The Great Escaper: From Portsmouth to Normandy

The Great Escaper: From Portsmouth to Normandy

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The Great Escaper: From Portsmouth to Normandy

5 Days Starting in Portsmouth and ending in 14000 Caen, France

Visiting: Portsmouth, Normandy, Caen, Sword Beach, Juno Beach

Tour operator:

Leger Holidays

Tour code:


Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Physical rating:


Age range:


Special diets catered:


Tour operated in:

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Tour Overview

D-Day was one of the great turning points in the Second World War. The invasion of the French coastline in Normandy saw more than 156,000 Allied soldiers put ashore successfully in a single day and marked the beginning of the end of the war in the West. Normandy was a battle of seventy-seven days and while many died, most men came home, and in the years that followed WW2, they returned to Normandy as veterans. In 'The Great Escaper', Sir Michael Caine stars as Bernard Jordan, the D-Day veteran who made global headlines when he ‘escaped’ his care home to attend the 70th anniversary commemorations in Normandy, aged 89. The film explores what that return to the 1944 battlefield meant to him as an individual, but also the mental and physical impact shouldered by a whole generation who fought and survived the Second World War. Travel with us to understand Bernard Jordan's story, uncover the stories of other veterans who were there and visit some of the key battlefields of eighty years ago.


  • Uncover the stories of other veterans who were there and visit some of the key battlefields of eighty years ago

  • Travel to Portsmouth and visit the D-Day Experience, the foremost D-Day Museum in Britain located in a key port connected with the Naval operations in 1944

  • Travel across to Juno Beach and see where the Canadians landed, and afterwards visit the new British Normandy Memorial overlooking Gold Beach where the names of Bernard Jordan's comrades who died are engraved on the panels


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Day 1 The D-Day Experience

Location: Portsmouth

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Ibis Portsmouth Centre

Meals Included: No Meals

After our interchange, we travel to Portsmouth and visit the D-Day Experience, the foremost D-Day Museum in Britain located in a key port connected with the Naval operations in 1944. Here we discover more about the Normandy landings and see many fascinating objects that link us to 1944. A new part of the museum is a preserved original Landing Craft Tank (LCT) which is the same type of ship Bernard Jordan served in on D-Day, and we can explore this and see a Churchill and a Sherman tank on its deck.

Bernard served in the Royal Navy, so we walk onto the seafront at Portsmouth and visit the Portsmouth Naval Memorial which commemorates many sailors who died in action at Normandy and who were buried at sea.

We then proceed to our overnight hotel in Portsmouth.

Day 2 : Build Up To D-Day

Location: Portsmouth, Normandy, Caen

Accommodation Name: Ibis Falaise or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast

Portsmouth was one of the main ports of departure for the D-Day landings in 1944, and 70 years later, it was also the point of departure for Bernie Jordan on his journey back to Normandy. After Bernie ‘escaped’ his care home in Hove early on the 5th June 2014, he ended up spending all of his cash on a taxi to the ferry terminal, not that that deterred him from continuing on his journey.

In 1944, the force that would land on the Normandy coastline assembled in the countryside around the city, with key marshalling areas for troops being located in the fields and woods on the city outskirts.

Before we leave Portsmouth, we look at some D-Day-related sites around Portsmouth, including one of the loading ramps used by the Navy. We then travel to Dover for the ferry to France, continuing to Normandy and our hotel in Caen for three nights.

Day 3 : The Great Escaper & D-Day

Location: Sword Beach

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Ibis Falaise or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast

Bernard Jordan's war on D-Day took him across the Channel as a leading seaman on a Landing Craft Tank transporting an armoured unit to Sword Beach, one of the five Allied beaches on 6 June 1944. Today, we travel to Sword Beach and look at how the landings worked, from the types of ships bringing the troops in, to H-Hour when the ramps went down and men, tanks and specialist armour hit the beaches. As a qualified electrician, Bernie was tasked with operating the huge ramp on the front of his LCT and the film explores the psychological impact sending his comrades onto the beach, where many would lose their lives, may have had on Bernie.

Sword Beach was no pushover, and we discuss the problems they had breaking the Atlantic Wall here. We also look at the Commando story as men from Lord Lovat's Special Service Brigade came in the follow up waves, but also fought on the beach, including the legendary piper Bill Millin, whose memorial we will see. We visit the 'Sword Beach Cemetery' at Hermanville and the Naval Memorial on the seafront, see the unit memorials to those who landed, and also discuss what places like Sword Beach mean to the veterans who returned after the war.

