Just under an hour’s drive from Calais finds us in Belgium, a beautiful country popular with visitors from the UK and a particular favourite destination is the city of Bruges. Linked to the sea by a series of canals and often referred to as “The Venice of the North” its history dates back to the 9th Century. However, the city really flourished in the 14th Century when traders from all over the world gathered in the city, all leaving their mark. Bruges is still relatively untouched by modern times and this medieval city is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take a step back in time to explore the canals, cobbled streets and squares and perhaps take a short break to enjoy some of the world-famous Belgian beer and chocolates.
Belgium is also further tied to the British people by the Great War and for four long years Flanders Fields was the scene which epitomised the horrors of the Great War. Four major battles were fought here and more than 250,000 British and Empire soldiers gave their lives.
Ypres lies at the heart of ‘the Salient’ and during the war the town was under almost constant bombardment, reducing it to ruins. The city is now totally restored and at the heart of the city lies The Menin Gate, which marked the route that many soldiers took on their journey to the front line. It is the location of the Ypres Memorial to the Missing and every evening the Last Post is sounded here in honour of the soldiers of the British and Empire who lost their lives in the Salient.