Thursday, April 30th
Bruges Steam Railway Holiday
Thursday, April 30th
Bruges just might be the most picturesque town in Northern Europe. Teeming with Gothic and Medieval architecture and criss-crossed by busy canals, it is known as “The Venice of the North”. Many visit Bruges simply to experience the delights of the town and feed the swans, but there is so much more hereabouts and lots of nostalgic transport interest as well. This holiday is cleverly timed to include the Maldegem Steam Festival (Stoomfest). But that’s not all, we’ve a coastal tram excursion, a capital day out in Brussels and a day out, over and under the Schelde, for steam in the Netherlands – variety and fun throughout!
ThursdayAfter meeting at St Pancras International we take a late morning Eurostar to Brussels and change trains for a coastal bound train as far as Bruges. We’ll transfer to the hotel and then introduce you to your environs by way of a guided walking tour before letting you go. There are restaurants both in the square we are staying in and throughout the town beyond. Flemish cuisine is a particular treat and we’ve four evenings to sample the local fare and, perhaps, some Trappist ales!
FridayOur day begins with a train ride to Oostende where we connect with the coastal tramway for a modern tram trip up to the northern terminus at Knokke. Here we join our coach and head further north as far as the River Schelde. By ferry now, along with hundreds of bicycles, to Vlissingen (Flushing) in the Netherlands. A Dutch Railway ride delivers us to Goes for an afternoon of steam with the Stoomtrein Goes/Borsele. Once we are fully steamed up we will reunite with our coach and drive back to Bruges via the Westerschelde Tunnel.
SaturdayWhat a great day we have in store. We rail across to Brussels and then tram into the suburbs. At Woluwe there is a superb tram museum that is not only full of interesting exhibits but offers action, as well with a ride out into the countryside aboard an historic tram. Later, we see some of the sights from the tram as we cross the city bound for Schaerbeek and Belgium’s state of the art Train World Museum. Only open a few years ago this place is a “must-do” visit – see what you think!
SundayOur steamy holiday highlight is at nearby Maldegem. We are so lucky to have been able to time our visit to the extensive Maldegem Railway Centre to coincide with their annual steam festival. We can expect an intensive timetable on the standard gauge line between here and Eeklo with loads going on. We’ll also have great fun with the narrow gauge steam line running between Maldegem and a tyre dump! Stalls, visiting engines, horses and the full gala atmosphere to enjoy – a memorable day out with options to return to Bruges early for independent sightseeing.
MondayOur final morning is very relaxed allowing a little time for sightseeing/shopping. We’ll also offer the opportunity for a delightful canal cruise, with live English commentary, passing the historic buildings and sights. About lunchtime we’ll take a train across to Brussels and connect with a London bound Eurostar to whisk us back to St Pancras International by late afternoon.
The Park Hotel, Bruges
We have chosen this 4 star hotel on the edge of the town centre as it is close enough to be convenient and yet far enough away to be quiet. It is situated on the t’Zand square which is lined with cafes & restaurants. The opera house is to the right and the station just a short stroll away through the park. The hotel has no restaurant (it doesn’t need it!) but does have a bar and a full buffet breakfast is provided in an airy, glass roofed, room festooned with plants – a most pleasant environment.