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Belgium and Luxembourg share a generally mild, maritime climate characterised by many days of grey and/or rainy weather.

When to go

There’s a reason radio DJs in Belgium love the Beatles’ 1969 classic ‘Here Comes the Sun’. The weather here is fickle, and when the sun comes out everyone celebrates. To avoid major dampness coupled with biting cold, plan a visit for May to September (late spring to early autumn). For hiking and outdoor pursuits in the Ardennes and Luxembourg, these are certainly the months to go. The disadvantages of this time include considerable crowds at tourist sights in a few places and, depending on where you go, a scarcity of accommodation – Bruges is the most problematic in both these areas. Brussels, on the other hand, is quieter from mid-July to mid-September and, because of this, some hotels cut prices. Discounting is also common on weekends.

The mild winter conditions from November to March usually mean grey, wet days with occasional light snow. Pack the right clothes and you can take advantage of uncrowded museums and plenty of cosy cafés.

As a weekend break Brussels, Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, Ostend or Leuven are all perfect, and all easily accessible from London on the soon-to-be-even-faster Eurostar or from other neighbouring countries using the Thalys fast train network. If you can tack on an extra day to your trip, choose Friday not Monday, as many museums in these cities close on Monday, and shops often take Monday mornings off.

You might want to time your trip for a local celebration, both countries are big on festivals, but the lion’s share of events take place over summer.