Belgium: Tradition and Innovation in Art & Garden Design 2024

Status: open

28 May – 14 Jun 2024


Belgium: Tradition and Innovation in Art & Garden Design 2024
Tour Highlights

Led by horticulturalist and landscape designer Sandra McMahon, and native French and Flemish speaker, Diane Perelsztejn, this tour is a feast of splendid classic and contemporary private gardens, great museums and natural landscapes of Belgium.

  • View the work of leading Flemish landscape architects including Erik Dhont and Piet Blanckaert; and meet Chris Ghyselen, known for his use of fine grasses and perennials, who will show us a number of his projects including his own garden.
  • Explore the private garden of Jacques Wirtz featured in Monty Don’s Around the World in 80 Gardens.
  • Visit the 10-hectare garden of Sybille de Spoelberch. Formerly the kitchen garden of Château de Wespelaar, it was partly redesigned by Jacques Wirtz.
  • Explore Morishof, the private garden of Marc Moris, which includes a vegetable garden, a meadow, natural swimming pool and a flower garden.
  • Visit the Arboretum Kalmthout, the former private garden of Robert and Jelena de Belder designed with the support of their close friend, Russell Page.
  • Visit the gardens of the 14th-century Kasteel van Oostkerke, restored with the aid of Mien Ruys.
  • View the abundant rose collections in the Lens Roses nursery and the traditional ‘kasteel’ gardens of Hex.
  • View great Gothic churches, town halls and merchant palaces in Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp.
  • In Antwerp, Brussels and Bruges visit world-class art collections; we view works by Peter Paul Rubens, Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden, Hans Memling, Frans Hals, Peter Bruegel, Jan Brueghel the Elder, Anthony van Dyck and René Magritte.
  • Explore the Art Deco home of David and Alice van Buuren; the house and studio of Art Nouveau Architect, Victor Horta; and the Art Nouveau Hôtel Hannon, the private home of Marie Debard and Édouard Hannon.
  • Spend two nights in the charming town of Marche-en-Famenne; walk through the Forest of the Ardennes, and view ancient dolmens and menhirs in the village of Wéris.
  • Dine at the 2-star Michelin Le Chalet de la Forêt and enjoy an aperitif in their vegetable garden designed by Erik Dhont.

Overnight Antwerp (4 nights) • Bruges (6 nights) • Brussels (4 nights) • Marche-en-Famenne (2 nights) • Brussels (1 night)



The following itinerary describes a range of gardens which we plan to visit. Several are accessible to the public, but many require special permission which may only be confirmed closer to the tour’s departure. The daily activities described in this itinerary may change or be rotated and/or modified in order to accommodate alterations in opening hours, flight schedules and confirmation of private visits. Participants will receive a final itinerary together with their tour documents prior to departure. The tour includes breakfast daily, lunches & dinners indicated in the detailed itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=lunch and D=dinner.

Antwerp - 4 nights

Day 1: Tuesday 28 May, Arrive Antwerp
  • Tour commences at 1.30 pm in the foyer of the Hotel ‘t Sandt
  • Welcome Meeting
  • Plantin-Moretus Museum
  • Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedral (Cathedral of Our Lady)
  • Short Orientation Tour
  • Welcome Dinner at the Sir Anthony Van Dijck Restaurant

Meeting Point: Tour commences at 1.30pm in the foyer of the www.hotel-sandt.be located in the historic centre of Antwerp.

After a short welcome meeting we visit the renovated Plantin-Moretus Museum, a stately town house with period rooms that chronicles 300 years of the process of printing. French printer Christopher Plantin established his famous printing and publishing house in Antwerp in 1555. His successors, the Moretus family, maintained the Officina Plantiniana until the 19th century. The museum displays typographic material, a library, paintings including a Rubens and an impressive graphic collection. It also owns the world’s oldest extant printing press (c.1600). The Print Room holds prints and drawings by Antwerp masters from the 16th century to the present including botanical and medicinal works. We spend time in the museum’s enclosed garden, an oasis planted according to the 16th-century style. It is the only museum in the world to be UNESCO World Heritage listed.

