Wellington Quarry / ArrasWellington Quarry / Arras
©People watching projections of archival photographs on the quarry walls|Antoine Wacogne
A historical dive in the :

Wellington Carriere of Arras

In the spring of 1917, the city of Arras, in the Hauts-de-France region, is the scene of a war that never ends. Emptied of its population, disfigured by the daily bombardment of German forces, the capital of Artois was in ruins. It is in the depths of the city that the rumblings of life can be heard: 24,000 British soldiers, gathered in the greatest secrecy in the heart of an underground network, await the signal for the assault.

A descent into the depths of Arras plunges visitors to the Wellington Quarry into the intimacy of this historic site, which has been open to visitors since 2008. Preserving the memory of thousands of soldiers quartered underground, the Wellington Quarry takes you as close as possible to the preparations for the Battle of Arras, through a visit as poignant as it is immersive.

Under the cobblestones,

the tunnels...

At the end of 1914, the front line stabilized over 800 km from the North Sea to the Swiss border. In Artois, despite some offensives, the front did not move. From February 1916, while the French took up arms in Verdun, the British found themselves alone to ensure the defense of Arras, the capital of Artois.

On November 16, 1916, the Allied high commands met at Chantilly to prepare for the great offensives of the spring of 1917, where they saw the opportunity to upset the course of the First World War. General Nivelle, supported by the British troops of Marshal Haig, set up a diversionary strategy: to trap the enemy in the center of a surprise attack at Arras. Using these quarries, the British General Staff imagines a network of underground galleries to surprise the German troops, while the French soldiers seize the Chemin des Dames on the morning of April 16, 1917.

Voluntarily enlisted since September 1915 in the name of the British Empire, the company of New Zealand Tunnellers, mostly professional miners, were about to change the course of history : These New Zealand soldiers are responsible for digging galleries for the War of the Mines in the area of Arras, they discover ancient underground quarries dating from the Middle Ages and, in view of the potential for the Battle of Arras, the British General Staff then asks them to dig tunnels to link the quarries between them, creating this network of twenty kilometers, a real city under the city.

A diversionary strategy bringing together 24,000 British soldiers protected from the fighting on the surface until the moment of the assault on April 9, 1917.

A place to live and a history,

Engraved in the chalk

Under the benevolent gaze of the New Zealand Tunnellers, whose portraits proudly stand in front of the Wellington Quarry, visitors are then invited to plunge into the intimacy and daily life of the soldiers, in this high place of memory.

Equipped with a British helmet, in the darkness and humidity, live the unique experience of a daily life underground framed by an accompanying guide. After a descent to a depth of 20 meters supervised by your guide, you will be instantly immersed in this underground city. A journey of 300 meters in the depths of the city of Arras, in the footsteps of soldiers, and that will lead you to the morning of the battle.

The traces of the daily life of British soldiers are scattered but very present: from the inscriptions of the time delivered right in the chalk to the archival images, through the real pickaxes that were used by the New Zealand Tunnellers, the immersion is complete and the emotion palpable.

Visit of the Wellington Quarry in Arras:

Our practical information

Address and Contact

Rue Arthur Delétoille, ARRAS

Tel +33 (0)3 21 51 26 95



Opening hours

Every day from 9:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Exceptional closing at 4 p.m. on December 24 and 31.

Closed on December 25 and from January 1 to January 19, 2024 inclusive.

Duration of visits and advice

The tours are guided and audio-guided. Duration: 1h15.

Regular departures. Bring warm clothing.

Please arrive on site 10 minutes before tour departure.

Rates and reservation

Fares 2023: Starting at €4.70

Online ticketing