VE Day 75

VE Day 75

Friday 8 May 2020 marks 75 years since Nazi Germany's formal surrender at the end of the Second World War.

On VE (Victory in Europe) Day in 1945, millions took to the streets to celebrate peace after years of devastating war.

Join us in exploring some of the remarkable stories from this chapter in England's story, and find out how you can get involved in the commemorations with English Heritage. 

Dance for VE Day with English Heritage

Jive like it’s 1945 with Dance for VE Day

This May, we’re getting England swing dancing to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Over the bank holiday weekend we’ll be sending out our dance experts to help individuals and local groups learn how to Lindy Hop in true 1940s fashion. 

You can apply to be part of Dance for VE Day from 12 February up until 5pm on 8 March. Anyone can apply, and we’re especially interested to hear from you if you’re planning to get the whole community involved in your celebrations, regardless of age, ability, background or belief.

Enter to Win

Download our VE Day Party Pack

In our VE Day Celebration Pack, you'll find everything you need to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day. 

Plan a party in the park, a dance in the streets or a feast in the village hall. Our pack includes a selection of tasty recipes, tips for dancing the Lindy Hop Swing and popular 1940s songs to sing with friends and family. 

Download the Pack

9 Things You Should Know About VE Day

30 April 1945. Allied troops are closing in and Berlin is all but surrounded. The leader of Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler, is left contemplating inevitable defeat.

He commits suicide in his underground bunker. In the days that follow, Hitler's successor—Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz—negotiates an end to war, and in the early hours of 7 May 1945 Germany's unconditional surrender to the Allies is signed. After nearly six long years of carnage and destruction, the war in Europe is coming to an end.

Here are the 9 things you should know about that fateful day and its impact on the world.

Read More

VE Day in Pictures

See some of the most iconic photographs from VE Day.

From parties in the streets to thousands of revellers gathered outside Buckingham Palace, we've selected our favourite images that capture VE Day celebrations in England. 

Explore the images

Lived in London

Blue Plaques commemorating soldiers of WWII

Explore more Armed Forces Blue Plaques
  • Sir Douglas Bader

    RAF Fighter Pilot

    As Flight Commander in No.222 Squadron, Bader supported the Dunkirk evacuation. He was later captured and imprisoned at Colditz.

  • Martha Gellhorn

    War Correspondent

    Reported from France, England, Czechoslovakia, Finland and the Far East, even stowing away on a hospital ship to avoid detection. 

  • Field Marshal Viscount Gort V.C.

    Commander-in-Chief at Dunkirk

    John Vereker, 6th Viscount Gort, commanded the British Expeditionary Force which was evacuated from Dunkirk under Operation Dynamo.

  • Guy Gibson V.C.

    Pilot, Leader of the Dambusters Raid

    Wing Commander Guy Gibson led the famous Dambusters Raid that used a specially-designed 'bouncing bomb' to target German dams in May 1943.

  • Violette Szabo, G.C.

    Secret Agent

    Operative for the French section of the Special Operations Executive and the first British woman to be awarded the George Cross.

  • General Charles De Gaulle

    Post-War French Leader

    Provisional leader of France from 1944 to 1946 in the aftermath of German occupation, helping the country to form a new government.

A Century of The Cenotaph

Originally erected as a temporary memorial for Peace Day at the end of the First World War, the Cenotaph on London's Whitehall was so popular that it was replaced by a permanent structure. 

100 years after the stone column was built, join historians Dr Steven Brindle and Dr Lucy Noakes to discover the story of this now-iconic war memorial. 

Listen on Soundcloud

Operation Dynamo: Rescue from Dunkirk, 1940

  • Interview with Benjamin Richard Sheen, Dunkirk War Veteran

    We met former Army Signalman and Operation Dynamo veteran Richard Sheen at his home in West Wales to discover the true story of the Dunkirk Rescue that was masterminded from the secret war tunnels deep below Dover Castle.

  • Dover Castle: Rescue from Dunkirk

    The evacuation of Dunkirk was a race against time, won in just ten short days in 1940. With limited technology and resources, Vice Admiral Bertram Ramsey masterminded the rescue of 338,000 troops from his Naval HQ in the tunnels below Dover Castle.

Stand Where It Happened

Historic places with WWII connections

Explore more historic places
  • Dover Castle

    Medieval castle whose secret tunnels were used to command the Dunkirk evacuation.

  • Pendennis Castle

    Coastal fort built by Henry VIII which remained active through both World Wars. 

  • St Mawes Castle

    The smaller 'sibling' of Pendennis, part of Henry VIII's extensive string of coastal artillery fortresses, reoccupied at the outbreak of war in 1939. 

  • Hurst Castle

    Tudor artillery fortress which played an active role in both world wars, active until 1956. 

  • Eltham Palace and Gardens

    1930s Art Deco mansion which became the base of the Royal Army Educational Corps (RAEC) from 1944.

  • Audley End House and Gardens

    Jacobean mansion and training centre for the Polish Special Operations Executive, commemorated with a memorial in the grounds.

  • Tilbury Fort

    Large coastal fort which protected the Thames estuary from the 16th century through to the Second World War.

  • Pevensey Castle

    Famous for being William the Conqueror's landing place in 1066, but occupied again in 1940 as France fell to Nazi invasion. 

A person dressed in WWII clothing raising a toast

Join the Nation's Toast

On 8 May, as the nation marks 75 years since the end of the Second World War in Europe, English Heritage is joining with hundreds of organisations in a toast to all those men and women who played their part in the conflict.

At 3pm on bank holiday Friday, English Heritage will be inviting visitors at their sites to join in the Nation’s Toast. Sites with a café or tearoom will also be running a ‘tea at 3’ offer, when for £1 visitors can buy an enamel Second World War-style mug filled with tea for the toast. Dover and Pendennis Castles will also be marking the occasion by firing their period anti-aircraft guns.

You can find out more how the whole nation is marking VE Day visit, from street parties to the national Ringing out for Peace, at www.veday75.org

Try out this WWII inspired makeup look

Join us in Dover Castle’s wartime tunnels as we show you the important role the humble makeup kit played during the Second World War.

Watch on YouTube

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