Avril Williams Guest House and Tea Rooms is situated just about as close as one can stay to the 1916 Front Line of the Somme battlefield.
The preserved trenches at Newfoundland Park are just a few minutes stroll down a quiet (now…) country lane, as are other famous battlefield places such as the massive Hawthorn Crater (blown on the 1st July 1916), Beaumont Hamel, Sunken Road and ‘White City’.
A particularly interesting feature of Avril’s Guest House is the famous cellar, which once provided shelter and first aid to troops serving in the Front Line a only a few hundred yards away. These cellars featured in the BBC television documentary ‘War Walks’. Avril’s accommodation has also featured in articles produced by The Times and Telegraph newspapers.
Avril’s is particularly suited to those who wish to escape the formality of normal hotel life - in the company of chickens, sheep and what other ‘visiting’ animals Avril happens to be caring for when you come to stay!
The accommodation at Avril's comprises a mix of double, single and twin rooms (all en-suite), as well as a ‘proper’ fried breakfast for those wanting a more substantial start to the day. The accommodation at Avril's is quite basic. Avril offers an evening meal for guests staying with her at a fixed price, including wine (though some clients have chosen to eat out in the evening, the nearest town being Albert, some 8 miles away - see map below).
Visitors to this guest house will be able to see for themselves the result of many years hard work by some of Avril’s ‘fan club’ in excavating the trenches (see picture) that once connected the property to the main trench system of the Front Line (as commented upon by Edmund Blunden in his memorable book ‘Undertones of War’. Avril has also recently taken possession of an extensive collection of First and Second World War artefacts which guests may see by prior arrangement.
Trench map dated August 1916 (and enlargement) This trench map shows you just how close Avril's accommodation is to the front line of 1916 (interesting to note that the Hawthorn mine, blown on 1 July 1916, has not been updated on this map, whereas the realigned front line following the disastrous losses on 1 July are shown.