The perfect day out for kids

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There’s no need to worry about trying to fit lots of activities into one day so the whole family is happy. These great days out, inspired by some of the world’s most influential cartoonists and illustrators, are guaranteed to keep everyone entertained. Parc Asterix Where in Europe: Paris, France Drive from Calais: 249km / 2h 20m First, we visit one of the most celebrated French/Belgian cartoon characters. Asterix is the brave, if vertically challenged, warrior who is always first to volunteer for whatever perilous mission that will help save his village from the invading Romans. As if the wild rides at Parc Asterix weren’t enough, you can even meet your favourite Asterix characters. Credit: Asterix® - Obelix®© 2017 Les Éditions Alvert René/Goscinny - Uderzo The adventures of Asterix and his many friends have been famous children’s stories since they were first published in 1959. Created by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, they are so popular that the stories were reimagined as a theme park, our first stop on our tour of the best family cartoon activities in France and Belgium. Parc Asterix is the ideal day out for all Asterix fans. Your favourite characters are constantly wandering around the park, so there is plenty of opportunity for you to meet your childhood heroes. And the highlight for us are all the hair-raising rides, including the new Pégase Express, a super-fast ride that takes you on some exhilarating twists and turns. Hergé Museum Where in Europe: Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium Drive from Calais: 236km / 2h 30m Hergé, the pen name for Tintin creator Georges Prosper Remi, is such a prominent figure in Belgium that his life’s work is displayed in a beautiful museum. Hergé Museum is a must-visit for everyone whose childhood was shaped by the young investigative reporter, and his faithful companion, Snowy. All fans of Tintin need to visit this beautifully designed museum. Much like Hergé’s particular eye for detail and clean, concise lines, the museum is a beautiful modern structure. It’s a huge slab of a building, sat juxtaposed against the green woods that surround it. In the museum, you can see the real drawings by Hergé, as well as photographs, and original plates. The galleries and exhibition spaces are designed so you feel like you’re walking through Hergé’s creative life. MOOF Museum Where in Europe: Brussels, Belgium Drive from Calais: 201km / 2h 20m There aren’t many cartoon characters more easily recognisable than the Smurfs. The little blue people, sporting their white hats are famous the world over. Created by Peyo, the alter ego for cartoonist Piere Culliford, are like mini Belgian celebrities. MOOF Museum is a cartoon lovers dream! Come here to be transported to the Smurfs magical world. They are so famous that they are the centrepiece of the MOOF Museum. MOOF stands for Museum of Original Figurines, and is the place to come for all cartoon fans. The Smurfs are one of the main draws, and the outside even has a giant statue of a Smurf leaping over his toadstool house. The museum doesn’t just celebrate Belgium comics, though. American comic-book characters such as Batman are also featured in the museum, so if you’re more into your edgy comics than the wholesome Smurfs, then you’re still guaranteed a great day out. Does one of these cartoon themed days out seem like something your family would love? Book your tickets with us in advance to get the best price. Top image credit: Asterix® - Obelix®© 2017 Les Éditions Alvert René/Goscinny - Uderzo

See Belgium from high to low

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Join us for a journey through Belgium like no other. Starting at the highest point, Signal de Botrange, and heading down to Belgium’s only national park, before diving underground to The Remouchamps Caves. Signal de Botrange Drive from Calais: 350.1km / 3h 32m While not known as a mountainous country like neighbouring France, that doesn’t mean that Belgium doesn’t hold some allure for climbers. Belgium’s highest point is located in Waimes, just over three and a half hours from Calais. At 694 metres, Signal de Botrange may seem like a warm up for more experienced hikers, but if you are a beginner or are a very reluctant climber, then it’s ideal. Disappointed that their highest point didn’t reach the more impressive 700 metres, the Belgians built the six metre Baltia Tower for visitors to climb to reach the coveted height. The highest point in Belgium comes complete with a tower and restaurant. It’s a gentle hike to the top, in fact from a distance it looks almost flat, so there is no need to worry about a strenuous climb. If you do need refreshment when you reach the top, there is a restaurant there, serving all sorts of well-deserved comforting treats. You can also pay a visit to the nearby tourist office too, and pick up some information on what else you can get up to on your holiday. Hoge Kempen National Park Drive from Calais: 298.2km / 3h Under the green canopy of Hoge Kempen, you are surrounded by peace and beauty. At Hoge Kempen National Park, you have the chance to explore the vast natural wonderland of Belgium’s only national park. At 5,000 hectares, and with five different gateways, (each with great transport access and parking) there is something for every type of adventure-seeker. Kattervennen is ideal for those who love to horse ride, as the area is perfect for trekking through. For those who aren’t confident horse riders there are riding lessons, so you can soon be trotting happily through the park. This area of the park is also home to a botanical garden, a draw for all budding horticulturists. If that’s not enough, you can also spend the afternoon getting to know the animals at the petting zoo. Lietberg is the quirkier gateway, and its visitors are encouraged to walk barefoot on the grass, woodchips, stone and even through water. This is probably an activity suited to those travelling in summer, as the Belgian winter can be very chilly. After taking your barefoot walk, pop into the insect museum, and learn more about the smallest creatures in the park. Children and those young at heart will love Pietersheim, where you can go on a magical journey along the gnome trail. There is also a small animal zoo, filled with the cuddliest farm animals. The park isn’t just for nature lovers, those who are interested in old trains will love Station As. Travel through the park on small train, so even if you are short on time you can still see the wonderous natural landscape. There is even the opportunity to stay the night on an overnight train. It wouldn’t be a nature park without a large space to hike, which is why Meehelse is one of the most popular areas of the park. It’s designed for long walks, and is overflowing with fauna and woodland creatures, so be sure to keep your eye out. The Remouchamps Caves Drive from Calais: 320.3km / 3h 12m Not only can you explore the caves, but also sail through an underground river. Credit: zoetnet Finally, it’s time to burrow deep underneath Belgium, to the mysterious Remouchamps Caves. Cavernous is ironically too small a word to describe the caves, one part is even known as The Cathedral as it’s so large. The Cathedral is the first part of the caves you will explore, after a walk underground. After exploring The Cathedral, you then go on a voyage through the rest of the caves on an hour and a half boat ride through the underground river, the Rubicon. As if sailing though a mysterious river isn’t magical enough, if you look closely you can spot the translucent niphargus shrimp glowing in the darkness. With a history dating back 8000 years, the caves have had a diverse past. They provided shelter and protection during WWII and in true European style, they were also used as a wine cellar. Are you feeling excited at the prospect of a Belgian adventure? Remember to book your tickets in advance to get the best prices.

