O Dierbaar België
Together, Sophie Allegaert and Heikki Verdurme run www.odierbaarbelgie.be, the platform for exceptional lodging addresses in our country. She's a journalist, he's a photographer and they both work for several magazines. So, they know better than anyone where to find the nicest places. Here are their kids-proof tips for Bruges! Handy to know, since half of the O Dierbaar België crew lives in Bruges, each address has been tried and tested on many occasions…. With kids in tow.
What to do with kids in Bruges
1. Keep up the traditions!
You can't visit Bruges without climbing the Belfry and hopping on a boat for a trip down the canals. So, conquer those 366 steps and see how the grand city stands out for miles. Watch out, if you stay too long, you'll descend with your ears ringing. Then, take a cruise and admire the World Heritage City from the water. It's fine to wave at the locals. In fact, these locals often jump aboard themselves, to see their city from a different angle.
2. Concertgebouw Circuit
Culture is not boring. And the sooner that's clear to your rascals, the better. This route right through the Concertgebouw gives them a chance to see for themselves just how exciting art and architecture can be. At their own pace, they discover all corners of the Concertgebouw, make music with the interactive sound installations, before ending up on the roof terrace for an exclusive view. Top activity!
You're more likely to remember what you see with your own eyes. So, at Historium you are catapulted back to Bruges' Golden Age and go wandering in 1435. You stroll in the port as it was back then, nose around in the studio belonging to Jan Van Eyck and take a peek in the bathhouse. Once you are wearing those Virtual Reality goggles, that history suddenly comes to life.
4. Count Visart Park
Half of Bruges' residents learned to cycle in the Count Visart Park. Beside the traffic-safety park in lush green surroundings, there is also a lovely playground, created with tree trunks. So, lots of opportunities for climbing, swinging and sliding. A wooden walkway crosses the play area, passing a number of handy water fountains. You'll find this on the edge of the city.
Shopping with kids in Bruges
Nothing but nice: for boys and girls, both big and small. A unique address with lots of loveliness. Featuring the coolest outfits, the cuddliest toys and the cutest backpacks. Very handy for a city trip. Caution: mums tend to lose control here too.
6. Brugs Brickhouse
Lego fans go almost crazy in this Lego paradise, run by a real Lego fanatic from Bruges. Here you will find pretty much the entire Lego collection. The New York skyline, the Batmobile, Harry Potter's Hogwarts, Spiderman, a Bonsai tree. If it exists in a Lego set, you'll find it here.
7. De Krokodil
A proper toy shop. One with quality wooden toys, mini cargo bikes, giant dolls houses, an immense collection of games, castles for little knights, castanets, craft kits, diabolos, stilts, puzzles, brainteasers, pink princess beds and a library bursting with delightful books. Welcome to De Krokodil.
8. Pim Pam Poen
A pimpampoentje is what people in Bruges call a ladybird. And this children's shoe shop with the same name is well known in the city, and just as adorable. Filled with funky, fun and flashy children's shoes. From the most colourful trainers to pony-hair boots with tiger print. The kind of shoes that adults would also love to squeeze into.
Eating and drinking with kids in Bruges
9. Picnic in Koningin Astridpark
Within easy reach of the delightful Koningin Astridpark, known by the locals as ‘the botanic garden’, there's the Golden Triangle. At Schaeverbeke, fill up on bread, rolls and the yummiest tarts and pies. Around the corner, Jan & Lucrèce sell fruit, veg, salads and juices and, on the final corner, Hof Maertens offers home-raised meat straight from the farm. So you can assemble a picnic in a flash, and gobble it up in Astridpark. Whether it's at the kiosk, by the fountain or beside the new playground, you are guaranteed lunch ‘with a view’.
10. An ice cream from Da Vinci
Da Vinci really is the place to be. All day long, tourists and locals come and queue here patiently. Everything is home made and the selection is endless. Those struggling to choose can call on expert advice and will be given tasters to help them decide.
11. A freak shake from Balthasar
Those out and about with little ones will enjoy the hunky-dory haven at Balthasar, along with one of the many healthy options, such as smoothie bowls, fresh juice and toast with avocado. Your offspring will be equally enthusiastic about one of the towering Balthasar shakes. Chocolate, vanilla or strawberry, tons of toppings, plus a waffle and a doughnut. A matter of making sure nobody goes hungry for the next few hours.
12. Pizza party at Amuni
Eating pizza at Burg Square, one of the iconic squares in Bruges. In the corner you'll find Amuni, where they bake delicious sourdough pizzas. Made with organic flour and topped with Italian ingredients from small growers. Reserve a spot on the front terrace. Then, when the pizza is finished, your kids can canter around Burg Square while you keep watch. The perfect evening!