After lunch, we examine what the armoured units that Bernard Jordan landed on D-Day did in the advance on Caen. We follow the battlefields around the city where the fighting raged in June-July 1944, visit the ground around the Abbey Ardennes where Allied soldiers clashed with the SS, and finish the day at Bayeux War Cemetery. This is the largest Second World War British Cemetery in France with over 4,500 graves. It holds a special place in the narrative of The Great Escaper as both Bernie and a fellow veteran he befriends on his journey travel to the cemetery to pay their respects to fallen soldiers who were close to them. We also look at some of the preserved WW2 tanks in the grounds of the nearby war museum.

Day 4 : D-Day: Day Of Days

Location: Juno Beach

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Ibis Falaise or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast

Bernard Jordan was one of many veterans of the D-Day landings and today we explore the wider story of June 1944, looking at the British Airborne story from Pegasus Ridge to Ranville War Cemetery and onto the Breville Ridge. This ground was all very special to the surviving veterans, and we see memorials that many of them had a hand in and tell the stories of their friends who never returned.

We then travel across to Juno Beach and see where the Canadians landed, and afterwards visit the new British Normandy Memorial overlooking Gold Beach where the names of Bernard Jordan's comrades who died are engraved on the panels.

Lunchtime is in Arromanches, where you can explore the story of the Mulberry Harbour, the artificial port that helped secure victory in 1944 and enabled supplies, men, and equipment to be brought in after the beach landings. We finish the day at the excellent Overlord Museum – one of the best in Normandy with an unrivalled collection of vehicles and artefacts from WW2 – before travelling down to Omaha Beach where American soldiers landed on D-Day. We discuss what places like this meant to what the United States calls 'The Greatest Generation'.

Day 5 : Return Home

Location: Caen

Meals Included: Breakfast

Return home.

What's Included

  • Accommodation

    As detailed in the itinerary

  • Additional Services

    Travel from a wide range of convenient joining points across the UK is included within your coach holiday price; some carry a supplement. Please contact us for our full list of joining points.

  • Airport Transfers at Destination

    This trip includes coach travel from/to a local UK joining point

  • Fully Guided

  • International Travel

  • Meals

    As detailed in the itinerary

  • Transport

    Comfortable, air-conditioned motorcoach

What's Not Included


You will stay for one night at the Ibis Portsmouth Centre, and three nights at the Ibis Falaise, or similar.

Check out our Q&As

  • Is there a supplement for solo travellers?

    Some tours carry a supplement for solo travellers, please ask for details if the Single price is not shown

  • Are all the relevant entry visa’s included in the price of the tour?


  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?


  • Will there be an escort accompanying this tour?

    Fully escorted by our experienced drivers/crews. And in most towns and cities we either include or offer optional sightseeing tours with expert local guides to help you get the most from your visits.

  • Is there a limit to luggage that can be brought on the tour?

    On Leger Coach Holidays, your allowance is one medium sized suitcase per person, which should weigh no more than 20kg when full.

  • Will I know the names and details of all the accommodation before I depart?


  • Is the tour coach air conditioned?


  • Is there any free time to explore places during the tour?

    As detailed in the itinerary

  • What type of coach will be used?

    You will travel on either our Luxuria Coach or our Silver Service Coach

  • What is the fitness level required to do this tour?


  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    40 years

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Sole use of your own room on all Single Traveller holidays: means you still get your privacy and time out from the group.

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?


  • Battlefield Tours - Will it be possible to visit a particular cemetery whilst on the tour?

    Please contact us and we will check to see whether you can visit a particular cemetery on any of our Battlefield Tours, if we are not able to fit it into our itinerary then you could take some time out of the tour and do this independently by taxi or public transport.

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Please contact us for latest Covid-19 policies

Reviews of this operator

Will (Google Reviewer)  

I went on the 4...


I went on the 4 countries trip and swiss glacier express and overall it was a great trip. The coach I was on was silver service, it was tidy had nice seats and other accessories such as charging points and headsets which was very handy. The drivers Alex and Dave were fantastic, very kind, funny and respectful throughout the whole trip and a pleasure to talk to. The excursions were very pleasant and all ran very smoothly. The hotels were decent and offered a good service. I overall very much recommend leger holidays.

Sally Matson  

Excellent customer service


Booked our ‘Christmas in Austria & Scenic Trains of the Tyrol’ through George on the customer Helpline. Nothing was too much trouble, everything clearly & patiently explained. He even had permission to log in on his day off to finalise the sale! A charming and helpful young person and a credit to the company.

Euan Donald (Google Reviewer)  

Been on two tours now...


Been on two tours now the “D Day beaches” and “ All Quiet on the Western Front” tour of the Somme and Ypres. Both four days in total, two travelling and two on the site of the various battles. This is outstanding value for money, picked up from Carlisle , Cumbria and literally looked after all the way through the tours. The coaches are great and the accommodation spot on . The guides are very knowledgeable ( Mark Hope brilliant guy)and the bus drivers professional . Absolutely fantastic .

