Just 10 km from the Belgian border, the French coastal town of Dunkirk is perhaps best known as the site of one of the most miraculous evacuations in military history. But before World War II, Dunkirk was famous for a very different reason – it grew into one of the most prolific fishing towns in France. Today the town is a vibrant tourist spot with reminders of its rich history etched across the area. For the release of Christopher Nolan’s feature film documenting the events of the 10-day ordeal in 1940, we take a look at the best places to visit in Dunkirk.
From its first inception in the 1830s, P&O spent many decades building a business out of mail services and trade routes. By 1904, the shipping giant made its first step into the world of pleasure cruising. They transformed old mail boats into luxurious vessels for the wealthy upper classes to travel to far and exotic locations.
Like much of the country, P&O recovered slowly from the effects of the First World War. However the company continued to work positively, acquiring smaller shipping lines and opening new booking offices in London’s West End. By the mid-1920s, P&O had become the largest shipping company in the world. During this decade of innovation, P&O turned turbo-electric, give much more economical results.
Just as they’d found their feet, P&O was preparing for war again. Ships and staff were moved out of London to Glasgow and Liverpool, and photographers started creating copes of all of the company’s the vital records, contracts and files. Within a month of the declaration of war, the entire passenger fleet had been requisitioned by the War Office.
With the introduction of cheaper, shorter routes, P&O would revolutionise the family holiday for all, while still venturing into other industries. New types of ships, and a new Chairman in Sir Donald Anderson, allowed the company to enter new realms of travel, freight forwarding and the fuel industry. The latter saw P&O supplying the gas and oil rigs of the North Sea from a fleet of small ships.
The 1980s heralded a new era for P&O, with the introduction of the Larne-Cairnryan, Hull-Rotterdam and Hull-Zeebrugge routes, unlocking popular European destinations to the masses.
Tradition lies at the heart of Wallonia, from its Renaissance-style architecture right down to its rich local produce. The French-speaking region of Belgium may not be a well-known holiday destination, but with a range of activities on offer, it’s a true hidden gem that oozes old world charm. With multiple museums, historic sites and more than 1,500 castles to explore, you’ll find plenty to pack in, and all in a picturesque countryside setting.