Visitors Centre at Tyne Cot Cemetery
Since the late 1990s there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people visiting the First World War battlefields of the Ypres Salient. Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest British military cemetery in the world, and the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing, will almost always be included in visitors' itineraries.
The large number of visitors to this cemetery each year, and problems created by lots of coaches parking at the front entrance gate, produced a need for the construction of a specially designated parking area with a Visitors Centre at Tyne Cot. The building work was completed in 2006.
The Visitors Centre
Remembering the 34,887 Missing in Action
As visitors walk along the path to the Visitors Centre names are spoken out loud by a female voice. These names are called out every few seconds on a continuous speaker system.
Each of the names is for one of the 34,887 soldiers from the United Kingdom and New Zealand Forces who are commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing.
The Visitors Centre contains display panels, items on display and a video film to explain the history of this part of the battlefield and the men on all sides who fought and died here.
Access to Tyne Cot Cemetery and Memorial
On leaving the Visitors Centre visitors make their way from the centre to the right and to the northernmost corner of the Tyne Cot cemetery wall.
Then walking slightly downhill visitors make their way along the outside of the northern boundary of Tyne Cot cemetery.
Turning left at the road the entrance to the cemetery is only a few metres' further on. The few minutes' walk is a good opportunity to take the time to look out across the fields of the old battlefields of the Ypres Salient, towards the spires of Ypres only a few kilometres in the distance.
Many thousands of lives were lost in the battles fought on this area of ground for exactly four years from late October 1914 to late September 1918. Some 90,000 British and Commonwealth and as many German casualties have never been found with their identity intact. Reported as missing in action in the Ypres Salient they either still lie in the fields around Ypres or are buried in many hundreds of graves marked as “Known unto God”.
Parking for Cars and Coaches
The car park is spacious for cars and coaches.
All guided tour coaches and minibuses are required to use this designated parking area, which provides a safe access route into the cemetery. There is absolutely no parking allowed for commercial and larger vehicles on the narrow lane at the front of the cemetery.
Whilst it is acceptable to still park a family car at the front entrance of the cemetery during quiet visiting times, all vehicles are now directed from the main road, the N303, to park in the car park at the eastern end of the cemetery.
This has been done for reasons of safety especially at busy visitor times, for example in the summer months and the Armistice anniversary on and around 11th November. It avoids the danger to pedestrians created by larger vehicles causing congestion on the narrow lane at the main entrance of the cemetery. Before this arrangement was introduced a coach trying to manoeuvre around several other coaches parked by the main cemetery entrance on 11th November became stuck in a ditch. No-one was injured but it highlighted to the local authorities that steps needed to be taken to avoid such problems in the future.
There are (coin operated) public toilets in the car park.
Tyne Cot Cemetery and Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing
For a detailed description, numerous photographs and a section of trench map go to our pages about the cemetery and the memorial at:
Location of the Visitors Centre at Tyne Cot Cemetery
The Visitors Centre is located at the eastern side of Tyne Cot Cemetery and Memorial to the Missing. It is signposted from the N303 Zonnebeke-Passendale road.