Sue Sinfield (Google Reviewer)  

Due to covid it was...


Due to covid it was 3rd time lucky for us to visit lake Garda, what a treat. One or two hiccups but no fault of Legers at all. Praise to Graham and Chris for their excellent driving and coffee service. Our visit to Verona, our guide was very informative but did walk at a pace sometimes had to hurry to keep up. A lovely holiday

Michael Stephen Shilleto   England

Four Countries New Year & the Swiss Glacier Express


Firstly we must thank Alex and Dave our tour guide / drivers who entertained us through out . The tour was fantastic so was the hotel’s food and entertainment. The tour was through the new year holidays as expected lots of shops closed and hotels were understaffed which was lost on some travelers. We travelled back from stop 24 on a luxuria coach I would recommend paying the extra for the comfort alone

Roy Williams (Google Reviewer)  

Great company. We did the...


Great company. We did the 4 day D Day Normandy Landing tour.We had 2 great driver's John and Ian.. Nothing was a problem for them. They kept us safe and entertained.Then we had Fred Greenhow as our guide And he was outstanding. He told us everything we wanted to know. Can't praise them enough Thank you all. We will do more tours with them......

aled blackshaw (Google Reviewer)  

just returned from a solos...


just returned from a solos break to valkenburg and rhine valley i enjoyed the break overall although both journeys were considerably longer than expected due to several picks ups. I could have done without the 3 countries meeting point excursion to be honest and the lunch on rhine cruise was very basic. The drivers/couriers were efficient and good humoured and provided free lunch vouchers on the ferry which were much appreciated. I probably would book another break with leger but to somewhere a lot closer to home.

Andy (Google Reviewer)  

Booked a surprise Birthday treat...


Booked a surprise Birthday treat for my wife 40th to visit The Edinburgh Military Tattoo, All done via work,put all information in the B/card,so excited, one week before trip Cancelled!!! Due to not enough interest?? No Alternative! Never touch them again

Victoria Smith (Google Reviewer)  

I'd like to go lowerthan...


I'd like to go lowerthan one star .my trip over to Italy nearly 36 hours in total.the driver and his wife gave thier mother a seat that was paid for and reserved at a price by another lady who was finally allowed to sit at the front with the drivers mother .( that was good of them considering the lady had paid for 2 holidays and one couldn't make it . I had the cheek to ask for coffee only the women driver to have conversation loud enough for my earshot to her husband then put over the tannoy that coffee will be when they are ready. ( i had bought 24 tickets for drinks on steves advice )but i quietly corrected them saying that they really shouldn't do that so I could hear.Then a barrage of abuse came from her for then her husband to face me off at my seat and a threats to get my case off and find my own way home his face red with rage pointing in my face with comments saying they don't have to take that from they are fed up with people and they have to work 21 hours etc etc .they people were shouting STOP STOP STOP .he continued his rant and saying I would be dropped at the next service station. ( FRANCE) it was raining and I had no idea where I was going or had been.He the gave me a can of diet coke and said i could have it free but no oppology! 15 hours later in italy I wanted to leave and get a plane home .legers were no help but another coach arrived same sort of holiday shearings with nice drivers .No Rome visit and I could be with them for the remainder of time. I did go out on a couple of trips and the bus and drivers were amazing .I was told by legers eventually I can do the return journey with then but my holiday was ruined I cried and slept and am emotionally traumatised . On the plus side the coach i arrived on the doors kept opening in the wind the coach had to pull over and close the door so we could only use side door which was a fire hazzard ! Still no apology last day is today I'm spending in my room .I just want to return to England because I will be getting a solicitor for the abuse i suffered and the money I paid and for the wasted week over Christmas not to mention the anxiety I have suffered .the hotel and food was abysmal. The worse week ever and £1500 spent my nerves are in shreads .I can't wait to see the reviews and already I am flooded with statements from other passengers about how bad it is and my how I should fight for my injustice of it all .this time it must go to court so people are heard and intimidation like this is not allowed


Many thanks to Molly.


I have recently booked a trip to Le Mans and had the good fortune to speak to Molly. She was very helpful and a pleasure to talk to. She was able to answer all but one of my queries with clarity and promised to ring me with the answer to the un-answered question as it required further investigation. This she duly did. An unusually pleasant experience when making a booking over the phone, if only it could be this easy every the time.

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Jun 24, 2024 - Jun 28, 2024

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  • Low Deposit

    Leger Holidays requires a minimum deposit of 20% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 75 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of leger holidays charges.

    Up to 56 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 55 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 42 days before tour starts: Forfeit 75% of booking price.

    At 21 days before tour starts: Forfeit 90% of booking price.

    At 14 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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