Eeklo

Eeklo, Newbury’s Belgian twin, is little more than an hour-and-a-half’s drive from the Channel ports of Calais and Dunkirk, in Belgium’s East Flanders region, a short drive from the Dutch border.

While only a small, but pretty town, it has plenty to offer the visitor. Pick of the hotels is probably the Shamon, a family-run establishment dating from the 1930s, built in the art-deco style, and a short walk from the town centre.

Eeklo is ideally placed for visiting the tourist magnets of Bruges and Ghent, which are both about 30km away. The bustling city of Antwerp is 40km away, while much closer is the Dutch border town of Sluis, with its windmill, boutiques, and shops of a highly dubious nature.

In and around Eeklo, the Meetjesland, of which the town is the centre, has plenty to offer. It is a centre for ballooning, while the Het Leen offers 225 hectares of forest. For military history buffs, the battlefields of Flanders can be reached in about an hour by car.