One day in Seneffe - Chateau de Seneffe & other things to do (Wallonia - Belgium)

This article first appeared in My Travelogue by Bhushavali

One of the usual things I do when I plan trips within Belgium is to check the map of Museumpassmusees. Recently when I was planning the visit to Balad'ane, I quickly did a search of Museumpassmusees website with an assumption that I wouldn't find any there, but guess what? I found one! The Chateau de Seneffe, is included in Museumpassmusees. So with these two and a couple more places to visit, I already had my one-day itinerary in Seneffe with the Top 5 places to visit in Seneffe! 

Chateau de Seneffe Castle Belgium

Chateau de Seneffe Castle Belgium

Chateau de Seneffe Castle Belgium

Chateau de Seneffe Castle Belgium

CHATEAU DE SENEFFE (SENEFFE CASTLE)
First of all, the Castle (chateau) is located inside a domain (a huge area of greenery) like Domaine van Horst Castle or Domaine Huizingen etc and it can easily be a day trip all by itself if you walk slowly through the entire greenery soaking in the beauty of the gardens, etc. I effectively had half a day here.
The most gorgeous thing, to begin with, is the walk on the Drève du Chàteau (Castle Avenue). It gives such a magnificent view of the castle with majestic trees on either side. This is a view you'd miss if you come by car! This Avenue is only open for walkers & cyclists. 

HISTORY OF SENEFFE CASTLE (CHATEAU DE SENEFFE)
Seneffe Castle dates back to the 18th C CE. There existed a castle at this place earlier which was bought by Julien Depestre, a wealthy merchant, in 1758. He entirely rebuilt it in a neo-classical style by 1768. It was designed by Laurent-Benoît Dewez, the same person who designed the original Abbey d'Orval, Tournai City Hall etc. After his death, it was passed on to his son. It was then confiscated after French Revolution, then changed several hands and was occupied by German & American troops during the World Wars and was even abandoned. Finally, in 1970 CE it came under the Belgian government.

VIRTUAL TOUR OF SENEFFE CASTLE (CHATEAU DE SENEFFE) 
As soon as we entered our first stop was the Chapel. Though historically it was the chapel, it is currently the reception room which plays a short movie about the Domaine and has its maps & info on events. My next stop was the Castle itself and to reach here, I went through this passage that connects the Chapel and Castle and it was filled with such exquisite sculptures. The exterior of the castle has serious classical inspirations with embedded columns with corinthian pilasters and a pediment atop it.

Chateau de Seneffe Castle Wallonia Belgium

Chateau de Seneffe Castle Wallonia Belgium

Chateau de Seneffe Castle Wallonia Belgium

Chateau de Seneffe Castle Wallonia Belgium

Chateau de Seneffe Castle Wallonia Belgium

The main castle is the home for the various exhibitions here. The permanent exhibition here is called the Grandeur & Intimacy. As the name suggests, it is all about the lifestyle of the people who once lived here with all the grandeur & the personal things they used. The first thing we were asked to do was to wear a 'shoe cover' over our shoes to protect their flooring which was a bit slippery! This somehow made Atyudarini feel like she's wearing skating shoes and she started skating around!!! 
The self-guided tour began on the first floor with exquisite ceramics, silverware, musical instruments etc. One very good thing about this museum was the availability of stepping stools for kids which Atyudarini took along with her from one display to another! The wallpapers need a special mention; I really loved those vintage patterns. There was one with 3 kids playing on a swing wearing bloomers & skirts & fancy hats! Then there was a display of various clocks with a mirror behind some so we can see the back of the clock! Really well thought of ideas for a museum, both this & stepping stools for kids.
The ground floor has a bedroom, bathroom, dining room, letter writing room etc. The bedroom with its bed, room divider, interesting map of Americas & Arctic, a chandelier, golden stucco work on the ceiling, stunning wooden mosaic pattern on the floor - it was gorgeous. There were also 2 cupboards filled with more silverware. This is probably where we spent most of the time. The bathroom has a marble bathtub with stucco patterns on the wall. Further ahead is the octagonal corner room which currently has 'royal' clothes that you can try on. 

VIRTUAL TOUR OF THE DOMAIN OF SENEFFE CASTLE (DOMAINE DE CHATEAU DE SENEFFE)
After getting out of the castle, we headed to the 3 Terrace Garden. This is a typical French-styled, perfectly manicured garden in 3 levels with a large circular waterbody. Originally it had sections dedicated to various plants needed at the kitchen and sections for orchids. Currently more floral plants & a rose garden are here but following the same design.

