Departures from March to October 2019
Bruges is renowned for being one of the most picture-perfect towns in Europe, propelled to the spotlight by the dark comedy starring Colin Farrell. Winding canals, atmospheric cobbled streets, an array of wonderful cuisine and famed art collections make this town a destination that will make you want to revisit time and again, and in our opinion, it’s ideal for anyone travelling alone for the first time.
This captivating city is famous for its artisan chocolate, smooth Belgian beers, and classic chips with mayonnaise – but there is far more to savour beyond that, and there will be plenty of opportunities to sample some of the delicious cuisine on offer at the numerous excellent restaurants and cafes that dot the city. Bruges is also home to some significant cultural artefacts, including the paintings of Rembrandt and Van Eyck, as well as Michelangelo’s beautiful sculpture of Madonna and Child. Bruges is a wonderful choice for a tour, whether it’s your first time or if you’re one of the many returning visitors who fill its bustling streets.
An early afternoon Eurostar train takes us from St Pancras to Lille (approximately 1hr 30mins), then we travel by coach to the four-star Hotel Academie in the heart of Bruges (transfer approximately 1hr). This evening we will gather with our tour manager for the short walk to our restaurant for a lovely welcome dinner, where you will get a chance to meet other travellers joining the tour on their own.
We will enjoy continental breakfast in our hotel this morning before joining our tour manager on a walking tour of charming Bruges. Although compact, the town is packed with sights, sounds, smells and an ambience all its own. The 13th century belfry dominates the town, and those who wish to take the 366 steps to the top will be amply rewarded with remarkable views of the maze of streets and canals below. We will also take in the popular sights, including the City Hall, the old Law Courts and the Basilica of the Holy Blood, which is so-called because it houses a vial claimed to contain the blood of Jesus, brought back from the Holy Land. We’ll also see the Notre Dame Church, where Michelangelo’s masterpiece, Madonna and Child, is housed. Bruges is, of course, synonymous with fine Belgian beers, and many bars dedicate entire menus to the vast array of options available. Those who would like to know more about Bruges’ brewing heritage may choose to take a short stroll to the Halve Maan Brewery Museum, where there is also a chance to unwind with a beer tasting.
This morning, you have the option to take a boat trip on Bruges’ canals, providing an alternative perspective of the picturesque town. After that, you can choose to explore Bruges at leisure, or take an optional included excursion that visits the locations made famous during World War I – Ypres, the centre of British activity in Belgium and home of the Menin Gate, a moving memorial to the missing. The excursion also takes us to the Passchendaele Museum for an insightful recreation of life in the trenches, and concludes with a poignant visit to Tyne Cot Cemetery. We will return to Bruges, where there will be an opportunity to gather with our travelling companions for a final evening sampling some of the wonderful Flemish food.
No visit to Bruges would be complete without a chance to enjoy the art of the chocolatier. We will visit one of the few establishments using traditional methods for a demonstration, as well as a chance to sample the sweet delights for yourself. Afterwards, we will take a coach back to Lille, where we board our Eurostar train home to London St Pancras.
The price of this holiday is per person, based on one person in a double/twin room for sole occupancy. 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.
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.
Convenient local departures
Why not enjoy a convenient departure from a station close to home? Booking your own cross-country train transport can be tricky when considering station changes and onward train times, so here at Riviera Travel our Eurostar team work hard finding your preferred regional departure to add to your booking.
We offer departures from stations such as Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Derby, Southampton, Bristol, Lancaster and many more. We endeavour to provide connections from as many stations as possible across the country, so wherever you live you’ll be sure to find a local departure to suit you.
It’s easy to book a local departure; simply select the station you'd like to depart from when making your booking online. If your preferred station is not available to select from the dropdown menu in the checkout, get in touch with us and we can request a station for you.
Enjoy a relaxed journey in the spacious and quiet First Class coach of your regional train. We can add a First Class upgrade to your booking at any time before departure, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.
In order to enjoy your Eurostar experience to the full, you may upgrade to Standard Premier Class on the Eurostar (and onward TGV, where applicable). You’ll get a seat in the spacious Standard Premier coach with a complimentary light meal offered from a selection of sweet and savoury cold snacks, and a drink appropriate to the time of day, served at your seat while you relax in the comfort of Standard Premier Class. Upgrades can easily be added to your booking any time before the final balance has been paid, so please call us to enquire further.
All transfer times listed here are approximate, and dependent on traffic. If you have a question regarding transfer times please don't hesitate to contact us.
|Train station||Hotel location||Transfer time|
|Lille Station||Bruges||1 hr|
We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your holiday with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility we would encourage you to call us to discuss these concerns. General information on mobility in connection with our tours can be found here.
This was my first solo trip with Riviera, although we had been with Riviera before. Loved every moment of it. So well organised, marvellous hotel and very informative.Thank you Dianne for making what could have been quite daunting...
Enjoyable trip. Good variety of activities. Tour guide Chris was always helpful, knowledgeable and had lots of stories to tell!...