The Lion’s Mound memorial to Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo is the perfect place to start. Located just south of Brussels in the heart of Belgium, visitors can climb to the top to overlook what was the battlefield where the course of history was written. Here, you’ll also find an interactive museum about the 1815 battle, so it’s a perfect educational opportunity for youngsters too.
Next, head over to Ypres, near the French border, to the In Flanders Fields Museum. Named after the famous World War I poem, the museum pays homage to the 600,000 men who lost their lives on the battlefields here. The Menin Gate is also a poignant site, particularly at night, as buglers play the Last Post at 8pm – as they have been doing every night since 1928, to remember the 55,000 allied soldiers who died here in Flanders Fields.
Rumour has it that Belgium has more castles per square kilometre than any other country in the world – a bit like Starbucks in America. So it would be rude not to visit one or two. Gravensteen in Ghent is particularly spectacular. As an added bonus, Ghent also makes for excellent city breaks in Belgium too.
What to eat
Another claim to fame you can explore during holidays in Belgium is that the country has between 800 and 1,000 different beers brewed on its shores. Again, not visiting a brewery seems a bit daft. When in Rome (or Bruges…) and all that.
If there’s one thing beyond beer and history that Belgium is famous for, it’s chocolate. Those with a sweet tooth should visit Chocolate Nation – an interactive museum in Antwerp giving an insight into the history of famous Belgian chocolate. There may even be the odd tasting opportunity too!
If you’ve had your fill of chocolate, don’t forget to tuck into waffles and mussels (though probably not at the same time).
What’s the weather like?
Christmas is a great time to enjoy family holidays in Belgium, with the lights, smells and general festive atmosphere of the Brussels Christmas markets a lovely activity for adults and children alike. As the capital makes for enjoyable city breaks too, it’s a certain winner for a winter escape. Though, the weather in Belgium can get a little chilly so be prepared to wrap up warm.
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