Belgium Vintage Wallpapers Seneffe

Chateau de Seneffe Castle Wallonia Belgium

Chateau de Seneffe Castle Wallonia Belgium

Seneffe Castle Stucco Ceiling work

Chateau de Seneffe Castle Wallonia Belgium Bathtub

Behind it is the Theatre (which is still used for theatres, concerts etc) where I did a quick sneak-peak and walked further ahead to the Pond and the Romantic Island. This is an English styled garden (more of an unkempt, forest styled look). As the name suggests it is a small island in the middle of a waterbody with an adorable bridge connecting to it. Close to this is the Farm which is personally the 2nd most important place for us because Atyudarini was so excited to see the Llamas here! There are also a few sheep as well, but of the 2 llamas, one was near the fence and was very interested to see Atyudarini. It walked up to her and kept looking at her for some time till it got boring!
Further ahead is the Great Ornamental Lake with a fountain with a waterjet that's 15m tall. This is exactly at the back of the castle. There's the large green grass carpet between the lake & the castle. This is where we sat down and had our picnic lunch!
Behind the Great Ornamental Lake is the Ice House. On the other side of the castle is the orangery & aviary. We missed all these 3, unfortunately.

Where is Seneffe Castle - On Google Maps? Chateau de Seneffe
How to reach Seneffe Castle? 1.2km from Seneffe Centre Bus stop
How to reach Seneffe Castle from Brussels? SNCB-NMBS Train till Nivelles and then LeTEC Bus Route 72 towards Manage. This stops at Seneffe Centre. Then walk from Seneffe Centre to the Seneffe Castle.
Domaine of  Seneffe Castle tickets (without Castle entry): Free
Seneffe Castle tickets: €6 (pre-booking with timeslot has to be done via the official website on Chateau de Seneffe) Free for holders of museumPASSmusées
Seneffe Castle timings: Apr to Sept: 8AM to 8PM; Oct to Mar: 8AM to 6PM

FIRST WORLD WAR CENTENARY MEMORIAL
On the way from the bus stop to Chateau de Seneffe, are the 2 quick stops - the World War Memorial and Seneffe Church. This memorial is located just behind the church. It is like a small room with a small obelisk over it. Inside the room are the names of the soldiers who died in this region and on the outside are the soldiers of (born in / lived in) Seneffe who died during the First World War here and anywhere else. This was set up in 2018 and was opened by Pieter De Crem, the then Defence Minister of the country. 

Where is Seneffe First World War Centenary Memorial (On Google Maps): Seneffe World War Memorial
How to reach Seneffe First World War Centenary Memorial: 4 mins walk (350m) from Seneffe Centre Bus stop
Seneffe First World War Centenary Memorial opening hours: 24x7

Domaine des Chateau de Seneffe Castle Wallonia

Domaine des Chateau de Seneffe Castle Wallonia

Domaine des Chateau de Seneffe Castle Wallonia

Domaine des Chateau de Seneffe Castle Llama Ferme Pedagogique

SAINTS CYR & JULITTE CHURCH 
Just beside the Seneffe World War Centenary Memorial is the Church of Saint Cyr & Saint Julitte. Saint Cyr is a child saint and his mother is Saint Julitte.
The Church of Saints Cyr & Julitte has been in existence here since at least 11th C CE but it majorly started deteriorating by 18th C CE. By 19th C CE it was completely demolished in order to build the current structure from the scratch. The current architecture follows the Neo-Romanesque style and was built in 1875 under architect J. Bruyenne. It was opened again to the public on Dec 25, 1877. However very sadly it was majorly damaged during the 2nd World War and then again during a storm in 1940. After the war, obviously, it was majorly renovated. 

Where is Saints Cyr & Julitte Church (On Google Maps)Église Saints-Cyr et Julitte de Seneffe
How to reach Eglise Saints-Cyr-et-Julitte à Seneffe? 3 mins walk (220m) from Seneffe Centre bus stop 
Seneffe Saints Cyr & Julitte Church opening hours: 9:00AM to 12:00Noon everyday

FELUY CASTLE (CHATEAU-FORT DE FELUY)
Very close to Balad'ane is Chateau-Fort de Feluy. Unfortunately, it is open only for events & weddings and not for an open visit by the general public. However, a quick view of the exteriors is worth it because it is one of the picturesque castles in Belgium with a moat all around it. Chateau de Feluy is however open to the general public during the annual medieval festival that happens in mid-June. Apart from that once in a while, certain themed events happen when also it is open to the public. A good idea would be to contact Chateau-Fort de Feluy via Facebook to know the agenda. On a very different note, if you're planning for a destination wedding in Belgium, Chateau-Fort de Feluy is one of the best castle wedding venues in Belgium!

Where is Chateau-Fort de Feluy - on Google MapsChateau-Fort de Feluy
How to reach Chateau-Fort de Feluy: The nearest bus stop is Feluy Place connected by LeTEC Bus Route 74 from Nivelles. Feluy Castle is located just 600m (8 mins walk) from Balad'ane

BALAD'ANE
Balad'ane was the main reason why I visited Seneffe, to begin with. Balad'ane, as the name suggests, is a 'walk with donkey' experience. Read all about it, in my other article on Farm Animal Experiences for kids in Belgium.