Spectacular museums of Belgium

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For centuries, Europe has been at the forefront of great historic discoveries and therefore has some of the world’s best museums. And Belgium in particular is no exception. Young or old, you’re sure to discover something new that will surprise and delight, helping to create holiday memories that will last a lifetime. Atomium Where in Belgium: Brussels Drive from Calais: 195km / 2h 5m The Atomium was originally built for the 1958 Brussels World's Fair, and has since become a landmark building in the city and is now also a museum. The structure itself is actually quite a marvel, designed to represent the shape of an elementary iron crystal, only magnified to 165 billion times its actual size. Explore the tunnels of the amazing Atomium in Brussels. Credit: © 2018 – www.atomium.be – SOFAM Belgium It’s made up of nine spheres, five of which are open to the public, all of which are linked with 20 interconnecting tubes containing either lifts, escalators or stairs to explore the interior. Inside the Atomium, you’ll find a permanent exhibition taking a look back at the history of the structure and what it represented in post-war Belgium at the time. There are also a number of temporary exhibitions to discover, and as these often change, it’s best to check their website before you visit to see what’s on. The main draw for most visitors are the beautiful panoramas from the top sphere, and you can even book a table for dinner and enjoy the view with your meal. It’s a good idea to book in advance, though, as the Atomium remains Brussels’ most popular tourist attraction. Historium Brugge Where in Belgium: Bruges Drive from Calais: 117km / 1h 30m Housed in a beautiful neo-Gothic building on the Markt (market square) in the centre of Bruges, the Historium Brugge takes its visitors on an immersive trip back in time. The audio and visual tour is about an hour long, taking you back to medieval Bruges in 1435. There’s a bit of a love story to set the narrative scene, which is great for visiting couples and families alike. Step through the doors of the neo-Gothic Historium Brugge, and step back in time to 1435 There’s also a VR experience to really make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time, as well as a special Family Trail full of interactive experiences to keep kids entertained. Round your visit off with stunning panoramic views of Bruges and the Markt with a locally brewed beer in hand at the terrace at the Duvelorium Grand Beer Café. Generally speaking, Historium Brugge is open from 10am until 6pm every day, but do check ahead of visiting in case it’s closed for a public holiday. Euro Space Center Where in Belgium: Transinne Drive from Calais: 320km / 3h 15m Out in the picturesque Belgian countryside, you’ll find the fascinating Euro Space Center, a museum dedicated to all things space-related. It’s the perfect day out for the whole family, particularly if you’ve got any budding astronauts in your midst. And if you’ve got time to spare, you can even extend your visit to two days, and take part in a special mission! Head to the Euro Space Center for an out-of-this-world experience! credit: Euro Space Center If you fancy going all out, and making someone’s space-travel dreams come true, why not take a look at some of the longer planned out mission activities. You can choose from one or two day experiences, learning everything about becoming an astronaut, and even training on Moonwalk simulators. You’ll also get the chance to learn a little rocket science and build your own miniature rocket! If you’re a bit pushed for time, though, don’t worry – there are plenty of activities to get involved with independently. As well as the fascinating planetarium and the incredible 5D space show, you can still experience what it feels like to walk on the Moon or Mars in a reduced gravity environment. Opening times vary depending on the season, so it’s best to check these out before you go, particularly in the winter months, when the Euro Space Center is often only open on weekends. If your interest has been piqued and you feel inspired to set off on your own adventure of discovery, make sure you book your tickets with us early to take advantage of the best fares available. Top image Credit: © 2018 – www.atomium.be – SOFAM Belgium

Driving to Bouillon

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Located next to the rich greenery of the Ardennes, Bouillon is the perfect place for all outdoor lovers. Walking through the luscious green forests during the day, then relaxing with a local beer at one of the vibrant bars at night. This is the place to come if you want to leave feeling fresh and rejuvenated. What to see in Bouillon Bouillon Castle A must-visit is the ancient castle nestled in the Ardennes. The Ardennes is understandably one of the biggest draws to visiting Bouillon, being only a 40-minute drive from the centre town. However, it’s not just the forest-like wonderland that makes this area of Belgium so famous. A strong medieval history is present in Bouillon, which you can immerse yourself within when you visit Bouillon Castle. The history of this castle goes back over a thousand years, although first mentioned in 988 many believe that the castle was here long before this. In the 11th century it was inherited by Godfrey of Bouillon, a Frankish knight and leader of the first crusade. After his inheritance, it was passed around various members of nobility before its ruins were opened to the public. If you visit from March to October, daytime visitors will be treated to an incredible display from the swooping birds of prey. However, for a more spooky atmosphere you can visit in the evening for a torchlit tour. The crumbling grey rocks of the castle stand out beautifully against the jade hills and fields that surround it as well as the tranquil Semois River, a lovely place to enjoy a picnic during the winter months. Musée Ducal As Godfrey of Bouillon is so integral to the history of Bouillon, his life is covered extensively in Musée Ducal located just below the castle. The museum is spread out between two historic mansions, and is a must-visit if you want to learn more about the town and its influential residents. It’s not just Godfrey of Bouillon that takes up the exhibition space though, you can also see Islamic and Byzantine artefacts alongside maps from the 1600s. Godfrey of Bouillon is an inspirational figure in the town. Discovering the history of a city is the best way to really get to know it. With such detail in their collections, you can get an intricate look into what life would have been like back then for the people of Bouillon. The Semois Valley The Semois river is the beating heart of the Ardennes, and is one of the most popular attractions of Bouillon. Famous for the ethereal blue mist that rises from the water at dawn, it is an iconic feature of the town. Head to the river to relax on the banks on a warm afternoon, or following it on a brisk stroll. If you are more of an adventurer at heart, kayak through the water for some incredible holiday memories. A peaceful afternoon walking the Semois Valley is a perfect day. Where to eat in Bouillon Les Rempart This is a small, friendly restaurant favoured by the locals. Hearty Belgian dishes can be found on the menu, perfect if you have spent your day exploring the great outdoors. Many places in Bouillon close on Monday night, but Les Rempart stays open, so you won’t go hungry. Where to drink in Bouillon L’Estaminet Bright, cheerful and busy with locals, if you are looking for a bar away from the tourist traps, then this is the one for you. There is a small selection of local beers for you to try, giving you a proper Bouillon night out. Where to stay in Bouillon Ile de Faigneul As you will be staying in the vast beauty of the Ardennes, it would be a shame not to fully embrace the great outdoors and go camping. Ile de Faigneul is only 25 minutes from the centre of the town, where you will be surrounded by rolling hills, ancient trees and the tranquil fresh air that has made this area so desirable. Weather in Bouillon Bouillon’s weather varies drastically from summer to winter. In the sunny months, it can rise above 20°C, but in the winter, it can go below freezing. It can be quite rainy all year round, so no matter when you go make sure you bring your best waterproofs. Getting there and around: It’s only three and a half hours from the Calais terminal to the beauty of Bouillon. You take the A16 to the A25, E42 and E411. Then just continue on the N89 to Bouillon. You will find lots of free parking in the town, so no need to worry about having to park miles away from where you need to be.

New year, new things to do in Belgium

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As the year changes over, we all start to look forward to more experiences, and discovering new places. Did you know that incredible, quirky destinations are just a stone’s throw away, in Belgium? Vlooybergtoren, Tielt-Winge Drive from Calais: 252km / 2h 40m The amazing engineering that created Vlooybergtoren is reason enough to visit. Credit: Stokkestijn In the town of Tielt-Winge, there sits Vlooybergtoren, a staircase that needs to be seen to be believed. Designed by Close to the Bone, a Belgian engineering firm, Vlooybergtoren is a staircase that leads to nowhere, and demonstrates the incredible things physics and engineering can achieve. The 33ft high staircase is completely unsupported, only staying upright because of the heavy base, the only part of the structure that touches the ground. The weight of the base anchors it so that even in the strongest winds, the staircase won’t topple over. The tower is also fitted with ‘vibration dampeners’ that prevent it from shaking when people climb to the top. You might ask yourself, why is the staircase here? Incredible though it is, why would you climb it? The staircase actually sits on the same location as an old viewing tower, which burnt down (this is why Vlooybergtoren is metal, and therefore fire-proof). The view from the top of the staircase is incredible, and looks out for miles over the Belgian landscape, including the ‘fairy tale forest’ , Kabouterbos. Jacques Chocolate Museum, Liege Drive from Calais: 296km / 3h Find out more about Belgium chocolate, and take home as much as you can carry. It wouldn’t be a trip to Belgium if chocolate didn’t feature in some way. And what could be better than a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory type of experience? In the annexe of the Jacques Chocolate Factory, you’ll find the chocolate museum. Jacques is one of Belgium’s most popular chocolate brands, so learning about this iconic brand is a great way to discover more about this chocolate-loving country. The factory shop is, naturally, filled to the brim with delicious Jacques chocolate, and all for a lot less than in the supermarkets. Thank goodness you drove there, so you can take back as many sweet treats as you want! C-Mine, Genk Drive from Calais: 292km / 3h Discover amazing art and culture at these old mines. Credit: Karen Baijens Diving into the cultural hub of Belgium is easier than you think when you visit C-Mine in Genk. The town was a hub for artists, and was known for its natural beauty, as well as three large mining sites, known as C-Mine. The mines were eventually closed in the late ‘80s, but that didn’t mean the vast place was put to waste. Instead it is now an exciting space where designers and artists exhibit, including revolutionary minds like Tim Burton. C-Mine also hosts film screenings and music performances alongside the art exhibits, so make sure you check the upcoming events before you visit. If you are just as interested in mining as you are in the arts, then make sure you check out their exhibition on the mining history of Genk. Are you surprised about the amount of different activities you can get up to in Belgium? It’s easy for you to take to the road and explore this amazing country, it’s only 35 minutes from Folkestone to Calais. Make sure you book your tickets with us in advance to get the best price. Top image Credit: BriYYZ

