Client comments and reviews

"The only way to do it and we would highly recommend it to anyone unless they have been a few times already!

A trip to Normandy for the D-Day Battle Fields and Landing Beaches was on our Bucket-List but the thought of organizing a visit, booking Hotels, Ferries from the UK, finding a means of transport between the numerous sites  and which places to see, seemed insurmountable. We were also wary of trusting to someone we didn’t know but we were lucky enough to find Discovery Battlefield Tours and the owner, Steve, who was able to help us get the most out of our first trip over to Normandy.

Our trip was tailored around what we wanted to do and places that we wanted to see plus suggestions from Steve. Steve drafted an itinerary and provided some suggestions on where to take the ferry and best locations to use as a base. After trading emails and some modifications, Steve booked the ferry, the hotel and informed us of passport requirements. We put extra pressure on Steve because we chose to go when the annual anniversary events were taking place on June 6th but Steve was with us and very familiar with the sites, he knew how to get there, how to beat the crowds, where to park and the best vantage points. If we had to do it ourselves we would never have accomplished so much in the time we had, so it was really good value for money. Even when bad weather impacted the ferry service for our return to the UK, Steve took care of arranging alternative passage and worked with us to modify our tour to get the most out of every minute that we had in Normandy. Something that could have easily ruined the trip had we been doing it without Steve’s help.

We would like to go again when it isn’t so busy but we will still use Discovery Battlefield Tours and enjoy the visit without the stress of organizing it"

 The Grays from El Dorado Hills, California  (June 2017)

"Steve at Discovery Battlefield Tours was recommended to us when we were trying to organise a trip to Ypres for our father's 80th birthday. Dad had always wanted to visit the place where his grandfather lost his life at the Battle of Passchendaele and we were able to arrange the trip so we were there for the actual 100 year anniversary.
Steve did an enormous amount of research prior to our trip and found out a lot of information about our great grandfather we were unaware of. He produced a bespoke itinerary for us, keeping us informed throughout, and organised absolutely everything for our trip including picking us all up from our homes, the Channel Tunnel crossing, onward journey to Ypres and a stay at a wonderful B&B. We visited places specifically linked to our great grandfather as well as other more well known places of interest in the area.  Steve was a mine of information throughout and was excellent company.  All in all, the trip was very enjoyable, stress free, relaxing and of course, at times, emotional. Most importantly, it was a very special and memorable experience for dad."

JL and DR, Hampshire (Sept 2017)


"From the moment I enquired into Steve Cottam and his battlefield tour to commemorate the untimely death of my father's uncle at the age of 20 in 1918, Steve provided a wealth of information, a personal, tailored itinerary and his own knowledge of the Great War. This was a very important journey, in particular for my father and we were all given a sensitive and humbling insight into the events of WW1. Steve was superb and we would not have had such a thoughtful and well planned experience had it not been for his passion, understanding and knowledge. Thank you Steve for making this such a powerful and evocotive trip."
AA and CA Bristol, AM Wiltshire and DM Dublin  (May 2018)
"It was the best holiday I have ever had" so said my grandson of 10 years of age. This sums up our experience with Steve Cottam of Discovery Battlefield Tours. We were a party of six- two grandparents, two parents and 2 grandchildren-with the primary aim of visiting the place where our relative was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
Over the 3 days, we visited numerous Commonwealth cemeteries, battle sites and key landmarks with Steve, who provided us with the stories and backgrounds to some of the individuals who lost their lives, which added a more intimate and personal dimension to the thousands of names on the graves. This culminated on the final day with a visit to the Thiepval Memorial where our relative's name is engraved. Before the tour, Steve had carried out extensive research, based on the limited details we had provided, and was able to discover information  of which we were previously unaware. As a result, the trip felt focused and tailored completely to our particular family interest, which made the whole experience extremely poignant, personalised and visual (especially for the children).
Throughout, Steve made every effort to ensure we got as much as possible out of our visit, including arranging a guided tour of the trenches within Thiepval Wood where our relative would have spent his final hours. Without Steve's invaluable direction and knowledge (historical, geographical and practical), it would have been extremely difficult to have co-ordinated the visit under our own steam. Our every need was met, from the inspired choice of accommodation (Number 56) with its superb location and hospitality, to the luxury of being driven around in air conditioned comfort! All in all, a truly memorable and fitting way in which to commemorate the centenary of the end of the Great War and the profound sacrifices made.

GR, LR and family Essex UK (August 2018)

"Steve escorted me on a five day tour of the battlefields and cemeteries of Belgium and France to help me find my 3 Great Uncles and 8 distant Cousins, all of whom perished on the battlefields of Passchendaele and The Somme.  A lot of people to find in a short space of time! 

Throughout the tour Steve was a mine of information, helping to explain and show as far as it was possible, what happened to each of them, and where they may have been injured/treated/died and/or buried and about the battle that he had fought in.  We went to all the places that I wanted to visit, successfully finding all of my eleven relatives!  I was able to wander around and take my time at each site, take lots of photo’s, while Steve described what could have happened to my relative and he also talked about the cemetery that my relative was buried in or Memorial where his name was listed.

Steve also slotted into our itinerary other places he thought that I would be interested in seeing, these included the Essex Farm Cemetery, the Cambrai Tank Museum, the Lochnagar and Hawthorn Ridge Craters, the Langemark German Military Cemetery and Vimy Ridge.  At every site Steve was very knowledgeable and he also made the places that I didn’t know that I wanted to go to, places that I am very glad that we did go to!