We take a short walk to the Grote Markt (main city square) and visit the Cathedral of Our Lady. Four of Rubens’ most important paintings, including the Raising of the Cross and his Descent from the Cross, embellish this vast seven-nave UNESCO-listed Gothic cathedral.

Tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner at the Sir Anthony Van Dijck Restaurant located in the medieval quarter of Antwerp. (Overnight Antwerp) D

Day 2: Wednesday 29 May, Antwerp – Berlaar-Gestel – Lier – Haacht – Antwerp
  • ‘Morishof’: private garden of Marc Moris, Berlaar-Gestel
  • ‘t-Kranske’: City garden renovated by Marc Moris, Lier
  • Arboretum Wespelaar, Haacht
  • The Potager, private garden of Sybille de Spoelberch, Haacht

Flanders was once the leading horticultural nation in Europe. Sixteenth century Antwerp was a centre of the study of botany. In the 18th and 19th centuries dozens of fruit varieties were created and the rarest plants grown and improved. In recent years a remarkable revival of gardening has created beautiful new gardens.

Today we encounter two of Belgium’s leading landscape designers, Marc Moris and Jacques Wirtz. Marc Moris designs simple, mature, ‘timeless’ gardens. His nursery cultivates naturally developing trees and large shrubs which are up to 100 years old. This morning we visit ‘Morishof’, Moris’s private 3 hectares garden which includes a vegetable garden, a meadow, natural swimming pool and a flower garden.

We next visit ‘t-Kranske, a monastic complex restored by Marc Moris. As part of his renovation, Marc cleared its courtyard to develop a 6000 metre2 city garden. The original convent’s chapel was also restored. We shall tour the gardens and visit the flower shop of resident artist Raf Verwimp.

This afternoon we visit the Arboretum Wespelaar, in Haacht. Philippe de Spoelberch’s house is surrounded by 9 hectares of botanic gardens. An extension to the garden has become the Arboretum Wespelaar, with 2,000 different species and cultivated varieties in the 20-hectare grounds. The main focus is on trees and shrubs, with many varieties of oaks, maples, magnolias and rhododendrons.

Adjacent to the Arboretum is The Potager, previous kitchen garden of Château de Wespelaar. By special invitation, we visit this 10 hectares private garden of Sybille de Spoelberch. In 1983, the old kitchen garden was partly re-designed by the famous Belgian landscape architect Jacques Wirtz. Hedges of Carpinus, Taxus and Buxus provide structure. Lemon trees in pots decorate both sides of a path and walls are covered with Ceanothus, roses and other climbing plants. The site has an Italianate water garden, a Japanese garden and contemporary garden of blue stone rocks. The garden has many perennials, a collection of old roses and choice shrubs, with antique garden ornaments and Baroque decorations. A new woodland garden under the canopy of oak trees holds a collection of remarkable trees and shrubs. (Overnight Antwerp) B

Day 3: Thursday 30 May, Antwerp – Schoten – Antwerp
  • Private garden of Jacques Wirtz, Schoten – featured in Monty Don’s Around the World in 80 Gardens
  • Private garden designed by Jacques Wirtz (to be confirmed)
  • Museum aan de Stroom (exterior only) and Antwerp’s historic port

This morning we visit the private garden of the late Jacques Wirtz, the world-renowned Belgian landscape architect who, in his innovative gardens, enhanced his sculptural treatment of boxwood and yew hedges by drawing on his deep knowledge of plants and flowers. Jacques’ son, Martin, who is now CEO of Wirtz International, has kindly agreed to show us the family’s private garden. Nearby we visit another private garden designed by his father.

After a light lunch we return to Antwerp where we view the impressive exterior of Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) an extraordinary ultramodern tower, composed of great blocks separated by undulating glass walls. It was designed by the acclaimed Rotterdam firm Neutelings-Riedijk Architecten. Across from the MAS is Antwerp’s new Port House designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, and the Red Star Line Museum designed by New York architects Beyer Blinder Belle. A short visit to the rooftop of the MAS provides panoramic views of the city and its historic port. (Overnight Antwerp) BL

Day 4: Friday 31 May, Antwerp
  • The Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA)
  • Arboretum Kalmthout

This morning we visit the recently reopened KMSKA, whose collection of paintings, sculptures and drawings includes work by Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden, Hans Memling, Frans Hals, Jan Brueghel the Elder, Peter Paul Rubens, and Anthony van Dyck.