World War Memorial Seneffe

Church of Saint Cyr & Saint Julitte Seneffe

Feluy Castle
Pic Courtesy: Jean-Pol GRANDMONT, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Balad'ane Ferme Pedagogique Donkey ride for kids Belgium

Ravel Seneffe Feluy Cycling in Wallonia Belgium

HOW TO REACH SENEFFE FROM BRUSSELS BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Unfortunately, Seneffe doesn't have a railway station, but fortunately, it is well connected by LeTEC Buses. The nearest railway station is Nivelles Gare connected well by SNCB-NMBS trains from Brussels. 
If you're depending on public transport it is better to plan while keeping in mind the exact timings of the buses. But, it isn't complicated because there are only 2 stops to consider - Seneffe Centre & Feluy Place as all the 5 places to visit in Seneffe are walkable from these 2 stops.

SENEFFE HOTELS
Seneffe is a very small town and there's just 1 proper hotel here - Au Fil de l'Eau. There's a charming little Seneffe B&B bang at Seneffe Centre bus stop called Chambre d'hôtes Belle escapade. It is walkable from Chateau de Seneffe. This is housed in a historic post office and has 2 rooms in the renovated building! The nearest city with quite a few hotels is Nivelles where there are Ibis Styles Nivelles, Van der Valk Nivelles etc. I visited Seneffe on a day trip from Brussels, so I didn't stay in any hotel, for me to review one for you! 

SENEFFE ONE DAY ITINERARY WITH PUBLIC TRANSPORT
On Sundays
(on Saturdays it is similar but the LeTEC bus timings differ a bit by about 10 mins. Check the official website of LeTEC)
9:00 to 9:32 - IC Train from Brussels Central to Nivelles
9:45 to 10:19 - LeTEC Bus 72 from Nivelles (bus stop on weekends is behind the railway station) to Seneffe Centre
10:19 to 11:00 - Quick stop at the Seneffe Church & First World War Memorial and walk to Seneffe Castle
11:00 to 1:15 - Enjoy Chateau de Seneffe
1:41 to 1:49 - LeTEC Bus 72 from Seneffe to Feluy Place (or take the next bus 1 hr later)
1:49 to 2:30 - Quick stop at Feluy Castle and walk to Balad'ane
2:30 to 4:45 - Balad'ane
4:51 to 5:15 - LeTEC Bus 72 from Feluy Petit Moulin to Nivelles Gare (or take the next bus 1 hr later)
5:31 to 6:03 - IC Train to Brussels Central 

On Weekdays: LeTEC Bus Route 72 takes a direct route from and doesn't go via Feluy. A different bus, LeTEC Bus Route 71 goes to Feluy from Nivelles and another bus, LeTEC Bus Route 74 connects Feluy & Seneffe, whose frequencies are much lower. Check exact bus timings & fix your schedule.

Chateau de Seneffe Castle Pinterest Things to do in Seneffe Pinterest


Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 78 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of Sept 2020. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands

11 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. I don't think I've ever seen clocks as elaborate as those ones! It's a real nice idea to put a mirror behind so you can see the inner workings.

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  3. As far a castle go this one has blown me away. The detail of Architecture is mind blowing. Belgium is known for a fantastic building and Chateau da Seneffe shows this in abundance. A definite destination I would love you visit.

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  4. Would love to see the Chateau de Seneffe. The grounds are so green, such a great spot for a picnic and I love the designs in the wood floors. The llama is a bonus!

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  5. Such wonderful details of Seneffe Castle, it’s as though you are stepping back in time. I would like to visit the exterior of Chateau-Fort de Feluy to see the moat. I have fond memories of visiting Belgium and seeing many castles nestled in the countryside.

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  6. I love visiting castles, especially the interiors. Seneffe Castle has such beautiful mosaique floors and tapstries. Interesting that is was built by a merchant, not a duke. And great that they provide stepping stools for kids!

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  7. I absolutely love castles and I wish I had known about Seneffe Castle when I was in Belgium. This is another place which I wish to visit when I am in Belgium the next time. The interiors look stunning. And it is fascinating to read about the history of how it was built.

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  8. The statues on the side of the Seneffe Castle are marvelous. Up to this day, it still amazes me how they sculpted in the past. With all those layering and adding dimensions, it's admirable. The exhibition really lives up to its name. It's grand and opulent!

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  9. The Seneffe castle looks magnificent! I love the ornate looking clocks and the chandelier is so gorgeous. Having to cover your shoes to protect the floors and from visitors slipping on it sounds like a win-win. I would have loved admiring the vintage wallpapers!!

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  10. Stunning interiors - checking out those details itself will take a full day. And then there are the sprawling lawns. I love the back stories that you have brought out in each of those places. Interesting change of hands as far as the history is concerned. Definitely a place worth heading to in Belgium

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