This magnificent Renaissance castle just outside Brussels cannot be visited, but is nevertheless interesting for tourists. People come here in Spring (usually from early April to early May) to contemplate the 14-hectare of gardens in full bloom. The multi-coloured festival of tulips, daffodils, jacinths and roses attracts some 50,000 plant lovers annually.
Since 2005, visitors can also admire world-famous rhododendrons from Exbury Gardens (England), created by the Rothschild family.
The castle can also be rented for receptions, seminars, conferences, exhibitions and other events.
Originally constructed around 1110, the castle of Grand Bigard is a typical plain castle, designed with deep protective moats, with a sole five-arch bridge to connect it to the outside world. The first local lord was Almaric of Bigard. Since then, the castle has had some 40 successive owners.
Most of the present castle dates from the 14th and 17th century, blending admirably Medieval and Flemish Renaissance styles. The keep is 30m tall and composed of 4 levels, with walls of 3 metres in depth. A wide-spread panorama of the region meets the eye from the crenellation on the top floor.
In 1902, Raymond Pelgrims de Bigard became the owner of the castle, which he found in an advanced state of disrepair. During the next 30 years, he would strive to restore the domain to its former glory, and indeed make of it one of the most prestigious property in the country.
Opening Hours & Admission
The Castle of Grand Bigard is only open to the public for one month in Spring (see official website for exact dates). During that period, the gardens are open everyday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (last admission at 5:00 pm). Entry is 9 € for adults, 7 € for groups (min 20 people), seniors (60+) and the disabled, 5 € for children (6-14 years old) and free under 6 years old.
How to get there
The castle is located in the village of Groot-Bijgaarden, 7 km west of Brussels toward Halle . It can be easily accessed by train from Brussels (20min from Brussels-Central). From Groot-Bijgaarden Station, take Brusselstraat until Gemeenteplein. De Lijn also has buses from Brussels-South Station (no 136) and Brussels-North Station (no 355).
By car, take exit 11 for Groot-Bijgaarden on the West Ring (R0) of Brussels and follow the signs.
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