In the footsteps of Napoleon
Relive history on a 2-day trip in the footsteps on Napoleon around the Waterloo area.
In Napoleon’s footsteps...
We recommend beginning this experience by delving into the heart of history at the Waterloo 1815 Memorial. This is an unmissable site in Walloon Brabant to remember the battle of 18 June 1815. Plan half a day to visit the whole site.
The 1815 Memorial site features 4 unique points of interest on the battlefield.
Let’s start six feet underground… The Memorial Museum, buried at the foot of the Lion’s Mound, tracks the history of the battle before, during and after the clashes. With your smartphone, immerse yourself in history. Life-size soldiers will lead you into combat.
If you would like to be accompanied by a passionate guide, contact the Guides 1815! You can choose from one of their popular tours or request a personalised tour, all available in multiple languages!
Do not miss the 3D film that will immediately immerse you in the heart of the action. Guaranteed excitement for young and old!
Good to know
If you want the full experience, buy the 1815 PASS. This gives you access to all 6 battlefield attractions at reduced cost. This Pass is valid for 1 year. If you do not have time to see everything, you can always come back! If you only want to visit for the day, buy the combined Memorial ticket that gives you access to the attractions at the 1815 Waterloo Memorial site.
After your visit, take the tunnel to the Panorama. There you will find a huge panorama, painted in 1912, showing one of the key moments of the battle.
We often hear people talk about the ‘Lion of Waterloo’. However, the Lion and the 1815 Waterloo Memorial are actually in the commune of Braine-l’Alleud. So if you want to stay on good terms with the locals (who are very nice by the way), don’t forget it should be the ‘so-called’ Lion of Waterloo.
After these visits,
how about a bit of exercise
If you want to admire the unique view over the battlefield from the famous Lion’s Mound, you will need to work for it. Are you ready to climb the 226 steps? See if you are up for the challenge!
A bit of comfort after the effort!
At the foot of the Lion’s Mound are two new restaurants set around the theme of the Battle of Waterloo. Try seasonal dishes in a stylish and sophisticated ambiance at Bivouac de l’Empereur. Prefer a brasserie? Then head to Le Wellington where you can enjoy some good Belgian dishes. Other restaurants can also be found near the Waterloo 1815 Memorial, as Le Boucher du Maximus for meat lovers.
Find more ideas in Where to eat?
A gloomy plain? Not at all!
Let’s continue exploring the Waterloo 1815 Memorial. A horse-drawn carriage, departing from the Lion’s Mound, can take you to the final attraction at the battlefield site: the Hougoumont Farm!
As you can see, it is more than just a museum… there are also many activities!
Talk to the grenadiers, learn how to handle the cannon, watch the corporal giving orders to the soldiers… You will be completely immersed in the lives of soldiers of the time! Check out the educational farm, home to 22 animals.
Remember to check the schedules on the website of the Memorial.
Take a bike ride or walking tour?
Follow in the footsteps of the Duke of Wellington or Napoleon’s imperial army, on foot or by bike, and explore this 14km route, the historic sites and monuments from a confrontation that marked and changed Europe’s destiny: La Haye Sainte Farmhouse, the Victor Hugo Column and the Gordon Monument to name just a few.
Expect 3 hours walking or 1 hour cycling.
The roadbook for this route and two other loops, one loop with points of interest along the way and another cycling loop, are available to buy for €2.50 from Waterloo Tourism or our Cirkwi account.
The loop also includes Napoleon’s Last Headquarters, in Vieux-Genappe. It was in this former farmhouse that Napoleon devised his strategy and battle plans. Follow Napoleon, his officers, aides-de-camp and surgeons in the hours leading up to battle!
A museum designed for children!
Children will love that they can touch, handle, play, ask questions, express their opinions, observe, test, share, learn, not understand everything and… HAVE FUN!
And in Wellington footsteps...
After experiencing the Battle of Waterloo alongside Napoleon, how about seeing it from another perspective? We recommend following the fate of the Allies.
Head to the Wellington Museum in the centre of Waterloo. The Duke of Wellington made this old coaching inn his headquarters. Relive the day of the victory alongside him!
