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28 September 2020Art Cities of Flanders - Antwerp, Ghent and Brussels

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Art Cities of Flanders - Antwerp, Ghent and Brussels
28/09/2020

A 4 night stay in Antwerp organsied by HERITAGE GROUP TRAVEL  

Monday 28 September - Friday 2 October 2020

The rich art and architecture in the cities of Antwerp, Ghent and Brussels reflect their historic trading wealth and prestige. Numerous glorious churches, splendid decorative and fine arts museums and an astonishing array of civic buildings are a testament to the country’s role as the great meeting place of Western Europe. Traces of the Austrians, Spanish, French and Dutch are to be found in the eclectic mix of architectural styles, beginning with the Romanesque and culminating in the Art Nouveau and Art Deco of the 20th century. These beautiful and largely unspoilt cities also conceal an astonishingly rich collection of works of art. The Flemish school of painting is, of course, well represented through a wealth of masterpieces by van Eyck, van der Weyden, Brueghel and Rubens, and our 5-day tour includes visits to churches and galleries to see some of these works in situ.

MONDAY 28 SEPTEMBER 2020

We will depart from our local pick up point and travel by coach to Folkestone for a late morning Eurotunnel crossing to Calais. Continue our journey through France and onto Antwerp in Belgium where we will check into The Plaza Hotel for 4 nights’ bed and breakfast accommodation. This evening we will take dinner together in the hotel restaurant.

TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2020

After breakfast we will meet our local guide, and embark on a morning of visits in Antwerp. The chief city of Flemish Belgium, Antwerp boasts numerous and diverse churches, many museums and fine art galleries, and a historic town centre where notable buildings include the 16th century Town Hall on the Grote Markt. We will visit the old part of the city to include the Gothic Cathedral of Our Lady which houses several important works by Rubens, notably The Raising of the Cross and the Descent from the Cross. Following the visit there will be free time for lunch.

The afternoon will continue with a visit to the Museum Plantin-Moretus, the patrician home of Christoffel Plantin and former printing establishment. Plantin transformed the craft-based art of printing and publishing into a pre-industrial business on an international scale and transformed the city on the Scheldt into the leading centre of international printing and publishing. The Museum has an exceptionally rich art collection, displays of books, historical documents and typographic material, drawings, woodcarvings and copper engravings. Following the visit the remainder of the afternoon and evening will be at leisure.

WEDNESDAY 30 SEPTEMBER 2020

After breakfast we will travel by coach to Brussels where we will meet our guide for a full day of visits. Belgium’s capital is probably best known for its beautiful Grand Place and the surrounding labyrinth of small streets with  their architectural treasures. The morning will therefore be spent enjoying a guided panoramic walking tour of the city to include the area around the Place Sablon and a visit to the St Hubert Gallery, a typical example of 19th century architecture. The glass-roofed shopping gallery was opened in 1847 and housed luxurious specialised shops on the ground level while the top levels consisted of apartments. Today the gallery still houses specialised shops and continues to attract visitors from all over the world.

Continue to the Horta House, located in the Quartier Louise. This extraordinary building is the former house and studio of architect, Victor Horta, and has been converted into a museum. The building was designed by Horta himself, who began work on the house in 1898, and it is a classic example of the Art Nouveau style for which Horta became so acclaimed. Particular features include flamboyant metalwork, ornate mosaics on the façade and a spectacular glass ceiling, which creates a light and airy ambience. All of the rooms lead off a central hall, which was not typical in townhouses at that time. There will be free time for lunch in the city centre.

The afternoon will continue with a visit to the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. The upper floor of the museum represents art from the 14th to the 16th centuries to include the Breughel Room. The 17th century masters such as Rubens are displayed alongside fine Dutch paintings as well as masterpieces of Italian, French and Spanish Art. We will return to our hotel in Antwerp for an evening at leisure

THURSDAY 01 OCTOBER 2020

After breakfast we will meet our local guide and travel by coach to the Mayer van den Bergh Museum with its famous art collection from the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. We will then continue on foot to Rubens' House, a delightful mansion in the heart of the city. Rubens lived here from 1616 until the time of his death in 1640. The house was purchased by the City of Antwerp in 1937 and now houses many works by the great master himself and also by some of his contemporaries. We will enjoy a stroll through the reconstructed garden or visit the workshop of Rubens and his private quarters. There will be free time for lunch following the visit.

This afternoon we will continue by coach to the outskirts of Antwerp for a visit to the gardens of Hof ter Saksen. A romantic moated chateau is set in a 19th century landscape park with an arboretum, orchard, stream, lawns and water features. Following our visit we will return to our hotel in Antwerp. Dinner will be served in a local restaurant this evening.

FRIDAY 02 OCTOBER 2020

We will check out of the hotel after breakfast and travel to Ghent, which is the capital of the province of East Flanders and during the Middle Ages rose in importance due to the enormous wealth of its cloth trade. It was the principal seat of the Counts of Flanders, and its wealthy and influential burghers were granted privileges and influence as early as the late 13th century. Today the remnants of the city’s prosperity are much in evidence, and its imposing castle and magnificent cathedral are testimony to the city’s former importance as a major trade centre.

Our day will begin with a guided visit of the Fine Arts Museum housing a collection ranging from the Flemish Primitives to works of the 20th century. Refreshments may be taken at the café located in the Museum opposite. We will transfer by coach to the centre of Ghent where there will be free time for lunch.

Early afternoon we will meet a local guide and explore the lively, historic centre with its network of waterways which traverse the inner town. Our visit will include the Cathedral of St Bavo, which houses one of the great masterpieces of Flemish painting, van Eyck’s Adoration of the Mystic Lamb (some of the panels are currently under restoration at the Fine Arts Museum. The restoration programme is due to be completed by the end of 2019, when the panels will return to the Cathedral of St Bavo).

Mid-afternoon we will continue to Calais for the return Eurotunnel crossing to Folkestone and onward to our original pick up point arriving in the evening.

Please note that as this tour has been planned many months in advance, the final itinerary may vary slightly from the above.

Price £985 per person sharing a twin/double room, with single supplement of £175includes the following:

- 4 nights' bed and breakfast accommodation in Antwerp

- City tax throughout

- Executive coach travel throughout

- Return Eurotunnel crossings from Folkestone to Calais

- Dinner in the hotel restaurant on the first evening

- Dinner in a local restaurant on the final evening

- The services of a local guide for three full days (Tues, Weds and Thurs)

- Walking tour with a local guide in Ghent (Friday)

- All entrance charges and fees as per the itinerary

- VOX audio guides

For more information or TO BOOK A PLACE 

Contact Nancy Bettelley: nancybettelley@hotmail.co.uk