Some 4km south of town, the Waterloo battlefield is a landscape of rolling farmland, interrupted by a couple of main roads and more pleasingly punctuated by the odd copse and farmstead. The ridge where Wellington once marshalled his army now holds a motley assortment of attractions collectively known as Le Hameau du Lion (Lion’s Hamlet). This comprises four separate sites all within a few metres of each other, with the added offering of a 45-minute battlefield tour in a four-wheel-drive. Of the four sites, the worst are the Centre du Visiteur, which features a dire audiovisual display on the battle, and the Musée de Cires (same hours), a dusty wax museum. The best is the 100m-high Butte de Lion (same hours), built by local women with soil from the battlefield. The Butte marks the spot where Holland’s Prince William of Orange – one of Wellington’s commanders and later King William II of the Netherlands – was wounded. It was only a nick, so goodness knows how high it would have been if William had been seriously injured, but even so the mound is a commanding monument, surmounted by a regal 28-tonne lion atop a stout column. From the viewing platform, there’s a panoramic view over the battlefield, and a plan identifies which army was where. Also enjoyable is the Panorama de la Bataille (same hours), where a circular, naturalistic painting of the battle, on a canvas no less than 110m in circumference, is displayed in a purpose-built, rotunda-like gallery – to a thundering soundtrack of bugles, snorting horses and cannon fire. Panorama painting is extremely difficult – controlling perspective is always a real problem – but it was very much in vogue when the Parisian artist Louis Dumoulin began this effort in 1912. Precious few panoramas have survived and this one is a bit past its best, but it does at least give a sense of the battle. You can also venture out onto the battlefield under your own steam by following the old track that cuts south across the fields from beside the Panorama.

 

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Belgium features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

20 picturesque Christmas destinations

20 picturesque Christmas destinations

Dreaming of a trip this Christmas? We're here to help. From glittering cities to a few snowy escapes, here are 20 classic destinations for a festive break. …

12 Dec 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

From ancient temples to hyper-modern skyscrapers, these are just a few of the world's most incredible architectural wonders. Whether you're looking to wander l…

01 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
20 fascinating second cities

20 fascinating second cities

Barcelona, Spain It's usually the capital cities that get all the attention, but what about a country's second city? These are twenty of our favourite secon…

02 Oct 2014 • Rebecca Hallett camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Mandatory - can not be deselected. Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID,aelia_cs_selected_currency,cookie_notice_accepted,RS,bp-message,bp-message-type,id,UIDR,w3tc_logged_out,__cfduid
__cfduid

Statistics

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid,__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xt
__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid
__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xtc

Marketing

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID
__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll
c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs