Things to do

Things to see and do in Ypres

In Belgium sits the famous city of Ypres. Discover the tragic history that put this city on the map. Follow our guide to explore its historical sites.

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.
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.
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.
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.