Wellington Quarry

Arras, France

20 metres below the pavements of Arras is the Wellington Quarry, a site immersed in memory and emotion. In November 1916, the British started preparing for the 1917 spring offensive. Their stroke of genius: to have the New Zealand tunnellers connect up the town’s chalk extraction tunnels to create a real network of underground barracks large enough to accommodate up to 24,000 soldiers. After a 20-metre descent in a glass-fronted lift, the audio guided and escorted visit plunges the visitor into the site’s atmosphere. A strategic location as well as a living space, the Quarry, named Wellington by the New Zealand sappers, preserves the memory of those thousands of soldiers quartered underground just a few metres from the front, before launching themselves onto the field of battle on 9th April 1917 at 5.30 in the morning, in a surprise attack on the German positions. Through the projection of a film, coming to the surface in the soldiers’ footsteps bring the shock of battle to life.



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Founded: 1916
Category: Statues in France

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Matthew Foster (6 months ago)
Impactful museum. Very helpful tour guide who was able to give an excellent tour of the mines in both English and French
Brian Crombie-Fisher (6 months ago)
A superbly presented experience of First World War history with a great mix of audiovisual presentation and in-person guide. The context of the site and time is well explained to allow the visitor to get the most from the experience. It was interesting to explore an aspect of First World War tactics I was less familiar with. Highly recommended.
Miguel Eduardo Gil Biraud (7 months ago)
One of the best experiences I’ve had in a long time. Educational and engaging. One can notice that lots of attention has been paid to the small details to offer a smooth visitor experience. The guided tour was offered in French and in English with our guide switching effortlessly between both and adapting the level of the explanations to the audience. We had kids with us and they were able to follow and understand everything. The audio guides fragments provide complementary explanations and are nicely woven in the visit between the guide’s explanations. All in all, a must do if you are in Arras! PS: to the two young people working last Saturday morning, merci beaucoup!
Gary Schmoo (8 months ago)
The underground quarry and tunnels are very atmospheric. You have to wear a WW1 style metal helmet which some found a bit heavy but didn't bother me. You need a COVID pass. The guide did an excellent job of switching back and forth from french to english for our benefit. The place itself is atmospheric and interesting, you have the WW1 history but also the original creation of the cavern through chalk mining in medieval period. But the guide just discusses WW1. The evocation of the discomfort and fear but also humour of the soldiers and miners is very well done using projections and sound. Top ?.
andrea bitti (14 months ago)
It is really nice the guided tour, but there isn't much to see
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