This Beer & Battlefields Tour was originally scheduled for Friday 18 September to Wednesday 23 September 2020 but has been postponed due to Covid-19 issues. This Tour needs to run in September and as the Podge Tours calendar for 2021 is getting pretty busy, we have postponed it to 2022. This is a brilliant, brand new and unique Tour explores Antwerp province with regard to beer and the WW2 bridgeheads so vital to the prosecution of the war in September 1944. This is a five night, six day tour staying at the Hotel Corbie in the centre of the town of Geel - the eye of the storm which was the Battle of Geel fought in and around this Flemish town between 8-23rd September 1944 and was one of the largest and bloodiest battles during the Liberation of Belgium during the Second World War.
Your tour guide, Siobhan McGinn, is a specialist in Belgium and beer in the First World War but she has been inspired to design this Tour by one of Podge Tours regular travellers whose father was in the 15th (Scottish) Division in the Second World War and who took part in the Battle of Geel. He was wounded in September 1944 and returned to England. With access to published Battalion war diaries we can follow his actions. We also have unique access to photos, his dog-tags and personal army papers and family reminiscences which we can use to follow what happened to him, and other allied forces who were here in September 1944.
There are plenty of Second World War sites to visit in this area peculiarly situated next to canals and bridgeheads which formed the focus of the fighting around Geel.
We will visit Second World War extant Bailey Bridges at Mol and we'll have a look at the 15th (Scottish) Division Memorial in Tenaard. We'll find out what a 1970s Spartan combat vehicle is doing in this part of Belgium and what it has to do with WW2 liberation. We shall have a look at the US forces contribution to the fighting in this area, including visiting the site and memorial of a downed Waco CG-4A Glider and a Sherman Firefy Tank parked up next to a waterway which saw action in September 1944. Well have a look at some of the touching memorials to downed allied planes in these parts and in particular Avro Lancasters and Handley Page Halifax bombers. We'll take a look at some of the 'Stumbling Stones' in this area and their link with the German occupation in the War. We will spend a day in the beautiful city of Antwerp and not only visit a brewery there but take a tour of a concrete Second World War ship built to supply German U-Boats and now parked up in Antwerp docks. There will be a visit to a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery where the men who fought to liberate this part of Belgium in the Second World War rest, specifically those men who lost their lives in the fighting for the bridgeheads around Geel.
Did you think we'd forgotten the beer? Certainly not. This is a beer tour after all. We aim to visit some of the best breweries, beer cafes and beer restaurants in Antwerp Province including the Westmalle Trappist Monastery brewery Tap in Malle (Cafe Trappisten) where we can slake our thirsts with THE world's best Dubbel and Tripel anywhere, period. There are some great breweries in Antwerp Province and we are aiming to arrange a brewery tour and beer tasting at some, if not all of the following:
Nest Brewery in Turnhout
De Vlier Brewery in Holsbeek
Hof ten Dormaal in Haacht
De Dool Breery in the castle at Houthalen-Helchteren
Remise 56 Brewery in Kooersel, a new venture and good things are said of it and its beers.
We are based in Chelmsford Essex and we use Eurotunnel from Folkestone to get to and from Belgium in our UK hired coach. 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.
Our Galloways luxury coach (49 seater coach with toilet) starts from Suffolk and on the way to Chelmsford picks up at the following if required:
Ipswich, Crown Street, IP1 3HS (opp. NCP Car Park)
Colchester, Southway, CO2 7BA (pull-in adjacent to Chapel Street South)
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
Maidstone Services J8, M20 Kent, ME17 1SS
Ashford (Eureka Leisure Park) Premier Inn, Eureka Leisure Park, Rutherford Rd, Ashford TN25 4BN
Stop 24 Services, J11, M20, Kent, CT21 4BL
Stationsplein, Adinkerke, Belgium
The crossing times we usually go for are the 09.20hr Eurotunnel from Folkestone and the 19.50hrs from Calais, so we arrive back in Folkestone at 19.30hrs UK time.
This Tour is still being built so keep an eye on this web page or subscribe to our monthly email newsletter for updates. 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 her on +44 (0)1245 354677 for details on how to secure a place and pay the £150pp deposit for this Tour, or if you have any questions about this Tour.
We regret that we need to charge a single supplement for travellers who require their own hotel room. This is because increasingly hotel room prices are quoted with very little difference between single person or two person occupancy. If you are travelling alone and want to share a room with another traveller please contact Siobhan as we are regularly able to pair up travellers in twin rooms to avoid the need for payment of the Single Supplement.
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 Ipswich (at bus shelter outside Crown House, Crown Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 3HS (opposite NCP Car Park), Colchester (Southway Chapel St South Layby) or Chelmsford (The Woolpack, Mildmay Road). Arrangements can be made for different joining points on the way to Folkestone or even on the other side of the channel.
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 Travel & Health insurance is not included in the Tour price but is required for all Travellers on Podge's Belgian Beer Tours.
If you have any questions or would like to join us please send Siobhan an email or call on +44 (0)1245 354677.
All Tours are subject to our Terms and Conditions.