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P&O Ferries top picks for Belgium Holidays late 2016


Already looking forward to those autumnal retreats, sneaky weekends away and half-terms abroad? We don’t blame you in the slightest, here is a selection of choice events happening in Belgium later this year.

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We all know Belgium is famed for two main things, rather unfairly we’d just like to say there’s so much more going for it. Nevertheless titles such as beer chocolate capital of the world have been hard earned and well deserved so let us first impress upon you the serious and important business that is the Belgian Beer Festival.

Not such a messy affair as Germany’s Oktoberfest, but certainly just as much fun, you can find a top quality beer festival in Belgium at just about any time of year. Though the art of micro brewing has caught on in a major way in the UK, the Belgians have a long established tradition and some of the oldest breweries in the world. So any discerning beer drinker knows full well, you can’t whack a good Belgian ale.

A great start for anyone new to beer festivals or if you want an established and easy festival (not that any of them could be called ‘difficult’) is the tried and true Belgian Beer Weekend. In 2016 you can attend this event from 2-7th September right in the heart of Brussels at the Grand Marche. This could be called one of the more official Belgian Beer Festivals as it’s hosted by the National Federation of Belgian Brewers, how much more authoritative could you get?

This event is held every year at the first weekend of September, you’re still likely to get that good beer garden weather but it isn’t so hot to be uncomfortable or quickly heat up a pint of the good stuff. Given the prime location of the event you won’t struggle to find it or find your way back to your accommodation which is excellent all things considered. Belgian Beer Weekend is more than opportunity to over-indulge, it’s a competition amongst the breweries to find the best amongst them. After the critics have made their choices theirs even a Knighting ceremony. Arrive in time for the opening ceremony and you’ll get to witness numerous speeches, which may not be so great if you aren’t brushed up on your Dutch, but there’s also traditional garb to admire and a parade of historic beer carts as well a lively fanfare to keep everyone peppy.

Belgian Beer Weekend is as much a networking opportunity for businesses as it is for the general public. It opens for visitors at 6PM running late in to the night, you purchase a glass and then roam the stalls sampling the goods. Heaven.

As we mentioned there is always beer festival going on in some corner of Belgium, usually the further afield you have to go the finer you’ll find the brew is. So keep an eye out for those Trappists Abbots, Pales, Reds, Browns, Blondes, Stouts and just about everything else – and remember to take care.

Here’s a list of some of the Beer Festivals you can attend in 2016.

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Now for a tradition dating all the way back to 1982, it’s Dinant’s annual Bathtub Regatta. Yes we assure you, it’s not made up there are videos to prove it. Each year Belgium’s most persevering competitors congregate on the River Meuse in Dinant to race one kilometre in just a highly decorated bath tub – the only rule, there are no rules: except no sinking other tubs or using a motor. This highly onerous occasion happens in mid August, so there is no time to lose booking your P&O Ferry to Zeebrugge.

The Regatta is free for spectators, simply a fun day out watching people succeed and some circumstances succeeding not so well.

Belgium is steeped in military history and bears many scars and memorials to battles of the 20th Century. At the close of August this year Mons is hosting Tanks in Town to celebrate the 72 year since Liberation by the 83rd US Armed division. There are more details on the events webpage here. This is always fantastic event to help keep history alive, you’ll get to walk amongst the tanks and other armoured equipment used in nearby battlefields, a humbling and amazing experience.

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Christmas comes early to Belgium so if you’re of a mind to see Bruges, Antwerp or Brussels before it’s prematurely bedecked for winter festivities then be sure to book now lest you risk catching the Christmas bug far far too early. That said it never is too early to start thinking about how you’re going to spend Christmas and New Year’s. Prime spots on P&O Ferries for crossings during the festive season do tend to fill up fast so start making your plans now to avoid disappointment.

Take the overnight P&O Ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge and enjoy the last remnants of Summer in Belgium

Image Credit: Tim Samoff , Edward Russell , Russell Trow

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