Hougoumont Farm and the Battle of Waterloo »

Visiting Waterloo

The Battlefield of Waterloo is in southern Belgium and is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Calais (Chunnel or Ferry)

There has probably never been a better time to visit the Battlefield site of Waterloo, following the building of the new Visitor Centre and refurbishment of all of the major sites on the battlefield ready for the two hundredth anniversary celebrations in June of 2015.

But, firstly, one must realise that the battlefield actually lies some three miles south of the town of Waterloo and decisions on how to get there and where to stay, can be very important decisions for your enjoyment of the visit. This guide has been put together to help you make the right decisions for you.

As I describe the various places to visit I will give each address, opening times, prices etc.

Getting there

Being situated 23km from Brussels, and about 32km from Brussels International Airport, you have a number of options depending on how you have arrived and what mode of transport you wish to use.

By car
Waterloo Bing Map

Location – Click on the Bing Map Above

For Satnav – Address for Battlefield is Route du Lion 315, Waterloo 1410, Belgium

Please note, that the Route du Lion is now permanently closed at the Lion Mound. Therefore it is best to approach towards the Battlefield Visitor Centre from the north west (from Braine l’Alleud) as the car park is on this side of the Lion Mound.

By Plane

Having arrived at Brussels Airport at Zaventem, you can either pick up a hire car, take a taxi or train to Waterloo.

If taking a taxi, it will cost about E35-40 each way and will take about 30 minutes except at peak periods for traffic around Brussels, when it could take double the time and double the cost! But a taxi for a group can be quite cost effective.

If by train, catch a train from the airport to Brussels Midi station. Here you can catch a train to Waterloo, which goes about ever hour for E5 each way, (if staying in the town) or Braine l’Alleud, (local trains hourly for E5 each way) if simply going to the battlefield for the day. It will cost about E10 to catch a taxi from either station to the Lion Mound.

By Train

Trains normally alight at Brussels Midi, from which you an easily transfer to a local train going to Waterloo or Braine l’Alleud every hour for about E5 each way.

By Bus

Catch the W Bus or the 365 Bus, both from Brussels. You can purchase a ticket off the driver


What To See

The New Battlefield Visitor Centre
Waterloo Visitor Centre

Allow 1-2 Hours

Opening times

26th March to 30th September:  9:30AM to 6:30PM

1st October to 25th March:  10:00AM to 6:00PM

Last entry 45 minutes before closing

Ticket Prices

Individual site tickets can be purchased, but it is highly recommended buying a group ticket

PASS 1815 (all inclusive)WELLINGTON MUSEUM
LAST HQ OF NAPOLEON
MEMORIAL 1815
PANORAMA, LION’S MOUND
WATERLOO XXL
HOUGOUMONT FARM
MONT ST JEAN MEDICAL MUSEUM
20€

One of the best new museums at Waterloo is the fantastic new underground Visitor Centre adjacent to the Panorama. It is a thousand percent better than the old centre (for those that went there before 2015). The 3D film is actually pretty good and is highly recommended. You can view the only complete skeleton uncovered at Waterloo (named by yours truly as Private Friedrich Brandt 2nd Line Battalion King’s German Legion). Plenty to see and do for all ages.

Access to the Lion Mound and Panorama is now through the visitor centre and is included in the price of the ticket.

Those with limited mobility can enjoy full access to the Visitor Centre, but cannot see the Lion Mound or Panorama

Lion Mound
1200px-0_Braine-l'Alleud_051012_(1)

The mound was built between 1820 and 1825 to commemorate the victory, but it has always been controversial as it significantly altered the battlefield in its construction. It does however, offer excellent views over the battlefield on a good day, but does tend to make the battlefield appear flat, which is far from true. The climb should however, only be attempted by someone who is relatively fit, as it has 226 steep steps up to the viewing platform (there is no lift).

The Panorama

Panorama

Painted in 1912 by Louis Dumoulin, it attempts to portray a 360 degree view of the great cavalry charges during the middle of the battle. Although it has seen some renovation, with sounds and smells, it is only of minor interest, being of its time.

Hougoumont
IMG_0126_Alex Spofforth

Memoral 7.8.15

Allow 1 Hour

Opening Times

26/03 TO 30/0909.30 AM TO 6.30 PM
1/10 TO 25/0310.00 AM TO 6 PM

There is a free shuttle bus from the visitor centre to Hougoumont (and return) every half an hour.

