Discover the largest British war cemetery in France at Bayeux in Calvados. Return on the steps of the allied soldiers to liberate France. A place of commemoration, the cemetery is a must in Normandy and houses the Commonwealth Soldiers’ Memorial.
Would you like to visit this cemetery in memory of the resistance fighters and discover the city of Bayeux, which was spared during the Second World War? In this article, we share with you all our tips to organize your visit at best.
This opinion is completely independent, based on our experiences. We visited the area anonymously, making our own choices, and paying all our bills in full.
Why visit the Bayeux War Cemetery?
Is the Bayeux war cemetery worth a visit?
Yes, it is clearly a must-see in the region and if you want to know more about the history of World War II. The city of Bayeux welcomes more than 500,000 visitors each year and is an ideal gateway to visit the major D-Day sites!
The British war cemetery of Bayeux is the largest in France: more than 4,000 soldiers are buried there. A memorable place of recollection where we really felt a lot of emotion!
A little history
After World War II, many soldiers’ bodies were repatriated to their families in their country of origin. In total, 27 military cemeteries were built by nationality in Normandy after the war. Most of the cemeteries are maintained by volunteers or organizations of Allied origin.
Completed in 1952, the Bayeux British War Cemetery is located near the Battle of Normandy Museum and has over 4,000 Allied soldiers buried. More precisely, there are 4,648 soldiers buried in Bayeux, including 4,100 from the Commonwealth and more than 300 unidentified. The cemetery also has half a thousand graves of German soldiers killed during World War II.
Across Fabian Ware Boulevard from the thousands of headstones where the cemetery is located, the Commonwealth Soldiers Memorial celebrates all those who gave their lives to save France and have no grave. This memorial invites to meditation.
Finally, the Commonwealth War Grave Commission manages the maintenance of this cemetery. Indeed, it is an independent administrative authority responsible for the enumeration, identification and maintenance of the graves of soldiers of the military forces of the Commonwealth States who died in the two world wars.
Tips and map: British military cemetery, Bayeux, France
Where is the military cemetery of Bayeux?
The British military cemetery of the soldiers of the 2nd World War is located at 1945 boulevard Fabian Ware, in Bayeux (14400). Also, the cemetery is in the same area as the Battle of Normandy Museum, Notre Dame de Bayeux Cathedral and the Tapestry Museum.
- Driving time from Le Havre: 1h35min.
- Driving time from Deauville: 1h10min.
- Driving time from Caen: 30min.
- Time from Cabourg: 50min.
- Driving time from Mont-Saint-Michel: 1h30min.
- Driving time from Ouistreham: 35min.
OUR ADVICE FOR RENTING A CAR IN Normandy
- Compare prices on our preferred platform: DiscoverCars – one of the best rated sites.
- Choose a car that is comfortable enough (distances can be long) but compact (some parking lots and villages are narrow).
- Think of thecomplete insurance (some roads are tortuous and narrow).
- There is a lot of demand, book it early.
How to get there
The easiest way to get there is by car, but you can also get to Bayeux by train with regular trips every day – see train prices and schedules.
Want to discover Bayeux and the history of the D-Day landings in a different way? Find all the tours organized on the theme of D-Day 44 by clicking here.
The Bayeux British Military Cemetery does not have a dedicated parking lot but you can easily find a place to park a little further away. Indeed, there is the parking lot of the Battle of Normandy Museum just a few steps from the cemetery. But also a “Hide and Seek” store with a large free parking lot not far from the cemetery.
Best time to visit this cemetery
The tourist influx is quite important from April to June and from September to October. Moreover, the city of Bayeux attracts more than half a million tourists each year. If you don’t like the crowds, we advise you to organize your visits in the area outside July and August.
Allow about 45 minutes to 1 hour maximum for the visit if you go through the whole cemetery and also to the memorial.
The Bayeux British Military Cemetery is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Access is free for everyone.
You can take good shoes if you want to visit the cemetery and walk around the area near several points of tourist interest.
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You will find a good offer of restaurants in Bayeux for all tastes and styles! Here is a small selection:
- Restaurant l’Acte 2 – traditional and authentic Norman cuisine.
- Restaurant L’Alchimie – fusion of local and foreign flavors.
- Restaurant L’Alcôve – gastronomic meal in a friendly atmosphere.
- Restaurant Le Moulin de la Galette – fresh and local products in an establishment in the heart of historic Bayeux.
- Restaurant La Rapière – refined seasonal cuisine in a 16th century setting.
- Les volets roses tea room – for a generous and gourmet snack.
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Largest British military cemetery in France
The British military cemetery at Bayeux is the largest in France. Indeed, it houses more than 4,600 graves of soldiers of different nationalities and mostly from the Commonwealth (Canadians, British, Americans but also Germans).
Beyond the very solemn spirit of the place, we were fascinated by all the military chevron icons for each division of the British Army.
Take the time to look at each stele carefully, the icons of the British Army divisions are very different from each other with a lot of detail and finesse in the stone carving.
The British Armed Forces are still one of the largest armies in Europe.
WHERE TO STAY IN Bayeux
Option 1: Central and close to downtown
Within 5 to 10 minutes’ walk of the historic center, you’ll find beautiful mansions transformed into welcoming hotels and B&Bs. We recommend..:
Option 2: in the countryside
The Normandy countryside is very green and inspiring. At the bend in the forest or in the fields, pretty villages with beautiful buildings transport you to another world, or even another era.