After lunch at leisure we depart for Kalmthout. The history of Arboretum Kalmthout goes back as far as 1856, when the Antwerp dendrologist Charles Van Geert started a nursery in Kalmthout. In 1952, the brothers Georges and Robert De Belder bought the site to create their private botanical garden. Under the inspiring leadership of Robert and his wife Jelena De Belder, and with contribution by internationally renowned garden designer Russell Page, Arboretum Kalmthout grew into one of the world’s most prestigious botanic collections. Instead of the severe formality of traditional botanic gardens with their collections laid out in straight lines, the De Belders favoured a natural-looking garden with perennials, creepers, shrubs and trees. They collected seeds in the wild and also selected a great number of new varieties, in particular Prunus, Malus, Pieris, Hamamelis and Hydrangea. (Overnight Antwerp) B

Bruges - 6 nights

Day 5: Saturday 1 June, Antwerp – Temse – Ghent – Bruges
  • De Uil (The Owl), Temse (to be confirmed)
  • Orientation walk, Ghent
  • Cathedral of St Bavo, Ghent

Daniël Ost is arguably the world’s leading floral artist. His design team is highly sought after for projects, from roof terraces in Tokyo to public and private gardens all over Europe. This morning we head for Temse where we visit De Uil, the garden of interior designer Marc Massa. This garden originally designed by Daniël Ost is noted for its beautiful wild shadow garden and a stylised south garden.

Then we travel to Ghent. The Medieval and Renaissance trading city of Ghent was the stronghold of the counts of Flanders. This city was established among numerous islands between the Lieve, Leie and Scheldt rivers and is therefore traversed by picturesque canals. We take a short orientation walk through the cobbled streets of Ghent. After lunchtime at leisure, we view the huge 24-panel altarpiece, the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb in Ghent’s Cathedral of St Bavo. Begun by Hubert van Eyck (c.1390-1426) and completed after his death by Jan van Eyck in 1432, it is the greatest painting of the Northern Renaissance. St Bavo’s other treasures include Rubens’s Conversion of St Bavo (1623).

We continue to UNESCO World Heritage listed Bruges, one of a few canal-based northern cities. (Overnight Bruges) B

Day 6: Sunday 2 June, Antwerp – Damme – Bruges
  • Kasteel van Oostkerke, Damme
  • Walking tour: Beguinage and Bruges’ secret gardens
  • Canal Cruise of Bruges

Until around 1600, Bruges was an important Hanseatic League port city linked to the sea by the Zwijn canal. Canals were dug to facilitate the passage of goods to this canal and thence to its commercial outpost, the harbour at Damme. Today we drive to Damme and visit Oostkerke Castle. Allison Campbell-Roebling and her husband Baron Joseph Van Der Elst restored ruined Oostkerke Castle, aided by the great Dutch landscape architect Mien Ruys. The result is an idyllic combination of intimate spaces and grandiose avenues. Separate gardens include a private courtyard, a Maria garden and a rose garden. Footpaths run along the foundations of the old ramparts, and the ancient moats have been excavated and planted.

We return to Bruges where we take a walking tour of Bruges and its famous Beguinage. A beguinage or begijnhof was a medieval housing complex for women who devoted themselves to prayer and charitable works, but did not care for the constraints of a convent. A wall usually surrounded a group of houses in which the women lived. These houses could be disposed around courtyards and the precinct would include a chapel and infirmary. Most Belgian cities have these precincts, and they are all UNESCO heritage listed. Bruges’ Beguinage was founded around 1245. Most of its extant houses, grouped around a pretty garden, are from the 17th and 18th centuries. We explore the atmospheric Beguinage and some of the city’s secret private gardens. We conclude the afternoon with a short canal cruise. (Overnight Bruges) B

Day 7: Monday 3 June, Bruges – Meulebeke – Damme – Bruges

In the morning we visit a private garden designed by internationally acclaimed landscape architect Piet Blanckaert. His recent projects include the Flanders Fields Memorial Garden, London.

After our visit, we transfer to Damme where there will be time for lunch and to explore the picturesque medieval town of Damme, its magnificent Gothic Town Hall, impressive Church of Our Lady, and canals lined with poplars.