The farm/chateau complex has recently been fully refurbished and now includes a viewing platform, the wonderful new British Memorial and a slightly odd visual presentation in the Great Barn.

Those with Impaired Mobility can enjoy full access

For anybody who would like to rent a beautiful apartment on the actual battlefield for your visit, please take a look at the Landmark Trust Website

La Belle Alliance

La Belle Alliance

Although its name has made it famous, it is a nightclub and cannot be visited.

La Haye Sainte

La Haye Sainte 4

The farm of La Haye Sainte is privately owned and the family request that visitors respect their privacy.

Plancenoit Village

kerk in Plancenoit (Lasne) {{Location|50|39|38.5|N|4|25|43.3|E|heading:E}}

There are a number of French and Prussian memorials at Plancenoit, but there are no museums here. The church which now dominates the village centre and the one that was a prominent part of the fighting here, are unfortunately not the same.

Mont St Jean Farm
Ferme_Mont_St_Jean_(7)

Allow 30 Minutes

Opening Times:  10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Prices

7.5 Euros for Museum and additional 5 Euros for Brewery Tour including beer tasting (small)The Farm of Mont St Jean lies a few hundred metres north of the battlefield and has a carpark in its rear. The farm was used as a major field hospital during the battle. It has recently been expertly renovated and now contains a museum on the medical aspects of the battle and a brewery for Waterloo Beer (it comes highly recommended by the author!) both of which can be visited.

There is also a very nice restaurant on site - Currently Closed.

Now Included in All Inclusive Museum Ticket from Battlefield Visitor Centre


FURTHER AFIELD

WATERLOO TOWN

Wellington Museum
1280px-Wellington_Museum_Waterloo_-_01

Allow one hour

Location

Chaussée de Bruxelles 147, 1410 Waterloo

Opening Times

From 1 October to 31 March 10.00hr to 17.00hr. From April 1 to September 30 of 9.30hr to 18.00hr.

Prices

4 Euros (It is also available as part of an 1815 ticket)

The Museum is to be found in the centre of Waterloo. It was an inn in 1815 and was used by the Duke of Wellington as his headquarters. The bed in which Colonel Gordon died is still in the house. The rear building is now used for special exhibitions and there are a number of gravestones in the garden.

St Joseph’s Chapel

Chapel

Opening Hours

The church is open to visitors during normal hours (outside times of services), free of charge.

There are a very large number of memorials within.

It stands opposite Wellington’s Museum.

Le Caillou

LeCaillou

Allow 30 minutes

Location

1472 Vieux Genappe

Opening Times

10 a.m. to 18.30 p.m.

Napoleon’s headquarters lies some 4 km south of the battlefield on the Genappe road. It has very limited parking. The small museum has recently been refurbished, but is now if possible a little too child friendly. Looking for the original artefacts? Turn the boards with images of soldiers around and you have to press a button to view the French skeleton (actually a conglomeration of a number of different skeletons). In the garden there are a number of commemorative tablets and the Ossuary (a deposit for bones discovered on the battlefield).

FURTHER AFIELD

Evere Cemetery

Allow 30 minutes

Open Tues-Sun  08.30 - 16.30​

In 1890 it was decided to have a major monument for the British dead who could be individually identified. Between 1890-4 a number of bodies interred around the Waterloo battlefield were moved here and placed in the crypt. 15 men are now buried here.

Army Museum Brussels

Allow 1 Hour

Parc du Cinquantenaire 3, Brussels 1000​

Open Tues- Sun 09.00 - 17.00

Price 5 Euros

The Museum of the Armed Forces covers the history of the Belgian forces throughout history, but it does have a decent section of artefacts from the period of Waterloo

Genappe
Genappe Bridge

Genappe village lies about 8km south of Waterloo battlefield and can be reached by bus, but car is easier (there is a large carpark at the bottom of the valley near the bridge). There are no museums here and no major monuments, whilst the course of the river has been altered and the bridge is virtually hidden now. It is however, possible to still see how restrictive the road was for the cavalry as they passed through the main street.

Quatre Bras

Quatre Bras

British Army Memorial

The battlefield of Quatre Bras lies about 12km south of Waterloo battlefield. There is a bus service, but realistically you need to drive to Quatre Bras.

There are no museums at Quatre Bras, many of the farms such as Gemioncourt are private property or converted into golf clubs. The woods have been removed and buildings continue to spring up, slowly the battlefield is disappearing. The huge farm that stood on the junction of the crossroads for over two hundred years has just been demolished, a crying shame.

