Masters of the Air is a story of life in wartime England, in bombed-out London, and in the tiny hamlets these brash young Americans completely transformed. In East Anglia, many airmen fell in love with British girls they met in the local pubs, and over 45,000 American servicemen brought home English brides after the war. The beautiful countryside and stately manor homes give way to the remains of air bases, some of them with their control towers still visible on the skyline.
Stand where history was made
Aircraft and Airfelds
The rural farmland of East Anglia became the headquarters for the “Bomber War.” Villages, with prewar populations in the hundreds, suddenly buzzed with the energy of thousands of pilots, crew, and support staff carrying out the missions to bring about the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany. Almost daily, citizens of villages such as Thorpe Abbotts, Rougham, and Horham would hear the roar of the engines and watch B-17s, B-24s, and ghter escorts take to the skies. This was a new type of warfare, a war waged from the skies against an unseen enemy.
Learn Their Names
Aces, Warriors, and Wingmen
The duties of a bomber crew were vastly different from that of the ground troops. The crew of a B-17 was able to live in relative quiet for the majority of their service. But when the combat mission came, it was intense, chaotic, and dangerous. One critical malfunction, one piece of flak, or one error could mean death or capture for all. The noise was deafening, the air was cold, and the enemy could hear the approach. Each successful mission only brought about the prospect of more. For men like Robert “Rosie” Rosenthal, Louis Loevsky, and Eugene Carson, each mission was either one step closer to the end of the war or one step closer to an unfortunate end.
- Eight-day journey through the heart of East Anglia & London
- Seven breakfasts, five lunches, and five dinners
- Welcome and farewell receptions
- Beer, wine, and soft drinks with included lunches and dinners
- Comprehensive lecture series from renowned WWII historian Donald L. Miller, PhD
- Full-time logistical tour manager, expert WWII-focused local guides and guest speakers
- Round-trip airport transfers when arriving/departing on scheduled tour dates
- Two nights at the five-star Hotel Gonville, Cambridge, three nights at the five-star Angel Hotel, Bury St. Edmunds, and two nights at the four-star Rubens at the Palace, London
- Private, first-class, air-conditioned motor coach transportation
- VIP access to WWII sites and cultural attractions
- Video oral history presentations from the Museum's Digital Collection
- Personal listening devices on all included excursions
- Gratuities for guides, drivers, porters, and servers
- Informative map book including useful archival images to be used throughout the journey
- Personalized luggage tags and customized name badge
- A copy of Masters of the Air, sent to your home four months prior to departure
Download the Brochure
Download the official Masters of the Air brochure for a full listing of inclusions, accommodations, and other useful information.
Full Tour Itinerary
May 8, 2024 - Day 1
Upon arrival at London Heathrow Airport, guests are warmly welcomed by Museum staff and by Donald L. Miller himself. Depart for Cambridge with a lunch stop along the way. This evening enjoy a welcome dinner with the group.
The Gonville hotel (D)
May 9, 2024 - Day 2
Cambridge History, Transformation & Sacrifice
After breakfast, Dr. Miller will give a presentation on the Eighth Air Force and an introduction to the tour. The first stop will be a chance to reflect upon the carnage of the “Bomber War” at the Cambridge American Cemetery. The cemetery contains the remains of 3,812 of our military dead, and 5,127 names are recorded on the Tablets of the Missing. Most died in the Battle of the Atlantic or in bombing raids over Hitler’s Reich. In the afternoon, visit the Churchill Archives at Cambridge University. Winston Churchill's official papers along with those of 600 other British figures of the 20th Century. Contemporaries of Winston Churchill sit alongside major political, military and scientific figures such as: Margaret Thatcher, Ernest Bevin, John Major, Neil Kinnock, Admiral Ramsay, and Field Marshal Slim.
The Gonville Hotel (B, L, R, D)
May 10, 2024 - Day 3
Today begins at Thorpe Abbotts, the wartime base of the 100th Bombardment Group, “The Bloody Hundredth,” as the group was called, for the staggering losses its B-17 crews suffered in daylight raids over Germany and Nazi occupied Europe. The Hundredth is the group that will be featured in the forthcoming HBO dramatic series, Masters of the Air. A celebratory visit to the airbase includes 8th Air Force re-enactors and a fish & chips wagon to bring back the feel of the 1940s. Our hosts, the local villagers, will meet us and show us around the air base they have lovingly brought back to life. Many of them were there as young boys and girls when the Americans fliers arrived in the spring of 1943, and they have wonderful stories to share with us.