Then we visit Bonemhoeve. The history of the farm Bonem goes back to the 13th century. Bonemhoeve is located on a mound completely surrounded by water. In 2005 the restoration of the farm, the garden and the surrounding landscape (16 ha) started. Landscape designer Erik Dhont implemented an innovative contemporary vision with respect for the intimacy and history of the farm and the surrounding polder. Since 2012, renovation works have been overseen by the head gardener Gijsbert Smid with whom we visit the farm. Pools and a pond have been constructed, there is an orchard, a vegetable garden, hay meadows with grassy paths and old roses. (Overnight Bruges) B

Day 8: Tuesday 4 June, Bruges
  • Groeninge Museum, Bruges
  • Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk (Church of our Lady), Bruges
  • Saint John’s Hospital & the Hans Memling Museum, Bruges
  • Afternoon at leisure

The small canal city of Bruges reached its apogee between the 12th and 15th centuries when it was an economic powerhouse to equal Florence and Venice. The city’s fair was established in 1200 and it burgeoned as a centre of textile manufacture. The great Burgundian Duke Philip the Good (1419-67), one of the wealthiest men of his time, established his court here. In the later Middle Ages cities’ economies and cultural production were determined by the conspicuous consumption by the rich and Bruges benefited from the presence of the Burgundian court, nurturing artists like Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling.

This morning we visit the famous Groeninge Museum with its excellent collection of Flemish masters. A highlight of this museum is Jan Van Eyck’s stunning Madonna with Canon van der Paele (1436), one of the most important works of the Northern Renaissance.

Then we visit the Church of Our Lady, a treasure house of art such as the gilt-bronze tombs of Charles the Bold, last Valois Duke of Burgundy, and his daughter, Mary. The most celebrated treasure of the church is, however, Michelangelo’s Bruges Madonna (1504).

We next visit the St John’s Hospital Complex, which includes the small Hans Memling Museum.  The German Hans Memling (1430-1494) worked in Bruges from 1465. His late masterpiece, The Shrine of St Ursula, is a carved and gilded wooden reliquary containing panel inserts painted by the master. Lunch and the remain of the day are at leisure. (Overnight Bruges) B

Day 9: Wednesday 5 June, Bruges – Zedelgem – Oedelem – Beernem – Bruges
  • Private garden designed by Wim Van Wassenhove, Zedelgem
  • Private garden of landscape designer, Chris Ghyselen, Oedelem
  • ‘Boereweg’ in Beernem: Chris Ghyselen’s first garden design

This morning we visit a private garden designed by Wim Van Wassenhove, the son of well-known landscape architect the late André Van Wassenhoven.

In the rural municipality of Beernem Chris Ghyselen will show us his own private garden with playful hedges, water features, and a double border of high and small perennials. There is also a swimming pond and a flower meadow. In the afternoon we visit ‘Boereweg’, Chris’s first design project. Chris developed an original farmyard and garden using low hedges to preserve the open character of the farmland. The house has two terraces: one with a pond, the other with a view of a perennial ‘room’. Other garden ‘rooms’ contain an orchard, a nut garden with vegetables and cut flowers, and a meadow with pollarded willows. (Overnight Bruges) BL 

Day 10: Thursday 6 June, Bruges – Deinze – Oudenburg – Bruges
  • Private garden designed by landscape architect Piet Blanckaert, Hooglede
  • Nursery Lens Roses, Oudenburg
  • Restaurant: Le Chef et moi

This morning we are travelling to Hooglede to visit another garden designed by Piet Blanckaert.

Then we travel to the village of Oudenburg where we enjoy a light lunch. Founded in 1870, the ‘Louis Lens Tree Nursery’ was first a general tree nursery, but rose cultivation soon took over. There are more than 800 different species on display; from elegant old shrub roses to climbing roses, liana roses, ground-covering roses, musk hybrid roses, English (Austin) roses, botanical roses, hybrid teas, cluster roses, and standard tree roses.