Plan around 2 hours for your visit.
On the evening of the battle, the Duke of Wellington wrote his victory report which was published in the British newspaper The Times on 22 June 1815. It is from this report that the battle is today known as the ‘Battle of Waterloo’.
How did the battle
go for the Allies?
You’ll find the English Hospital at Mont-Saint-Jean Farm. On 15 June 1815, the Duke of Wellington decided to base his field hospital there. Nearly 6,000 soldiers were treated there during and after the battle of Waterloo. When visiting the permanent exhibition ‘Le revers de la médaille’, you will see the work of surgeons in battle and the surgical instruments used… seems amazing today!
Mont-Saint-Jean Farm contains many treasures! Treasures sometimes of a golden colour, and often with a hoppy flavour… You see where this is going? Of course! Our Belgian expertise is on show. In the microbrewery, you can try delicious beers, including the Waterloo beer, also known as the ‘Beer of the Brave’. The Farm has also recently introduced a microdistillery where they make Waterloo gin and whisky.
You may want to plan more or less 1.5 hours to visit the museum and half a day to visit all attractions on site (including eating).
How about finishing this tour with something sweet? We recommend stopping off at M-Joy Cupcakes. You will feel the nostalgia here with desserts from your childhood, and also nostalgia for the 1950s, with very girly American decor. So, would you prefer a slice of brownie or a nice cupcake? Treat yourself!
Another war, another memory
Our history has also been marked by big and devastating confrontations, such as in World War II. So that we do not forget these moments from history and in the hope that humankind will not repeat them, in Walloon Brabant you will find museums that fulfil their duty of remembrance.
Set in a family farmhouse in Perwez, the Musée du Souvenir 40-45 presents the region’s World War II history. It deals with the periods of the 1940 invasion, occupation and liberation. Thousands of artefacts and dozens of mannequins show the equipment used at the time. The museum aims to fulfil an educational role. The personal stories remembered here are priceless and help us to better understand this period.
A round of geocache?
Two kilometres from the Musée du Souvenir, in front of Saint-Lambert church in Orbais, sits an impressive cannon. Given to Perwez by the Royal Army Museum in 2006, this historic item commemorates Belgian soldiers’ participation in the British army in 1944-1945, under the command of Major Jean-Baptiste Piron. Starting from the church, you can take a 6km geocaching route where you can explore Orbais, one of the most beautiful villages in Perwez. Find the Piron Brigade route here.
What is geocaching?
It is a real modern-day treasure hunt guided by GPS! The aim is to find geocaches hidden along the route. These contain a logbook where each participant records their presence and also ‘treasures’ such as a keyring, a toy car, a figurine or other similar items. The objective is not so much to retrieve the item, rather to enjoy discovering its hiding place and add your comments, or even post photos online. Enjoy playing!
Fancy a nice burger or a little Belgian dish after this lovely walk? Go to Pépé Café where you will find a friendly atmosphere.
Maybe a biscuit for dessert?
In Thorembais, discover Walloon Brabant’s only biscuit maker! Marzipan, chocolate, Viennese, shortbread, cookies, meringues… Is your mouth watering? We don’t blame you! John, the biscuit maker, will also be happy to tell you his story and share his passion with you.
Let’s continue our duty of remembrance
Attention, imminent landing at Beauvechain.
Are you receiving me?
First Wing in Beauvechain is a museum that reminds visitors about the Belgian Air Force’s contribution as part of NATO to maintaining peace in Europe. The base was used first by the Germans and then by the Allies during World War II. The Beauvechain base was also the site where the Belgian Air Force was founded in 1946. This gives it a very special place in Belgian history.
Did you know?
The KW line was a Belgian anti-tank barrier between Koningshooikt and Wavre (hence the name KW) designed to defend against German invasion in the centre of Belgium at the start of World War II.
Mémorial de Waterloo 1815
Au cœur de la Bataille de Waterloo
Dernier Quartier Général de Napoléon
Dernier Quartier Général de Napoléon
La Ferme de Mont-Saint-Jean
La Ferme de
VR-Hut centre de réalité virtuel
VR-Hut centre de réalité virtuel
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