There are a number of major memorials at the crossroads (turn fifty yards onto the Nivelles road), whilst the monument to the Duke of Brunswick stands a mile south of the crossroads.

Ligny Battlefield
Ligny 2

The battlefield of Ligny covers a very large area and is a serious walk, it is therefore much easier to visit the area by car.

Sombreffe Church maintains a French cannonball embedded in a wall and Ligny has a few farmhouses and monuments from the period, but all of these farms are private property.

Museum Gerard

Gerard Centre

Allow 30 minutes

There is a small but very good museum at Ligny, housed in a farmhouse which was used as a hospital at the time of the battle.

Museum Address

5140 Ligny, Belgium

Opening hours

Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 1pm to 5pm.

Prices

5 Euros per person (not included in the 1815 ticket)

MUCH FURTHER AFIELD

Hotel d’Hane- Steenhuyse Ghent

King Louis' Room Ghent

Allow One hour

Ghent is 86 km from Waterloo, allow 1 – 1 1/2 hours to get there

Address

Hotel d’Hane-Steenhuyse, Veldstraat 55, 9000 Gent

Opening Times

Fridays & Saturdays Only 1430-1700

Book in Advance!

Uitbureau Gent vzw, Veldstraat 82B, 9000 Gent

Tel: +32 92337788

Website Uitbureau Gent Vzw

Prices

6 Euros

This hidden gem, is rarely visited. It was the home of King Louis XVIII whilst in exile at Ghent during the Waterloo campaign. Visits are guided and excellent. The ballroom/reception room where the king met all of the officers of the British regiments marching to Brussels is truly magnificent. Highly recommended.

Where to stay?

Varying budgets and wants/needs mean that it is difficult to give a definitive list, but I mention here a few that I can personally recommend.

Martin’s Grand Hotel & Lodge

Martins Grand Hotel

Chaussée de Tervuren 198, 1410 Waterloo, Belgium

The best hotel in the area, but also most expensive, is Martin’s Grand Hotel which is 4*, Rooms are good and the breakfast (full English) and other facilities, excellent. (Average price 140- 200 Euros per room per night including breakfast). The hotel provides free parking but is 3 miles from the battlefield. It is however, a very short walk from Waterloo town centre, its museums, restaurants and excellent shops.

Hint

martins_lodge_hotel

If you can, book into the Lodge, a newer development which stands alongside the main Hotel. It provides 3* accommodation, hence cheaper (although the rooms are very well equipped), but you still get to enjoy breakfast and all other facilities of the main hotel included! (Average 100-160 Euros)

1815 Hotel

1815

Route du Lion 367-369, 1410 Waterloo, Belgium

This hotel is 3* but has a 5* location, being the only hotel actually on the battlefield. It’s rooms are however pretty basic and the restaurant very French in every way!(no English spoken). It has no air conditioning and the rooms in the roof get stiflingly hot in very warm periods. Breakfast is an adequate continental breakfast. Has free parking.

Best Features

Location, views (ask for a 1st floor room overlooking the road – great vistas of battlefield), excellent restaurants next door, cheap (average E 70-90 per night for a room).

There are a number of other hotels, but I am unable to make recommendations not having used them. If others would like to supply me their recommendations I will happily include them.

Le Joli Bois - Rue Sainte-Anne 59, Waterloo 1410, Belgium - Good Basic Hotel

Ibis Hotel -  Boulevard Henri Rolin 5A, Waterloo 1410, Belgium - Central Location, Good Reports

Eating Out

This is not an exhaustive list of eateries, but again ones I can thoroughly recommend. If you want to recommend others, then please let me know.

Italian

Les Deux Sil – Route du Lion 377, Waterloo 1410, Belgium Tel: 023840918 18.00-22.00

Asian

Le Jardin D’Asie – Chaussee de Bruxelles 492b, Waterloo 1410, Belgium Tel: 02 3549793 12.00-14.30 & 18.00 – 23.00

European

L'Amusoir - Chaussee de Bruxelles 121, Waterloo 1410, Belgium Tel 023548233  12:00 - 15:00, 19:00 - 23:00

 Le Sucrerie - Chaussee de Tervuren 198, Waterloo 1410, Belgium Tel 023521815 12:00 - 14:00, 19:00 - 22:00

Le Gros Velo - Place de Plancenoit 22 , Plancenoit, Lasne 1380, Belgium Tel 026331746

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