This evening we dine together at a local restaurant in Bruges. (Overnight Bruges) BLD

Brussels - 4 nights

Day 11: Friday 7 June, Bruges – Deinze – Ename – Brussels
  • Ooidonk Castle, Deinze
  • Huis Beaucarne and garden, Ename, with Julien Fornari and Lena Vastesaeger

Today we travel to Ooidonk Castle which stands on a bend of the River Leie, near Ghent. We make a private visit to this medieval fortress, rebuilt in 1595. One of Belgium’s finest castles, it is a unique example of Hispano-Flemish Renaissance architecture. Its salons are filled with original paintings, engravings and antiques. The castle is surrounded by gardens landscaped in the French style. Roses adorn its garden beds, supplemented by orange trees. Red beech and age-old oaks are planted together in groups of five. A bridge leads to a formal English park, laid out around a 19th-century pavilion.

Then we travel to the village of Ename. Huis Beaucarne has been inhabited by the same family for more than 250 years. A few years ago, Julien Fornari and his partner Lena Vastesaeger, took on the task to restore the family home and its historical gardens. The first garden was designed in the 18th century and took its inspiration from the local tradition of 17th-century French geometric gardens. Later-on, in the 19th century, under influence of English Romanticism, winding paths and mixed borders were added. In the 19th century, the garden was considered as one of the most extraordinary gardens in Flanders. The Beaucarne family were passionate plant collectors. Some of the old plantings brought back from long distant journeys to Asia and the Americas still remain in the gardens today. A genus of flowering plants native to Mexico and Central America, Beaucarnea, was named after the Beaucarne family. In the second half of the 20th century, a flower-garden was added to the domain, designed by the renowned Belgian landscape architects Brigitte de Villenfagne and her son Michaël de Villegas.

At the end of the visit we travel to Brussels. We spend four nights based in a charming boutique hotel in the historic centre of Brussels. (Overnight Brussels) BL

Day 12: Saturday 8 June, Brussels – Lasne – Brussels
  • Musée David et Alice van Buuren: House and garden
  • Private garden designed by Erik Dhont, Lasne  (To be confirmed in 2024)
  • Brussels: Orientation Walk

We start the day with a visit to the extraordinary house of the banker and art patron David van Buuren. Its interior decoration presents a feast of Art Deco by Belgian, French and Dutch designers. He and his wife Alice Piette collected rare furniture, carpets, stained-glass windows, sculptures and masterpieces of painting from the 15th to the 19th century. The collection includes two Brueghels and works by Fantin-Latour, Ensor, van Gogh, Signac and Max Ernst. Its gardens were initially designed by Jules Buyssens, proponent of the Belgian Picturesque Garden movement. His geometrical ‘Picturesque Garden’ reflected the Art Deco style of the house. It includes a wild garden, water and bog gardens, a rock garden, a walled garden, a fernery and herbaceous border. In 1969 the Brussels designer, René Pechère, added the ‘Garden of the Heart’ and the ‘Labyrinth’.

Erik Dhont is an internationally renowned landscape architect known for his historic garden design. His prolific work includes private and public gardens, urban developments, farms and restoration work. He has created a number of spectacular private gardens throughout Belgium and Europe. His numerous large-scale projects including the gardens designed for the Musée Picasso in Paris (2014) and a 55-acre park for fashion designer Dries Van Noten. Erik Dhont accompanies us today to a very large private property south of Brussels. Among its many features are a rose promenade, camellia promenade, Japanese garden, vegetable garden and aster garden.

Late afternoon there will be an optional short orientation walk to Brussels’ Grand Place. (Overnight Brussels) B

Day 13: Sunday 9 June, Brussels
  • Musée Victor Horta
  • Hôtel Hannon
  • The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium: Musée Magritte
  • Time at leisure

Brussels was the cradle of Art Nouveau. Victor Horta, who developed the style, inspired architects like Hector Guimard, France’s most important Art Nouveau architect, who applied Horta’s whiplash design in his work for the Paris Métro.

Today, we first visit the Musée Victor Horta, located in Horta’s private house and studio (1898 – 1901). Both have utterly exquisite, finely detailed interior decoration that has largely been retained, with the mosaics, stained glass, and wall decorations forming a harmonious and elegant whole.

