What to do on a day trip to Brussels from London

Brussels, Belgium cityscape at Palais de Justice during dusk

The O'Hallorans

The OHallorans

We’re made up of Lyndsey, John and Erin, who all love a new adventure. We try to get away as much as possible, especially during school holidays and variety is a must for us. That means staying anywhere from a luxury hotel to a hostel and it’s not often we go to the same place twice. 

With Eurostar journeys running regularly, it’s possible to visit some great cities for a short amount of time. Considering a day trip to Brussels from London? Here are some ideas for how you can spend your time.

Arriving at Brussels Midi 

Your Brussels day trip really starts when you arrive at Brussels Midi train station. Eurostar trains from St. Pancras to the capital of Belgium are direct and travel time is around 2 hours. With direct trains starting as early as 6am (UK time), you could be in Brussels by 9am (1 hour time difference). Getting the first train of the day means making the most of your time and giving yourself a whole day to explore. 

You can walk into the center of Brussels from Brussels Midi is around 15 to 20 minutes. A quicker but more expensive option would be to get a taxi or Uber. 

Mornings in Brussels

Book a walking tour

To start your day in this beautiful city why not book a walking tour. These don’t have to last for hours but are a good way to help you get your bearings and learn some history about the city. You can find plenty of either cheap or free walking tours online. People who run a guided tour are usually so knowledgeable and might be able to offer advice on things to do later in the day.

Visit the Manneken Pis

Visiting the famous Manneken Pis is something most people will want to do while in Brussels. Although the Manneken Pis on display is now a replica, it’s fun to go and look at and won’t take up too much of your time. At least you will be able to say you’ve been to see the statue of the little boy having a wee!

Statue of the Manneken Pis in Brussels, Belgium

Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula

I love looking at beautiful buildings in new cities and the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula is definitely somewhere to visit. It’s only a  short walk from the city centre and you don’t have to spend too long there if you don’t want to. Take in the stunning medieval architecture, the gorgeous stained-glass windows and maybe light a candle for someone. The cathedral is free to enter but donations are welcome.

What to have for lunch?


Frites are a Belgian speciality and you’ll find plenty of ‘fritteries’ around the city. You might know them better as chips or French fries.

It’s traditional to have frites served with mayonnaise but you can, of course, opt for a different sauce if you wish. Frites are a great option if you want a quick lunch to make the most of your time in Brussels.

Why not grab a Belgian beer to go with your lunch and tick that off your things to do in Brussels list. 

A 36 year old woman, wearing a blue dress, eating a cone of Belgian frites from Fritland in Brussels

Belgian waffles

Belgian waffles are ideal if you want something delicious to eat after lunch (or for lunch). There are plenty of dedicated cafes in Brussels and they serve all different kinds of waffle. With both sweet and savoury options available, and a whole variety of toppings, there’s bound to be one that catches your eye. 

How to spend your afternoon

Learn about chocolate

Everyone knows that Belgian chocolate is a big deal and why not learn about the history of chocolate while you’re in the Belgian capital? At Choco-Story, you can learn about the history of chocolate as well as how it is made. There are demonstrations and videos available at different points in the visit and you can also buy some chocolate from the shop at the end. If you have a Brussels Card, entry to Choco Story is free, otherwise you can pay for a ticket when you get there. 

Exterior view of the Choco-Story museum in Brussels, Blegium

Buy some chocolate!

Maybe you’re looking to buy a couple of souvenirs before you go home, or you want to buy some delicious Belgian chocolate for yourself. There are chocolate shops all over the city and you can’t walk far before stumbling across one. Some are more expensive than others so if you have time, shop around a little bit for the best deals.

Discover the Grote Markt

In the center you will come across the Grote Markt, or also known as the Grand Place. This is the main square situated right in the centre of Brussels and it’s only of the best views you’ll see all day.  The square is lined with beautiful buildings such as town hall, chocolate shops and restaurants. Many cafes and restaurants have outdoors seating so this is a great place to sit with a cup of coffee and people watch for a while. 

A view of the Grand Place in Brussels a with horse and cart at the forefront of the picture

Time to go home

Trains returning home to St. Pancras are fairly regular and there will be a few options for times when you book. If you want to make the most from your day trip to Brussels, try to get the latest train home at around 9pm. You need to be back at Brussels Midi at least 60 minutes before departure to ensure you have plenty of time.

No matter how you’ve chosen to spend your time in the capital city of Belgium, I’m sure you’ll have the best time. It’s one of the best day trips for European cities that you can take by train from London St Pancras. Brussels is an easy place to get around and the perfect place to explore for a day. I’m sure you’ll want to visit Brussels again to see more of the most wonderful sights of Brussels. 

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