National Memorial Arboretum

armed forces memorial

What to do at the Weekend: National Memorial Arboretum

To mark remembrance day on 11th November, we thought it was fitting that we wrote about our visit to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

What we did at the weekend:

Visited The National Memorial Arboretum

Location: Alrewas, Staffordshire

Our rating: 7/10

A Monument to the Fallen

A place for respect and reflection, the National Memorial Arboretum is a sombre and deeply moving place. 

At the same time, it serves as a fitting and indelible monument in celebration of those brave souls who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Monuments and Memorials at the National Arboretum

It is a truly beautiful location and even if you have no connection to the armed forces, you cannot walk away unimpressed by the number and diversity of breathtaking statues and tributes.

You’ll find an incredible 400 memorials at the National Memorial Arboretum.

The memorials are each hugely symbolic and ornate – representing a broad spectrum of groups and people.

wisdom 4:8 plaque

Each year, the National Memorial Arboretum adds new memorials to their site.

A full list of the memorials can be found on their website here.

Plus, with 150 acres to explore and over 25,000 trees, you could easily spend a couple or a few hours just walking around admiring the magnificent scenery.

Although there are many stunning memorials to see, for us, three of the most memorable were:

The Naval Services Memorial

A magnificent coloured glass monument with coloured panels representing the ocean (blue), the sun (yellow), and blood spilled (red).

naval services monument memorial arboretum

The Burma Railway Memorial

In remembrance of those who were forced to construct the infamous ‘Railway of Death’ during World War II. 

The memorial is made from pieces of the original 259 mile train track.

railway memorial

The Polar Bear Memorial

This visually striking statue was the first memorial in The National Memorial Arboretum. 

It was provided by The Polar Bear Association and is a monument to the memory of the 49th Infantry West Riding Division.

As the name suggests, they fought much of their campaign in deep snow.

polar bear statue memorial monument

The Armed Forces Memorial

At the National Memorial Arboretum’s heart stands its colossal centrepiece – the magnificent Armed Forces Memorial. 

This shining white structure stands atop a tall, winding grassy slope, flanked by huge columns of greenery.

At the top stands a 43 metre diameter stone structure.

There are two great curved walls that create a distinctive echoing effect when you stand in the semi-circle chamber they create. 

Two distinctive bronze sculptures await you in the main landing and you won’t miss the huge white obelisk toward the back.

they died serving their country obelisk

We Will Remember

Etched into the walls are the names of over 16,000 service men and women from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force. 

These fittingly sit alongside those immortal words of remembrance, “We will remember them, today, tomorrow, forever.”

The amazing Armed Forces Memorial can be seen from pretty much everywhere on the grounds.

memorial arboretum names on walls memorial

Guided Walks at the National Memorial Arboretum

If you want to learn a little more, you are able to book a guided walk through the Arboretum. 

Join one of the expert volunteer guides to explore the grounds and discover the stories and symbolism behind some of the iconic memorials.

Guided walks are available from 11.15am and last for approximately 45 minutes. 

There is a small additional cost of £4 per person for the guided walk and these can be booked at the Reception Desk when you first enter from the car park. 

memorial rose garden

Memorial Arboretum Land Train Tours

Ideal for first time visitors and those who have difficulty walking, the Land Train tour takes around 50 minutes. 

With a pre-recorded narrative, the Arboretum’s land train is a great way to discover the stories behind many of the memorials. 

You can just sit back and relax while you learn all there is to know.

The Land Trains run regularly throughout the day and, like the walking tour, can be booked at the reception desk.

The Land Train Cost

There is a charge for the Land Train – £7 for an adult and £3.50 children (6 – 16 years).

Under 5s go free.

Where is the National Memorial Arboretum?

The National Memorial Arboretum address is Croxall Road, Alrewas, Staffordshire.

Located between the City of Lichfield and the market town of Burton Upon Trent

The best postcode to get you use for the National Memorial Arboretum is DE13 7AR.

In truth, you won’t have too much difficulty getting there and when you get close, it’s signposted with brown signs anyway.

entrance to national memorial aboretum

National Memorial Arboretum Admission Prices

It’s absolutely free to enter the National Memorial Arboretum. Charitable donations are (obviously) more than welcome. 

If you are planning on visiting, it’s important to note that there is a parking charge for the day.

National Memorial Arboretum Parking Charges

The parking charge is £6 if you turn up on the day or £4 if you book in advance. 

Charges apply to all cars, including blue badge holders. 

Obviously we’d recommend booking parking in advance (here) not just because of the discounted parking, but spaces are limited. 

This is particularly the case on days such as Remembrance Day (11th November) and Remembrance Sunday (13th November), where parking spaces are going to fill up fast.

Are Dogs Allowed at the National Memorial Arboretum?

We know this is a common question and the answer is yes! 

Your well behaved four-legged friends are more than welcome to wander around the National Memorial Arboretum.

The grounds are pretty extensive, so you can be sure that your dog will get a good walk.

The exceptions are the children’s play areas or on the Armed Forces Memorial.

We saw lots of cute doggos, which made our visit even better!

Afternoon Tea at the National Memorial Arboretum

If you are feeling peckish after your visit, there is a nice little cafe on site. 

You can also take High Tea, with a variety of freshly prepared sandwiches, sweet treats and savoury snacks for £16.50 per person. Although one will probably be enough for two of you.

Or a Cream Tea complete with scones, jam, and clotted cream is available for £9.

We Will Remember Them

we will remember them today tomorrow forever

With Remembrance Day upon us, we thought it fitting to end this week’s post with a passage from “For the Fallen” by Laurence Binyon.

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”

As always, thank you for reading our blog post.

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