanks once again for your feedback.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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