There are some fantastic events lined up for those of you interested in taking a P&O Ferry to Belgium this autumn and winter. The ferry will take you from Hull to Zeebrugge in an overnight voyage and you can choose between standard and premier cabins. The ferry to Zeebrugge is a plush ride with bars and a casino if you want to start your holiday off with a bit of easy living. Alternatively P&O Ferries offer multiple dining experiences if so you can choose between a 3 course meal and something a bit simpler.
This October marks the third edition of the Belgian Beer Challenge which this year is to be hosted in Leuven. Before any of you start polishing your luck tankards this competition is for breweries it’s not an international drinking competition. Over 750 beers from breweries around the globe will be putting their suds to the test. This competition takes place between October 31st and 2nd November. Judgement of the beers falls to a panel of 60 internationally renowned beer connoisseurs (a hallowed position indeed) who at the end of the weekend will award medals for a variety of categories.
Leuven is an oft overlooked location given the renown of places such as Bruges and Brussels; but a beer capital nevertheless. It’s the site at which Hoegaarden is brewed, a worthy site for pilgrimage if ever there was one. For a comprehensive look at all the breweries available to see click here Biking tours are also available. Leuven is a mere 16 miles from the capital of Belgium so it would make it an excellent stopping point even if beer isn’t the entire purpose of your trip to Belgium.
One of the best things about the onset of colder weather is that it means Chistmas Markets. Liege upon the Meuse river is a little bit further in to the country but still well within driving distance of Zeebrugge where P&O ferries arrive in Belgium. The Christmas Market in Liege is one of the oldest and largest in Belgium.
The market opens between 11AM-8PM remaining open for business up until midnight at weekends. Entry is free to visit the 200 stalls offering seasonal produce and Christmas ware. This year will have a Russian inference from special guest artisans. The skating rink takes pride of place, a wonderfully romantic idea if you are taking a weekend trip away with a partner. For the kids there even promises to be a puppet nativity.
If Liege’s Christmas Market opening in November is a bit too early for you to be feeling festive then wait until December and make your way to Mons. This place has been made well and truly tourist friendly after the World War I centenary. With the approach of Christmas the Mons will bear its ‘Snowy Heart’. It’s slightly smaller than the market at Liege with 50 stalls but there are always plenty of artisan decorated chalets with goods on offer and promises of the perfect gift for that person you never quite know what to get until you see it. It is more than just a market though there’s plenty of entertainment on offer as well. Live music from marching bands will be accompanied by juggling and stilt walkers as well as fire breathing.
If passing awe isn’t enough for you and you want to get a bit active there will also be an ice skating rink at the heart of it all a colossal 900 square metres which is a breathtaking view in itself with all the winter shoppers gliding about between purchases. If you are taking kids along then they should be pleased to know that Father Christmas and Mrs Christmas will also be there getting drawn along in a carriage.
For a touch of winter wonderment you won’t want to miss the Feeries. A production being put on by the Royal Theatre of Mons. It is a musical event with ballet performances lots of glamorous costumes and rousing music early tickets can be booked for just 25 euro.
Running from mid-September to late December is a season of late night culture. Called Nocturnes, in Brussels where major institutions of learning, museums, galleries and exhibition halls are open until midnight. Last year records were set for the number of people who came to the 54 participating museums during Nocturnes. Brussels is a fantastic city to stroll through during winter, architecture compliments the cold setting making cosiness all the more fulfilling. However after a late dinner it would be a shame to return to your hotel or room and if you didn’t fancy whiling away the night in a bar then a museum certainly offers a novel alternative.
P&O Ferries offer a 2 person return deal with a car from Hull to Zeebrugge, Belgium with an ensuite cabin for just £149!