A weekend getaway to Bruges, Belgium

Sometimes, crossing the English Channel is an easier and quicker way to get out of London and explore a new place. Last month, rather than driving 5 hours to get to Snowdonia or the Lake District, Matt and I swapped the usual outdoor adventures for a city break. The chosen location was Bruges, which sits on the north-western part of Belgium.

  •  Ferry tickets for 2 people and 1 car: £78 from Dover to Dunkirk.
  • Time taken from London to Bruges: Approximately 5 hours in total.
  • Our trip duration: Thursday night to Sunday morning. Although this trip can easily be done from Friday morning to Sunday morning.

But… why visit Bruges?

Because of the proximity to London.
Because of the cute, unique looking buildings.
Because of the canal which surrounds the main town centre.
Because of endless choice of Belgian Beer!
Because of  the convenience of being able to walk everywhere.
Because of the Waffles and Chocolate (although I didn’t buy any because I used my calorie tokens on beers!

How to get there?


Recommendations

o  Brewery Tour at Bourgogne des Flandres

The brewery is at heart of Bruges, the tour costs 10 euros per person and it lasts for approximately 1 hour. This is a cool experience if you like beer and would like to see how beer in general is made, as well as learn about the history of the Bourgogne des Flandres beer. As a bonus, you get a free beer at the bar in the end!

o  Potato Bar

I found the food in Bruges a bit of a hit and miss, but Potato Bar was actually quite good compared to another place we went to the night before, Ribs N’ Beer. Potato bar was quite chilled, and the chips and toppings were yummy whereas Ribs N’ Beer was just average, and we felt very rushed by the staff! Also, the Potato Bar is the perfect place you if want to have a small-ish dinner so that you can save some space for beer!

Chips at Potato Bar, Bruges

o  Monsieur Ernest Hotel 

I actually loved this cozy hotel. It costs around £410 for 3 nights (although we realized we could have saved some money by staying for 2 nights only) for a room with canal view. The breakfast was good, location was perfect – everything within 10-20 minute walk, and the atmosphere was very relaxing. 

o  Le Trappiste Bar 

Really liked this little underground bar – the beer selection is very good but the only downside is that it’s hard to find a table as it’s quite popular. 

o  The Bottle Shop

Take home a few souvenirs (Belgian beer) from The Bottle Shop.

The Bottle Shop, Bruges

General Tips

  • Take this trip on a weekend: Friday to Sunday.

  • Go to Bruges around Autumn or Spring if you like cheap prices, not so cold temperatures and a nice nature setting i.e. leaves falling or flowers blooming.

  • Go to Bruges in Winter if you like Christmas markets, decorations and mulled wine.

A weekend getaway to Wells-next-the-sea, Holkham Beach and Thetford Forest

Looking to do something different with your weekend? Looking for a mini adventure?

Looking to do something different with your weekend? Looking for a mini adventure? Norfolk is one of the most unique and unspoilt parts of rural England and it is often one of the most underrated places to take a holiday in the UK. I first fell in love with this place when I was studying at the University of East Anglia in Norwich.

I lived in Norwich for 3 years, so I spent a lot of time exploring the area around it. There are many things you can do in Norfolk. For example you can explore Norwich city, you can hire a boat in the Norfolk Broads, you can take a walk in Thetford Forest and you can visit beaches like Cromer, Great Yarmouth or Holkham.

I am always looking for a quick weekend getaway within short distance from London, just to break up the routine a little. As I know that Norfolk isn’t far away at all from home, we recently booked a last minute hotel (take a peak at the Georgian Townhouse in Norwich) and set off on a Saturday morning straight to Wells-next-the-sea. We visited Wells and Holkham on that day, and spent the night in Norwich city so that we could go to one of our favourite restaurants in town, The HOUSE Thai Restaurant. We then started heading back on Sunday, but made a stop at Thetford Forest so that we could take a walk in the woods. Take a look below to see the places we visited.

Wells-next-the-sea

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Afternoon tea in Wells-next-the-sea

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Staithe St

Wells is a charming little harbour town in the northern part of Norfolk. We made a short visit before going to Holkham beach and took a walk around Staithe St, making a short stop at Raggedy Cat Tearoom for the best afternoon tea I have ever had. If you do visit Wells, make sure you stop at this little Tearoom and order a tea with a scone – I can assure you will not be disappointed!

Holkham Beach

Holkham Beach
Holkham Beach

Holkham Beach
Sand dunes in Holkham

Holkham beach is without a doubt one of the best sandy beaches in the UK. Unlike many other beaches, Holkham is a nature reserve, a pine forest and it is also dog-friendly! It is a great place to visit anytime of the year because you will always find a peaceful spot on the beach due to its long stretch of golden sands. We visited Holkham in February, on a rainy day, and we still had lots of fun – we will definitely be going back in the summer.

More information about directions & parking can be found here.

Thetford Forest

Thetford Forest
Taking a walk through the woods in Thetford

Approximately a 2 hour drive from London, Thetford Forest is a great break from the big smoke. We have visited this place a few times because we just love taking a walk in the woodlands to get a breath of fresh air and a change of scenery. It lifts our moods and refreshes our minds, getting us ready for the weekly routine. There are also lots of fun activities to do, including archery, paint-balling, horse-riding, mountain biking and many others. Take a look here to see more information.

Thetford Forest
A dog walk in the woods

Thank you for reading and I will see you for the next mini adventure post!