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The Telegraph Belgian Gardens

Belgian gardens, like Belgian chocolates, are intricate and exclusive. In recent years, garden culture in Belgium has evolved greatly, largely due to a wave of first-class designers such as Jacques Wirtz, Daniel Ost and Chris Ghyselen. They have all built on a strong tradition of plantsmanship and horticultural excellence. Structure and design are important in their gardens, which feature hedges, trellises and tight clipped topiary. On this tour you will admire fine collections as well as a specialist nursery and  the delightful plant fair at Kasteel Hex. The tour is mostly set in Flanders, the north-eastern half of Belgium, where Flemish, a dialect of Dutch, is spoken. Sophie Piebenga will be your guide to this fascinating region. Well known to  regular Boxwood travellers, Sophie is renowned for her charm and professionalism. You will stay for two nights in the heart of historic Antwerp at Hotel ‘t Sandt, and two nights in beautiful Bruges at Grand Hotel Casselbergh. These two stylish townhouse hotels are both within walking distance of the major sites in these cities.

Your Tour Includes

  • Return Eurostar from London St Pancras to Brussels
  • Private coach transfers and excursions
  • Two nights’ bed and breakfast in the four-star Hotel ‘T Sandt, Antwerp
  • Two nights’ bed and breakfast in the four-star The Grand Hotel Casselbergh, Bruges
  • Three evening meals with wine and four lunches
  • Guided visits to sites listed in the programme
  • Services of the Tour Leader and Hosts
  • Detailed programme and garden notes
  • All entrance fees, taxes and gratuities for coach drivers and waiters
  • Stroll through historic Bruges before visiting the garden of landscape architect Chris Ghyselen
  • Visit the enclosed farmstead of Bijsterveld
  • Visit Kasteel Hex where the specialist plant fair is held twice a year
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Itinerary

Overview

Depart by Eurostar from London St Pancras, arriving in Brussels Midi Station at midday. Transfer by luxury coach to De Uil, where lunch is included. This was the former residence of artist Karel Aubroeck (1894–1986), now occupied by interior designers Marc Massa and Roger Liekens. The garden was designed by renowned floral artist and garden architect Daniel Ost and includes a beautiful wild shade garden and stylized formal garden. Continue to the stylish Hotel ‘t Sandt where you will stay for the next two nights, dining together this evening in a local restaurant.

Overview

A day in Antwerp starts with a slow ride through the Art Nouveau district of Cogels Osylei, Zurenborg, where the finest architects of the early 20th century defined the grandeur of the Belle Époque.  Dutch-born artist and landscape designer Ronald van der Hilst moved to Antwerp in 1993, bringing with him a great love of tulips. You will see his Tulip gallery before visiting the small, enclosed garden of Hortus Conclusus where Ronald and his partner Marcel have created a flower filled heaven. At Rubenshuis Museum you’ll see where the artist Peter Paul Rubens lived and  painted. What you see today is a reconstruction of a garden from Rubens’s era, taken from his painting A Walk in the Garden. The afternoon is free for you to find your own lunch and further explore this vibrant city. Tonight,  enjoy dinner at the famous restaurant Sir Anthony Van Dijck in the shadow of the cathedral.

Overview

Travel into Zeeland, Netherlands, and meet Frans and Franny Geijsels at their small garden and nursery, In Goede Aarde (In Good Earth). Franny tends the gardens and Frans propagates and designs. They have a great reputation in this region for selling high quality plants along with sound advice on cultivation. Cross the border back into Belgium to visit the garden of landscape architect Chris Ghyselen. Known for his use of fine grasses and perennials, his garden leads through billowing borders down narrow paths that softly blend into the surrounding countryside. A simple lunch is included. You’ll then drive into the heart of Bruges to  Grand Hotel Casselbergh where you’ll stay for the next two nights. Check in before enjoying a free evening in Bruges.

Overview

Start with a stroll through Bruges on a guided tour of this intriguing city. You have free time for lunch before heading to a region renowned for polders and pollarding. Explore the flower- filled gardens that surround the 14th-century moated Kasteel van Oostkerke.At the end of the Second World War, the garden was practically lost in a great flood. In 1946 Baron van der Elst commissioned Dutch landscape architect Mien Ruys to lay out a new garden. Today it is still much loved by the family. Return to Bruges for dinner together at a good local restaurant.

Overview

Today you visit Kasteel Hex where the specialist plant fair is held twice a year. September is the perfect time to visit the famous kitchen gardens in the castle grounds, as well as the wonderful array of stalls. You’ll meet nurserymen from Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Germany. Return to Brussels Midi Railway Station for your journey back at in London St Pancras.

Accommodation

Travel Options

When it comes to getting you to your destination. Leger Holidays make it easy, with a selection of travel options for you to choose from

Meet us at the ship

Meet us at the ship

For complete flexibility, make your own transport arrangements to and from the ship. We will provide you with times and locations as well as some useful information for you to make your own arrangements to join your cruise.

If you require any further information to assist with your travel plans, please contact our Holiday Advisors who will be happy to help.

Meet your Coach at Dover

Meet your Coach at Dover

Travel down to Dover and jump onboard your coach for your ferry crossing.

Alternatively, travel the day before your departure and enjoy an overnight stay, with complimentary parking for the duration of your cruise, before being collected after breakfast the following morning.

Travel by Eurostar

Travel by Eurostar

Step aboard Eurostar at London St Pancras for a fast and comfortable journey to mainland Europe. You can even upgrade your reserved seat to Standard Premier – speak to our Holiday Advisors for more information. On arrival in Paris, Lille or Brussels, you will then join connecting services for your onward journey.

Travel by Air

Travel by Air

Return flights from London Heathrow with transfers to and from the ship are included in our package on our specific arrival and departure dates. We also include one item of checked in luggage per person.

If our included flights are not suitable, alternative flights may also be available from other airports on our arrival and departure dates. These may have an additional supplement and are subject to availability at the time of booking.

More flexible travel options

Travelling by Eurostar?

Travelling by Eurostar?

Why not stay overnight in London?

For those travelling from further afield, you can also book overnight accommodation in London, before and after your holiday. Speak to our Holiday Advisors for more information.

Travelling by Eurostar?

Stay overnight near the port

For an even more relaxed start to your European holiday, why not stay overnight in Dover or nearby Ashford the night before your cruise from only £65pp? All our quoted prices include car parking for one vehicle for the duration of your cruise and cooked breakfast the following morning. Our coach will collect you and return you to the hotel on its way to/from the port of Dover. And if you don’t want that holiday feeling to end, why not do the same on your return journey?