The whole trip, from start to finish was a very memorable, interesting and thought provoking experience with Steve organising everything from start to finish, including all the travel arrangements and the excellent B&B accommodation. 

CH, Cornwall (April 2019)

We have just returned from a five day, four night tour of the Somme and Ypres battlefields.

From initial contact to ensuring we got home to Scotland at the end of the tour everything was first class. Every email and question was answered timeously and professionally. Steve spent a great deal of time in preparation of the trip ensuring our personal interests were achieved. He was able to take me to the exact spot my great grandad fell. A truly emotional experience for me.

Accommodation was perfect. Comfortable and clean. Catering was excellent. Our personal preferences regarding food were forwarded to accommodation before the trip. 

Steve is a passionate, knowledgeable guide.  Nothing is too much trouble for him. His attention to detail and personal service has made this a truly memorable trip. We will definitely go with Steve on our next tour. We would have no hesitation in recommending Discovery Battlefield Tours for any tour of the Battlefields of France and Belgium.

Jackie and Joe

Edinburgh, Scotland  (October 2019)

I had a very specific aim when searching for a WW1 battlefield guide.  As far as possible I wanted to walk in the footsteps of my grandfather and his brother, both of whom were killed in action in France.   After much reviewing the many companies and individuals who provide battlefield tours, I selected Steve Cottam of Discovery Battlefield Tours.  Steve was willing to take me as an individual traveller so the whole experience was tailored to my wishes. 
I could not have been happier or more impressed with my choice.  Steve’s knowledge, research and attention to detail were simply outstanding and we achieved so much more than I was expecting.  This included our visiting the specific area where the raid took place in which my grandfather was killed, something I could never have achieved on my own.
Thank you Steve, I’ll be eternally grateful to you.
Madeleine C
October 2021

We have just completed a four-day trip to Ypres and the Somme. All of the arrangements from travel to accommodation and itinerary, after discussion with us by e-mail, were superbly organised by Steve, from meeting us at our hotel at Folkestone to delivering us back there after the trip. He even provided sandwiches for our first day's lunch. All we had to do was turn up!

Unbeknown to us he had done an incredible amount of research into the details of my great-uncle's death at Vimy Ridge, showed us his name on the Vimy Memorial and produced a comprehensive portfolio which he presented to us at the end of the trip. That was such a moving and personal touch that no-one would ever get on an ordinary battlefield tour.

We travelled in great comfort in Steve's Land Rover Discovery to see so many memorials and cemeteries around the battlefields. Steve has a real passion for bringing to life and doing justice to the stories of some of the men who lie there. He is extremely knowledgeable and an excellent guide to the out-of-the-way places that you would never find yourself.  Vimy was a highlight, of course, but also very unexpected and impressive was the visit to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Experience, where all the headstones, carpentry, blacksmithing and research relating to the cemeteries and memorials are carried out. We were fascinated to see the blacksmiths actually at work repairing some of the ironwork on a gate. The young intern who showed us around was a joy; so enthusiastic and eager to pass on his pride in working for the CWGC.

We must also mention Number 56, the accommodation on the Somme. To call it a B&B is an understatement. We had superb 4-course meals cooked by Julie in a truly individual establishment. We have never stayed anywhere like it. Julie and David are excellent hosts. No wonder people return again and again.

This really is the only way to visit the battlefields! Thank you, Steve, for a wonderful, moving and truly memorable tour.

Chris & Jen, Derby September 2022

We were very lucky to travel with Steve to the Somme battlefields in April 2023. Although our group comprised 3 people with varying priorities, Steve provided each of us with an exceptional personal experience. Steve was thoroughly professional in his approach. He had clearly done a considerable amount of pre planning which was reflected in his command of the subject matter. Steve's unfailing friendliness was certainly put to the test by our very demanding, individualised itinerary, but he came through with flying colours. Steve was the perfect vehicle for our trip which, frankly, would not have been feasible via a larger organised group. He is also a great travelling companion and all at very competitive rates! Our strong intention is to use Steve again next year.
Steve W, Phil W & Peter R, Lancashire April 2023

Where to begin. My son and I had decided to look for a tour of the World War 1 battlefields and came across Discovery Battlefield Tours. I contacted Steve and promptly received a reply back and from the first email we received, we were captivated by what Steve could offer as a tour. We received an in-depth bespoke itinerary which included visits to our relatives grave/memorials who fought and died in Ypres and the Somme. Steve gave us the opportunity to lay wreaths at the graves and memorials of our relatives and this was a very powerful and emotional time to which he showed the utmost respect and sensitivity even compiling a folder of information for us to keep.
He went above and beyond to gather information on where they fought and fell in combat and even found the war diaries that let us follow in their footsteps as the battle unfolded. Steve showed a wealth of knowledge of the battlefields and of many individual stories during the war as we visited key locations, museums and war cemeteries.
He took on the burden of organizing everything from travel to accomodation and food. Steve booked fantastic accomodation to stay in and Number 56 was the most awesome hotel we have had the pleasue to stay in with great hosts.
Steve has given us the most fantastic experience which will stay with us for a lifetime and we are eternally grateful to him for such an amazing experience.
In the future we are hoping to take the rest of the family and will no doubt be asking Steve for his services again.
PB Derby & JH Wiltshire  August 2023

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