On the first day, we will travel in the morning from the UK and reach the battlefield of Waterloo at lunch time. You will enjoy Belgian specialties for lunch before heading to the conference room to listen to Dr. Bernard Wilkin, who will be talking about Life in the French Army during the Napoleonic Wars. Our speaker will explain how miserable life was in the army and how the French perceived the British. Following the talk, we will head to the pub to sample Belgian beers and chat about history. In the evening, the group will enjoy a good dinner with a selection of wines or beers.
On the second day we will investigate the weeks and hours preceding the battle of Waterloo and the attack on Hougoumont. Escorted by Jason Salkey. We will start in the morning at the Ferme du Caillou – Napoleon’s last HQ – where the French perspective will be explained. You will discover period maps and understand why Napoleon and his staff made so many mistakes. Our coach will then take us to the Belle-Alliance, the heart of the French line, where we will walk 4 miles to discover the French left-wing and understand the approach to Hougoumont. After looking at the outskirts of the farm, we will visit the inside of the building to grasp what went wrong for the French. A late lunch will be taken near the Lion before listening to Rifleman Harris, who, wearing his 95th Rifles uniform, will tell you about the Sharpe’s television series. In the evening, we will once again enjoy fine local food. The bravest will head to the pub with Bernard Wilkin and Jason Salkey for rounds of Belgian beers.
On the third day, our group will discover the attack on the centre of the line and the Prussian arrival. We will walk about 4 miles to see where D’Erlon advanced, and to where Ney launched his cavalry against the British squares. We will take a look at the farm of La Haye-Sainte, another Allied strongpoint defended by troops of the King’s German Legion and also the place where Cornwell’s Rifleman Harris met his end under the sabres of French cavalrymen. After visiting various memorials and Prussian-related locations and having lunch, we will discover the newly built museum where you can enjoy a 4D movie about the battle. You will be given the opportunity to climb the Lion Mound and admire the view. Then, we will visit the unique Wellington museum before going to the church opposite, where several commemorative plaques still remind visitors of the huge human price paid that day. Eating in the area, you will listen to another talk by Dr. Wilkin on how the French pictured the battle after the defeat and how its distorted portrayal continues to influence French society today. You will have the opportunity to discover more Belgian beers with Bernard and Jason afterwards.
On our last day, we will head toward the Military Museum of Brussels, where Bernard Wilkin will show the Napoleonic galleries and the rest of the institution. You will be able to understand the legacy of Waterloo and explore 200 years of military history in one of the richest military museums of Europe. After lunch, our group will bid farewell to Belgium and travel back to the UK.
Dr. Bernard Wilkin
Bernard is a Belgian historian who works at the National Archives of Belgium specialising in the history of the French army and the French people at war, from Napoleon to the end of the Third Republic. He has completed a PhD at the University of Sheffield and has been a lecturer at the University of Exeter. He has published on various subjects such as the French army during the Napoleonic wars, propaganda in France during the two world wars and morale in the French army and on the home front during the Great War.
Jason Salkey aka Rifleman Harris
Jason is an actor, a regular on screens, small and large over the last twenty odd years. His first big job was a huge commercial campaign for Miller Lite beer UK that made his face instantly recognisable to every television viewer in the UK. The advert went on to win a Clio award which is the Oscars for commercials.
Roles in countless TV shows, commercials and theatre followed. In the spring of 1992 he auditioned for an adaptation of a little known action adventure story called Sharpe. A modest part in one of British television’s most cherished shows took up the best part of the next five years, a show that eventually reached most of the globe. Down the line it has paved the way to appearances at toy-soldier/ war-gaming / military modelling / living history Re-enactment festivals in both the US and UK.
That’s probably how you know Jason best, but he has appeared in many films including Memphis Belle, The Russia House, The Steal, Fifth Element, Turn of the Screw, Fairy Tale: A True Story, About a Boy, In America, Road to Guantanamo, The Infidel and Shadowdancer.
Jason is now the unofficial, go-to source for questions concerning the TV production and cast of Sharpe. While on location he shot a huge amount of video which has become a series of films documenting life on Sharpe which has entertained battalions of fans across the world. His documenting of Sharpe wasn’t limited to shooting video he also shot numerous photos while on set filming which forms a unique look at Sharpe, on location.
RIFLEMAN HARRIS FAN SITE (Facebook):
What's Included and How to Book
Included in the Waterloo – Over the Hills and Far Away tour package:
- Return Channel crossing.
- Four days touring the Waterloo battlefield with a Sharpe’s Rifles theme via coach and on foot.
- Three nights full board accommodation in the Hotel Metropole, Brussels.
- The company of special guest guide Jason Salkey, “Rifleman Harris”.
- The services of Waterloo expert, Dr Bernard Wilkin who will join the coach on arrival at Waterloo at lunchtime on Day One.
- A copy of Dr Wilkin’s book “Fighting for Napoleon: French Soldiers’ Letters 1799-1815”.
- All tips, taxes and admission charges.
- A detailed TourPal – an extensive booklet that will help you to better understand the battle, the events and men who fought in it.
- The services of a tour manager who will accompany the coach for the duration of the tour.
- The fully equipped executive coach features air conditioning, seat belts, ample leg room, WC, tea and coffee making facilities, over seat reading lights, a USB charging point for every seat, alternative entry via right hand side for safety when alighting on the continent, and the ability to lower the front of the coach to make access easier when boarding or exiting the coach.
- The coach departs from Bedford with a second pick up at Maidstone. Alternatively, passengers may choose to meet the coach at the Folkestone Eurotunnel terminal.
For this tour we will be staying at the luxurious 5-star Hotel Metropole in Brussels.
Breakfast and dinner will be taken in the hotel, except for dinner on the third night which will be enjoyed at a local restaurant. Midday meals will consist of a quality packed lunch taken at a suitably chosen location along the day’s route.
Prices and Booking Procedure:
- Double/Twin Room, 2 people sharing – £650 per person (total price £1,300)*
- Double/Twin Room, single occupancy – £750*
* Normal price: £775 pp for 2 people sharing or £875 pp for single occupancy.
When booking this tour select your room choice from the drop down “Room Type” menu at the top of the page, then click “Add to Basket”.
If booking a combination of shared and single occupancy rooms please add to basket separately. The “Continue Shopping” button in your basket will return you to this page.
A deposit of 30% of the total amount is required on booking, with the remainder due no later than 8 weeks prior to the departure date.
Please see the Terms & Conditions page for further details.
The number of people in your party is governed by rooms booked:
1 shared double/twin = 2 people
1 single occupancy = 1 person
Please have to hand the names and contact details of all members of your party when making your booking as these will need to be entered on the checkout page.