The best places in Belgium to take your pet

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Here in the UK, it’s safe to say that we are a nation of pet lovers. So, it’s important to know that when we take our pets on holiday with us, we’re going somewhere equally welcoming to our cats and dogs. Fortunately, just over the Channel, Europe is full of pet lovers, too, and nowhere more so than Belgium. Enjoy dog-friendly beaches in Knokke-Heist Where in Belgium: West Flanders Drive from Calais: 1h 30m / 135km There’s plenty of open space for your dog to run free on the beach at Knokke-Heist If your pooch loves nothing more than diving into the sea in hot pursuit of their favourite tennis ball, or kicking up the sand behind them as they race down the beach, you’ll find yourself in luck in Belgium. Many of the beaches along the coast of the North Sea are open to your four-legged friend. Generally, during the off-season months from October to May, you’re welcome to bring your dog any time of day, but in the summer, it’s often restricted to morning and evening walks only. One of the best beaches along the coast is Knokke-Heist, where you’re not only allowed to visit at any point during the day between October and March, but the whole beach is leash-free! And as well as hours of fun on the beach for the dogs, the charming little seaside town has plenty to keep you and the rest of the family entertained. There are some particularly lovely little art galleries to wander around, as well as local boutiques and shops selling everything from high-end goods to novelty souvenirs. Walkies in the High Fens Where in Belgium: Liège Drive from Calais: 2h 50m / 296km Wooden boardwalks lead you through the beautiful marshes of the High Fens The Hautes Fagnes, or High Fens as we call them in English, are Belgium’s largest protected nature reserve. There are a number of trails and walks you can set out on for the day, varying in length and difficulty, however, you should check beforehand which areas you’re allowed to walk your dog. Environmentally, the High Fens are incredibly diverse, with the landscape ranging from dense woodland to beautiful heathland, via swampy peat bogs. Which route you choose will depend on your own levels of experience and fitness, as well as your dog’s! As you’d expect in any nature reserve, the High Fens are divided up into different zones in order to preserve the delicate ecosystems, so dogs aren’t allowed everywhere. The zones are always clearly marked, though, to help you. Zone D is forbidden to everyone, in Zone C only people accompanied by an authorised guide can enter, and in Zone B there are no dogs or bicycles allowed. That said, anywhere that isn’t specifically marked off is free to roam for you and your pooch. The High Fens offer a treasure trove of new scents and sights for your dog to explore, with an adventure just waiting to be sniffed out around every corner. A day out in Rivierenhof Park Where in Belgium: Antwerp Drive from Calais: 2h 5m / 204km Sterckshof castle looks particularly magical in the winter months credit: Torsade de Pointes  On a visit to Antwerp, you’ll no doubt notice that there is a distinct shortage of green space in the city centre. And although dogs are more than happy to pootle around town with you, and relax outside coffee shops, they really love nothing better than letting loose in a great big outdoor space. The good news for you and your pooch is that there are a couple of stunning public parks a little further out in the suburbs of Antwerp. One of the loveliest of which is Rivierenhof Park. Rivierenhof is the largest park in Antwerp, covering a massive 132 hectares, which for comparison is not much smaller than Hyde Park in London. That’s plenty of space for your pet to have a run around and stretch their legs. There are a number of canals running through the park, as well as a few larger ponds and a river, so watch out if your dog is a fan of swimming! As you and your dog explore the park, you’ll no doubt discover that it’s also home to a couple of castles. There’s the 16th-century Rivierenhof castle, which looks out over a pretty pond that stretches out in front of the grand house. And also Sterckshof castle, which is actually a 20th-century ‘replica’ of an older castle! Has all this talk of exploring the great outdoors got your pet’s tail wagging? Book your tickets with us to explore all that Belgium has to offer – and the earlier you book, the better your fare!

Drive to Leuven

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Visiting Leuven It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that makes Leuven so special, there are so many layers to this often (unjustly) overlooked city. The streets are lined with intricate, imposing gothic architecture and from September to June, the many bars and restaurants are full of students, taking time out from their studies at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. In fact, joyful student merriment has been a part of Leuven’s culture for hundreds of years- since 1425, to be exact, when the university was opened. Of course, Belgium is famous over the world for its beer, and Leuven wouldn’t be the quintessential Belgian city it is without a brewery. Theirs is the most famous of all; the Stella Artois brewery. If you only have a day to spend in Belgium, Leuven is one of the best places to visit. Everything that makes Belgium the vibrant, quirky, playful destination that it is can be found in the Gothic architecture studded streets. What to do in Leuven Stadhuis The Stadhuis is a must see when you come to Leuven- you’ll be missing out if you don’t marvel at its gothic architecture. A daily hazard of visiting Leuven, we feel we must warn you, is the risk of hurting your neck from craning to the sky to admire the Gothic archictecture. Of course, the buildings that you’re looking at are so breathtaking, you won’t mind or notice. One of the most famous (and therefore magnificent) examples of Leuven Gothic architecture is the Stadhuis. This detailed gold and black building has been the centre of politics in Leuven for over 600 years. The exterior is decorated with turrets and statues, interwoven in its elaborate design. Like the university, the Stadhuis has been a part of Leuven for generations, since its creation in the 15th century. You can learn more about the history of the Stadhuis and Leuven at the permanent exhibition inside. St-Pieterskerk Another must visit is the beautiful St-Pieterskerk, an ancient church that has stood the test of time. We aren’t the only ones who want to celebrate the architecture of Leuven. UNESCO World Heritage have listed the belfry of St-Pieterskerk on its coveted list. Once again, this is a building that has been in the heart of Leuven for many years. First built in 1425, people come from far and wide to admire the rood screen and pulpit, a staple of European churches from this era. The church is also home to Dieric Bouts’ masterpiece, ‘The Last Supper’. This is the only painting by Flemish primitive that is still on display in its original location. As you would have gathered, the history and culture of Leuven is still incredibly important to the locals, and everywhere you go, you will be enchanted by some part of Leuven’s history. M Van Museum One of the unique aspects of Leuven, is its mix of old and new. Despite it being an old town, the youthful, vibrant student feel has imbeded itself into the streets and buildings. Almost as a reflection of this, the M Van Museum displays works of art and artefacts from Leuven’s past and present. 15th century art sits with today’s modern pieces, in rooms as breathtaking as the art. The exhibition rooms are decorated with patterned wallpaper and rich oak floors and doors. Or they are more minimal with huge blank-canvas white walls, so all the attention is on the art. As with all museums worth their salt, M Van Museum always has fascinating art exhibits on, so make sure you check out what they are showing before you visit. Stella Artois Brewery When in Belgium, you drink beer. Belgian beer is one of the country’s most famous exports, and naturally they are very proud of their craft. Many towns and cities have at least one brewery, but Leuven is home to the daddy of them all: Stella Artois. The brewery is open for tours, where you can discover the history of Stella Artois, some of the secrets to its brewing process, and naturally enjoy a cold, frosty glass at the end of the tour. You never know, with all your new-found brewing knowledge, you might detect even more flavours to the beer. The famous ‘Fountain of Wisdom’, or ‘Fonske’, near the centre of town represents the students of Leuven. Where to Eat in Leuven University cities are the places to go to experience fun, quirky, and easy-on-the-wallet restaurants. Leuven has these by the bucket load, but one of the most popular is De Werf. The walls are covered with paint rollers and other decorating equipment, and the designers deliberately left rooms unfinished, to continue the theme. It’s not just the décor that has the building site theme. Food is served in lunchboxes, and colourful plastic plates- keep an eye out for the little jokes hidden in the menus. As this is popular with the university students, you will definitely experience a fun and lively atmosphere. Where to Drink in Leuven To a slightly chicer establishment now. Mattiz Is the kind of bar that looks like it was made for Instagram. This is a tapas and cocktail bar, where the food and drink are as photogenic as they are delicious. This is a great place to come at the start of the night, and tuck into a couple of plates of tapas so you’re ready to party into the early hours. If you go in summer, try to get a seat on the terrace that overlooks the town. Where to Stay in Leuven In a city like Leuven, where its history and energetic vibe makes it so special, the ideal way to experience it is to live like a local. Renting an apartment with Your House Apartments is the way to do that. Decorated so they won’t look out of place in a home décor magazine, you can stay in the large apartments with modern furnishings and all the amenities you want, including private on-site parking and free Wi-Fi. Weather in Leuven If you are planning on spending a few summer days in Leuven, you’re in luck, as the average temperature often reaches around 24°C during June to July. If it’s a winter break you’re after, you will need to wrap up warm to brace the lows of 0°C. But, Leuven is so beautiful, that the frost will only make it prettier. Getting there and around: Don’t be fooled by thinking crossing the border will make the drive longer. It’s only two and a half hours from our Calais terminal, and what luck- there are no tolls! Take the A16 to the E40, then leave on Exit 18-Herent from E314. After that, follow the N26a to Mathieu de Layensplein. There are plenty of places to park, with around ten car parks in the centre of town, and a little less on the outskirts. There is free parking but this tends to include a longer walk to the main points of interest, so it’s probably best to keep some Euros on you for the parking meter. Save money for parking and souvenirs by booking your tickets with us early- it’s the best way to get our best fares.

