Blooming marvellous: Brussels in the springtime

Spring is finally here, birds are singing and Brussels is in bloom. But where are the best places to enjoy the spring flowers and balmy sunshine?

The Royal Greenhouses at Laeken

For a few weeks each year, ordinary mortals can enjoy the royal treatment, with access to the spectactular complex of 19th century greenhouses in the grounds of the royal palace at Laeken. The full visit, which lasts about an hour, takes visitors through a succession of greenhouses, filled with everything from tropical palms to vivid fuschias and geraniums. The beautiful colours and lush vegetation inside are matched by the explosion of blossom on the cherry trees as you walk from one greenhouse to the next – not to be missed!

From 21 April, more info here.

Hallerbos

Perhaps one of the most beautiful sights in Belgium is this carpet of bluebells in this famous forest in full bloom. For a fairly short period in spring you can enjoy the glorious colour and scent of the bluebells amid the slender birch trees, but even before that the wood is filled with anemones, and after the bluebells fade, there is aromatic wild garlic. Precisely when the bluebells will flower depends on the always unpredictable weather, so keep an eye on the Hallerbos website for the peak time to visit. For a chance to enjoy this special place in peace, we recommend you visit early in the morning or on a weekday. Hallerbos is a short drive or train ride from Brussels: a free shuttle bus is provided from nearby Halle station.

More info here.

Bois de la Cambre

A short tram or taxi ride down the Avenue Louise from The Hotel lies the beautiful Cambre wood. Spring is the perfect place to take a stroll through the shady alleys of mature beech trees, but at weekends, the more adventurous use the wide lanes for rollerblading or cycling. The lake at the centre of the wood has small rowing boats to hire and on the island in the centre, accessible via a tiny ferry, is the Chalet Robinson.

Originally built in 1877, this café and restaurant was a popular spot for visitors for decades (you can admire pictures of its history here). Destroyed by fire twice, it was reopened in 2009 and is now the perfect spot for an afternoon tea or Sunday lunch to reward yourself after a walk. Look out for the tame rabbits that nibble the grass around the restaurant terrace!