P&O Ferry trips to Belgium this Summer


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There’s still a lot of summer left for you to get some fun in this year, here’s a look at some of the exciting goings on in Belgium this August and September

P&O Ferries’ Hull to Zeebrugge ferry is an overnight service costing £129 each way, with on board entertainment as well restaurants, bars and arcades for you and the family to enjoy during the crossing. A range of cabins are available depending on the level of comfort you require from basics with a shower and place to rest your head to premium cabins with sea views television and room to privately relax. Zeebrugge itself makes a great initial destination with a lively marina plenty of cafes to restore yourself after the crossing. While the summer sun still shines you might like to stop by Zeebrugge’s beaches that travel all the way up the coast to Ostende, on a good day these open expanses make for an excellent place to sun yourself, you could even forget that you’re looking out on to the North Sea when the temperatures are up.

Perhaps it would be remiss of us to declaim that Belgian beer season is here, since there is usually at least two beer festivals going on per month throughout the entire year. Belgium is famed for its brews for a very good reason after all, namely that their beers are . However beer drinkers should be made well aware that the latter part of summer in Belgium is very tightly scheduled with back to back beer festivals. Which some might consider strange seeing as Belgium is a relatively small country but it has a long and rich history of brewing and certainly more breweries per capita than you are likely to find anywhere else. That is why drinking beer in Belgium could be seen, from a certain perspective, as part of a cultural education – though that may not fly should you fail to dabble with the vast wealth of culture (arts, architecture, history etc.) that is on offer in Belgium. If you have your doubts about attending events dedicated to alcohol, rest assured they are not weekend long binges, it’s not about inebriation. The quality, variety and history of the Belgian brewing tradition and its products are what makes these events popular and necessary, you’re far more likely to run in to a connoisseur than someone who’s unaware of their limits.

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TheNorth Sea Beer Festival is the third beer related event in August alone, occurring on the last weekend of the month between the 25th and 27th. The venue is Ostende’s Leopoldpark not a long stretch away from the beach and just opposite the De Grove Post cultural centre. This is only the third edition of the North Sea Beer Festival which welcomes visitors from all countries that have ports on to the North Sea. Upwards of 35 Belgian breweries will be plying over 200 varieties of Belgian beer only €12 for entry, which includes a glass and three tokens entitling you to drinks, more can be purchased at €2 a pop. For more information
click here

Beer Weekend is hosted by beer tasting association De Lambikstoemper an organisation dedicated to the promotion of Belgian beers. On the last weekend of August De BierWeekend the eighteenth edition of this festival will be taking place in at the visitors centre in Alsemberg. This town is just south of Brussels, near Waterloo and 3 star accommodation is as low as £59. De Bierweekend is one of the smaller festivals attracting a footfall in the hundreds rather than thousands but this simply means less queues. If the weather holds the terraced visitors centre makes an excellent spot for beer sampling in the sun.

What makes this event remarkable is that it’s the product of Belgian beer aficionados working to promote the products they love. There is a focus on the Lambic brewing tradition which focus’ on producing beers with wild airborne yeasts from the Senne River valley. Whereas most industrial scale brewers have carefully isolated and quantified yeasts to assure control of the final product, Lambic brewers eschew such manipulations. It certainly produces a product like no other. Here is a link to the website

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There is an intermittent Hop Picking Beer Festival on De Plukker Hop Farm Brewery, not quite the grand stage of the next festival but on August 27th you’ll get to see how craft brewing can develop to a prospering business. An organic farm has developed its own brewing tradition and now exports it out to the world, this event will surely have a convivial atmosphere and offer lots to those interested in brewing.

Following on from the small stage comes the grandest even in the Belgian beer calendar. Belgian Beer Weekend is being held on the first weekend of September and attracts all the major brands and brewers. On Friday 1st in Brussels’ centre square the Grand Plaatz after an initial inauguration and academic graduation of brewers the event will be open to the public at 6pm. For a full list of their program click here

Book now for your P&O Ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge for your getaway with the last of summer’s sun in Belgium this year.

Image Credit: kmf186 , Matt Lewis , Lex Kravetski

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