Discover Belgium’s craft breweries

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Holidays are the perfect time to try something completely new. That's why we've created our guide to our favourite craft breweries in Belgium. What makes Belgium beer so special is the diversity. Belgium only brew 1% of the world's beer (in fact, the state of Oregon has more breweries than in the whole of Belgium), but that 1% features some of the most unique flavours you can find in the world. Primarily they are known for their fruit beers, but there are also darker, more robust beers available too. A side note for designated drivers, but a very important one, you will have to forgo the beers.  Belgium is stricter than the UK, allowing 0.5 milligrams of alcohol per millilitre of blood, instead of 0.8. Belgium’s beers are so diverse, there’s plenty to explore. Rodenbach Roeselare, 1 hour & 30 mins from our Calais terminal A brewery tour is not all about the sampling of the vast amount of beers on offer, it's about the secrets that go into creating the dark, amber liquid that makes the tour so interesting. On the tour of the Rodenbach brewery, you will discover why aging their Flemish reds in barrels is so important to its flavour. The tour is about two hours long, so expect to be a Rodenbach expert by the end of it. Rochefort Abbaye Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy, Rochefort, 3 hours from our Calais terminal Discover the history of Rochefort, and see how it has influence the taste of the beer, credit: Luca Galuzzi. Sometimes when you try a beer, you can almost taste the history in it, this is one of the reasons why Rochefort beers are exploding with flavour. The abbey where the brewery stands has been there since the 13th century, and has had more than its fair share of hardship, being destroyed and confiscated throughout its history. That hasn't stopped the monks from dedicating their lives to the abbey, and its brewery. They started brewing beer here in the 16th century, but due to its tumultuous history it wasn't an easy ride. It was only during the 1950s when they were able to brew without difficulty, they added Rochefort 8 and Rochefort 10, stronger versions of the original Rochefort 6. Their beers use water from the Tridaine spring, which they are fighting to protect, as it is integral to its taste. Unsurprisingly, the brewery has been described as the most beautiful in Belgium, thanks to its copper domed kettles, stunning scenery, and historical backdrop. Brasserie Artisanale de Rulles Brasserie Artisanale de Rules, 3 hours & 30 mins from our Calais terminal Microbrewing is an art in itself, and a tour around Brasserie Artisanale de Rulles will show you the differences between this and a large brewery. From a historical brewery, rich with history, to a modern microbrewery, Brasserie Artisanale de Rulles is based in an old farm and creates beers in open fermenters, so they become more flavoursome. One of the signature beers, La Rulles Triple, is infused with herbs, spices and ginger, in keeping with Belgium's fame for uniquely flavoured beers. Compared to the last two breweries, don't expect impressively large equipment when you visit here. As it's a microbrewery, the kettles and rest of the kit is in keeping with its name; they're smaller and neater. But don't let that fool you into thinking it's not as interesting to see, the open fermentation process is unique, and the intimate feel means you'll have a more personal experience than on a larger tour. Is your mouth salivating at the thought of raising a glass of Belgium's finest? As it's only 35 minutes from Folkestone to Calais, you can enjoy a cold, refreshing beer in no time. To make your journey even sweeter, book your tickets with us early to get the best price.

Why you should visit Tournai

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Discover where it all began for Belgium, in Tournai, one of its oldest cities. Dating back to Roman times, it was the home to kings, a beautiful cathedral, and was also famous for its tapestry-weaving. Where is Tournai? Located only an hour and a half's drive from Calais, in the Wallonia region of Belgium, Tournai is part of the French speaking community, so it's probably time to brush up on your GCSE French! Discover two UNESCO sites in Tournai As a signifier of Tournai's beauty and important cultural influence, UNESCO has given it the honour of not having just one, but two World Heritage sites. Notre Dame Cathedral Tournai Cathedral is an extravagant building that stands intimidatingly over the surrounding streets. Surviving both world wars, it was a tornado in 1992 that left the cathedral in need of serious restoration work. Despite the continuing building work (which should be completed in 2018), the five bell towers of the Notre Dame stand tall and proud over the city. It's not just the exterior of the cathedral that makes it so special, the interior is just as spectacular. The stained-glass windows let droplets of bright colour dance around the walls, and Corneille de Vriendt's Renaissance rood screen is worth visiting alone. The cathedral is closed Saturday and Sunday mornings, and on public holidays, but is open the rest of the year. If you want a guided tour, this can be arranged by the Tournai tourist office. The Belfry Climb all the way to the top of the Belfry and you could almost touch the clouds. The second UNESCO World Heritage site is the Belfry. This is a freestanding tower, reaching 72 metres in height. If you think you can handle it, you can walk the 256 steps to the top. It may turn your legs to jelly, but the view will be worth it. First built in 1188, the Belfry has had numerous roles throughout its long life. From acting as a town siren, to a watchtower, to a prison, it's had an important role in Tournai's history. It's closed Mondays and Sunday mornings from November to March. Entry is €2.10 for adults and €1.10 for children and seniors. What else can you see in Tournai? Don't worry, you don't just have to climb to the very top of a Belfry to get the best out of Tournai. There is plenty for you to see and do on the ground. The Grand Place Enjoy a drink and bite to eat in Tournai square. After a long day exploring, a sit down in a bustling, vibrant square with a drink in hand is just what you need. The Grand Place is unique as it is triangular in shape, covered in colourful banners flying above fountains and a statue of Princess Christine of Espinoy, wielding an axe. Halle des Draps The Halle des Draps is a beautiful gilded building and the perfect background to your holiday photos. In the square, you can also see the Halle des Draps, a look back to Tournai's past as Belgium's centre of tapestry. The hall has a traditional gilt exterior, but its interior is a simple brick design. It was first built in the early 1600s by Quentin Ratte, a master builder. It withstood both world wars, but had previously collapsed in the 1800s, and was rebuilt to its exact original design. The hall is occasionally open for exhibitions, so make sure you check what's happening when you visit. Are you looking forward to taking a step back into the history of Belgium? Start planning your trip to Tournai, and don't forget to book your tickets early, to get the best price.

