One of the best issues to do in Antwerp with children

Regardless of being one of many world’s smallest nations, Belgium isn’t in need of tempting metropolis breaks for households – in addition to Brussels, Bruges and Ghent, you will discover loads of issues to do in Antwerp with children.

16th century guildhouses in Antwerp with the statue of Brabo and the giant's hand - my tips for the best things to do in Antwerp with kids
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Earlier than I visited, I admit I didn’t know as a lot about this Flemish metropolis, which sits about half an hour from the Dutch border – Europe’s second largest port, house to Rubens, a style hotspot and on the coronary heart of the world’s diamond commerce, there’s tons to find.

And in case your children aren’t fussed by nice artwork, treasured gems and avant-garde design, there are some nice household points of interest as properly, together with the 22 concepts beneath, my decide of the most effective issues to do in Antwerp for youths.

Antwerp Zoo

One of many oldest zoos on this planet, Antwerp Zoo sits proper subsequent to the practice station – the truth is, when the station was constructed, they needed to promise to ensure the wall connecting the 2 was as ornamental because the station itself.

You could hold your animals completely happy, in spite of everything! Maintain a watch out for the camel statue on the rooftop as you enter the gates previous golden mosaic massive cat photos, with round 1,000 completely different species to find contained in the gates.

The completely different areas of the zoo are themed on locations from around the globe, and has numerous tasks to help endangered animals: plus an opportunity to see massive cats, bears, penguins, elephants and extra, together with the aquarium.

Het Steen Fortress

Het Steen – which interprets because the rock – dates again to the beginning of the thirteenth century, when the fort was a part of a fair larger fortress.

The oldest constructing in Antwerp, in the present day it homes the vacationer data centre and The Antwerp Story (scroll down for extra particulars) so not like the Gravensteen in Ghent, it’s not a fort you’ll be able to discover to get a style of medieval Belgium, nevertheless it’s nonetheless an imposing sight.

Exterior, there’s additionally a statue of a large, generally known as Lange Wapper who legend says used to terrorise Antwerp’s inhabitants, and two people cowering earlier than him.

You may as well purchase the Antwerp Metropolis Go, together with entry to points of interest and public transport, on the vacationer data centre, in addition to selecting up maps and biking trails

The Antwerp Story

Set inside Het Steen, the Antwerp Story is a good introduction to the historical past of the town for youths.

Shifting by means of time as you cross by means of 11 completely different rooms, there are some artistic methods to move you again into Antwerp’s previous, together with a hologram of a designer and a 360-degree projection of the port, in addition to fashions to climb inside and extra.

Permit between 30 and 60 minutes for the primary attraction, then save a while to absorb the views from the roof terrace of Het Steen.

View of Het Steen castle with its statue of a giant out front - home to The Antwerp Story, one of the best places to start a visit to Antwerp with kids

Choco Nation

The world’s largest Belgian chocolate museum, Choco Nation is a good mixture of background concerning the historical past of chocolate and chocolate making, and place to strive a couple of your self.

Quite a lot of, the truth is, as you’ll be able to style 10 completely different flavours of chocolate as you discover the 14 completely different rooms with an audio information in English and Le Petit Chocolatier expertise for youths.

Alongside the way in which, you’ll be able to study some quirky info – reminiscent of that Antwerp has the world’s largest cocoa storage port – in addition to just about visiting cocoa plantations on the equator.

Reverse the Central Station, permit round 60-90 minutes for the go to (and hold a watch out for the colorful Chinatown arch close by as you go in).

Don’t miss at cease on the Chocolate Line store whilst you’re in Antwerp – we found the weird flavours throughout a go to to Bruges however the Antwerp store is far quieter

Trip the ferris wheel

Not removed from Het Steen, there are some incredible views of the town and river from the Antwerp Ferris Wheel.

Set close to Steenplein on the banks of the Scheldt (it beforehand moved areas between winter and summer time), it’s an ideal spot on a sunny day – and never scarily excessive for youthful children.

View of the ferris wheel and buildings of Antwerp - my tips if you're visiting Antwerp with kids

Discover the underground canals

Whereas there’s a lot to see above floor in Antwerp with children, the town additionally has a captivating underground collection of tunnels and canals tucked away.