The group continues to nearby Horham, home of the 95th Bombardment Group, one of the most decorated air units of the war. The villagers who restored the base will host a pub party in their officer’s club, with dancing to the music of their own Glenn Miller Band.
Angel Hotel (B, L, D)
May 11, 2024 - Day 4
From Bury St. Edmunds, also known as Rougham Air Field, the men of the 94th Bomb Group flew more than 300 missions over the German Reich. The Rougham Control Tower is one of the best-preserved military buildings in the region, and a dedicated group of volunteers carries on the legacy of the Americans who called Bury St. Edmunds home for almost three years. This afternoon and evening, take advantage of Bury St. Edmund's historic charm with a visit to one of the many local pubs or a stroll through the magnificent Abbey Gardens.
Angel Hotel (B, L)
May 12, 2024 - Day 5
American Air Museum, Duxford
The American Air Museum, part of Imperial War Museums of Great Britain is located at Duxford, near Cambridge. It is home to the best collection of American military aircraft on public display outside of North America. We will visit the spectacular new American Air Museum, winner of a number of architectural awards. The museum features the warplanes and equipment of not only the Eighth Air Force, but also of aircraft that flew before and after World War II. After lunch on your own on the Museum’s campus, we will witness a simulated dogfight between a British Spitfire, like the one featured in the recent film, Dunkirk, and a Messerschmitt Bf 109 in the skies over Duxford. The experience is designed exclusively for our group. After returning to Bury St. Edmunds, one of the most beautiful towns in England, we will drop in at the historic Greene King Brewery for a tour, a beer tasting, and dinner. The Greene King Brewery was kept in business during the war thanks to Academy Award winning actor and Eighth Air Commander Jimmy Stewart, who ordered trucks of its foaming lager every week for the thirsty air crews of the 453rd Bombardment Group, stationed at Old Buckenham, a bomber base not far from Bury St. Edmunds.
Angel Hotel (B, D)
May 13, 2024 - Day 6
Bid farewell to East Anglia and enjoy a scenic return to London as Dr. Miller relays stories of the man who inspired the free world, Sir Winston S. Churchill. At the Churchill War Rooms, explore the underground bunker that protected the staff and secrets at the heart of Britain’s government during the Second World War. See the Map Room where Churchill and his war cabinet directed the British war effort. After an included lunch at a splendid London pub frequented by members of Parliament, spend the afternoon at the recently renovated Imperial War Museum London, renowned for its exhibits on military conflicts since World War I. Explore London on your own this evening.
Rubens at the Palace (B, L)
May 14, 2024 - Day 7
The Royal Air Force
The day begins with a visit to St. Clement Danes Church, the spiritual heart of the Royal Air Force. Destroyed by a German air raid in 1941, the RAF spearheaded the effort to rebuild the church, an artistic gem. Outside the building, are statues of Arthur "Bomber" Harris, head of the RAF’s Bomber Command, and Hugh Dowding, who directed the Battle of the Britain and air operations over Dunkirk. After an afternoon to explore London, reconvene in the evening for a dinner at the renowned RAF Club and a visit to the new Bomber Command Memorial, just across the street.
Rubens at the Palace (B, L, R, D)
May 15, 2024 - Day 8
Flight home from London Heathrow Airport
Bid farewell to your fellow tour guests as you return home from London Heathrow Airport.
Price per person based on double occupancy
Price per person based on single occupancy
Taxes and Fees of $229 per person will be added to your final invoice.
Donald L. Miller, PhD
Historian and best-selling author Donald L. Miller, PhD, and his book Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought The Air War Against Nazi Germany are the inspiration for this program. Miller’s masterful storytelling brings to life the air bases, landscape, and history of East Anglia. His passion for the men of the Eighth Air Force creates an emotional experience available only through this program.
