Bruges has outstanding art, twisting medieval streets, traditional bars, outstanding cuisine but when the unique charms of the carillon sound from the iconic belfry its ambience is complete. Unwind with a relaxing few days on our escorted tour to Bruges - with its picturesque canals and medieval charm.
Selected departures March to November 2017
You take the late morning/early afternoon Eurostar service from London St. Pancras International to Lille (exact time will be indicated on travel documents), arriving approximately 1 hour 30 minutes later. A coach will then take you to your hotel in the heart of Bruges old town.
After breakfast you have a guided walk of this beautiful town which really does show off its charm perfectly. The whole atmosphere of Bruges is pure romance and really reflects the true spirit of medieval Flanders. Its streets are crammed with fascination and yet it is so compact that the walking tour emphasises the main sights and attractions perfectly. Bruges has so much to offer and is centred around the main square, dominated by the Belfry and when the unique old Flemish chimes are heard, the atmosphere is perfect. You can climb this tower, if you can face the 366 steps: the view is breath-taking. You will also see the City Hall, the old Law Courts and the ‘Basilica of the Holy Blood’ in which is housed some of Jesus’ blood. Another must is the Notre Dame Church which houses Michelangelo’s beautiful Madonna and Child, carved in pure white marble. Belgium, and Flanders in particular, is very famous for brewing beer, indeed there are over 500 varieties throughout the country. One of the features of brewing in Belgium is the great variety of types of beer and ingredients used, even things as diverse as cherries and oats! So a tour to Bruges would not be complete without a visit to a brewery! Some of you may choose to take the short walk to the “Halve Maan” brewery museum to learn the ins and outs of brewing in this quaint and very traditional establishment and then unwind with a tasting.
After breakfast we will arrange an optional tour by boat of some of Bruges’ canals, which gives an interesting view of the town (subject to seasonal operation). Late morning, for those who are interested, you visit some of the places made famous during the First World War in nearby Ypres, the centre of British activity during those turbulent times and home of the Menin Gate. You then visit Passchendaele Memorial Museum to see a fascinating recreation of life in the trenches (2016 tours visit Hill 62, more commonly known as Sanctuary Wood), but perhaps the most moving part of the afternoon is the visit to Tyne Cot cemetery - all in all, a fascinating and yet poignant afternoon.
Bruges chocolates are known throughout the world and so this morning you visit one of the few establishments which still makes chocolates by traditional methods. They are only made from the finest ingredients and during the demonstration you learn all about this delicious craft. A coach will later return you to nearby Lille to take an afternoon Eurostar service back to London St Pancras International.
There can be few places left where you can totally switch off for a few days from the pressures of modern day living as completely as Bruges. Its beauty and tranquillity are outstanding, as befits the most perfectly preserved medieval town in Europe and its atmosphere is totally unique. Whether it’s a stroll by one of the canals, indeed Bruges is also known as ‘Venice of the North’, sipping a coffee in the Old Market Square with the 13th Century Flemish chimes ringing out from the belfry in the background, or perhaps a gentle trip around the town by horse and carriage, its serenity will captivate you and it has something for all tastes.
For art lovers, Bruges is a must – Jan Van Eyck being the city’s most famous resident. There are three excellent museums housing many fine works by Dutch and Flemish artists including Van Eyck himself, Rembrandt, and many more. In the church of Our Lady you can see the carving of the Madonna and Child by Michelangelo, perhaps the greatest sculptor of them all. In the Basilica of the Holy Blood is a phial, said to contain Jesus’ blood, which was brought back from the Holy Land after one of the crusades. The richness of the interior decoration will amaze you.
Bruges is also very famous for its chocolates, some of which are still hand made from the finest ingredients including cream, strawberries, nougat and nuts. The results are absolutely mouth- watering. They do not do very much for your waistline but they do for your taste buds! The food in Belgium, and Bruges in particular, combines the best in cuisine: French quality and flair, with German sized portions. The speciality is mussels; there are forty ways of cooking them, and of course Belgian chips topped with mayonnaise are recognised the world over as the best there are. But there is no one thing you can put your finger on which makes Bruges such an attractive place to stay for a few days. It is a combination of old world charm, the friendliness of the people (indeed it is difficult to find anyone who doesn’t speak fluent English), culture and perhaps its sheer tranquillity. So come with us and see.
The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms are subject to availability at the relevant supplement. The price includes a return standard class reserved seat on Eurostar coach transfer from Lille to your hotel in Bruges (approximate transfer time one hour), three nights’ accommodation with breakfast, all local accommodation taxes and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager.
For Dublin dates the price includes all details above except that transport is return flights from Dublin to Brussels with coach transfer from Brussels to Bruges.
Included excursions are: a walking tour of Bruges, a chocolate making demonstration, a visit to the First World War battlefields. Occasionally the opening times of the places of interest vary, and if this happens we may change the order of the visits on this tour.
Not included in the price is: entrance fee to the ‘Halve Maan’ brewery museum which is approximately €7.50 and payable locally, the boat trip which is approximately €6.40 and payable locally, entrance to the Flanders Field museum which is approximately €7 and payable locally, entrance to the Passchendaele Memorial Museum which is approximately €7 payable locally.
Please note there is a £10, £20, £30 or £50 supplement for certain regional stations. If your preferred station is not available, please contact the office, as we may be able to request it for you.
In order to enjoy your Eurostar experience to the full, you may upgrade to Standard Premier Class from only £139 return, subject to availability. This price includes a complimentary light meal, offered from a selection of sweet and savoury cold snacks and includes and a drink appropriate to the time of day, served at your seat while you relax in the spacious comfort of Standard Premier Class.
UK Regional Train Connections
You may upgrade to First Class for only £47 per person, subject to availability. This price excludes departures from Bournemouth, Portsmouth Harbour, Salisbury, Southampton, Winchester and Brighton.
To enquire further or request an upgrade please contact the Reservations Department.
Please note there is a £10, £20 or £50 supplement for certain regional stations. If your preferred station is not available, please contact the office, as we may be able to request it for you.
Pam and Alan Lucas
My husband and I have just arrived back from our 3 day trip to Bruges. We had a lovely time, Bruges was such a quaint little place, so easy to find your way around. We stayed in the Martins Bruge Hotel which could not have been mo...
Margot Simmonds and Derek Yardley
We both would like to compliment your Company in connection with our recent holiday. Viv, our tour guide, was always there with her helpful, friendly, caring and extremely knowledgeable self. She is such an asset to your company...