Brussels can be a fun place for families with kids in the summer months. The city has some great parks with playgrounds, like little Parc Tenbosch in Ixelles, Parc Josaphat in Schaerbeek and the Abbaye de Rouge Cloître site on the edge of the forest.
You don’t even need to panic if the weather turns bad because the city has several child-friendly museums, like the Natural Science Museum with its thrilling dinosaur collection, and the charming Musée du Jouet.
It’s also fun to take your kids on a hunt for the best waffle or the tastiest ice cream in town. As you walk the streets, you may well come across a street musician or a roaming performer to hold their attention for a while.
Kids going crazy? You might find a solution in Kidsgazette, a fun magazine for children living in Brussels. Published in French, Dutch and English, it is full of inspiring ideas for activities you can do with children, from the very youngest to 12-year-olds. The listings section covers festivals, workshops, exhibitions and even urban farms.
HARRY POTTER EXHIBITION
It’s been to Chicago, Sydney and Seattle. Now the blockbuster Harry Potter: The Exhibition has arrived in Brussels. More than 100,000 tickets were sold before the exhibition even opened. It seems that Belgians are not going to let this one pass them by.
The exhibition has everything a fan could want, from lovingly reconstructed movie sets to Professor Snape’s magic wand. You can admire Gryffindor school uniforms, poke your head inside Hagrid’s hut and try your hand at tossing a Quaffle.
Brussels Expo, Northern Brussels
COUDENBERG TREASURE HUNT
The Belvue Museum has come up with an inspired treasure hunt in the foundations of the Coudenberg Palace. Aimed at children aged five to eight, In Search of the Treasure of the Golden Fleece lets them explore the ancient ruins with a backpack filled with useful tools. Armed with a quiz book, a historical costume, map and torch, they can set off with their parents to crack a secret code. The trail takes them down dark passages and a vanished mediaeval street while teaching them something of the history of Charles V. At the end of the quest, each child gets a small prize. Texts are available in French, Dutch, English and Spanish. But you must book in advance on the Belvue museum website.
Belvue Museum, Place des Palais 7, Central Brussels
Every summer, an area of forest near Brussels is turned in an adventure park. Children have to walk across rope bridges, build huts and deal with witches that suddenly pounce on them. On Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
Until 6 November
C.RAMIC ART CAFE
A friendly workshop in Ixelles filled with parents and noisy kids where everyone sits around big wooden benches decorating ceramic cups and bowls. Perfect for a rainy day.
Rue Lesbroussart 112, Ixelles
Tel 02 648 48 72
Take your kids to a traditional Brussels puppet show this summer. For the past 14 years, the Royal Puppet Theatre has put in performances in the park opposite the palace. Kids sit around watching the puppets act out classic stories like Little Red Riding Hood. Performances are in French on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 15.30.
Until 30 August, Parc de Bruxelles, Central Brussels
An authentic ice cream salon where a young team make delicious ices usingthe purest ingredients – fresh milk from the Ardennes, green Iranian pistachio nuts and vanilla grown in Madagascar. Try a scoop of their vanilla, caramel and broken pistachio nuts.
Quai aux Briques 86, Central Brussels
+32 (0)2 223 43 06