Miller is a seasoned veteran of The National WWII Museum’s educational travel program, having led sold-out tours on Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge, and the Mediterranean. Masters of the Air, named “outstanding book of the year” by WWII Magazine, is the primary source for Apple TV’s upcoming miniseries, in which Miller is serving as chief historical consultant. Miller has appeared in dozens of PBS and History Channel programs. He narrated and helped to produce and write the award-winning PBS series, A Biography of America. He is the author of nine books, including the prize-winning City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and The Making of America, The Story of World War II, and D-Days in the Pacific. He currently sits on the Museum’s Presidential Counselors advisory board.
Hotel Gonville Cambridge
Winner of multiple accolades for quality, this hotel originated in 1830 as the Gonville & Caius College as a house for one of the college’s Senior Fellows. This lovely hotel offers everything you'll need for the perfect stay in this beautiful and historic city, and is an ideal location for an easy stroll to the city's attractions; it also boasts a view overlooking 25 acres of open parkland. Guests will enjoy both a casual Brasserie, as well as Cotto, their fine dining venue on-site. Accommodations are spacious, with coffee machine, Smart TV, robe and slippers, air-conditioning, pillow menu, and premium bath amenities.
Angel Hotel Bury St. Edmunds
A contemporary boutique hotel set in the heart of historic Bury St. Edmunds, The Angel is a sumptuous haven for our guests. The individuality of each room makes staying here a truly personal and luxurious experience. The hotel offers multiple dining and meal venues, including the Wingspan Bar. Fashioned out of the secret tunnels that run under much of Bury St. Edmunds, the bar is created from half an aircraft engine, tables designed from airplane doors, and sofas covered in German flour sacks.
Rubens at the Palace
For your stay in London, we are pleased to offer accommodations at the luxurious Rubens at the Palace Hotel, a historic property that dates back to the 1700s and has served royalty throughout the centuries since. Overlooking the Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace The Rubens is moments away from Victoria Station and some of London's best shops and restaurants. Amenities include 24-hour room service, complimentary Wi-Fi access, luxury toiletries, plush bathrobes, iron and ironing board, and hair dryer.
“Great tour! I had a wonderful experience, and I will highly recommend this tour to family and friends.”
“The Masters of the Air tour was a pilgrimage for me, a way to connect with my grandfather, who flew with the 8th Air Force during the war. Not only did I gain so much knowledge about how he lived and trained and flew during his time in East Anglia, but I also gained an even deeper appreciation for all that he and his comrades endured. They really were and are the greatest generation. To see the people of England, from 12 - 92, honoring the courage, the spirit and the sacrifice of these men, 75 years later, was truly a heartwarming experience.”
—Kathy S., Harrisburg, PA
“Very, very moving experience. Local actors brought history to life. You could feel the history in the very air.”
—Scott P., Houston, TX
“This tour fulfilled a lifelong dream and I found it very informative. I would highly recommend it to anyone. Thank you.”
—Ken B., Abileen, TX
“Masters of the Air is the best value experience offered by the World War II Museum… This is a tour to take to honor those who fought the fight.”
—Jordan B., Jackson, WY
“Overall, this was an excellent experience. My wife, who is not a WWII enthusiast, really enjoyed the program. We will travel with the Museum again.”
—Carl W., New York, NY
“This tour was wonderful. Don and Nathan made everything so easy and interesting. Accommodations, especially the Royal Horseguards Hotel, were excellent and well situated. We are looking forward to the next tour through the National WWII Museum. Thank you all.”
—Pat K., Seattle, WA
“Once again, thank you for the quality experience that I felt during this trip. I will remember this for a long time and you have set a standard that will be hard to beat.”
—Grace C., Phoenix, AZ
“My husband and I heard Dr. Miller speak on his book, Masters of the Air, at Lafayette College when it was released. On our ride home that evening, we said it would be great to visit the areas he talked about....this trip was literally a wish come true. We would take this trip again in a heartbeat if only our bucket list wasn't so long. Every aspect of the trip was first class...Nathan had all the bases covered and we could not have had a finer group of fellow travelers.”
—Jason A., Little Rock, AR
“Wonderful experience. Extremely organized tour.”
—Henry S., Philadelphia, PA