Drive to Ypres

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Visiting Ypres A lot of Ypres' history is a result of the devastation caused by the battles of the First World War. Despite the ravages caused by the attacks and the young lives lost there, this is still a city that is worth visiting. Whether you are coming to pay your respects to the soldiers who died, or just want to take a break in a historic city, Ypres is the hidden gem that you have been looking for. What to see in Ypres In Flanders Fields Museum In Flanders Field Museum is an important place to visit, to understand the devastation caused by the war. When visiting Ypres, you should take the time to remember the tragedies of World War I. Ypres was the setting for some major battles during the war, with thousands of young men dying, sustaining life changing injuries, or going missing in action. In Flanders Fields Museum has carefully and respectfully collected the information and artefacts from the war, so its visitors have a full and detailed picture of the sacrifices that they made. Ypres Cloth Hall Ypres was built on the cloth industry, and in the same building as Flanders Fields Museum you can find the cloth hall. Once the most important building in Ypres, serving as both the warehouse and market place for the city, it was the beating heart of Ypres. Tragically, it was destroyed in the First World War but was rebuilt to its original structure from 1933-1967 by architects J. Coomans and P.A. Pauwels, and paid for by Germany's reparations. It is open today, and the city's tourist office is located here, so it's definitely worth a visit. Menin Gate Ceremony The Menin Gate Ceremony is a daily tribute to the soldiers who died in battle. Ypres has never forgotten the tragedies of the war. The destruction of the town and the lives lost has had a lasting imprint on the citizens. Many visitors who go to Ypres, pay a visit to the Menin Gate, to see the engraved names of the 54,389 soldiers that died in battle there and don't have a known grave. Every day at 8pm, the police halt traffic passing under the Menin Gate and the buglers play The Last Post in memory of those soldiers, followed by a minute's silence. Upon special request, you can be involved in the ceremony by laying a wreath. Around Ypres Tyne Cot Cemetery is the largest Europe’s largest military cemetery. A number of visitors pay their respects in the battlefields and cemeteries that surround the city of Ypres.  Such as the Tyne Cot Cemetery, just 9km north east of Ypres or Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917, closer to the city and located in a large chateau that homes a permanent exhibition on the First World War's history. Some of these sites and others are part of a cycling trail named the Peace Route.  A 45km circular route in and around Ypres, where you can explore the countryside and significant battlefield sites.  A map of the route is available from the Tourist Information Office and there are plenty of bike rental options in Ypres too. Where to eat in Ypres De Ruyffelaer In an historic city, it's only right you dine in an historic restaurant that serves the local delicacies. De Ruyffelaer is a homely, quaint restaurant with brocante décor. Not only will you enjoy traditional Ypres meals, but you will definitely find some kooky eccentricities nestled away. Where to drink in Ypres Kaffe Bazaar As Belgium is famous for its beer, you can't possibly visit without trying a new tipple. Kaffe Bazaar has over 30 Belgian beers and 50 spirits, so even the fussiest drinker will find something they like. Try to visit on a Sunday, as that's when the bar hosts live music for a real party atmosphere. Where to stay in Ypres Main St Hotel A small, boutique hotel is the perfect place to stay in Ypres, a city known for its unusual atmosphere. Main St Hotel is beautifully decorated, close to the centre of the city with hand selected Belgian beer and a small library, you'll feel right at home. Weather in Ypres Ypres can be quite warm in summer, thanks to its location near the Belgian coast. If you're planning on visiting in its warmer months, expect highs of 22°C on average in July and August. However, those visiting in winter will experience lows of 5°C or 6°C in December, January and February. It is mainland Europe after all, so still pack a raincoat even if you're coming in summer - just in case. Getting there and around Don't be fooled into thinking that because Ypres is in a different country to Calais, it must be a long drive. In fact, it is actually only one hour, 15 minutes from our Eurotunnel Le Shuttle's Calais Terminal. Simply take the A16 to the A25, continue to D948 then take the R33 to your destination in Ypres. You will find plenty of on-street parking in Ypres, but it is pay and display, so remember to have Euros handy. The main carparks are in the town centre, and by the cathedral. Feeling inspired by Ypres? It's only 35 minutes from Folkestone to Calais, and if you book your tickets early with us you will get the best price.

Driving to Le Havre

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Known as one of the cooler cities in France, Le Havre is a great city to visit if you want modern chic, an optimistic post-war attitude and beautiful tourist spots. Since 2005, Le Havre has had the honour of being a Unesco World Heritage Site, thanks to its use of modernist buildings that blossomed after WWII. The Drive to Le Havre A post-war town, Le Havre sits boldly and beautifully on France's coast. If you're planning a French road trip, it is surrounded by many beautiful and intriguing cities and towns that make great stop-off points. Read through our guide on what you can find on the way to Le Havre. What to see on the way to Le Havre Rouen Rouen is a historical city, the backdrop to the legends of Joan of Arc and Richard the Lionheart. About an hour away from Le Havre, is the medieval city of Rouen. Known for being the place where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, it is a place teeming with French history. There are plenty of Joan of Arc points of reference you can visit, such as Tour Jeanne d'Arc where she was put on trial. You can also stop by Rouen Cathedral, as not only is this a beautiful building, but it is also the place where Richard the Lionheart's actual heart is entombed. Amiens Walk along the canals of Amiens, and discover the history of the Sommes. This French town is about two hours from Le Havre, and is known for its memorials to those killed or injured in the First World War, as well as its spectacular Gothic cathedral. Cathédrale Notre Dame is the largest Gothic cathedral in France, and visitors from all over the world come to see its magnificent beauty in person.  Saint-Quentin Saint-Quentin is a city rich in different architectural styles. It's not just Amiens where you can go to see beautiful architecture. The mix of Gothic and art-deco styles is one of the main draws to Saint-Quentin. Those who are fans of Gothic architecture, head to the town square, where the town hall stands intimidatingly. If you do visit, make sure you don't stand too close when the bells start ringing; with 37 of them, they definitely make quite the racket! The art-deco style on so many of the other buildings throughout the city was as a result of the destruction of the war, and much of the city was rebuilt in this style. What to See in Le Havre Inside the tower of St Joseph's Church, Le Havre St Joseph's Church Le Havre's number one must-see location is the stunning St Joseph's Church. Its highest point stands at 120 metres tall, and its position is so prominent that sailors use it as a reference point when at sea. Visitors can spot it from wherever they are in the city, and it's hard to not be blown away by its architecture and stained glass windows when up close. Where to Eat in Le Havre La Taverne Paillette   Any trip to a French town needs to feature traditional French dishes, and in this case, it's mussels. La Taverne Paillette has four different types of mussels on its menu, so there is some variety. The cosy, family restaurant also serves La Bière Paillette, a local delicacy that you should definitely sample. Where to Drink in Le Havre Marie Louise As le Havre has grown in popularity, the bars have become trendier. But, if you are looking for a taste of the old-school Le Havre, then the Marie Louise on the Quai de Saône is a great choice. Originally a docker's bar, locals still come here to drink and chat with the landlady. A real Le Havre experience. Where to Stay in Le Havre Passino Spa Hotel All that wandering around a new city, you will definitely need some proper R&R. Passino has a great spa that will both relax and rejuvenate you. After all, if you don't come back from a holiday completely refreshed, what's the point in going? Weather in Le Havre Visiting in the summer, the average weather in July and August reaches around 18°C, but it can get higher. If you're planning a winter trip, then bring a coat to combat the chilly lows of 5°C. As for rainfall, the autumn sees the most, with 70ml from September to November. Getting there and around The drive from the Calais Eurotunnel terminal to Le Havre is just under three hours, but be aware that that drive does include tolls. You just need to take the A16 to Gonfreville-l'Orcher, then the N282 and D6015 to Avenue du Général Lecler in Le Havre. There are as many as fifteen car parks in Le Havre with Coty being the largest. An underground car park just six minutes walk from the centre and allows cars to stay short term (€1.20 an hour/€4.80 a day) or longer (€20 for one week). Will you be paying a visit to Le Havre? At only 35 minutes from Folkestone to Calais, you can be there in no time. Make sure you book your Eurotunnel Le Shuttle tickets early, to get the best price.

Walibi

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Walibi has been elected in 2016 by professionals as “best theme park and most sensational park in Belgium”. Walibi Belgium is an amusement park with several sensational attractions! Calamity Mine, Radja River, the staggering Werewolf and for those who know no fear there are attractions like Vampire and Dalton Terror. Walibi Belgium is the place to be!  

Bellewaerde

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Spend a day at Bellewaerde with the entire family and enjoy the fun, adventure and spectacular discoveries. The fun family attractions make everyone jump up and down with excitement. You will get to know hundreds of animals close by, all this in an overwhelming natural setting. Ready for a day you will never forget? Welcome to Bellewaerde!

