5 nights starting from
Picture postcard medieval cities
Wonderful festive atmosphere
Cosy and charming hotel
Traditional Belgian architecture
Museums and galleries - Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp have plenty
Bruges is a picture-perfect example of a medieval city, made even more atmospheric by the trimmings of the season; its cobbled streets are festooned with lights, its towering belfry illuminated and the magnificent Markt square replete with towering tree. This six day festive break is based at the central, cosy and charming Aragon Hotel, includes two dinners at excellent local restaurants, free time and visits to Ghent and Antwerp.
|22 - December - 2019||Limited Availability||Travel Info Please Call||booking-journey/#/start/XBR/22 December 2019/|
Departing: 22nd December 2019 at 08:55
Returning: 27th December 2019 at 15:35
Day 1: Travel by Eurostar from St Pancras or Ebbsfleet to Lille and onwards by coach to Bruges (approx. two hours). On arrival check-in to Hotel Aragon for five-night stay on bed and breakfast basis.
Day 2: Morning guided walking tour of Bruges with afternoon free to explore at your leisure.
As picturesque as they come, Bruges is set on a labyrinth of canals lined with magnificent medieval buildings. It is home to a wealth of artistic and architectural heritage, reflecting its history as the cradle of Flemish painting and its economic significance as a textile and trade centre up to the late 15th century. The focal point of the city is the impressive Markt square, flanked by magnificent houses with crow-stepped gables, old guildhalls, the belfry, and the covered market. Elsewhere, the Burg square is lined by four of the city's most impressive buildings: the Gothic townhall, the 12th century Basilica of the Holy Blood, the Renaissance court record office and the old law courts. You could also explore the medieval city walls, St. Salvator Cathedral, picturesque Begijnhof almshouses and Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerek (Church of Our Lady), famed for its Madonna and Child by Michelangelo, but part of the attraction of this beautiful city is just to wander at leisure along its canals and squares, soaking up the festive atmosphere, enhanced by a colourful Christmas market. The city boasts several superb museums too: the Gruuthuse Museum, housed in a 15th century palace, with an impressive collection of tapestries and lace, the Groeninge Museum and it's collection including Jan van Eyck's serene portrait of Margaretha van Eyck and Gerard David's gruesome The Judgement of Cambyses; and the Mernling Museum set in the 12th century hospital of St John's, one of the most beautiful buildings in Bruges.
Day 3: Full day trip to Ghent, with Christmas Eve dinner at a local restaurant.
Ghent is a vibrant university city and Flanders' spiritual citadel. Criss-crossed by canals and waterways, its old town is perfect for exploration on foot and it is here that you will find a wealth of sights. One of the city's great attractions, St Baafskathedraal, is where you'll find the famed Adoration of the Mystic Lamb alterpiece by Jan van Eyck, which dates from the 15th century and is widely regarded as one of the most important works of art in the world. Do not miss the 91 metre high belfry, 15th century Cloth Hall, town hall and the Graslei quayside, which is lined with ancient houses in a pure Flemish architectural style dating from the 12th to 17th centuries. There are notable museums, too, including the Musem voor Schone Kunsten with its collection of ancient and modern paintings. This evening, enjoy a festive Christmas Eve dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 4: Full day free to continue your exploration of Bruges before Christmas Day dinner at another excellent local restaurant.
Day 5: Full day tour to Antwerp.
Belgium's second city, Antwerp, is one of the world's largest ports, with a characteristically Flemish old town at the heart of a thriving modern city. Home and birthplace of Rubens, the city has a strong artistic heritage reflected in its host of churches and museums. As with many Flemish settlements, Antwerp boasts a market square surrounded by 16th and 17th century guildhalls, whilst other unmissable sights include the cathedral and belfry, the church of St Paul, home to a collection of paintings by Antwerp masters, and Ruben's House. The city has many museums including the Plantin-Moretus, housed in the former print works of famed painter Plantin, which contains the renowned Gutenberg Bible, one of only 13 in the world.
Day 6: Morning free to visit a museum of two before a coach transfer back to Lille for the return Eurostar to Ebbsfleet or St Pancras.
NB: Exact order of excursions may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.
Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 49 passengers.
PLEASE NOTE: As with most trains, passengers are responsible for carrying baggage onto and off the train. Baggage can be stored on overhead shelves or at the entrance to the carriages. Trollies are available at St Pancras, but bags do need to be carried onto the platform.
Luggage Delivery Service
Travel Editions recommends a luggage delivery service called thebaggageman, where your suitcase can be picked up from your home before departure and delivered straight to your hotel; therefore removing the worry about carrying your cases onto and off the trains. Please click here for more information and we have arranged a 10% discount exclusive to Travel Editions clients off the thebaggageman service. Tel: 01844 264890.
Hotel Aragon, Bruges
The cosy and friendly four-star Aragon Hotel enjoys a superlative location just behind the Markt square within easy walking distance of Bruges' myriad of sights. Facilities here include a comfortable lounge/bar (offering complimentary tea/coffee from 2-4pm), a breakfast room and 42 very well-appointed bedrooms with private bath/shower with luxurious l'Occitane toiletries, hair-dryer, TV, minibar and telephone. Upgrades to executive rooms are also available at the hotel, many of which have a small balcony or terrace, some with views of the belfry. The hotel does not have a restaurant but there are plenty of restaurants close to the hotel.
Hotel Aragon Website
OUR VIEW ON THE HOTEL
This lovely hotel is perfectly located close to all of Bruges main sights and for the tour as a whole. The Aragon also offers those little extra touches to make your stay extra special, such as L'Occitane toiletries.
Pre-tour accommodation is available at the Premier Travel Inn, London Kings Cross St Pancras, about a 5 minutes walk from St Pancras International, at an approximate rate of £120 per room. Bookings can be made direct with the hotel on 0871 527 8672 or visit their website.
We enjoyed our Christmas very much but feel that the trip to Antwerp was not so good without a guided tour of some kind - it is just another big city. The restaurant where we had our Christmas Eve meal was supposed to be expensive and up market - yes, it was very traditional but the service was dreadful. We were in the restaurant from 7.30pm until 11pm and our table was lucky enough to have a very grumpy waiter - the only person we encountered who was not delightful. My vegetarian meal was ordinary and boring, obviously no thought had been given to it. Other restaurants we visited in Bruges all had good veggie meals.
Review by Nicholls who travelled 22-December-2017
The Tour was excellent both in administration and operation. Travel arrangements were efficient ,the accommodation was as described ( except,a minor point ,for the absence of the Occitaine toiletries ).The walking tour of Bruges was informative and left opportunities to explore the city further at leisure. The local guide was very helpful and in, answering questions, included the whole group. The trips to Ghent and Antwerp likewise provided opportunities for personal exploration. The only points of criticism relate to the meals on Christmas eve and Christmas Day. The meal at the Maria de Bourgandie was spoiled by undercooked turkey and a poor value meal overall. The manner of some of the staff was a bit abrupt too and somewhat disorganised. The Den Dryver meal was better but our pre advised dietary requirement was either not advised to staff in advance and/or misunderstood. The ' No sea food request' related to the starter only and led to an inadequate vegetarian main course option being offered,which suggested the option was not planned, ( Poached egg,mashed potato and green beans) when one of us actually wanted the main course( pheasant). The otgher party decided to that the pheasant was not for her and accepted the vegatarian option.The 'misunderstanding ' was amicably and quickly resolved but there should have been a notification that would have prevented the misunderstanding in the first place. We formed the impression that our requirement had not been noted until we were advised of the menu and raised our requirement. The assumption that 'no sea food' does not mean vegetarian needs to be impressed on tour guides and restaurants. The meal at Den Dryver was an improvement on the previous night and service was quick and friendly. We appreciated the excellent guided walk provided ,as an 'extra' by the tour guide on Christmas morning which broadened our understanding of Bruges and it history. Nevertheless his rather laid back approach irritated some of the group and he did not appear to 'connect' well,hence the satisfactory rating
Review by Ransome who travelled 22-December-2017
The choice of Bruges as a venue was excellent.A very interesting town. The service at the restaurant on Exmas eve was very slow,though the food of good standard.
