Tuesday, 6 March 2007


March in Bruges can be a chilly experience - and last weekend was no exception!

We are frequent visitors to Bruges and always thoroughly enjoy the 'Venice of the north'. Over the years we have used the city as a location for meetings and incentive trips - the city offers some great value meeting facilities and, of course, the 'out of hours' opportunities are as delightful as they are varied. There are a number of high quality hotels that are ideal for meetings and sales conferences and you'll struggle to find a better destination for client and staff entertaining. With a journey time of just over the hour from Calais by coach it's a very 'do-able' short visit destination. Flights to Ostend airport also leave you with a very short transfer time to the city centre.

In 2006 we offered our first programme of trips to the city for Christmas shopping and the Christmas markets and we had a busy December taking groups varying in size from 12 to 50 for a day of shopping, visits to the markets and, of course, some splendid wining and dining! Mind you, we'll be launching our December programme a little earlier this year to get over the problem of tunnel and ferry crossing availability!

Last year we expanded our programme of trips to European road running events with a first time visit to Bruges to participate in the Ostend to Bruges 10 Mile Race - and our group enjoyed it so much we returned there last weekend with another group of 22 enthusiastic runners and their families and friends. These weekends are great fun and very sociable. A reasonably early start from Kent took us over the channel and we arrived in Bruges in good time for lunch and some sightseeing and shopping. The fact that most of the group were running on Sunday morning didn't stop them enjoying an agreeable Saturday Night out at one of the city's institutions de Vlaamsche Pot (below). This long established restaurant serves up a great value fixed menu for groups of all sizes that includes a huge traditional Belgian Carbonade and as many french fries as you can handle - plus unlimited beer, wine and soft drinks. All served in a fabulous atmosphere with great enthusiasm by friendly waiters. Whilst it might not always suit the food connoisseurs - it remains one of Bruges' iconic establishments.

We've also discovered a gem of a restaurant outside the city centre. The Zandwegemolen is a converted - and working - windmill located on the ring road a mile or so outside the centre and we made a return visit for Sunday lunch. It benefits from its slightly out of the way location with its primarily local clientele enjoying some fabulous food and wine - plus the owner's own beer brewed in the cellar. As well as being a great location, serving great food - with seconds enthusiastically offered - and boasting a lovely and gregarious owner, the Zandwegemolen benefits from all-inclusive prices around half that of city centre restaurants.

We now have a number of fixed one, two, three and four day Bruges programmes catering for private groups, incentive groups, meetings and incentives - plus our specialist running and walking groups. This year we're taking a group of 40 to 50 people on a three day sponsored walk in and around Bruges and the Flanders area. The Windmills of Bruges over the August Bank Holiday Weekend is the latest in our programme of escorted, sponsored walks which will also be made available from the summer to private groups of eight or more walkers. We provide all the resources needed to support walkers of all ages, sizes and abilities including back-up vehicles, food and drink. Our visit also coincides with the Pageant of the Golden Tree a spectacular event which takes place in the city every five years and which celebrates the anniversary of the marriage of a Belgian Count with the English Princess Margaret in 1468. This summer sees our 4th overseas sponsored walk and will be raising funds for two well-deserving local charities - St Michael's Hospice, in St Leonards, and Martha Trust which has homes for the profoundly disabled in Deal and Hastings.

We'll be visiting Bruges many more times this year - so if you'd like us to suggest a programme for a trip of any length - be it corporate or private, for business or for pleasure, why not get in touch? http://www.nice-work.org.uk/contact_us.html

Incidentally, we'd like to thank one of our runners, Amanda Wheatley for adding to our Bruges photo library!

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