Driving To Belgium

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Thinking of driving to Belgium? If your next trip is to Belgium, whether for business or pleasure, there is no better way to get there than by car. Driving to Belgium gives you the freedom to explore the area, head off the beaten track and discover the country at your leisure. And when you travel with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, you will get there in a fraction of the time compared to a ferry crossing to Belgium, which takes 13 hours and 15 minutes! Faster than a ferry to Belgium: Eurotunnel Le Shuttle When it comes to planning your Belgian driving holiday or business trip, look no further than Eurotunnel Le Shuttle to get you on your way. Our service is both flexible and affordable, which means that with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, travelling to Belgium couldn't be easier! Crossings run from Folkestone to Calais 365 days a year There are up to four departures every hour It takes just 35 minutes to get to France from the UK, making it faster than the ferries to Belgium Prices start at just £30 , which covers one car and up to nine passengers It's so easy to get to the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle from within the UK, as there's direct access from the M20 motorway. Take a look at how close you are with our handy table of 10 key cities around the country. Cities in the UK Distance Driving Time London 67.4m/109k 1h 21m Edinburgh 461m/742k 7h 41m Manchester 275m/444k 4h 32m Birmingham 194m/313k 3h 08m Leeds 259m/417k 4h 13m Glasgow 463m/746k 7h 22m Bristol 186m/298k 3h 02m Portsmouth 127m/205k 2h 08m Exeter 235m/378k 4h 07m Newcastle 341m/549k 5h 26m Please note: These distance and driving times to our UK terminal are approximate and given as guidance only. Never been on the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle? Here's how it works... We run Channel crossings from Folkestone 365 days a year, with up to four departures every hour. Our flexible and convenient service runs 24 hours a day, which gives you the freedom to travel when it suits you. With our extensive timetable, you can select a time and date for travelling that fits into your busy schedule. It's so easy to book: simply select your travel dates, choose your preferred time slot and pick one of the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle departure times. You'll be on your way to Belgium before you know it! 1. Arrive at Eurotunnel and check in From the UK, Eurotunnel is easily reached via the M25 and M20. Exit the motorway at Junction 11a, and drive straight to our check-in booths. Allow yourself at least 30 minutes and no more than two hours before your booked departure time. 2. Collect your Departure Hanger You will need your booking reference number and the credit/debit card used at the time of booking to collect this. 3. Visit our Passenger Terminal Once you're through check-in and passport control, take some time to relax and visit our Passenger Terminal Building for a spot of shopping at one of our 11 shops, including World Duty Free, or enjoy some refreshments at one of the cafés. Remember to keep your hanger visible at all times whilst on the terminal site. 4. Have your passport ready When it's time, drive straight through to the British and French frontier controls where your passport, vehicle and official documentation will be checked. 5. Drive on You can start to board approximately 25 minutes before your departure time. There are customer information screens and service announcements to let you know when Le Shuttle is ready. Follow the green arrows to your allocated slip lane, and it won't be long before you're on your way. 6. Drive off Boarding is simple and safe, and you will be directed to your carriage by our friendly team. You stay with your vehicle throughout the short journey in bright, air-conditioned carriages. There's nothing left to do except sit back and relax, or get out and stretch your legs. In 35 minutes, simply drive off at the end of the crossing and be on your way. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch. Here are some useful contact details to help you out. Top tips for the drive to Belgium Driving to Belgium from the Eurotunnel terminus in Calais is so quick and easy. The border is a short 40-minute drive along the E40, which follows the coast along Northern France. Once you're in Belgium, it's time to start exploring at making the most of the freedom driving. Stay on the E40 and continue your journey on to Bruges, just an hour and 20 minutes from Calais. There is so much to see and do in this beautiful historic European city. Climb the Belfry of Bruges and admire views over the city, take in some culture at the Groeningemuseum, or simply lose yourself wandering through the ancient cobbled streets. A two-hour drive from our Calais terminal is vibrant Antwerp. Famed as the home of classic Baroque painter Rubens, it has also become a fashion-mecca, making it a must-visit for the shopaholics amongst you! On your drive to Antwerp from Calais, you will pass the stunning, yet underrated, town of Ghent - brimming with culture, it is definitely worth detouring for a visit! A trip to Belgium wouldn't be complete without a visit to the capital city, Brussels. The heart of Europe and home to the EU, there is plenty to do in this fascinating city. If you're travelling with the family, be sure to pay the Belgian Comic Strip Center a visit, or take the kids to the Océade waterpark for a fun day out. Take some time out to relax as you wander the Art Nouveau collections of the Horta Museum, or simply indulge in some of the famous Belgian chocolates and beer! Belgium has so much to offer, it can be tricky to know where to start. Why not take a look at our Belgian city guide for more inspiration for your trip? It's so easy to book your holiday with Eurotunnel, and with our speedy and flexible service, it has never been more convenient. What's more, when you book your accommodation through Eurotunnel Hotels, you can save up to 75%! Book your journey

The Best Chocolate in Belgium

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Taste your way through some of Belgium's best chocolate Renowned for being home to some of the best chocolatiers, Belgium is a popular haunt with chocolate lovers from around the world. From creative chocolate connoisseurs in Brussels, to family run businesses in Ghent, Belgium is the home of chocolate innovation. To help get you inspired for your confectionery trip, we've put together a list of the best chocolatiers and chocolate shops in Belgium. Brussels Pierre Marcolini Pierre Marcolini is one of the top chocolatiers in Belgium, and his work is living proof of his talent. Every year, Marcolini travels around the world in search of great quality cocoa beans, often blending different types to create unique flavours in his chocolate. To create the initial chocolate blend, he mixes ground, roasted cocoa beans with cocoa butter, sugar and fresh Tahitian vanilla. His final creations are the result of perfect flavour composition. Tantalise your taste buds with a Baies Roses, a chocolate filled with bitter ganache, infused with Moroccan pink pepper berries. Or, sample a taste of utter luxury, with the Pierre Marcolini Grand Cru chocolate, which is made with cocoa from Venezuela, Java and Madagascar, and is bursting with ganache laced with vanilla. Dig into the treats of Pierre Marcolini Neuhaus Established as a chocolate shop by Jean Neuhaus Junior, in 1857, Neuhaus is one of the oldest chocolate producers in Belgium. If you're interested in trying a couple of the shop's innovative flavours, two popular choices that have been around since 1937 are Bonbon13, a blend of dark and milk chocolate infused with rum, and Astrid, a buttery and crunchy chocolate that was created in honour of Queen Astrid of Belgium. Nowadays, the shop offers a range of carefully curated boxes, such as the Neuhaus Haute Pâtisserie, a selection of nine different flavoured chocolates designed by nine top pastry chefs, based on their favourite desserts. Explore the chocolate treats of Neuhaus Bruges Depla Chocolatier Located on Mariastraat, Depla is a famous chocolatier that's been producing high quality treats since 1958. Pol Depla, a member of the Guild of the Bruges Chocolatiers, runs the company, which famously produces artisanal chocolate on site, combining the best cocoa with his own family recipe. Pol's chocolate shop is renowned for its production of the Brugs Swaentje, or Bruges Swan, a type of swan-shaped chocolate filled with almond praline that's been infused with gruut spices and kletskoppen biscuits. On top of this Belgian delicacy, you'll also have the choice of masterfully crafted chocolate figurines, such as rabbits and dragons. To see how Pol Depla works, join one of his workshops, where you'll get to watch how he creates these chocolate masterpieces. How chocolate is made Dumon Chocolatier Positioned in one of the beautiful medieval buildings just around the corner from Depla, Dumon Chocolatier is a well-established shop run by Stephan Dumon, who began his career by creating artisan truffles for nearby pastry chefs in 1992. Dumon was trained as a chef chocolatier at the city's Ter Groene Poorte, a famous catering school, and implements his learnings to create chocolate using the traditional artisan method. In his shop, you can expect to sample a wide and varied range of chocolate, from green, frog-shaped pralines, to festive figurines and fruit, spice and nut infused chocolate bars. There's plenty of choice, so make sure you treat yourself to a box of whatever they recommend, and enjoy them with a coffee in the shop's café. Dumon's multi-coloured chocolates The Chocolate Line The chocolate-brown exteriors of this charming shop give the impression that even the walls are edible, but sadly, they're not. Owned by Dominique Persoone and Fabienne De Staerke, and open since 1992, The Chocolate Line produces quality chocolate for top chefs, tourists and foodies from across Belgium. From outside the shop, you can watch the chocolatiers hard at work in the kitchen, tempering and moulding delicious treats for you to try. The Chocolate Line is famous for the interesting flavours they produce, such as the Tequila chocolate that requires you to lick salt from the treat, drink the tequila and eat the chocolate filled with lime infused ganache. Other exciting tastes include Bangkok, a chocolate laced with hints of lemongrass, and Green Tokyo, a chocolate filled with a bitter ganache and Japanese wasabi marzipan. Antwerp Hans Burie Chocolatier At the age of 20, Hans Burie started creating chocolate from his own home, and as his business grew, he was soon able to move to Antwerp and buy his own shop, where he specialised in traditional chocolate making. As of 2000, Hans' son, Lieven Burie, has been running the shop, continuing to create delicious and unusual Belgian delicacies people love. Sample candied orange slices dipped in rich dark chocolate, whipped raspberry-filled chocolates and amazing structures, such as giant chocolate ostriches and snakes. If you want to learn more about the Burie process of making chocolate, treat yourself and your family to an hour-long behind the scenes session, where you'll get to witness how the pralines are made. DelRey For around 60 years, DelRey has been producing chocolate, macaroons, and celebration cakes, so it's no surprise that they're held in such high regard. With every season, the shop's windows are dotted with themed chocolate creations, from Easter eggs, to glossy red hearts and delicious flower-shaped treats. Inside, the chocolates are even more beautiful, with delights including escargot moulded dark chocolate filled with chestnut purée and whipped with butter and rum, Norwegian candied cherries covered in red-tinted chocolate, and champagne truffles, which you can enjoy in the shop's very own Chocolate Lounge. DelRey's chocolate and cakes Ghent Chocolaterie Van Hoorebeke The Van Hoorebeke chocolaterie consists of two shops, which are owned by creator, Luc Van Hoorebeke, and his son, Cedric. The two chocolatiers create artisanal pralines, carefully picking out the cocoa beans they use to create their original chocolate blend. Passers-by can take a sneak peek into their basement workshops, and watch as they create mouth-watering, sweet delights, such as candied orange peel dipped in bitter dark chocolate, and creamy truffles that have been rolled in flakes of milk chocolate. Quetzal de Chocoladebar On top of all the chocolate you can eat, Belgium has a big chocolate-drinking culture, which is celebrated in Quetzal de Chocoladebar. Inside, you'll discover myriad warm chocolate milks to choose from, infused with different flavours and spices, such as the Mexican hot chocolate mixed with honey and a piquant spice blend, and the Malabar, which is blended with Arabian cardamom. In the evening, you can also treat yourself to one of the many 'choctails', such as the Azteca, a mixture of rum, gin and Mexican spices, and a slice of rich, chocolate brownie. The bar also offers pure cocoa shots, for the real lovers of chocolate, as well as indulgent ice cream for your kids. Book your journey