Then we visit the Art Nouveau masterpiece Hôtel Hannon, the private home of Marie Debard and Édouard Hannon, commissioned to the architect Jules Brunfaut, in 1903. The interior conceived as an enclosed, dreamlike and symbolic universe features an impressive central staircase and stained-glass windows. We also tour the temporary exhibition “Belgian Art Nouveau”, which presents Art Nouveau in all its diversity through works by Paul Hankar, Henry van de Velde and Gustave Serrurier-Bovy.

This afternoon we explore the museum dedicated to Brussels’ most famous modern artist, the Surrealist painter René Magritte. The Musée René Magritte, displaying some 200 original paintings, drawing and sculptures, is the world’s largest collection of his work.

The remainder of the day is at leisure. You may wish to continue exploring Brussels’ Royal art collections. Artists represented include Northern Renaissance artists Rogier van der Weyden, Hans Memling, Hieronymus Bosch, Lucas Cranach, and Pieter Brueghel the Elder, whose Fall of the Rebel Angels and The Census at Bethlehem are highlights. Later artists include Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, Rembrandt, Claude and Tiepolo. (Overnight Brussels) B

Day 14: Monday 10 June, Brussels

We begin this morning with a visit to the Arboretum Kreftenbroek. Etienne and Rose-Marie Van Campenhout transformed an old farm and adjacent land into a magnificent series of gardens. The ‘natural garden’ focuses on a small pond. The classical garden behind the house features a canopied alley of apple trees linking two large Louis XVI urns. Intimate green ‘rooms’, an alternating serpentine pond and an elegant staircase then lead to the ‘Valley Garden’ designed by Jacques Wirtz.

We eat lunch at the 2-star Michelin restaurant, Chalet de la Forêt, located at the edge of the Sonian Forest of European beeches and oaks. With Erik Dhont, we take an aperitif in the structured vegetable garden that he designed for chef Pascal Devalkeneer. It features local varieties such as Mirabelle plum and apple trees. The remain of the day is at leisure. (Overnight Brussels) BL

Marche-en-Famenne - 2 nights

Day 15: Tuesday 11 June, Brussels – Heers – Durbuy – Marche-en-Famenne
  • Kasteel van Heks (Hex Castle) and lunch, Heers
  • Durbuy, at leisure

This morning we visit Hex Castle to view its world-famous rose collection. The 18th-century castle was originally a hunting pavilion surrounded by formal gardens including a rose garden, a Chinese garden, and an exceptional vegetable garden. A landscape park inspired by Capability Brown was added later. The original formal Renaissance garden includes a nut garden and a walled vegetable garden. Its celebrated rose garden contains a unique assortment of about 250 varieties. We enjoy lunch in the castle, guests of the Count and Countess d’Ursel.

Then we travel south-east into the province of Luxembourg, the southernmost province of Wallonia. About 80% of this sparsely populated province is covered by the densely wooded Forest of Ardennes. We stop to visit the small town of Durbuy, on the banks of the Ourthe River, one of Wallonia’s most charming medieval towns. There will be time at leisure to explore its tiny cobbled streets, timber-frame houses and a castle. In the late afternoon drive to Marche-en-Famenne where we are based for the following two nights. (Overnight Marche-en-Famenne) BL

Day 16: Wednesday 12 June, Marche-en-Famenne – Wéris – Marche-en-Famenne
  • Walk to view the Wéris megaliths (4.5kms, 2.5hrs)
  • The Maison des Mégalithes, Wéris
  • Short nature walk (details to be confirmed)
  • Marche-en-Famenne, afternoon at leisure

Marche-en-Famenne provides an excellent base from which to explore the Ardennes, a mountainous region of extensive forests, rich in fauna and flora, with steep-sided valleys, swift-flowing rivers, and picturesque villages and castles.

We enjoy a guided four-kilometre walk to the village of Wéris, well known for its half-timbered houses of limestone or sandstone, and its megaliths, including dolmens (chambered tombs) and menhirs (standing stones) which date from 3,000 BC. We visit the Maison des Mégalithes which traces the history of the region’s megalithic sites. After lunch, we enjoy another short nature walk before we return to Marche-en-Famenne. (Overnight Marche-en-Famenne) B

Brussels - 1 night

Day 17: Thursday 13 June, Marche-en-Famenne – Wépion – Brussels

We spend the day in the Meuse Valley visiting the garden of a beautiful château and a private garden. Our first visit is to the Jardins d’Annevoie in the Haute-Meuse, a region of forests and rivers. Annevoie’s gardens combine the splendour and majesty of the French formal style with English romantic whimsy and Italian refinement. These 250-year-old water gardens comprise cascades and fountains, majestic hundred year old trees, trimmed hornbeam lanes and false grottoes.

