4-days from Brussels
4 days/3 nights
Why not connect with our popularSCHEDULED Chelsea Flower Show tour?
The area of Flanders and Southern Holland is home to dozens of Europe’s finest gardens, medieval villages and world famous gourmet cuisine, chocolates and beers. We will sample a selection of the area’s best gardens, formal and backyard, rock gardens, Japanese and botanicals. This is a lovely few days in an area all too often overlooked!
This tour begins and ends in Brussels.
Brussels is well connected with an international airport and via the Eurostar from London and TGV rail services from most major European cities including Paris and Lille. We are happy to assist you with incoming journey if you wish. Please ask us for details.
Brussels hardly requires an introduction as everyone at least knows the Manneken Pis! This famous statue of a little boy peeing in a fountain is a perfect representative of the irreverent Belgian humor. There is so very much more to this wonderful city, explore the Grote Markt and Grand-Place, La Monnaie, Saint Michael and Saint Gudula Cathedral, meander the cobbled streets, sampling the local chocolates and beers…cooking classes are available too, for those that have an interest. Perhaps enjoy a special treat for garden lovers, visit the Koninklijke Serres (Royal Glasshouses,) which is only opened to the public for a few weeks each year (subject to schedules.) Part of the royal palace grounds, the Royal Glasshouses were built by King Leopold II to accommodate his collection of plants from the Congo.
Contact us for availability or to hold space on the tour: firstname.lastname@example.org
We will depart from our Brussels meeting point late morning to accommodate those guests arriving via rail this morning from London and our Chelsea Flower Show tour.
Royal Botanical Gardens of Belgium in Meise is our main visit today. This is one of the largest botanical gardens in Europe, set in the grounds of a historic castle with ample parklands, a lake and 14 inter-connected greenhouses featuring an overview of plants and flowers from around the world. On the grounds, weather permitting, we may be able to enjoy an afternoon picnic!
Our overnight location for these few days is the mediaeval town of Leuven with the magnificent 15th Century town hall and impressive Grote Markt. During our time here, we will enjoy a walking tour of Leuven’s Groot Begijnhof neighborhood, founded by a unique order of women in 1292 and now deemed a Unesco World Heritage site. We will wander the narrow cobbled streets and admire the homes, gardens and the church of this walled community within the city.
NIGHTSTOP: Leuven Groot Begijnhof Hotel or similar http://www.bchotel.be/
The area of Hasselt is known for numerous parks and gardens, so perfect for us to explore today! The charming town itself has a few buildings remaining from the 11th Century. The local specialty is a juniper berry flavored type of gin, “National Jenever,” so perhaps something to sample over lunch?
We will spend time in the Japanese Gardens here, said to be the most authentic of its kind in Europe, also the largest so the “must see” garden of the area. We can round out our day exploring the ancient towns of the Maas-Valley, viewing some traditional architecture and local gardens.
Later, if time permits, perhaps a short visit to the formal gardens of Kastell Alden Biesen, a Renaissance style French garden surrounding an 18th Century moated castle.
NIGHTSTOP: Leuven, as above
We will spend much of our day in one of the oldest cities in The Netherlands. Maastricht, founded by the Romans, spans both banks of the River Maas and hosts a maze of old cobbled, hilly streets; it is often called the Crown Jewel of the South. This is a unique part of Holland, surrounded by the borders of Germany and Belgium. Here we’ll find an interesting Cosmopolitan flavor as we enjoy a guided walking tour of the city.
There are several private gardens around Maastricht and our little group will explore one or two of them. A great opportunity to meet the locals! There’s the quaint yet special rock garden of Bèr Slangen, begun in 1950 and the garden ‘rooms’ of de Heerenhof, which exhibit both formal and cottage style plantings of an English inspiration.
As time permits on our way back to our accommodation, we may enjoy a short visit to the village of Hoegaarden. Known for its famous white beer, this place offers a lovely, if petite, roomed Flemish show garden.
NIGHTSTOP: Leuven, as above
This morning we will have time for further exploration of our base city. Leuven Botanical Garden is small at just 4 acres but is well worth some time. This is the oldest medicinal herb garden in the country, dating from the 18th century; there is also a water garden, an Alpine conservatory, a fruit garden and greenhouses of tropical plants to admire.
Sint Pieters-Leeuw is on the outskirts of Brussels, home to Coloma Rose Gardens. Located in the former Coloma castle grounds, this delightful place hosts more than 30,000 bushes and 3000 varieties, one of the largest rose gardens in Europe.
Our tour finishes this evening in Brussels. Accommodation and/or onward travel is available for the appropriate supplemental fee.
Extend your stay in Brussels or hop on the train to Paris or back to London via Eurostar. Rail tickets and/or accommodation in the place of your choice is available for a supplemental fee. SGT is happy to assist you, please discuss your wishes with us!
Please Note: All attraction opening times are correct at time of printing this website. While we do our utmost to include all properties, we reserve the right to change an attraction should it become impossible to visit due to change in opening times, days.
BOOKING CONTACT: Special Group Tours
Toll Free: 866 725 5250
Small Groups, Interesting Itineraries, Personalized Service.
Oft imitated, never duplicated! This itinerary is an original SGT itinerary, property of Special Group Tours and to be used only with express permission/in conjunction with SGT.