Main attractions in Brussels

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Brussels: historical city, heart of Europe and food mecca. Huddled amongst several other European countries, Belgium has a long and tangled history of occupation, language-divide and influence. You'll find a rich and diverse culture here with the French-speaking south of Belgium maintaining distinction from the Dutch-speaking north. Uniting these two conflicting halves is the diverse and historic city of Brussels. The capital's fascinating contradictions are played out in its architecture, culture and even language; the city is officially bilingual, with Dutch and French both common place on its winding streets. Let Eurotunnel Le Shuttle guide you through the best of the Belgian capital. Food glorious food Brussels is certainly a city for foodies. Think chocolate, fruit beer and warm waffles. The city's thriving cafe culture means you'll always find a prime spot to rest your feet and sit and watch the world go by. You won't have to walk far to find waffles in Brussels. Stalls line the cobbled streets tempting passers-by with freshly baked waffles and paper cones filled with hot frites. Chocolate You will most likely find yourself at Brussels' main square and the Grand Palace during your visit. When you do, spare some time to visit the Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate as this is a treat for all food lovers. Follow the journey of cocoa to chocolate through the ages and grab the opportunity to watch a master chocolatier make praline the traditional way. Belgian chocolates are made with 100% cocoa butter and no vegetable oil, giving them that melt-in-your-mouth creamy texture.   You'll find chocolate shops dotted throughout Brussels so remember to stock up on boxes of handmade Belgian chocolates for your loved ones back home, or just indulge yourself! Along with big names in the chocolate industry including Godiva, Leonidas and Wittamer, wander down the city's narrow side streets and you will find boutique chocolatiers who offer a unique experience. Look out for true innovation from the likes of Zaabär Factory Shop who merge Belgian chocolate with spices from around the world. Belgian Beer If you're here for the beer then before you hit the pubs, take a short drive into the Anderlecht suburb of Brussels to the Cantillon Brewery. Witness how this family of master-brewers produce lambic beers following the same brewing process for more than 100 years. Lambic is spontaneously fermented using wild yeasts in the air and sit for years until drinkable. Art Nouveau and Culture Saint Gilles is the place to go to soak up creative life in the city. This is a multi-cultural area where artists, writers and musicians have put down their roots and regularly meet to exchange ideas. Saint Gilles is also Brussels' main Art Nouveau district and several of the houses are Unesco World Heritage-listed.   You can gaze at block after block of houses with wrought iron balconies and oriel windows and step inside to have a nose around one at the Horta Museum and former home of Belgian architect Victor Horta. The Brasserie Verschueren is a laid-back bar and favourite of locals where you're sure to overhear some creative conversations. Life culminates here near the Saint-Gilles church and square where you'll find an excellent weekend market for foodies. For Families Families looking for a fun day out should drive out to Mini Europe Park. Enter a miniature world where the whole of Europe is condensed into the leafy park surrounds. Discover the canals of Venice, the Acropolis of Greece and Italy's leaning tower of Pisa without ever leaving Belgian soil. Around 350 monuments from European cities have been recreated down to the tiniest details. And, Mini-Europe is a just a small part of the larger amusement park complex of Bruparck.   For some fun in sub-tropical temperatures, Oceade has eleven waterslides to whizz down and you can re-energise by picking up some food at The Village, a maze of streets filled with restaurants and cafes. If there's time left before bed you can catch a movie at one of the theatres at Kinepolis Brussels. Puppets Back in the city centre, a short walk from the Grand Palace, you'll find some impressive puppetry at the Royal Theatre of Toone. Eight generations of the Toone family have used the puppets to play out Belgium's history, adapt classic tales and preserve the Brussels dialect. In the puppet museum you'll see all the colourful characters who have retired from the puppet stage. Comics While you're still in fantasy land take a trip to the Belgian Comic Strip Centre. This kingdom of comic strip art is filled with the likes of Tintin, the Smurfs and other famous Belgian cartoon characters. Now you can lose yourself in the reading room and hunt out your favourite comics in French, Dutch or English. The museum's permanent exhibitions take you on a journey through comic strip history, exploring the works and careers of authors such as Hergé and Roba. To stretch your legs follow the comic strip walking trail which links a series of murals throughout the city and features your favourite comic strip characters.   Brussels has plenty to tempt visitors including quality food, rich history and impressive architecture. Whoever you're travelling with you're sure to be captivated by Belgium's capital. Getting there and around Brussels is a short 2-hour drive from the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle terminal at Calais following the A16 and E40. Book your journey

