7 places to visit and commemorate the Great War

Date Posted: 08/11/2018

With 2018 marking the centenary of the end of the First World War, we look at the museums, exhibitions and attractions to visit with your group this year and next. 

Parades will be taking place in towns and cities across the country on Remembrance Sunday, and Britain will fall silent at 11am as a mark of respect, but here are a selection of further attractions that you could attend:

1.    National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire

The site in Staffordshire offers reflection for visitors all-year round. There are 300 permanent memorials, a programme of daily activities and other temporary exhibitions, set within a 150-acre site dedicated to remembering those who have served, and continue to serve, our country.

If you’re already heading to the NMA in the next couple of weeks, you’ll get to see the Royal British Legion Field of Remembrance. The moving tribute of more than 18,000 personal messages from members of the public to servicemen and women that lost their life during or after the First World War will be open to visitors until 19th November 2018.

2.     The Remembrance Centre, Portsmouth

Located in Portsmouth, and run by volunteers, the site features display artefacts, exhibits and memorabilia from World War One. Featuring a memorial centre, and a walk-through trench system, the site also hosts temporary exhibits covering aspects of the Great War.

3.    Poppy, the War Horse, Berkshire

Unveiled in Ascot, Berkshire on 8th June 2018, Poppy the War Horse is the first memorial dedicated to the millions of horses, mules and donkeys lost during the Great War. Visit the large bronze horse as a way of paying tribute to the courage and contribution that the animals played in the freedom we experience today.

Image: Field of Remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum.

4.    Imperial War Museum – Manchester and London

Throughout the year, both the IWM museum in London and Manchester can be visited to explore immersive exhibits telling the moving stories of over a century of war.

A temporary exhibition, Lest We Forget, has been installed in the Imperial War Museum in Manchester and will be available to visit until February 2019. Items featured within the exhibition include paintings, objects, photographs, film clips and the original Joey puppet from the National Theatre production of War Horse, providing an understanding of the cost of war.

This month, the two installations of poppies created for the Tower of London in 2014, Wave and Weeping Window, will be available to visit at both museums.

Elsewhere in the museums, exhibitions will walk visitors through a timeline of history from the First World War to the present day.

5. Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Located within the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, the National Museum of the Royal Navy’s major gallery, Hear My Story, tells the tales of the ordinary men and women that shaped the history of the Navy in the past 100 years. Also located within the Dockyard is the HMS M33, one of the few British warships from the Great War that is still in existence, and is open to the public to visit.

6. RAF Museum, Colindale

2018 also marks the centenary year for the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the museum in Colindale, North West London has responded to the occasion with the opening of new galleries to reflect on its history and achievements. 

Exhibitions featuring personal artefacts such as log books, hidden maps, survival rations and mascots tell the inspiring stories of the servicemen and women can be explored, alongside aircraft, vehicles and boats used by the RAF.

7.    York Castle Museum

The museum’s exhibition, 1914: When the World Changed Forever, was opened in 2014 to mark the chain of events that led to the outbreak of the world, but has since become a long-term exhibition. Within the display are five flags flown in York to mark the end of the war, that were rediscovered 100 years after the end of the conflict, among other artefacts, costume and social history collections.

Armistice 100 events

Events and services will take place across England this Sunday, 11th November, from Beacon lightings, to a moving tribute by filmmaker Danny Boyle.
The annual traditional ceremony at the Cenotaph will conclude with an expanded march-past, which will see members of the public participating in ‘A Nation’s Thank you – The People’s Procession’.

Main image: Armed Forces Memorial National Memorial Arboretum

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