Outside Wépion we visit Le Sous-Bois, a private garden designed by owners Philippe Taminiaux and Karine Fonsny. It includes an English garden and over 100 varieties of climbing roses and affords sweeping views of the Meuse Valley. It includes expanses of shade-loving plantings and long, lushly planted mixed borders that lead the visitor deep into the garden. These borders mingle perennials with shrub roses and a huge variety of other colourful shrubs.

We return to Brussels where we enjoy our farewell dinner. (Overnight Brussels) BLD

Day 18: Tuesday 14 June, Brussels
  • Tour concludes in the morning
  • At leisure/Check out

Our tour ends in Brussels after breakfast. In the morning you will be required to check out of the hotel. Please contact ASA if you require assistance with a transfer to Brussels Airport. B



ASA has selected 4-star hotels that are themselves historical buildings and/or are located in historical centres. All hotels provide rooms with en suite bathroom. Further information on hotels will be provided in the ‘Tour Hotel List’ given to tour members prior to their departure.

  • Antwerp (4 nights): 4-star Hotel ‘t Sandt – housed in an elegant 17th-century neo-Rococo mansion located in the historic centre. www.hotel-sandt.be
  • Bruges (6 nights): 4-star Grand Hotel Casselbergh – housed in three former 18th-century residences located in the historic centre. www.grandhotelcasselbergh.com
  • Brussels (4 nights): 4-star Hotel Le Dixseptième – a charming boutique hotel situated in the historic centre, 240m from the Grand Place. www.ledixseptieme.be
  • Marche-en-Famenne (2 nights): 4-star Hotel Quartier Latin – housed in a 18th-century Jesuit church located in the town centre. www.quartier-latin.be
  • Brussels (1 night): 4-star Hotel Le Dixseptième – a charming boutique hotel situated in the historic centre, 240m from the Grand Place. www.ledixseptieme.be

Note: Hotels are subject to change, in which case a hotel of similar standard will be provided.

Single Supplement

Payment of this supplement will ensure accommodation in a double (or twin) room for single occupancy throughout the tour. The number of rooms available for single occupancy is extremely limited. People wishing to take this supplement are therefore advised to book well in advance.

How to book

How to Book


Please complete the ASA RESERVATION APPLICATION and send it to Australians Studying Abroad together with your non-refundable deposit of AUD $1000.00 per person payable to Australians Studying Abroad.

Covid-19 Vaccination Certificate

Commencing from November 2021 it will be a condition of travel that all group leaders and ASA travellers are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. All participants must send ASA a copy of their vaccination certificate at the time of submitting their Reservation Application Form. For information on how to obtain either a Covid-19 digital certificate or a certificate in PDF format please view the Australian Government Services Australia “What types of proof there are” web page.

Practical Information

Practical Information

The number of flags is a guide to the degree of difficulty of ASA tours relative to each other (not to those of other tour companies). It is neither absolute nor literal. One flag is given to the least taxing tours, seven to the most. Flags are allocated, above all, according to the amount of walking and standing each tour involves. Nevertheless, all ASA tours require that participants have a good degree of fitness enabling 2-3 hours walking or 1-1.5 hours standing still on any given site visit or excursion. Many sites are accessed by climbing slopes or steps and have uneven terrain.

This 18-day Garden Tour of Belgium involves:

  • A moderate amount of walking mainly during outdoor site visits, often up and down hills and/or flights of stairs, along cobbled streets and uneven terrain. You therefore need to be a good walker and be prepared to stand for some time in front of buildings and artworks.
  • Extensive coach travel – often on minor roads, and boat.
  • The daily schedule generally involves an early-morning departure (between 8.00-8.30am), concluding in the late afternoon (between 5.30-6.30pm).
  • 4-star hotels with four hotel changes.
  • You must be able to carry your own hand luggage. Hotel porterage only includes 1 piece of luggage per person.

