In half term we went on a P&O minicruise from Hull to Bruges. It is something I have wanted to do for ages.
So, what is a minicruise all about?
We booked the tickets online for two nights on the ferry and one night in Bruges so we would have the best part of two days to explore the city. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza hotel which is located in the historical centre of Bruges, on the Burg, just minutes walk from all the central attractions. It has a swimming pool, gym, restaurant and the family rooms sleep four comfortably.
We parked up at Hull docks and paid the parking fee for 3 days.
Tip: its costs £7 for each 24 hour period but the machine does take cards.
Check in and boarding was all really straightforwards. As you get on the boat you are greeted warmly and given the keys for your accomodation so you can get straight there and get settled. There are three main decks on the ferry – Red, Green and Blue – all of which are divided with one section for rooms and the rest either a restaurant (Green deck), Piano Bar with TV (Blue deck) or Casino, coffee bar, shop, bar with stage for entertainment (Red deck) There are also places to just sit and chill on each deck. Dinner is served on the evening (choice of carvery or curry) and buffet breakfast in the morning. Tip: We had the breakfast which was yummy and set us up for the day!
We sailed out on the Thursday evening, arriving at Zeebrugge around 9am on Friday. We then got a coach to Brugge and took a walk of around a mile through parks and cobbled streets to the centre. We stayed in the hotel Friday night and then returned to the boat on Saturday evening arriving back into Hull for 9am Sunday morning. Tip: We used Google maps to find the quickest walking route.
What we did in Bruges..
- Ate and drank lots of yummy chocolate!
Belgian chocolate really is something else. Every other shop sells delicious choccie treats – truffles, pralines you name it. We saw some really creative Halloween designs too.
Tried a brewery tour…
Bourgogne des Flandres is a delicious beer, and the brewery is located just behind the Bell Tower in the Burg.
Tip: The tour has a children’s option too – looking for rats that are dotted around the brewery. The boys enjoyed looking for the rats, smelling the hops and ingredients.
They especially liked the interactive part where you can have a go at pulling your own glass and work on improving your technique! Certificates with your best score can be emailed home. There are also props you can use to take photos that you can also email as mementos.
At the end of the tour children get a sweet treat and adults get to sample a glass of the beer! It looks like Guiness but it is actually really fruity and light – very drinkable!
There are lots of bikes in Bruges and plenty of places to hire bikes too.
Tip: The tourist information centre is in Burg square and can give you a great map with everything clearly marked on it.
We got bikes for an hour just to see a bit more of the city on two wheels. We found a lovely little park away from the hustle and bustle of the city which was very pleasant!
Boat trips coat €8 for adults and €4 for children and there are a variety of places you can join the tour which all goes the same route.
Tip: Seeing Bruges from the water has to be experienced for sure and is a great experience.
The tour was in English and the boat driver gave us a comprehensive dialogue on the buildings we passed giving us an insight into the history of the city.
Sampling the local delicacies!
Bruges is not the place to go if you are watching your weight haha!
Apart from the chocolate and beer there are also amazing waffles!
Tip: There are also plenty of places that provide dishes for children such as good old Spaghetti Bolognase!
We did see lots of places selling Belgian fries, which are just chips with mayonaise. V yummy though!
Did an evening walking tour
As it was close to Halloween we signed up for a walk which was Halloween themed. It wasn’t really a ghost walk as such but gave an insight into the gory history of the city and some of its amazing architecture with a few stories of mystery and intrigue. It was really interesting and worth doing.
We just dipped our toes into the many tourist attractions in Bruges. There are horse drawn carriages to take a trip in, a bell tower with over 300 steps to climb, a chocolate museum and another brewery to look around as well as countless churches, cosy bars and weird and wonderful treats.
Have you been to Bruges? What would you recommend?