Review by who travelled 22-December-2017
Travel arrangements were very good as was the hotel. We thought that it was a pity that there wasn’t a get together at the beginning so that we could get to know our fellow travelers, as we were a big group of 37 we never really meet everyone on the tour. Our tour manager was adequate. We had a perception that the tours of Ghent and Antwerp would be guided as was the excellent tour of Bruges, as we only had limited time in each place it was quite difficult to know how long it would take us to get from place to place and how long we could devote to the various sites. You asked for comments but we really did enjoy the holiday in spite of what we have said!
Review by Rea who travelled 22-December-2017
Third time in 6 years I've this trip. Has the great advantage of no flying and Bruges is one of my favourite European cities. Had problem with the room on the first night but Mark the TM helped me get a room change. The second included restaurant the Den Dyver was inferior to Brasserie Raymonde that was used for my 2 previous trips. Overall very satisfactory.
Review by Dunkley who travelled 22-December-2017
Although a pleasant enough fellow the tour manager failed to 'gel' with the party. Insensitive to the expectations and needs of an elderly party of well travelled folk. Not readily available although he did provide useful papers on places visited. Truly excellent accommodation - although it lacked handles to hold when getting in/out of the bath to shower (of especial importance to older people)which are
Review by Hearson who travelled 22-December-2017
TE brochure said hotel provided L'Occitaine products in bathroom - not correct - they were Swan Hotel products. Tour Manager's delivery on the coach was not always clear and concise enough - eg. telling us the time and place of meeting at end of Ghent visit. He mentioned 2 different meeting points which confused everyone. He needs to make his voice louder and clearer and repeat things. Hotel Aragon was in a nice quiet street yet really near the main square. Very pleasant modern decor in entrance lobby. 2 communal meals out were OK, but a bit disappointing. Meal on Xmas Eve - arrived for 7.30pm, still had not been served main course at 9.30pm. Meal on Xmas Day - much quicker service but main course had extremely small amount of vegetables. Next time I will book as a vegetarian!
Review by Kidd who travelled 22-December-2017
The hotel was lovely...newly refurbished. The tour manager Mark was well organised and really nice.
Review by Mr Derek Martin who travelled 22-December-2016
Review by Mr Derek Milton who travelled 22-December-2016
Eurostar;- Once on the train it was good. Checking in was not pleasant at St Pancras or Lille. We were spoken to rudely at St Pancras. We were told to stand in the wrong place on the platform in Lille.
Review by Mr Peter Marven who travelled 22-December-2016
Review by Mr P Bowden who travelled 22-December-2016
Hotel good but rather small rooms, however bathrooms good. All in all very good. We think the tours should be shorter as it is winter and very cold.
Review by Mrs Janet Wills who travelled 22-December-2016
Review by Hon Mrs Radomir who travelled 22-December-2016
wonderful hotel, tour good would do it again.
Review by Mr Terence Knagg who travelled 22-December-2015
Enjoyed beautiful Bruges & the excellent food, although the very similar menu for The two meals out would have been better avoided. Some prior information about so much being open on Christmas day would have been helpful. A good trip.
Review by Mrs Paula Cannell who travelled 22-December-2015
We must pay compliments to our tour guide Joanna who not only spoke excellent English but was very conscientious and helpful - not always easy in a large and somewhat elderly party like our own! Our grateful thanks to her for all she did for us.
Review by Mr G Whittingham who travelled 22-December-2015
Review by Mr John Bell who travelled 22-December-2015
Review by Ms Judith O'Shea who travelled 22-December-2015
Hotel Aragon was centrally located and very comfortable with modern bathroom. Good breakfast. Good choice of restaurants for two included dinners.
Review by Mrs Kay Hardy who travelled 23-December-2014
Review by Mrs Vivienne Wicks who travelled 23-December-2014
Your Tour Manager Joanna Dubois was particularly attentive and friendly. She dealt with the odd problem that arose very effectively.
Review by Mr David Bray who travelled 23-December-2014
Very enjoyable trip - did this holiday in 2012 with the same TM Joanna , who worked very hard to look after us. I welcomed the tour group of 26 people, very much more manageable.
Review by Mr Jeffrey Dunkley who travelled 23-December-2014
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