P&O Ferries beckons you to Belgium for a 2018 trip


Now that the hazy glare of new year is passed and so too the fleeting energy we muster to reinvent ourselves for a new calendar year it’s time to get down to business. So what are you actually going to do this year? More importantly, where do you fancy going?

Here are some tantalising suggestions for why you should visit Belgium in 2018 with P&O Ferries. The ferry from Hull crosses the North Sea overnight to Zeebrugge, book cabins ranging from basic to premium sample on board dining as well as entertainment both adult or child oriented. It is an excellent way to ease in to your trip abroad and arrive well rested (with the car) and ready to explore.

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Spa, in Belgium is the birthplace of all modern spas. This small town is in the south east province of Lieges. It’s original clientele were royalty, after Henry VIII applauded the natural springs curative powers nobility started flocking there.

Spa is situated in the Ardennes a beautiful forest region stretching from Belgium to Luxembourg and bordering France and Germany. After a hard days treatment in the resorts a walk beneath the canopy will certainly top off your relaxation.

Spa is famed for its waters and if you can’t wait to get there then you can buy bottles of it here in the UK. There are around 200 springs in the area, whilst we can’t assure you of their restorative nature, the journey and environment will certainly do wonders for your soul.

The facilities available in Spa vary from the deluxe centres to more wallet friendly packages. They even have a mother-baby institute if you feel able to travel, they take children up to 6 months old for both parents and babies to get some cleansing relaxation in.

Spa is a wonderful place to receive therapy for respiratory and rheumatic problems. If the long winter has crept in to your bones, Thermes de Spa is a top of the line resort that treats around 35,000 people per year with top of the range heated hydromassage jets, baths of carbogaseous water, mud baths and much more. Thermes de Spa commands an incredible view of the town, gloriously framed by the surrounding hills and forest landscape.

For a slightly less therapeutic but certainly edifying activity, head over to Leuven’s Brabanthal Exhibition Hall for the Zythos Bier Festival hosted every year on the last weekend of April. This event is steadily growing in acclaim and now hosts over 100 stalls of the finest craft beers from the spiritual home of brewing. This event welcomes all comers so don’t let any preconceived notions about language barriers deter you. Anyone who enjoys a fine frothy glass on sunny Spring day will feel welcome at Zythos.

If what you had in mind was more of a family vacation then there is plenty to be seen that will interest the kids and perhaps their parents too. To take a break from scenic countryside resorts, classical galleries and historic landmarks, not to mention some damn fine brews, the comic strip centre is an excellent alternative. As the birthplace of creations like Tintin and the Smurfs, Belgium is somewhat of an authority on comic strip art.

The building is a masterpiece of art nouveau, designed by Victor Horta, the founding father of art nouveau architecture, in 1906.

It attracts an estimated 200,000 visitors a year and has a layout that’s like a cross between a funhouse and the Tate Modern in London.

It’s an excellent place to just have a wander around, with many exhibitions to help educate those not familiar with the ninth art (comics). These exhibits include ‘The Invention of the Comic Strip’ and ‘The Museum of the Imagination’. This is an awesome gallery that speaks to the inner psyche improving your understanding of abstract imagery, which will give you a far better appreciation of comic strips.

There’s a reading room if you just can’t peel your kids (or yourself) away from the BCSC as well as a restaurant and shop for you to bring a little bit of the spirit of the centre home with you.

What else goes hand in hand with kids and comics? Sweets.

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Belgium is the spiritual home of the chocolate industry. It was in Brussels where the idea for selling bitesize chocolate in boxes was first dreamed up. The industry is still going from strength to strength and the chocolatiers of Belgium keep on innovating and coming up with more and more tasty treats.

Here’s the main resource for all you really need to know about chocolate tourism.

There are a reported 2,000 chocolate shops in Belgium, so wherever you intend to stay there’s sure to be a chocolate tour near at hand. Most involve an in depth look at how the chocolate is made as well as a bit of history about its evolution. It’s likely your kids will mostly look forward to the tasting but we don’t doubt the chocolatey smell will have your mouth watering too.

Alternatively you could just go to the Museum of cocoa and chocolate for a look around about chocolate heritage.

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Book your trip to Belgium now with P&O Ferries. Hull to Zeebrugge service running daily, an overnight cabin with on deck entertainment can get you there in high spirits.

Image Credit: Iain Cameron , Juan V. Vera del Campo , Shivya Nath

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