Medieval and Napoleonic Battlefields in Europe
Period accommodation for those seeking to undertake DIY Battlefield Tours
See the Battlefield Tours index
Do-it-yourself battlefield tours are increasingly popular. However, anyone intending to do so without in-depth knowledge is strongly advised to consult reputable guidebooks or documents in order that they gain the best possible experience during their visit. Nights In The Past is not a tour operator and our aim instead is simply to help travellers find historic accommodation as close as possible to the intended destination.
Battle of Agincourt.
25th October, 1415. Azincourt, Pas-de-Calais, France.
The village of Azincourt can be found just off the D928 road between the towns of Hesdin and St. Omer. It is located approximately three miles south of the small town of Fruges. Travelling from Calais, take the A26 motorway, exit 14, and follow signs for Fruges.
The visitors centre is open all year, except on Tuesdays between November and March. It is also closed on Christmas and New Years Day.
It has been long known that this was an English victory against numerical odds. However, we cannot be absolutely certain by how many. But whatever the truth, the legend of the English and Welsh longbowmen endures, undoubtedly perpetuated by William Shakespeare’s famous lines in Henry V.
Perhaps most remarkable is the fact that immediately prior to battle the English army had been marching for an estimated 18 days over 250 miles of hostile terrain. Moreover, many of the original contingent had succumbed to dysentery, fatigue and other illness, leaving the troops seemingly poorly equipped to fight when intercepted by the numerically far superior French.
Only a few miles from the battlefield, this is the closest accommodation to Azincourt. A ‘boutique retreat’, Maison de Plumes in Heuchin is a restored 17th century country house.
Also within easy reach (approximately 12 miles away) is Le Manoir which dates from the 18th century.
Battle of Crecy
26th August, 1346. Crecy en Ponthieu, Somme, France.
The site of the Battle of Crecy is located a short distance outside the town of Crecy en Ponthieu, less than 10 miles north east of Abbeville on the D928 towards Hesdin. Information boards are available at the site to help visitors interpret the battlefield.
Arguably a turning point in the history of warfare, Crecy saw the army of Edward III defeat a much larger French force led by Philip VI. It is suggested that this may well have been the first battle in which primitive cannons (‘Ribaldis’) may have been used, but its primary significance is that it is thought to have signalled the end of chivalry in combat.
Manoir de Gourlay - situated in Boufllers, this part 16th and part 17th century property is only 5 miles as the crow flies from Crecy en Ponthieu. Also close by is Chateau Gaillarde. Alternatively, see Maison de Plumes associated with Agincourt (above) as both battle sites are within easy reach of one another.
Battle of Poitiers
19th September, 1356. Nouaille-Maupertuis, France.
Location: The site of the Battle of Poitiers (1356) is situated a few miles to the south east of the town close to the village of Nouaille-Maupertuis. Some of the battlefield is accessible, with detail provided via information board.
An English army under the command of Edward, The Black Prince, together with a force from the Duchy of Gascony, defeated a larger French army under John II by employing tactics not unlike those used at the Battle of Crecy.
Note: Visitors to the area might also like to visit the site of the 1st Battle of Poitiers (732) between Charles Martel and the Arab-Muslim army. This is situated north east of the city in Vouneuil-sur-Vienne and there are short guided tours during July and August from 10:30am.
Manoir de Beauvoir Golf Hotel is the closest accommodation to the battlefield, and is located in Mignaloux Beauvoir to the south east of Poitiers. Meanwhile the Hôtel de l'Europe is located in the town itself, parts of the hotel are 19th century.
These and other hotels in the area can be found at the Booking.com entry for Poitiers.
Battle of Waterloo
18th June 1815. Waterloo, Walloon Brabant, Belgium.
The site of The Battle of Waterloo is situated approximately 20 minutes drive south of Brussels (Ring Ouest, junction 25). Visitors centre open April to October between 9:30am and 6:30 pm, and November to March between 10am and 5pm.
The ending of Napoleon’s rule as French Emperor at the hands of the Seventh Coalition (including British, Prussian and United Netherlands troops) under the Duke of Wellington and Gerbhard von Blucher. It remains one of the most pivotal battles ever fought.
Hotel Le 1815 is said to have views of the battlefield itself, and close to the famous Butte du Lion (The Lion’s Mound), while Martin’s Grand Hotel Waterloo is mid nineteenth century building located only a couple of miles from the site. Information on both is available at the Booking.com entry for Waterloo.
We also suggest viewing all the historic hotels and other period accommodation in our Belgium section.