The Friendly Invasion
Discover Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk and a new tourism project, entitled The Friendly Invasion. Visit World War II small museums and airfields, drink in the famous bars where US airmen inscribed the walls, experience the tradition of “punting” on the River Cam, and transport yourself back in time amongst the backdrops of English villages, country gardens and stately homes. Our journey begins in the university of Cambridge, home to over 800 years of world-changing ideas, philosophers, artists and academia of today’s celebrities. Tour the Great Halls, view the “College Backs” from a punt, (flat-bottomed boat propelled by a pole), check out signatures and graffiti left by the US servicemen from the Mighty Either Air Force and walk the emotional path in the American Cemetery and Memorial.
Bury St Edmunds magnificent cathedral and abbey was the former seat of the Kings of the East Angles (hence region’s name, East Anglia!) and has a garden commemorated to those US Airmen who lost their lives. The awesome architecture is a perfect setting for evensong; shopping choices are excellent or take a tour of the Greene King Brewery, makers of traditional ale for over 200 years.
Lavenham is a characteristic, half timber-framed village and the medieval woollen capital. It’s cobbled streets, and “higgledy-piggledy” buildings make for an attractive stop at The Swan Hotel. Relax over a pint of ale in the Airmen’s Bar and peruse the mementoes left by the many US servicemen- this hotel exudes charm and has a very special ambience. Dependent on time of year, there are special events that recreate WWII, so guests can adorn clothing from 1940’s, or listen to entertaining after-dinner speakers covering various topics on local history.
Moving North, you can visit “airfields-turned-museum” homes of 95th Bomb Group at Horam and 453rd Bomb Group at Old Buckenham-both full of interesting US military memorabilia. Arrival in Norwich, one of the best-preserved medieval cities in England, is perfect for exploring the waterway and lakeside villages around the Norfolk Broads, taste and touring the award-winning Winbirri Vineyard or visiting the country estate of Sandringham, home to our Queen Elizabeth II.
Finally, on the return journey, the last stop on the itinerary will have all visitors fully engaged-whether interest in military ancestry or not! Imperial War Museum Duxford is Britain’s largest aviation museum and houses a plethora of aircraft and associated transport memorabilia. The American Air Museum tells the story of those who lived, fought and died in conflict, with dramatic testimonials and imagery and original film footage set amongst acres of exhibits – we guarantee an inspirational half-day.