If you’re looking to travel to Belgium from the UK, we’ve simplified your holiday-planning with this guide for your upcoming trip.
Whether you’re confused about entry requirements, not sure about visas, or want to know if it’s worth visiting for a day trip – we’ve got all the answers.
We’ll help you choose the right transport option, and give you some essential details about alternatives to flying. You’ll also find useful information on shipping to Belgium to make your journey much smoother.
The country that brought you Tintin and chocolate is easier to get to than you think! Keep reading for all our top tips and insight.
Should You Bother Visiting Belgium?
Known for its elegant Renaissance and Art Nouveau architecture, Belgium is a varied place to visit with a melting pot of Dutch, French, and German speakers.
And despite its size, Belgium punches well above its weight with fairytale cities like Bruges, where canals wind through cobbled streets lined with Mediaeval buildings.
For nature-lovers Dinant is a must-visit. The waters of the Meuse River lap at the boardwalk and a citadel is set into the dramatic, craggy cliffs. There’s globally-important Brussels too, the headquarters of NATO and the EU, with its well-manicured gardens and spotless streets.
This country is well worth a visit, and luckily, it’s an easy trip from the UK.
Travel Rules to Belgium From the UK: What You Need to Know
Belgium is an EU country, and so in order to travel to Belgium from the UK you’ll need to follow the Schengen area passport requirements. Check your passport before you travel to make sure it’s valid for at least three months when you plan to travel.
This check is as simple as looking at your passport expiry date. If it does expire within the three month timeframe, you’ll need to renew it before travelling.
Belgium entry requirements for those arriving from the UK are extremely straightforward. Essentially, you can stay in Belgium for up to 90 days without needing any kind of visa.
If you’re planning on staying for longer, you’ll need to visit the Belgian Embassy website to get your visa application.
Can You Drive From the UK to Belgium?
You might be surprised to learn how accessible it is to travel from the UK to Belgium by car. The crossing from Folkestone to Calais is open everyday of the year and takes under an hour.
There are also multiple crossings an hour, making it a flexible choice. Once you arrive in Calais, it’s a short 40-minute drive to Belgium along France’s northern coast.
The other option is to take the ferry from Dover. This journey takes just over two hours. Also, if you’d prefer to make it a road trip, it’s just another hour and a half from Brussels to Bruges.
How Easy Is It to Get the Train to Belgium From the UK?
If you thought flying was your only option in order to get from the UK to Belgium, you’ll now know that a car trip is possible, as is a train journey. The Eurostar seamlessly connects London’s St Pancras International Station to Brussels Midi Station.
This takes an hour and 53 minutes in total and can cost as little as £80 for a return. Although, that figure rises during peak times.
Choosing to travel to Belgium from the UK by train makes sense for those who would rather avoid the hassle of the airport and can easily get to St Pancras Station.
If you are going for a short visit, and don’t have much luggage, this can be a savvy option that cuts down on your travel time and stress.
How to Travel Light to Belgium
Whether you choose to travel by car or train, the chances are you’ll want to keep the luggage in your boot, or that you have to wheel through the station, to a minimum. Sherpr’s door-to-door international shipping service makes this easy.
Not only can they help you fill out any paperwork, but they’ll also collect your things and deliver them to an endpoint of your choosing. You can even track your items while they’re in transit for added peace of mind.
With long queues at baggage reclaim, and the chance that your suitcase could be mishandled or lost, shipping luggage ahead of time is a stress-free option to keep things running smoothly.
Particularly if you have to concentrate on driving on unfamiliar roads or navigating foreign train stations!
How to Spend 24 Hours in Belgium
If you’ve decided to do a day trip to Belgium from the UK, and have a short but sweet stay, Brussels is a great place to spend your 24 hours. Kick things off with a coffee overlooking the Grand Palace.
Baroque buildings with spires reach up towards the sky, and on certain days festivals are celebrated here, and markets take place in the grand square.
No trip to Brussels would be complete without a trip to Neuhaus chocolate shop. The founder, who the shop’s named after, is said to have invented Belgian praline. It’s a great place to try some of the country’s best pralines and get some gifts to take home.
Craft beer is another export that Belgium is famous for. In Délirium Café you’ll be spoilt for choice. This bar is a great one-stop-shop for sampling local beers.
After visiting some museums in the afternoon, be sure to sample some waffles from one of the street stalls and some chips from Frit Flagey. Finish your day with a sunset boat tour to see the picturesque city from the water.
Verdict: Belgium is a gem
Belgium is a country that simply has it all.
If you choose to travel to Belgium from the UK you’ll be able to lose yourself in interesting architecture, fashion-forward cities like Antwerp, and immerse yourself in a rich chocolate-making history.
The country has so much to offer, be it for a short holiday or a longer stay. Follow this guide to choose the best way to travel and get the most out of your holiday.