What’s on: Light festivals and child-friendly performances brighten up the winter days


There’s no let-up in the festive entertainment this week: Meise’s botanical gardens and the streets of Knokke-Heist are bathed in light, there’s a new theatre festival especially for young audiences and a festive walk for all the family


Looking for a post-Christmas pick-me-up? A two-kilometre trail of glowing light installations creates a fairy-tale atmosphere in the Meise Botanic Garden, just over the border with north Brussels.

While the gardens are a lovely place to visit at any time of year, its ponds, trees and winter plants provide a perfect interplay to the Winter Floridylle audio-visual spectacle (pictured). The event comes complete with live music and a winter village with food trucks perched on a former farmstead. Tickets are sold for specific hours of entry, so pick them up ahead of time to avoid potentially long waits. 27-29 December & 3-5 January, Nieuwelaan 38, Meise


There’s another beautiful light show happening at the coast: Knokke-Heist’s storytelling and interactive Light Festival takes inspiration for its first edition from The Little Prince. Along the 3km route, massive light installations beautifully illustrate pieces from the beloved children’s book. The entire city is playing along, with the theme sneaking into other holiday decor. All signs point to this being well worth a trip to the coast. Until 6 January 17.00-22.00, across Knokke-Heist, start at tourist office, Zeedijk 660


Mechelen is hosting a brand-new family festival devoted to visual stage arts using objects and puppets. Podvis is a series of stage shows from new and established companies, both local and international, plus hands-on creative workshops. Highlights include a 21st-century retelling of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray for teenagers, and for toddlers, there’s Box, in which two performers find themselves trapped together in a confined space and have to learn to get along. 3-6 January, across Mechelen


The Antwerp province town of Merksplas has created a Christmas walking trail for those looking to blow away the cobwebs and burn off the festive excess. Cafes and restaurants along the way offer hot chocolate, soup and mulled wine, and you’ll find welcoming open fires in a number of shelters on the route. Choose from loops of between 8.5 and 24km; participation is free but donations to a local disability support organisation are welcome. Until 6 January, various starting points in Merksplas