Often called De Ruien, the waterways have been as soon as used to get across the metropolis within the Center Ages, earlier than being lined over – however you’ll be able to take a particular tour of the historic underground passages and study extra about Antwerp alongside the way in which.

Essentially the most child-friendly manner is to take one of many quick boat journeys, appropriate for age 3+, though these have been quickly suspended whereas restoration work is happening. Within the meantime, children aged 10+ may also be part of one of many guided walks.

Take a tour

Antwerp is a really walkable metropolis however in case you don’t fancy exploring on foot, you will discover loads of different choices too.

Strolling tour of Antwerp with children

As an alternative choice to an organised metropolis strolling tour (though you’re spoiled for alternative in case you do need a kind of), strive a scavenger hunt of Antwerp, fixing clues and riddles as you wander previous 10 of the town’s key areas.

Household-friendly bike tour of Antwerp

Or be part of a family-friendly bike tour of Antwerp, the place you’ll be able to study extra concerning the legends and tales of the town throughout a three-hour cycle round its streets.

Sightseeing bus tour of Antwerp

If the climate’s unhealthy otherwise you’re seeking to sightsee with out carrying out small legs, there’s additionally a hop-on hop-off bus tour of Antwerp with a pre-recorded commentary as you drive round – a great choice too in case you’re seeking to go to a few of the museums additional out of the town centre.

Aerial view of the Scheldt river in Antwerp, where you can take boat trips among other tours with kids in Antwerp

Boat tour of Antwerp

Should you simply need a style of being out on the water, hop on the water bus which runs alongside the Scheldt – you’ll be able to decide it up at Steenplein, close to Het Steen, or the Sint Anna tunnels for instance.

Alternatively, there are personal excursions together with the electrical Sir Tristram from Antwerp by Boat which take you on 50-minute jaunts across the harbour.

Plopsa Station amusement park

This little theme park of Plopsa Station within the centre of Antwerp, also referred to as Comics Station, is all themed round completely different cartoon characters, tremendous heroes and comedian e book stars.

The indoor amusement park within the practice station has round 15 separate points of interest, and whereas most gained’t be acquainted to non-Belgian guests – besides the Smurfs – it’s all nonetheless enjoyable for youthful children.

Some points of interest have a minimal peak requirement so it’s price doublechecking earlier than you go to.

Spot the road artwork

Should you’re visiting with older children, hold a watch out for the road artwork round Antwerp together with the Stripmuren comedian murals route.

There are at the moment 13 completely different websites across the metropolis, with a map to obtain if you wish to tick off all of the completely different websites, or you’ll be able to simply match a couple of into your exploring with a couple of close to the historic Grote Markt sq..

Grote Markt square in Antwerp with town hall with flags out frot and the fountain of Brabo throwing the giant's hand - my tips for the best things to see in Antwerp with kids

Be taught the legend of Antwerp’s title

Head to the historic a part of Antwerp and the Grote Markt sq. is house to a few of its prettiest previous buildings together with the sixteenth century city corridor and guildhalls.

However whilst you’re there, you’ll be able to see the Brabo fountain, celebrating the legend which gave the town its title. So the story tells, a Roman soldier title Brabo got here to the world the place a large was demanding a toll to cross the river.

Anybody who didn’t pay had their hand lower off and flung into the water. Brabo, who didn’t wish to pay the toll, challenged the enormous and defeated him within the struggle – earlier than deciding to topic him to the identical punishment, flinging his hand into the river Scheldt.

The Dutch phrases ‘hant’ ‘werpen’ (hand throw) led to the title we nonetheless use in the present day.

Eat Antwerpse Handjes

Should you’ve obtained a great legend of giants and palms being thrown into rivers, the subsequent step is a standard deal with to have a good time it.

Antwerpse Handjes are scrumptious hand-shaped buttery biscuits with flaked almonds in, though you may as well discover chocolate palms and chocolate-covered marzipan choices.

Lift and wooden escalators in the Sint-Anna Pedestrian Tunnel - one of the most unusual things to do in Antwerp with kids

Sint Anna Tunnel

There aren’t many locations the place crossing a river is a child-friendly attraction… particularly whenever you’re going underneath the water.

