Bruges with kids

Walk in Bruges – Your private guide in Bruges

Bruges is mainly visited for its medieval architecture, the art of the Flemish primitives, its great and rich history, its museums and palaces, and of course also beer and chocolates. Mainly adult interests! So often I get the question, what to do or visit with children, small kids and youngsters alike. And Bruges has a lot to offer to families with children.

As Walk in Bruges I also offer adapted family and kids walks through Bruges, you can find out more on my website.

Climb the Belfry, not only do you have a great view over Bruges and with clear weather you can see as far as the seaside. You get up close with the impressive 47 bells, the carillonneur’s chamber, the large festive bell, the medieval treasure chest and the large copper music drum. It is a climb of 366 steps up via a winding stair case. Entrance is free of charge for children younger than 6 years old.

We have four old wind mills on the old medieval ramparts of the city. One can be visited every afternoon from May till October and still functions. The miller will explain the ins and outs of his mill. The hills of the windmill are a great place to roll down in summer or sledge down in winter when it snows. In between the windmills are large grassy areas where you can have a picnic in summer. And from the top of the wind mill hills you have a great view of the city. Ask your kids to find all the different towers of the city.

The birth house of one of our famous 19th century poets, Guido Gezelle, boasts a beautiful garden, where it is nice to sit in the grass on a hot day in the shade of the impressive trees and maybe play a game. And just next to the windmills you find one of the 14th century city gates, the Cross Gate. Here you can tell the story of how the gates had to protect to city from armed attacks.

Just one street away from the windmills you find the Museum of Folk life, always a great hit with children and grandparents! For grandparents it is a place full of nostalgia and children love the re-enacted rooms from 100 years ago like the classroom, living room, candy-shop, pharmacy, grocery… Every first and third Thursday of the month, the sweet maker fills the museum with deliciously sweet aromas and visitors can see a candy making demonstration. You can take part in folk games in the temperate indoor gardens or indoors in winter.

The Choco Story is a museum about chocolate and has an adapted tour for children. At the end of the visit you get a chocolate making demonstration and you can taste the pralines Bruges is famous for. Maybe have a hot chocolate in one of the coffee and tearooms of Bruges afterwards.

Take a boat tour, you see Bruges from a whole different perspective and children will love it. Challenge them to find as many swans as possible during the tour or wave to the people along the canals and make them wave back. In winter they only operate in the weekends and when the weather allows. A horse carriage tour makes them feel like real princes and princesses and you make a stop at the romantic beguinage and lake of love for a short visit while the horses get a rest and a drink.

If you are interested in beer, visit the Bourgogne the Flanders brewery with your children, they have an adapted self guided interactieve tour for children. The tour for adults is just as great and you get a chance to meet and see the brewers at work.

If you want your children to pick up some of the history of Bruges in a fun way, head to The Historium, an interactive museum with a lot of media about the medieval period of Brugge. Adults will enjoy it just as much as their children. You can also climb the tower or choose for a virtual reality experience.

Visit the Beguinage and the lake of love with its iconic swans. The Beguinage is open between 6:30 AM and 6:30 PM. I spring the swans build a nest next to the water, and it is also a stop for the horses who pull the horse-carriages. So the kids can get up close to the swans and horses here.

Visit the Groeningemuseum or the Gruuthusemseum with your kids, the entrance is free of charge if they are younger than 13 years old. The museums offer educational search games and treasure hunts for the whole family, ask for them at the ticket office.

A church visit is boring for children? Think again, the Saint Magdalene’s church is an exception! In the middle of the church your child can take place on a beautiful swing while the parents enjoy a coffee or tea in the self service honesty coffee corner. Don’t miss the statue of the homeless Jesus at the entrance of the church. The church is on the south side of the Astridpark, the park also has a beautiful outdoor playground and is a great place to sit down in the grass in summer. The city also puts several chairs in the park during the summer months.

In summer you can swim in one of the canals of Bruges, the Coupure. The swimming pontoon is open every day between 1 and 8 PM, you can enter from the Predikherenrei, no need to reserve in advance, there are showers, toilets and there are rescuers on site.

If the weather is sunny you can always consider a bike ride to Damme, a picturesque little town just 5 km away from Brugge, for more details you can consult my blog on it. Here you also find info on where to rent bikes. Another great way to visit Damme in summer is to take the slow boat to Damme, the Lamme Goedzak. In Damme you find many restaurants, Ter Kloeffe for instance serves filled pancakes (sweet and sour).

Damme is a great place for nature walks, look out for the donkeys in the nature reserve and the many storks that nest here in summer.

A bit outside of the city centre you can see a great dolphin show in Boudewijn Seapark, with next to it an outdoor attractions park. In winter there is an indoor ice skating rink and in summer an indoor playground. There are buses that connect the centre with the Seapark. (take bus nr 7 or 17 at the station)

If you are looking for an indoor play area in Bruges, you can find them outside of the city centre, one is free of charge and can be found in the Carrefour Hypermarket in B-park. Another indoor playground, De Toverplaneet can be found on the outskirts of Bruges, for both places you will need to take a bus.

There are certainly good eateries to get a cheap meal with kids. Some great places: Café Vlissinghe is a beautiful 500 year old pub, where you can get simple but decent meals and has a nice garden in summer, cafe L’Estaminet has the best spaghetti in town, Sanseveria Bagel Salon offers very yummy bagels, ’t Brugs Pitahuis has the best shoarma in Bruges and grand cafe De Republiek is a great bistro and has a wonderful backyard garden, great on summer days! I wrote a blog post on places to eat from budget to expensive and another blog post on the best pubs and tearooms where you can eat cheap and informally. Children can enter all pubs in Belgium if accompanied by their parents (or an adult).

For the best ice-cream in Bruges (after a boat ride or a horse-carriage ride) head to Gelateria De Vinci, choose a donut from the new donut shop Hill’s Donut shop, both in the Geldmuntstraat, a waffle at Otto’s waffle atelier or Lizzies waffles. Eat French fries from one of the food trucks on the main square.

Maybe you want to have a picnic on a sunny and warm day, check out these three blog posts on picnic spots in Bruges centre and where to stock up on food for your picnic.

Brugge is great to visit on foot. Why not book a guide who offers family or kids walks, you will have a fun morning or afternoon discovering the city! We will tell you everything about the cities history afterwards.

Best mode of transport between cities is definitely the train. Children under 12 travel free if accompanied by adults, kids over twelve only pay around 6 euro per ride to any Belgian station. The train takes one hour from Brussels to Brugges, direct, the train stops very close to the centre of Bruges, you can easily walk from the station to the centre, or take the free shuttle bus to the centre of Bruges.

If you go to Gent you should visit the ‘Gravesteen’ or the Caste of the Counts, a medieval castle in the centre of Gent. Gent has a great nature museum on the Sint-Pietersplein which is wonderful for children. The museum is called ‘De wereld van Kina‘ (translates as The world of Kina).

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