Hidden Belgium: King Leopold's mediaeval station

Hidden Belgium: King Leopold's mediaeval station
Credit: Wikimedia

Hardly anyone knows the story of the abandoned railway station near the village of Houyet in the Ardennes. No train has stopped here since the station closed down more than a century ago.

Built by Leopold II in the style of a mediaeval castle, the isolated halt was intended for guests staying at a luxurious 200-room hotel known as the Chateau d’Ardenne.

Leopold hoped the project would bring wealthy tourists to the Ardennes. But the station closed in 1919 and the hotel was destroyed by fire in 1968, leaving just the mysterious Gothic station hidden in the woods.

No one has stepped inside this overgrown ruin for decades. You can find it on the footpath along the River Lesse between the train stations Houyet and Gendron Gare.

Derek Blyth’s hidden secret of the day: Derek Blyth is the author of the bestselling “The 500 Hidden Secrets of Belgium”. He picks out one of his favourite hidden secrets for The Brussels Times every day

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