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Weekend in Brussels with a 3.5 year old

(7 Posts)
duende Sun 28-Apr-13 13:25:53

We are going to Brussels next weekend, me, DP and DS. DS is 3.5 years old and I will be 27 weeks pregnant, so we are not looking for a crazy and super inteNsive schedule, rather a relaxed weekend.
We will be staying at the Novotel by Grand Place. Any recommendations of things to see and do?
Places to eat?
I'm also wondering whether to take the buggy. We don't use it at home anymore and take the scooter for longer walks, but we did just use it on holiday in lanzarote for longer walks to the beach.
Will we be doing lots of walking in Brussels, or will it underground and short walks?

Portofino Mon 29-Apr-13 11:20:17

Public transport is very good in Brussels, but the town centre is compact enough to get around on foot. Must sees:

The Grand Place of course
The Mannequin Pis - you have to see it but be prepared to be underwhelmed grin
The Musical Instruments Museum is good for kids and has a roof top terrace cafe with good views over the city.
The Parc de Bruxelles in front of the Royal Palace has a good playground and lots of room to run around.
The Comic Strip museum is quite fun, lots of Tin Tin and Smurfs.

You could have a day out to Heysel and Brupark (get the metro). There is a "village" there with Mini Europe, landmarks all on a miniture scale, lots of cafes and restaurants, a carousel etc
The Atomium is also there. It looks very impressive from the outside, much less so inside.

Portofino Mon 29-Apr-13 11:26:45

Hmm. Not sure about the pushchair. Lots of cobbles so I remember getting RSI grin. But on the other hand, I remember using mine with dd til quite late for safety reasons more than anything - I worried about losing her in a crowd. Having checked previously, the Musee des Beaux Arts doesn't allow buggies, so worth knowing if you are a bit of a culture vulture - there is a Kandinsky exhibition on at the mo.

Portofino Mon 29-Apr-13 11:39:59

For food - well waffles and chocolate go without saying. There are millions of places to get them. Chez Leon in the rue de Bouchers is very child friendly, and kids eat free. Standard Belgian fare. The rest of the street is filled with seafood restaurants so it nice to walk along and see all the dispays - but they are mostly tourist rip off places. I do find that the waiters are less likely to try to entice you in when you have a small child in tow. There is a nice Indian - the Bombay Inn - at the end of the street.

When in Central Brussels, we tend to go to the Thai/Vietnamese restaurants around Place St Gery, across the road from the Bourse. There are tables outside if it is a nice day. Reasonable prices and we have never had a bad meal. We also like L'achepot

Portofino Mon 29-Apr-13 12:59:31

Also maybe worth visiting one of the Art Deco cafes such as the Falstaff for the architecture rather than the food.

Other slightly more upmarket places:

Belga Queen is very nice. We have certainly taken dd there when small, but god know what she ate, chips and ice cream probably.

La Vierge Noir

The Italian resatuarant in the Hotel Amigo, just off the Grand Place, has a play corner and were really flexible about food.

duende Mon 29-Apr-13 17:23:33

portofino, you're a star! I was hoping you'd see this thread. Thanks so much for all the info and suggestions. Now fingers crossed it doesn't rain all weekend.

Portofino Mon 29-Apr-13 18:17:14

You are most welcome. I forgot to mention the Musee des Sciences Naturelles has a fab dinosaur display, one of the biggest collections in Europe as I recall, if your ds likes that sort of thing. Lots of kid friendly hands on stuff too. It is a bit tricky to get to as it is outside the city centre but I think the 80 bus from Trone stops right outside. Www.stib.be shows all the trams/bus/metro routes. You can buy a 24 hours Brussels ticket, or a 10 trip ticket which is much cheaper than buying a ticket on the bus.

Somewhere I love, maybe off less interest to a 3 yo, is the Horta museum which is the beautiful house he designed for his family.

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