This was my first visit to the Château d’Hélécine and I was pleasantly surprised. It’s definitely a place to visit again. Located just off junction 26 of the E40, south of Tienen and north of Hannut, the castle lies in a 28-hectare park with lakes, children’s playgrounds, a miniature golf course and various animals such as deer, swans, geese, peacocks and goats. There’s also an attractive Pop-Up bar with a terrace facing the lake. Entry is free and it’s open all-year-round. It would be a great place to take the children or grandchildren.
So where are the photos, you ask? A good question. Unfortunately I chose the dullest, cloudiest, mistiest Saturday morning that Belgium has ever experienced. It was also very cold, barely registering above zero degrees Celsius. So I had a quick glance around the domain before speeding off (in an attempt to get warm) on a 9 km hike that I had planned.
I highly recommend the walk. It goes up on the plateau overlooking Hélécine and through the villages of Neerheylissem and Hampteau before circling back to the château. You can save/print the map below, or get the GPX track from my RouteYou page. There’s plenty of car parking space at the château. Opheylissem Carrefour seems to be the closest bus stop; it’s only a short walk away from the château.
However, as you’ve probably guessed, you’re not going to see any breathtaking pictures of the scenery, because most of them look like this:
So you’ll just have to take my word for it – that this is definitely a walk worth doing. You could combine it with a visit to the Château d’Hélécine. Thankfully by the time I had completed my walk, the sun had just begun to peek through the mist and I was able to take a few photos:
A word of warning. I notice that some walks in the neighbourhood that you can find online will take you from the château or bring you back to it by suggesting you walk along the N64. Please do not follow these directions. The N64 is a busy road that’s unpleasant and unsafe to walk along. I do not understand why anyone would suggest walking along it, even for a short distance. Much better to cross it, as I indicate on my map.
My second recommendation is to choose a better day than I did. If you do, please take some nice photos and send them to me so I can add them here! Thanks!