On a recent visit to Belgium we settled on a day in Antwerp. I was totally swayed after reading about the wonderful range of child/family friendly activities available in the city.
Our first stop was the Comic Station in Antwerp Station. We parked around the corner at Centraal.
The Comic Station is an indoor theme park based on Belgian comic strip heroes (I had no idea there were so many well known cartoons originating from Belgium!). There are more than 60 attractions spread over 4 floors. The highlight of the trip was the indoor slide (22.5 metres!!)- the highest slide in the world! And yes adults can have a go!
There are 6 themed zones with different unique attractions. You’ll find super fun mechanical rides, but also all kinds of interactive elements and challenging activities that really bring comic stories to life.
We easily spent 4 hours here. We could have spent longer!
We ended up having lunch in the onsite restaurant but they were happy for people to picnic anywhere in the main atriums (plenty of tables and chairs). Lunch was pretty basic and massively over priced!
The park offers a unique experience for the whole family. Highly recommend!
Top Tip – you could easily combine a visit here with a trip the Zoo (right next to Station as well!).
Top Tip – Buy your tickets in advance – you don’t need to print them out in advance. It saves you a bit of money.
Hand of Antwerp
After an action packed morning at the Comic Station we drove into the centre of Antwerp. From here we strolled to the hand of Antwerp – a slightly odd statue of a hand that has become a symbol of this city.
The story goes that there was once a giant named Antigoon, living in the river Scheldt. The giant demanded high tolls from every ship that sailed through. If anyone refused to pay, Antigoon would chop off their hand and throw it in the river! One day Brabo, a Roman soldier, killed the giant by chopping off his head. In Dutch “hand throwing” is “hand werpen”, which eventually turned into “Antwerpen”, because Brabo threw Antigoon’s hand into the Scheldt River. Anyway (I digress!)…the hand of Antwerp has become a symbol of the city and you can buy biscuits, chocolates etc in the shape of it (should you actually want to?!?)
From here we took a blustery stroll down to the river for possibly one of our most unique family sight seeing adventures (my husband blames the blog for causing me to search out weird and wonderful excursions!)
Tunnel and playground
St Anna’s Tunnel – was opened in 1933. You can still access the tunnel (both on the left and on the right bank), using the authentic wooden escalators. Given the slightly damp and remarkably chilly (we’d had snow the week before!) weather this seemed like the perfect option, particularly for our scooter mad children! At approximately 572m it took just under 30 minutes in each direction (with little legs!). Lifts mean that it’s very doable with a pram.
You can walk to the Left bank (Linkeroever) for some nice views over the old city centre of Antwerp. The entrance to the tunnel is located in a square art-deco yellowish building just a few blocks South from the Grote Markt (map).
The highlight for our children was the nautical themed play park just the other side – (oh and the scooter races!).
A lovely day in Antwerp was topped off with yet another delicious Belgian waffle (honestly you’d be hard pressed to find somewhere better in Northern Europe to holiday with children!)- this time overlooking the cathedral! A wonderful day in another incredible Belgium city. We’ll definitely return. For further Antwerp inspiration check out Fullsuitcase.com