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Wellington Tunnels

An immersive memorial to the Battle of Arras

Enter one of the most secret places and historical landmarks in military history.

Discover a fascinating underground city where more than 20,000 soldiers from Britain and the Commonwealth prepared for the biggest surprise attack of the First World War.

Step back in time to the First World War

Take a lift deep underground, 20 metres below the cobblestones of Arras, to discover the poignant hidden history of the Wellington Tunnels.

Explore the network of tunnels carved out of the chalk and meet some of the soldiers who gathered in their thousands in these subterranean barracks.

Hear their hopes and fears as you wait together for the signal to advance. Then join them in combat as the Battle of Arras begins.

An immersive memorial to the Battle of Arras
Step back in time to the First World War

Immerse yourself in living history

The Wellington Tunnels bring the past back to life for all ages. It’s the perfect family day out. Packed with original artefacts, accounts, diaries, and photographs, this experience perfectly evokes an important period in local and world history.

If you’re a history buff or a World War I enthusiast, this is a wonderful opportunity to explore a unique and important aspect of the conflict that lay hidden for more than half a century.

This is far more than just another French museum. Whatever your level of historical knowledge, you won’t fail to be engrossed when you learn more about the heroic exploits that have shaped our world.

Discover the fascinating story of the tunnels

Stand in the spot where preparations were made to stage one of the most audacious surprise attacks in front of the German lines.

As you look at the sheer scale of the underground caverns, you’ll be amazed by the ingenuity of the New Zealand Tunnelling Company. Made up of just under 500 men, this team were given the task of boring tunnels to link the medieval chalk quarries scattered under the city of Arras.

They created a network of underground barracks, stretching roughly 20km, which were able to accommodate up to 24,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers.

At 6.30 am on April 9, 1917, just a few metres from the German front line, the soldiers rushed out of the secret tunnels and poured onto the battlefield.

When you enter the astonishing city under the city, you’ll be engrossed by a story of bravery and courage that saved countless lives.

Relive that fateful day

A team of actors will take you back in time and help you really get to grips with this unique piece of history.

As you emerge from the lift, you’ll be greeted by a soldier from the Battle of Arras. The talented actors will show you, in detail, how to survive in the tunnels and prepare for the imminent battle.

Smell the musty chalk air and feel the cold, damp chill of the underground caverns. Look around you, and you’ll see the poignant graffiti of homesick soldiers who feared for their lives.

Listen closely, and you’ll hear the nervous conversations of your fellow soldiers as you prepare for an attack like no other.

With sound and imagery, you’ll be taken back in time to share the experiences of the soldiers and relive the preparations for the Battle of Arras. As you emerge onto the battlefield, a film reconstruction will bring to life the stark reality of World War I on the front line.

A place to remember

The Wellington Tunnels are a tribute to the daily lives of these soldiers, but they are also a place of remembrance.

Be sure to visit the memorial wall erected in the quarry garden to see the names of the infantry and cavalry formations that were engaged during the Battle of Arras.

This memorial space honours the sacrifice of the British and Commonwealth troops who came to Artois to fight and never returned home.

Every year at the foot of this memorial wall, a sunrise ceremony takes place at 6.30 am to commemorate the Battle of Arras.

Learn more about the First World War 

Stop by the gift shop to stock up on postcards and souvenirs. It has a good selection of books that will take you deeper into the history of the region.  

Places to visit 

Why not explore the historic town of Arras with its unique restaurants, bars and impressive Flemish architecture? 

Plan your visit Wellington Tunnels

The Wellington Tunnels are open every day from 10.00 am to 12.30 pm and from 1.30 pm to 6.00 pm. Tours last one hour and 15 minutes and are accessible for people with reduced mobility.

You can also book a private tour and sample a World War I-themed underground English breakfast. Your menu will include tea, coffee, orange juice, baked beans, bacon, porridge, pancake and marmalade.

Pack a jumper, as the temperature down the tunnels is a cool 11°C all year round.

Tickets start at €4.50. You can also buy a combined ticket to visit other World War I sites in the area. Pass Wellington (Wellington + Belfry) has a full price of €9.70 and a discounted price of €6.20. City Pass Avantage (Wellington + Belfry + Boves) has a full price of €14.70 and a discounted price of €9.

Find out more about the region and book your stay.

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How to get to Wellington Tunnels

Rue Arthur Delétoille, Arras
By car: Once in Arras, just follow the directions to “Carrière Wellington”. Parking is free.
By train: Arras station is just 1km from the tunnels.
By bus: Take line 7 (stop Jean Jaurès) or line 4 (stop Rex).