- Hotel Domaine de la Rançonnière, only 20 minutes from Bayeux – see prices, photos and availability.
Option 3: By the sea
The seaside is just 15 minutes drive from Bayeux. Breathe the sea air while enjoying easy access to Bayeux and the D-Day beaches.
- Hotel Villas d’Arromanches – see prices, photos and availability.
Commonwealth Soldiers Memorial
Across Fabian Ware Boulevard from the British War Cemetery, the Commonwealth Soldiers Memorial commemorates the 1,800 serving soldiers who died during the Battle of Normandy or “Operation Overlord” and have no known grave.
Bayeux, former British army base
On D-Day 1944, the Allies landed on the beaches of Normandy. The British army reached Bayeux at nightfall and it became the first city in France to be liberated from the Nazi grip.
At the gates of the D-Day beaches, the city was used as a base by the British army during the Battle of Normandy from June 6 to August 29, 1944.
Other WW2 cemeteries to visit
Normandy has 27 military cemeteries built after World War II. For example, the British Normandy Memorial is another famous British memorial at Juno Beach.
If you wish to discover other cemeteries in memory of the soldiers who fought to liberate France, here are some suggestions:
- The American cemetery at Omaha Beach – located at Coleville-sur-Mer where nearly 10,000 soldiers are buried.
- La Cambe German Cemetery – houses over 21,000 graves of German soldiers who fell during World War II.
- Beny-sur-mer Canadian Cemetery – more than 2,000 soldiers and airmen are buried in this cemetery, some of them British and French.
- Douvres-la-Délivrande Cemetery – not far from the radar station, 1,123 soldiers died during the fighting and are buried in this cemetery.
- Ranville and Hermanville Cemeteries at Sword Beach – just 2 km from the Pegasus Bridge, is the largest British military cemetery in Normandy after the one in the town of Bayeux, overlooked by the church.
Not to be missed in the area
Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Bayeux Tapestry tells the story of the conquest of England in the 11th century by William, Duke of Normandy.
This treasure trove of woolen threads embroidered on linen canvas is on display at the Bayeux Tapestry Museum. Want to discover this historical jewel? Tickets are only available on site. Alternatively, you can book a one-day guided tour here that includes several visits to historical sites (Falaise castle, Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives, medieval castle of Crevecoeur) in Normandy before ending the day with the Bayeux Tapestry.
Notre-Dame de Bayeux Cathedral
In the historic heart of Bayeux, visit its cathedral with its medieval architecture of the 11th century. To decorate its nave, the famous Bayeux Tapestry was embroidered a decade before the consecration of the cathedral in the presence of William the Conqueror in 1077.
A must-see place if you are traveling through the city! Take a walk and you will discover the cathedral from all angles.
Baron Gérard Museum of Art and History
The Baron Gérard Museum of Art and History is a reference in Normandy and exhibits more than half a thousand works of art, 1,000 pieces of porcelain and Bayeux lace, as well as hundreds of archaeological and ethnological remains. Also, the visit is organized around 14 stages to retrace, in a sumptuous episcopal palace, the key moments from prehistory to the 20th century.
Museum of the Battle of Normandy
Are you interested in the history of the D-Day landings and the Second World War? Then you will love the Battle of Normandy Museum! Indeed, it is the only museum that tells you in detail the military operations that punctuated the summer of 1944 from D-Day to the Liberation. It is also quite close by car to the D-Day beaches! Find the details of the schedules and prices on the official website of the museum.
Bayeux is at the gateway to the D-Day landing beaches and a good starting point to admire them! Bunkers, sculptures, museums, fine sand, cliffs… You will find our complete guide to prepare your itinerary of the 5 D-Day landing beaches by clicking here.
PLAN YOUR TRIP TO Normandy
Frequently asked questions
What is the largest French war cemetery?
The largest national necropolis is located at Notre-Dame-de-Lorette in the Hauts-de-France. It has more than 42,000 graves of soldiers killed between 1914 and 1918 during the “Der des Der”. This necropolis, created in 1919 on the hill of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, includes 150 cemeteries.
What is the largest American cemetery in Normandy?
At Colleville-sur-Mer, the Normandy American Cemetery is the largest American military cemetery in Normandy. Between Arromanches and Grandcamp-Maisy, this cemetery, which houses nearly 9,400 buried soldiers, covers 70 hectares and culminates above Omaha beach.
Where are the soldiers of the Second World War buried?
Soldiers who fought in World War II are buried in several countries. First in France in different regions, and particularly in Normandy where 27 military cemeteries shelter Canadian, British, American, German and Polish soldiers. They are also buried in Italy, Belgium, Poland, Czech Republic, Russia and Germany. World War II resulted in approximately 25 million military casualties and between 40 and 50 million civilian casualties.
- Best things to do in Bayeux
- Where to sleep in Bayeux: our best hotels
- Rent a car in Bayeux
- Where to eat in Bayeux: our best restaurants
- Visit the Bayeux Tapestry Museum
- Visit the Baron Gérard Museum of Art and History
- Visit the Battle of Normandy Museum
- Discover the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Bayeux
- Discover the British Military Cemetery