The Wellington Tunnels

A museum and memorial to those who fought in the Battle of Arras in 1917, Carrière Wellington occupies part of kilometres of tunnels that were dug under the city during World War one – and that connect in turn with medieval and Roman tunnels and quarries.

A British offensive on the Western Front, the Battle saw attacks on German defences between 9 April and 16 May, eventually resulting in stalemate. The tunnels were dug in March, after the arrival of British forces in the sectory by the Engineers Tunneling Company of the New Zealand Division. Fitted with running water and electricity and including soldiers’ living quarters and a sizeable hospital, the ’underground city’ was named Wellington after the New Zealand capital. 
 
Visitors descend by glass lift to 20 metres below ground level for guided tours lasting about 25 minutes, using headsets broadcasting in various languages. Topics covered include the history of the tunnels and quarries, the work of the tunnelers, and hardships experienced by British and French soldiers plus locals who lived underground during World War I. Along the way, you see mining trucks and equipment, food containers, and soldiers’ drawings and inscriptions on the chalk walls. There’s also a short, moving film about the battle.
 
The Wellington Tunnels
Rue Arthur Deletoille
F-62000 Arras
Tel: + 33 (0)3 21 51 26 95