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Summer in Belgium: Our pick of the best family activities

06:32 05/06/2018
Our selection of family-friendly activities around the country, from caves to comic books, science to swimming

Belgium is dotted with places to take children of all ages, from urban playgrounds to theme parks with thrilling rides. Parents with younger children should start by checking out recreational parks near home. Most provinces have created large parks out in the countryside with open-air pools, adventure playgrounds, running tracks and cafes. One of the best is at Kessel-Lo, just outside Leuven, where you can easily spend a whole day trying out the adventure playgrounds, boats to rent, skateboard rink, running track and open-air pool.

Or you could spend the day at Chevetogne in the Ardennes, where an old country estate has been turned into a lively family park with a swimming pool, farmyard, mini golf and canoes. For kids in search of adventure, you might plan a visit to one of the many underground caves in the Ardennes. The most impressive is at Han, where you travel to the cave entrance on an old tram and leave on a wooden boat, watching out for the loud bang as a cannon is fired.

Don’t forget that you’re living in the land of the comic book, so there are plenty of places to go if your kids are fans of Tintin, the Smurfs or Lucky Luke. The Hergé museum, in the university town of Louvainla-Neuve, is a good place to begin. Housed in a stunning modern building, it immerses children in the world of Captain Haddock, Blanche Castafiori and the Thomson twins.

Once your children start asking questions about how things work, you can take them to one of the country’s science museums. A favourite among kids, the Museum of Natural Science in Brussels has a unique collection of dinosaur skeletons dug out of a coalmine in Wallonia. For a more hands-on experience, take a trip to science museum Technopolis outside Mechelen, where children can try out more than 350 experiments involving music, robots, water and gravity.

Whatever you do, you’ll need to feed your kids along the way. Fortunately, most restaurants in Belgium are relaxed when it comes to serving children, so you should be able to find somewhere with a children’s menu, high chairs and some drawing material to keep kids entertained. Some restaurants go out of their way to be childfriendly, like Zirkey in Antwerp, where kids have their own playroom with flags, cushions and a tent. Also in Antwerp, Sensunik goes one step further and employs a nanny to look after children in an upstairs den, leaving parents to enjoy a quiet meal on their own.

This article appears in The Bulletin Summer 2018. Pick up your copy today in newsagents or subscribe now...

Photo courtesy Technopolis

Written by Derek Blyth