D-Day 75 - all you need to know

The eyes of the world will be on Portsmouth this week, as the city commemorates the bravery on those who took part in the Normandy landings - and changed the complexion of World War 2 entirely.

Portsmouth has been chosen as the destination for the UK's national commemoration event. It means that, on 5 June, the Queen and Prince Charles will attend a special event in the city to honour the veterans still with us today, and pay respects those who are not. The royals will be joined by heads of state from around the world, including US President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Whilst this event (which is being organised by the Ministry of Defence, on behalf of HM Government, and the Royal British Legion) isn't open to the public, there will be big screens on Southsea Common on which to see all the goings on. It will also be shown live on the BBC.

Later that evening the public events begin in earnest, with a Red Arrows display and a Battle of Britain memorial flight. In the early evening, MV Boudicca will depart for Normandy carrying 300 veterans. This too will be shown live on the BBC, with The One Show holding a special outside broadcast from Portsmouth. Visitors and locals alike are encouraged to line the seafront to wave off the ship as it heads off across the channel.

Over the four days that follow, Southsea Common and the surrounding areas will host a huge array of commemorative events - proudly supported by BAE Systems. There will be a memorial service at the D-Day Stone near South Parade Pier, live music from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and a screening of the family classic Bedknobs and Broomsticks - which was selected by public vote.

The weekend sees Southsea Common host the Portsmouth Revival Festival. This event is a celebration of 1940s culture and will feature live performances, vehicle displays, market stalls and a whole load more. On the Saturday evening, the Concert For Heroes will bring sets from some of the best 40s-themed musicians around, all capped off by a fantastic fireworks display over Southsea Common, supported by Gunwharf Quays.

What time are the D-Day 75 events?

Each event has its own listing on Visit Portsmouth's D-Day 75 hub - so take a look through for full details. These include timings for the events so you can plan your day accordingly. Please note, though, these timings could be subject to change so keep checking back and allow plenty of time.

You can also download the Official Event Guide, which has information about the events and maps to show what you can expect from the site and surrounding areas.

How do I get into Portsmouth for D-Day 75?

There will be road closures in place for some days of the events, and roads into Portsmouth are expected to be busy, so please plan ahead and allow plenty of time for your journey. There will be a free Park & Ride service from King George V Playing Fields on 5 June only, with shuttle buses running from 7.30am to 8pm. For the remaining days, the Park & Ride service on the M275 will be in operation to provide a stress-free way of getting into the city. This will be running an enhanced service during D-Day 75 events to manage the extra visitors.

For anyone that wants to drive into the city, there is event parking on Castle Field from 6 to 9 June, at £10 per vehicle - or free for veterans and blue badge holders.

Alternatively, you can travel to Portsmouth by direct train from London, Brighton, Southampton, Chichester, Bristol, Cardiff and many more. There will be waymarked walking routes to the event site from Portsmouth & Southsea and Portsmouth Harbour stations. Please note, whilst this is a flat and paved route, it's just over 1 mile in length.

There's a host of special offers to take advantage of, too. South Western Rail is offering free travel to Portsmouth from any of its stations for veterans and members of the armed forces on 5 and 6 June.

Meanwhile, anyone heading over from the Isle of Wight can take advantage of special discount prices with Wightlink, as it's offering foot passenger travel for just £7.50 between 5 and 9 June.

What accessibility measures are in place?

For the events on Southsea Common, an accessible viewing platform will be available for users of wheelchairs and mobility scooters. There will also be a disabled toilet at all toilet blocks around the site, as well as a high dependency mobile unit at the common.

A medical and welfare tent will be made available throughout the events, and there will be stewards on hand to offer assistance as required. Assistance dogs are permitted at the events.

Will the seafront attractions be open?

Some of the seafront attractions fall within the boundary of the D-Day 75 events, meaning they may be subject to closure. The D-Day Story and Southsea Castle will be closed on 5 June, but may open later in the afternoon once the morning's event has concluded. Follow their social channels for all the updates.

By 6 June the fences will be opened up and visitors will be free to move around as normal.

I have more questions

If you still have unanswered questions, take a look at the D-Day 75 hub on the Portsmouth City Council website. Here you will find a host of transport and travel updates, as well as answers to frequently asked questions and information on facilities at Southsea Common.

We hope you enjoy your visit to Portsmouth, and want to thank you for commemorating D-Day 75 with us.


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