Bruges is one of those ideal places where you can feel the adventure of getting lost in the winding streets, surprise yourself with the stunning views around every corner, but feel safe in the knowledge that you are only ever ten minutes away from the center of town.
For chocoholics you are in luck, with more chocolate shops than cars (I may have made that up) you can spend an entire afternoon just eating treats. The best part is that almost all the chocolate shops we went into had sample trays, so you can get your fix without spending a thing.
For a truly bizarre experience find your way to Retsin’s Lucifernum, a bar which is also the home of a 172 year old Vampire named Willy. But the bit I was interested in was the permanent art installation outside, it just looks like some scaffolding. Not kidding. There is some scaffolding up with bits of tape wound around it, and I just love that sort of arty balls.
It was freezing when we arrived in Bruges, and all we wanted was to find a cute place to hunker down and eat. I think we managed to find the cutest place in all of Bruges, so sugary sweet I could barely handle it. The Ginger Bread tea shop is just off the main shopping street and about a 15 minute walk from the train station. It appears to be run, in a largely Faulty Towers way, by two adorable grandmothers who run around this pink paradise clucking like mother hens. The food was exactly what we felt like for lunch, hot tasty toasted bagels; mine with goats cheese, honey and pine nuts and Mr M had ham scrambled eggs and sun-dried tomatoes.
Bruges is a city to walk around in. There aren’t really any major tourist attractions that you go to see (or at least none on a winters day), you instead spend your time walking over the fabulously cute bridges, gazing at the drip castle buildings and trying to not break your ankle on the cobble stones. We looked at doing a little boat trip along the canals, but when we saw how many people were crammed onto the boats we decided to give it a miss.
I just found Bruges so damn relaxing. Its water everywhere, toy town houses and nothing to do but look, see and imagine.
Bruges is seriously easy to get to from London. You can get the Eurostar to Brussles and then just hop on the local trains for the rest of the trip. There is a train from Brussels to Bruges every half hour or so, and it is not harder to navigate then London trains even with the language difference.
If you are desperate for a holiday or taste of Europe but just don’t have any annual leave left, Bruges is your answer.
A massive thanks to Eurostar for sending me to Brussels and Bruges, Eurostar offers any Belgian station tickets from £79 return, with stations including Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges and stations along the Belgian Coast. Eurostar operates up to 9 daily services from London St Pancras International to Brussels Midi and from there passengers use their any Begian station ticket to connect on to local services to their final destination. Fastest London-Brussels journey time is 2 hrs. Tickets are available from eurostar.com or 08432 186 186.