Ghent

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Ghent, city of history, culture and celebration. Nestled between Bruges and Brussels, Ghent is an often overlooked treasure which is packed with some of the best sights and experiences Belgium has to offer. This sprawling city was once the second biggest in Europe, its sheer scale matched only by Paris. Like its French counterpart Ghent still retains much of its historic look, making it a perfect picturesque spot for a weekend getaway. Whether you're looking for a romantic break, some family fun, or some European culture, this city has something for everyone. Let Eurotunnel Le Shuttle be your guide as we explore some of the must-see sights and attractions in Ghent. Belfry and Cloth Hall Wool, and the cloth made from it, played a huge part in Ghent's history during the Middle Ages, resulting in the city growing rich from this industry. Trading across Europe, the region became synonymous with the highest quality woven cloth, and at the centre of production stood the Cloth Hall, or Lakenhalle. Constructed between 1425-1445, the hall was a thriving trading spot for cloth merchants, where they would inspect merchandise and broker deals. As the industry declined the hall was preserved through different usage, including serving as the city jail for more than 150 years. This rich history has left its mark on the building and made it a must for visitors. Attached to the hall is the imposing historic Ghent Belfry, or Belfort, which offers unparalleled views across the metropolis. The bells in this tower are a matter of civic pride to the city's inhabitants, historically rung to mark battle victories, today they often celebrate more peaceful occasions. Despite the tower's ancient construction, an elevator has been installed inside, so visitors can avoid lengthy stair climbs in order to enjoy the panorama. Saint Bavo Cathedral Opposite the Belfry stands another must-see sight for Ghent visitors; the equally impressive Saint Bavo Cathedral. This religious structure has stood on the site for more than 1,000 years, and evidence of the original 942AD wooden chapel can still be seen in the cathedral's crypt. This sits alongside remains of further expansions throughout the ages, allowing you a glimpse into the development of the grand structure. Today the cathedral is not just an architectural wonder, but it also houses arguably one of the most important renaissance artworks in northern Europe. The world-famous Ghent Altarpiece, is an impressive screen of 24 framed paintings by the two famous masters Hubert and Jan Van Eyk. The breath-taking detailed scenes depict Biblical figures including Adam and Eve and the Lamb of God. Gravensteen Overlooking one of Ghent's picturesque canals is the formidable Gravensteen, or Castle of the Count. Built in the Middle Ages this compact castle comes straight out of epic tales of knights and dragons, with its looming fortified walls and towers. The building served as the seat of the Counts of Flanders until the 14th Century, and its most notorious resident, crusader Count Philip of Alsace, ensured there was a fully equipped torture chamber inside should anybody actually manage to scale the battlements. Today visitors can take a tour of the castle, climb the ramparts and even get a gruesome glimpse at some of the count's favourite instruments of torture. Museum of Fine Arts and SMAK To the south of Ghent town centre you will find the verdant and peaceful Citadelpark, which plays host to two of the city's most impressive galleries. The Museum of Fine Arts, on the park's east side, houses a collection which includes some of the finest examples of Flemish painting in existence, including works by Hieronymus Bosch, Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony Van Dyke. If you're looking for something a little more modern then the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, or SMAK, also located in Citadelpark, is the destination for you. With constantly changing exhibitions of cutting edge work accompanying a collection of more established artists, including pieces by Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon and David Hockney, there's plenty to excite modern art lovers. Gentse Feesten Once a year, for 10 days, Ghent is transformed by a eclectic range of performances and events that fill the city's streets. The annual Gentse Feesten, or Ghent Festival, was first held in 1843 and from humble beginnings it has grown into a modern celebration of everything from music and theatre to food and comedy.   Every year and the whole town is consumed with celebrations as some two million visitors descend on Ghent. Traditionally beginning on the Saturday before July 21 this modern incarnation of the event has become a sort of 'festival of festivals' with miniature festivals taking place across the city over the 10 day period. Attendees can opt to wander the streets and enjoy the many free buskers and performers who come out in force for the event, or head into the city's many bars and performance venues where every style of music is represented in one form or another. With so much to see and do, without the crowds of its neighbours Bruges and Brussels, Ghent is the perfect destination for a Belgian break. For further information: www.visitgent.be Getting there From the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle terminal at Calais take the E14 towards Bruges and continue south until you reach Ghent. Total distance: 152km Time: 1hr 34mins Book your journey

Bruges Travel Guide

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With winding cobbled streets lined with preserved medieval buildings and criss-crossing picturesque canals, there is a photo opportunity at every turn. Bruges is also closer than you think too, as travel vlogger and filmmaker Saunders Says discovered on his recent trip to Bruges. Spending a day in this Belgian city, it’s small enough to navigate on foot and is absolutely stuffed with history, art and entertainment. Just over an hour's drive from the Eurotunnel le Shuttle terminal at Calais, whether you're looking for a romantic city break, a holiday exploring the finest in European culture or a family getaway Bruges has something for everybody. Here’s a few things Saunders got up to whilst he was there. Top Sights The centre of Bruges is a Unesco World Heritage Site enclosed by a lazily looping canal and ancient city walls. Cross any of the bridges into the heart of the city and you can feel like you're taking a journey back into the past.  Whether you’re visiting for one day or longer, Bruges is a quick and easy destination for a perfect break away. Credit: saunderscb. It is easy, and somewhat enjoyable, to lose yourself in the meandering ancient streets, but if you want to get an overview of the city before you wander too far then head for the unmissable belfry of Bruges. Also known as the Belfort, this imposing 83-metre-high bell tower dominates the city's skyline and offers an unparalleled view across the rooftops. Be prepared to work for the reward however; there are 366 steep winding steps to the top. The belfry was originally built in the 13th Century and has been remodelled over the centuries following fires. Today it contains 47 bells of varying sizes and these are regularly used for performances by the in-house bellringer. In front of the belfry is the Market Square, or Markt, the very heart of Bruges. This is a traditional starting point for many visitors wanting to explore the ancient city and you can find many guided tours beginning here, including horse-drawn cabs to add that extra touch of romance to your visit.  Climb the Belfry of Bruges to catch an unmissable view of the medieval city below. Credit: saunderscb. Towering even above the belfry, the impressive spire of The Church of Our Lady makes it the tallest building in the city. As well as marvelling at the architecture, art-lovers are drawn to the church to see its prized possession – a marble sculpture of Madonna and Child by Renaissance master Michelangelo. For more breath-taking buildings and to step back even further into Bruges' past head to the Burg, an open square which was once home to the Count of Flanders' fortified castle. Today the square is bordered by the town hall, or Stadhuis, a stunning example of Gothic architecture. Although it is still a functioning town hall, some of the rooms of the Stadhuis are open to the public and inside you can learn about the history of Bruges and its surroundings and view historic artefacts including ancient maps of the area.  A horse & carriage is the perfect way to enjoy the sites of the city. Museums Bruges is a cultural hub for Belgium and numerous artists have made the city their home across the centuries, most notably master painter Jan van Eyck, whose works can be found at the Groeningemuseum, along with other celebrated Flemish and Belgian painters. The fine art collection stretches from 15th Century 'Flemish Primitives' to Renaissance and Baroque masters and is a must for any art-lover.  Belgian chocolate is considered the best in the world, so it’ll be a crime not to try at least a few samples… If you're looking for something for the whole family head to the indulgent Choco Story museum; housed in a former wine tavern, the museum takes you through the chocolate producing process, from bean to bar. And yes, there are tasting samples at the end, but try not to rush round the exhibitions of historic chocolate-making tools, as there are some fascinating facts to be learned. If this has whet your appetite for further food museums why not try Bruges' Frietmuseum, which claims to be the only museum dedicated to potato fries in the world? Despite its name, the French fry was reportedly invented in Belgium and this unique museum takes visitors through the history of the humble skinny chip, from Peruvian potato artefacts to the humble deep-fat fryer. As with the chocolate museum, there is a café at the end for you to do your own 'research'. Add a touch of sparkle to your visit by dropping in to the Diamond Museum in the city centre. Bruges is Europe's oldest diamond city and here you can learn about the history of the precious stones and the industry built around them. Book in advance to ensure a place watching one of the regular live diamond-polishing demonstrations.  Food and Drink Although the Belgians' cuisine is probably not as varied as their French neighbours, it is certainly no less delicious. The most popular national speciality is almost undoubtedly the humble frite, eaten with big indulgent dollops of mayonnaise. Bruge's proximity to the coast means that many restaurants offer tasty fresh moules frites as a speciality. Cobbled streets, canals and chocolate. How can you not like Bruges? Credit: saunderscb. When looking for somewhere to eat it is worth exploring the smaller streets which lead away from the Markt or Burg, as you can find unique little eateries hidden away and often save money by avoiding the more obvious touristy places. After exploring the streets of Bruges and eating your fill there are few more pleasant ways to quench your thirst than with one of Belgium's many famous beers. Try Cambrinus, on Philipstockstraat, for a huge selection of brews, from the finest Belgian lagers to refreshing fruit beers. With a mixture of fascinating history and breath-taking beauty Bruges makes the ideal spot for a European getaway that really is closer than you think. Watch Saunder’s trip to get inspired:   Plan your adventure to Bruges and be there quicker than you think, when you travel with us it’s only 35 minutes from Folkestone to Calais. Book your tickets on our site and in advance to ensure the best price.

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