Local departure by coach or Door-to-Door service, then to the Paris area for an overnight stay.
To the Bordeaux area for an overnight stay. B.D
Continue to the outskirts of Madrid for an overnight stay. B.D
We visit Wellesley’s (created Viscount Wellington soon after) advanced ‘outposts’ along the banks of the Rio Alberche and hear the story of the fortified Casa de Salinas. Ascending the Cerro de Cascajal we view Wellesley’s positions on the opposite side of the Portina Brook. After lunch, we visit the battlefield memorial sited on the slopes of the Cerro de Medellin Hills and study the panorama of Wellesley's victory from the Allied perspective. We stay for two nights in Badajoz. B.D
Badajoz, a fortified ‘gateway’ town to Spain fell to Allied troops in one of the bloodiest siege’s of the campaign on 6th April 1812. Firstly, we visit Fort San Cristobal and view the town of Badajoz below. We view the ‘breaches’ where the main fighting took place. On the ramparts we will study how the French and German garrison resolutely resisted the Allied operations for days. B.D
A hard-fought victory for the Allies commanded by General Beresford, this was one of the most sanguine battles of the campaign. Today, we walk the 'Fatal Hill' and view where the principal fighting occurred. Wellington, surveying the aftermath, observed the corpses 'literally lying dead in their ranks where they stood'. After visiting the various monuments in the nearby town we drive to Salamanca for three nights.
This morning we visit the Battlefield of Fuentes de Onoro 1811, one of Wellesley’s finest victories and where Captain Ramsay, Royal Horse Artillery having dallied to fire at the oncoming French with two guns, then belatedly retired with his men at the gallop amidst the French bringing their guns with them. After lunch we will walk the siege of Cuidad Rodrigo 1812 commencing from the site of the British Engineers Park interpreting what happened on the much now built over landscape. Your guide will explain the stealthy assault on the Renaud Redoubt and the events at the Main and Lesser Breaches of the town walls. Walking the ramparts our journey will end at the Castle where you will hear about ‘the question’ of ‘who’ accepted the French Governor’s surrender. B.D
Today we leisurely walk selected routes of the battlefield of Salamanca. Fought amongst the hills surrounding the village of Los Arapiles on the morning of 22nd July 1812, the French General Marmont believed the Allies to be retreating. Convinced that his army could get between them and their sanctuary in Portugal it became strung out on the march for close to four miles. Wellington throwing away a chicken leg lunch commented “By God. That will do.” A decisive victory for the Allies, the respected French General Foy diarised ‘This battle is the most cleverly fought, the largest in scale, the most important in results, of any that the English have won in recent times. It brings up Lord Wellington’s reputation almost to the level of that of Marlborough’. B.D
Leaving Salamanca we study the events surrounding Wellington’s 1812 “agonising’ retreat from Burgos. We view the engagement at Venta del Poza, and later see how he boldly outflanked the French and brought them to battle at Vitoria 1813. In the afternoon we will ascend to the position where Wellington viewed the battlefield. After looking at how Picton insubordinately rushed the Mendoza Bridge, we will then follow in the footsteps Kempt’s troops as they stormed the Tres Puentes Bridge. We drive to Pamplona where you will learn how the fortress commander was galvanised by Wellington to reluctantly surrender to the Spanish. We stay at Pamplona for one night. B.D
Today we will stand on the bridge that Wellington wrote a despatch at the battlefield of Sorauren 1813. We will view the failure of Marshal Soult’s belated attempt to relieve San Sebastian and Pamplona. Rendered uncomfortable by the presence on the field of the Duke, Soult delayed and thus handed the advantage to Monsieur Wellington. We then follow Soult’s withdrawal north and look at how an unsupported Spanish battalion barred the way of a French army corps for two hours. What followed was the battle the Bidassoa River 1813. Walking along the river bank your guide will tell you how Wellington’s army fought its way onto French soil. After studying the bloody Storming of San Sebastian 1813, at Urrugne we will overview the battle of Nivelle 1813 and then visit the church at Arcangues, scene of the dual between the 43rd Monmouthshires and two French gun batteries during the battle of the Nive 1813. The gunners conceded abandoning 12 cannon. Then we drive to the Bayonne/Biarritz area for two nights. B.D
On the morning of 12 December 1813 while investing Bayonne, General ‘Daddie’ Hill observed the French approaching en mass. Outnumbered 3 to 1 Hill held his nerve and his ground for four critical hours. Upon his timely arrival, Hill offered Wellington control of the battle. Declining the Duke conceded “My dear Hill, the day’s your own”. So was won the Battle of St Pierre that we will visit this morning. Afterwards we will study the French Sortie from Bayonne, visit Marshal Soult’s Memorial and see what happened at the Citadel. B.D
This morning we view the landscape of the Battle of Orthez 1814. In undertaking this defensive battle and facing Wellington from a strong position, Marshal Soult’s plan incorporated withdrawal rather than holding the ground should events be the least unfavourable. This he did but not without seeing Wellington slightly wounded during the proceedings. After lunch we drive to Toulouse. We study how the Allies with difficulty and at great cost wrested the city from Soult on 12th April 1814 only to discover that peace was being negotiated at Fontainebleau. We stay overnight in the Limoges area. B
Today we travel to the Palace of Fontainebleau where your guide will explain the political circumstances surrounding both the 1807 and 1814 Treaties of Fontainbleau in relation to the Peninsular War (Entrance fee extra). Then to Paris area for an overnight stay. B
To Calais,then return home. B
Included Meals: B=Breakfast, D=Dinner