It is important to remember that ASA programs are group tours, and slow walkers affect everyone in the group. As the group must move at the speed of the slowest member, the amount of time spent at a site may be reduced if group members cannot maintain a moderate walking pace. ASA tours should not present any problem for active people who can manage day-to-day walking and stair-climbing. However, if you have any doubts about your ability to manage on a program, please ask your ASA travel consultant whether this is a suitable tour for you.

Please note: it is a condition of travel that all participants agree to accept ASA’s directions in relation to their suitability to participate in activities undertaken on the tour, and that ASA retains the sole discretion to direct a tour participant to refrain from a particular activity on part of the tour. For further information please refer to the ASA Reservation Application Form.

Prior to departure, tour members will receive practical notes which include information on visa requirements, health, photography, weather, clothing and what to pack, custom regulations, bank hours, currency regulations, electrical appliances and food. The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade website has advice for travellers: www.smartraveller.gov.au

Tour Price & Inclusions

Tour Price & Inclusions

AUD $11,790.00 Land Content Only – Early-Bird Special: Book before 14 April 2023

AUD $11,990.00 Land Content Only

AUD $2130.00 Single Supplement

Tour Price (Land Content Only) includes:
  • Accommodation in twin-share rooms with private facilities in 4-star hotels
  • Meals as indicated in the tour itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=lunch & D=dinner
  • Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
  • Transportation by air-conditioned coach
  • Porterage of one piece of luggage per person at hotels (not at airports)
  • Lecture and site-visit program
  • Entrance fees
  • Tour Notes
  • Use of audio headsets during site visits
  • Tips for the coach driver, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Tour Price (Land Content Only) does not include:
  • Airfare: Australia-Brussels, Frankfurt-Australia
  • Personal spending money
  • Arrival airport transfer
  • Luggage in excess of 20kg (44lbs)
  • Travel insurance
  • Visas (if applicable)
Tour Map

Tour Map

Terms & Conditions

A non-refundable deposit of $1000.00 AUD per person is required to reserve a place on this ASA tour.

Cancellation Fees

If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:

  • More than 75 days before departure: your initial deposit of $1000.00 is non-refundable.**
  • 75-31 days prior 50% of total amount due
  • 30-0 days prior 100% of total amount due

**$500.00 of this amount (ie 50% of your deposit) may be credited to another ASA tour departing within 12 months of the original tour you booked. We regret, in this case early-bird discounts will not apply.

We take the day on which you cancel as being that on which we receive written confirmation of cancellation.

Unused Portions of the Tour

We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.

Will the Tour Price or Itinerary Change?

If the number of participants on a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates ASA reserves the right to amend the advertised price. We shall, however, do all in our power to maintain the published price. If an ASA tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all tour monies paid. Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of ASA make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes in due course.

Travel Insurance

ASA requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. A copy of your travel insurance certificate and the reverse charge emergency contact phone number must be received by ASA no later than 75 days prior to the commencement of the tour.

Final Payment

The balance of the tour price will be due 75 days prior to the tour commencement date.

Limitation of Liability

ASA is not a carrier, event or tourist attraction host, accommodation or dining service provider. All bookings made and tickets or coupons issued by ASA for transport, event, accommodation, dining and the like are issued as an agent for various service providers and are subject to the terms and conditions and limitations of liability imposed by each service provider. ASA is not responsible for their products or services. If a service provider does not deliver the product or service for which you have contracted, your remedy lies with the service provider, not ASA.

ASA will not be liable for any claim (eg. sickness, injury, death, damage or loss) arising from any change, delay, detention, breakdown, cancellation, failure, accident, act, omission or negligence of any such service provider however caused (contingencies). You must take out adequate travel insurance against such contingencies.

ASA’s liability in respect of any tour will be limited to the refund of amounts received from you less all non-refundable costs and charges and the costs of any substituted event or alternate services provided. The terms and conditions of the relevant service provider from time to time comprise the sole agreement between you and that service provider.

ASA reserves the sole discretion to cancel any tour or to modify itineraries in any way it considers appropriate. Tour costs may be revised, subject to unexpected price increases or exchange rate fluctuations.

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