Day 1: Travel by coach from your local pick-up point to Dover and short ferry crossing to Calais, continue travel to Ostend Belgium.
Day 2: Included excursion to Brussels.
Day 3 : Included excursion to Lille.
Day 4: Day of leisure in Ostend.
Day 5: Depart Ostend after breakfast making a stop at Pidou Wine Market in Calais before boarding return ferry to Dover.
Arrive in UK and make return journey to your local drop-off point.
Ostend and its bars:
Do you feel like having a cool beer on a terrace during the summer? Or do you prefer the stronger tastes of regional beers? Or are you keen on trying some new beers? In that case, Ostend really is the place to be for true beer lovers.
Manuscript, a traditional pub with lots of character, is the favourite place of both beer as well as music lovers. In addition, Manuscript is also known for its very own beer called “PoppoLou”, which was created by its proprietors Vanessa Demeij and Glenn Rotsaert.
Did you know that Chocolatier Olivier Willems made Belgium’s best chocolates by preparing them with PoppoLou beer. In 2017, the “PoppoLou Rocks” won the Country’s Best Chocolates prize.
There is quite literally not a single establishment on the Belgian coast – and even in Flanders – where you can taste as many different beers and Dutch gins. No less than sixteen different types of beer are available on tap, ranging from the all-time favourite Jupiler to the more heavier stuff such as the St. Bernardus, La Trappe’s only Trappist blonde beer in the world, the Liefmans Goudenband and the delicious IPA produced by the Amsterdam brewery ‘t IJ.
Beer shop and city brewery ‘t Koelschip Ostend
Beer shop ‘t Koelschip is the place to be for beer lovers, at the moment, the shop has nearly 900 artisanally made Belgian beers in stock. They brew their very own ‘Tank’ beers and allow other brewers to make use of their installations. In addition, ‘t Koelschip organizes workshops for beer lovers who can then have their creations bottled.
Good to know: ‘t Koelschip is currently developing a Cowboy Henk beer!
If you feel like having a unique drink with your friends in an authentic sailor’s pub, you have come to the right address! Its specialty – I am sure you will never guess what it is, it’s a “Zeegeuze” beer. Until today, nobody knows the secret ingredient that makes this beer so special. What we do know, is that this is a highly recommendable beer, even for those who do not like beer!
In addition to the famous ‘Zeegeuze’, you can of course also try one of the many other regional beers.
For beer lovers, Brasserie (H)eerlijk, which offers 47 different types of Trappist beers, the world’s largest collection of Trappist beers, truly this is a place for beer lovers to visit. Their selection of beers includes a number of special beers produced by the Palm Breweries, which really shows their affection for beer. Apart from the beers themselves, they also serve delicious (beer) dishes such as a hotpot of pork cheeks cooked in Rodenbach beer or an exquisite Rochefort sabayon. Both dishes really are a feast for your eyes and taste buds. Each month, a menu is also combined with well-known and lesser-known beers.
If Marvin Gaye were still alive, Lafayette would be his favourite bar in Ostend. Lafayette is a maverick in the nightlife of Ostend. The music bar brings soul and funky music to life under the approving eye of Marvin Gaye, whose picture adorns the wall. What better place to enjoy a beer than this monumental bar!
Sites of interest in Ostend
The Mercator was built in 1932 and was used as a training ship until 1960. Since 1964 the ship has been moored in Ostend. After urgent repairs were previously carried out on the hull and other parts of the ship the interior has now been completely refurbished and turned into a museum.
The Mercator historical interior remains unchanged. The galley, huts, sick-bay, the radio room, the captain’s hut and many other typical features of this historic ship have been preserved.
The Kursaal Casino of Ostende built in 1950s style architecture. It’s front facade is characterized by a modernistic design combined with neoclassical elements.
Fifty years later renovation took place in the year 2000, inside the building are wall paintings by Paul Delvaux, ceramics by Pierre Caille and frescoes by Marc Mendelsohn.
The Atlantic Wall open-air museum is a unique historical site of coastal fortification. Around sixty German constructions from WW1 and WW2 – underground trenches, bunkers and remains of the German coastal batteries built in 1915) and from 1941), observation points and gun emplacements are among the best preserved along the Atlantic coastline and are the showpiece of the museum. Some bunkers have been renovated into their original state and refurbished with authentic objects.
The Atlantic Wall was originally 5,300 km and stretched from Norway to the French-Spanish border.
Lille located in France near the Belgium border has retained it commercial tradition. Each of its districts offers different features and a variety to satisfy most desires.
In the main square is the Lillois, an interesting meeting place offering views of 17th – 20th century architecture. At the centre stands the Goddess which commemorates Lille’s resistance to the siege of the Austrians in 1792, at the front of the Stock Exchange is undoubtably the finest building, made up of 24 small houses arranged around an arched courtyard, a market for second hand books as well as people playing chess can be viewed inside. On this square is the Theatre du Nord, this building was used to house the sentry guard soldiers.
With lovely Flemish houses and narrow cobbled streets, Old Lille is the place to find high end goods, fashion and designer, antiques and art galleries.
Lille is a great place for markets located in various parts of the city, Halles de Wazemmes, Marches de Wazemmes, Marche Place Vanhoenacker, Marche Sebastopol, Marche Du Concert.
One of the main events in Lille is the Flea Market which is held on the first week in September and attracts more than 2 million people, another main event is the Christmas Market with approx 80 stalls held at the Palais des Beaux-Arts.
The most visited and popular attraction in the city of Brussels, the structure was built for the first post-war universal World Fair in 1958. It is made up of nine gigantic spheres representing an iron crystal with a magnification of 165 billion times, representing faith in science.
Any visit to Brussels should start at the Grand Place, built as a Merchants market in the 13th century. It is the centre of the city and serves host to numerous festivals, concerts and every other year to the Flower Carpet which is decked out in millions of begonias covering the whole square.
Louise and Boulevard de Waterloo
Belgiums top-tier establishments are located here, Delvaux, Chanel, Georgio Armani, Hermes, Prada, Tod’s, Vuitton, Wolfers, Tiffany’s, Dian Von Furstemberg, Max Mara, Serneels, Crossword, Hall of Time, Francis Ferent, Natan, Degand, Cachemire Coton et Soie, Kenzo, Lancel, Sandro, Maje, and lots more.
Brussels Town Hall
Located on the Grand Place in the heart of the historical centre is the elegant City of Brussels Town Hall, dating back to the 15th century.
The centrepiece is considered to make this the most beautiful square in the world, undoubtably been one of the most stunning buildings in Brussels and one of the highlights of your visit. The tower stans as a landmark to tourists and Belgians passing through the capital.
Royal Astrid Hotel
The 3 Star Royal Astrid is situated 50m from Ostend’s beautiful beach. The comfortable standard rooms have bathroom with shower/toilet, television and safe.