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“A good visit but not a main attraction”
Review of Sanctuary Wood

Sanctuary Wood
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Private Tour: WWI Canadian Battlefields Including...
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Reviewed October 20, 2013

I first visited Hill 62 in 2009 with the experience affecting me so much I made a second trip in 2013. Before I continue it is worth noting that Hill 62 should not be considered the primary destination when completing a battlefield tour of the area. It is small, it is privately run and its execution with the artifacts in its museum is not professional. What Hill 62 lacks in professionalism, it more than gains back with the love and passion it shows considering the financial limitations of a privately owned "roadside" attraction. A preserved trench is the reason for taking a detour to see this site. It is muddy, atmospheric and conveys a sense of reverence to all who fought and perished there. As a teaching tool it is second to none and does well to transport the participant to 1918 and even though the fighting has long since been consigned to the pages of history the place still seems alive albeit with the memory of the horror. The "museum" is mearly a collection of artifacts potentially collected from local area fields and possibly ebay. The collection is for the most part randomly jumbled in various rooms of an onsite house and unfortunately is a mixture of WW1 and WW2. However the random nature of the displays does help show the military history of the are and the trauma the country so clear saw and felt through the 20th century. If you are on a battlefield tour of the area this is a must see, lower your expectations however, there are better government funded WW1 attractions to see with much slicker presentation, but Hill 62 oozes authenticity and a local charm that is lost on some of the better funded WW1 sites.

3  Thank Andrew S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"preserved trenches"
in 27 reviews
"bomb craters"
in 18 reviews
"worth a visit"
in 40 reviews
"private collection"
in 18 reviews
"small museum"
in 20 reviews
"war memorabilia"
in 6 reviews
"school trip"
in 8 reviews
"brought home"
in 7 reviews
"first world war"
in 12 reviews
in 31 reviews
in 83 reviews
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439 - 443 of 644 reviews

Reviewed October 14, 2013

This place, more than any other, really helped me understand what it must have been like for the troops on the ground during WWI. This spot is unique and not at all 'tourist' sanitized. I am very glad we visited -- and brought our kids ages 10 and 12 - and I'm very glad we did. Crawling around the trenches and seeing the holes where shells landed...its all very real and very memorable.

I read a bunch of the reviews were people were complaining -- but I'm SO GLAD we ignored them and went to Sanctuary Wood anyway. This will be one of your most vivid memories of your day in Ypres.

3  Thank ReneeC08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 14, 2013

The café at this attraction is terrible. On entering to visit the museum I was confronted by 3 cats walking all over the tables where people were expected to eat. The door to the toilets was open and clearly visible to a man urinating . The café was filthy Health and Safety should check this venue out. Further into the shop 2 kittens jumped out. Eat there NEVER NEVER It put us off visiting the site as I thought it could also be a tourist con - quite pricey to get in and the staff not very friendly at all

Thank avisanddavid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 11, 2013

The thing about reviews, is that we are all different. We were on a family trip to Bruge and I suggested we visit the "real trenches". Wife did the usual and said we cannot go, look at the reviews, they're terrible. I had gone there during a GCSE trip 15 years ago and remember it very fondly. I managed to persuade them all, and they all thanked me afterwards. They honestly said what a wonderful experience it was, and said they would have really regretted it if they had not seen it. So, suck it up, spend the 10 euros each and enjoy a wonderful real life experience, I mean an omelette is 13 euros everywhere in Belgium now, so enjoy some real history and people please stop moaning.
The toilets were clean, the museum full of interesting things, great 3D photos in the brown boxes (please note a lot not suitable for kids), and yes, they things are not labelled, but there are a whole load of real items on display. In fact, I found it great that for once I could actually enjoy looking at the items instead of spending all my time reading about it at length. The museum was interesting, but the real reason we go there is to see the trenches! The cafe was fine, we sat outside and enjoyed coffees and soft drinks for 4 people all for under 9 euros.
Overall, after going all the way to Belgium, it really is worth the effort to see these trenches. I think most of us are so used to the beauty of National Trust or English Heritage, just enjoy it! When did we all become so obsessed with 4* facilities, this does feel raw, and that in a way is the beauty of it, it actually feels real.
If you don't go, you will regret it.

If you have time, continue to the end of the road and see the Canadian memorial for the soldiers of 1916.

We also visited the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917, which is fantastic and I would recommend visiting this alongside Sanctuary Wood.

4  Thank Tapski
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 10, 2013

2nd visit. lst was many years ago. It felt the same as before. NOT an "Attraction", nor for children, or perhaps those who have never experienced a time of war. Please keep rates up so it is not overrun. We don't visit for ambiance or service. It still has a raw reality. Atmosphere incredible - each time, we were alone in the wood. An unforgettable experience for us all. Perhaps you need to have lost relatives in wartime to really understand. It is a bit tidier than on earlier visit. We came to remember an uncle that died nearby, aged only 18. The unique stereoscopic viewers offer a never-to-be-forgotten experience. Rica and Ian and family.

2  Thank marion g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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