However in case you’re visiting Antwerp with children, don’t miss St Anna’s tunnel, which crossed underneath the river Scheldt. Created to attach the newer elements of the town with the historic city, the river was too busy for a bridge, so as an alternative of going over, the choice was made to go underneath.

The principle spotlight is the Thirties picket escalators which lead you down into the tunnel: superbly preserved, it’s one of the vital uncommon issues to do in Antwerp with children – the white-tiled tunnel itself stretches for 1,876 toes and isn’t vastly thrilling however you’ll be able to simply journey straight again up once more.

Should you do hold going, head proper whenever you emerge and there’s a small seashore round half a mile away.

Discover some inexperienced area

The most important public inexperienced area within the metropolis, the Stadspark is a stunning spot to flee the bustle or calm down in the summertime’s warmth.

There’s a small lake to get pleasure from, in addition to strolling trails within the triangular park and a skate park – in case you’re fortunate, you’ll be able to even spot rabbits. Round 10 minutes stroll from Centraal station.

As one other various, head to the botanic gardens with round 2,000 completely different vegetation and herbs, within the grounds of the previous medieval hospital on Leopoldstraat.

View of a small bridge among the trees in the Stadspark in Antwerp - one of the best places to find green space in Antwerp with kids

Go to a museum

Antwerp is house to a string of museums, and whereas some will attraction extra to older children (reminiscent of MoMu, the town’s style museum), there’s a formidable vary to take a look at.

KMSKA Museum of nice artwork

With a formidable 13,000 items in its assortment, Antwerp’s Museum of Wonderful Artwork has an enormous assortment of labor by Rubens – who spent a lot of his life within the metropolis – in addition to a string of different artworks proper by means of to the Expressionists.

Reopened in late 2022 after an enormous 11-year renovation challenge, there are recommendations on what to look out for for households, plus children aged 6-12 get a sketchbook and pencil as a present with the household path, together with 10 shocking new works to search out.

Plantin-Moretus Museum

The primary museum to function on Unesco’s World Heritage Website checklist, the Plantin-Moretus Museum housed certainly one of Europe’s most necessary e book printing firms.

It’s nonetheless arrange as in case you have been visiting the home because it was 400 years in the past, together with the preserved printing presses. And in addition to having the ability to see a printing demonstration, there’s additionally a enjoyable treasure hunt for households, difficult you to identify animals hiding within the museum rooms – appropriate for ages 4+.

DIVA Museum

Greater than 80% of the world’s uncut diamonds cross by means of Antwerp however a lot of the gem commerce – unsurprisingly – isn’t open to the general public.

So to get an actual style of the bling, head to DIVA Museum, reopening in March 2023, which shares extra concerning the historical past of diamond buying and selling within the metropolis in addition to some spectacular gems and items of jewelry on show.

Exterior of Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) in Antwerp - one of the museums to visit in Antwerp with kids

MAS Museum

The Museum aan de Stroom, or MAS, is one other good place to study extra about Antwerp’s historical past – to not point out how its significance as a port solid hyperlinks to nations around the globe.

Maintain a watch out for family-friendly exhibitions, together with one known as ‘Anyone Dwelling’ which incorporates a sewer crocodile, board video games and drawing on partitions, whereas one other quickly exhibition covers the legends and tales of Antwerp. Head as much as the roof terrace for one more nice view too.

The Rubens Home

The home the place Rubens lived throughout his time in Antwerp is closed till 2027, whenever you’ll be capable to step inside his studio as soon as once more. Within the meantime, younger art-lovers can see his work on the KMSKA, the Plantin-Moretus Museum and contained in the cathedral, amongst different websites.

Museum de Reede

One other museum that’s greatest for older children, the Museum de Reede focuses on graphic artwork and engravings together with work by Edvard Munch and Francisco Goya, in addition to up to date artists. Free for under-13s.

Disclosure: This put up incorporates affiliate hyperlinks – any purchases you make are unaffected however I could obtain a small fee. My go to to Antwerp was courtesy of Luxair and the vacationer board for work with no obligation to share, however I needed to anyway… All opinions are my very own.

Zoo entrance pictures copyright MummyTravels, St Anna tunnel courtesy AdobeStock, all different pictures courtesy of Depositphotos


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