City Safari
5th - 8th September 2019

Led by Sue Constable
3 nights, from £515 Discount available for AIA members
Book online now
City Safaris and Industrial Explorer Weekends
These walking tours take a look at an industrial city's civic, commercial, industrial and transport legacy on foot, guided by an expert. Our groups are deliberately kept small so that everyone has a chance to ask the leader questions as we go and to make walking as a group practicable in an urban environment.

We go away for a long weekend and stay together as a group at a reasonable hotel. A dinner is held on the Thursday evening which is a chance for new members to be introduced and old friends to catch up on news. After dinner there is a short talk to introduce the city and its history as well as to explain the programme.

City Safaris use whatever public transport is available: bus, tram, metro or train which is a great way to gain some understanding of how the area works and may be of historic interest in themselves.

Industrial Explorer Weekends are the same but we use a minibus to reach areas where public transport does not go and to give us the possibility of conveniently exploring a slightly wider area.

We tend to spend more time looking at buildings than we do going inside, but we usually try to include at least one visit to a site of industrial interest. In Sheffield, for example, we visited a small, specialist scissor maker. In the Black Country we rode through the Dudley tunnel on a trip boat and ended the tour in the Black Country Museum.

We look at all kinds of buildings: industrial, civic, retail and domestic. We cover everything from workers' cottages & workshops via pubs and factories to the magnificence of northern Victorian Town Halls and don’t forget the merely quirky. And we like interesting buildings in all kinds of condition, be they in use, re-used, shabby, derelict or forgotten. Transport is always part of the story: roads, railways and canals.

We generally walk about 5 miles a day. When walking around we are often asked why we are standing looking at a particular building, perhaps by people who now live or work there. Sometimes we are able to tell them more about the building than they know themselves but in response they are sometimes able to fill in some interesting snippets of social history which adds greatly to the mix.

Group members are provided with a full set of notes describing details of every building we stop by. We usually include stops for morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea.

Tour members often say that these trips allow them to see things that "we never knew were there" and to view urban areas from new angles.
The venue for our Autumn Safari is the city of Antwerp in Flanders. With a population of about 520,000, it is the most populous city proper in Belgium, and with 1,200,000 the second largest metropolitan region after Brussels. It lies on the River Scheldt, linked to the North Sea by the river's Westerschelde estuary. It is about 40 kilometres north of Brussels, and about 15 kilometres south of the Dutch border. The Port of Antwerp is one of the biggest in the world, ranking second in Europe and within the top 20 globally. The city is also known for its diamond industry and trade.

The city grew around a medieval town centred on the cathedral with merchants’ houses and warehouses around the Docks and a commercial centre around the Station. The city and the port expanded and gained status after tolls levied by the Dutch were removed in the middle of the 19th century. New suburbs were created, and new docks were built.

Antwerp has changed since our last visit in 2002 with significant development in the older docks area including a new museum and the setting up of a marina in one of the older docks. The area round the station has also changed. A new through high speed line has been added to the station and the trains now run on three levels. We will explore some of the sites which we saw in 2002 as well as some new ones.

Note: We will be walking at least 5 miles a day.
Thursday 5th September
Assemble at our hotel in the early evening for a group dinner in a nearby restaurant (included).

At the end of dinner Sue will give a short introduction to the weekend

Friday 6th September
On Friday we will begin by travelling to the Suid district to look at the suburban development there. This began about 1870 following the removal of the old ramparts which surrounded the city. This walk will end by one of the early docks (now filled in).

Lunch (own expense)

In the afternoon we will go to Zurenberg to explore another 19th century development. This area contains some interesting architecture especially around Cogels Osylei. We shall also be looking at buildings connected with the railway and the trams. The day will finish with a visit to Centraal Station and Koningen Astridplein to visit one of the most elaborate and monumental stations in Europe.

Evening at leisure

Saturday 7th September
Saturday will be spent exploring the Docks and surrounding area. Some of the early docks are still in use as pleasure boat moorings. We will walk out to the Royersluis, the oldest access from the docks to the river still in regular use and will also look at the Havenhuis of 2016. This houses the Port Authority offices and is built over an older building.

Lunch (own expense)

In the afternoon we will explore the area round the Bonaparte and Willem Docks including a visit to the viewing gallery on the sixth floor of MAS (Museum an der Stroom). We also plan to include a boat trip round the docks in the afternoon.

Evening at leisure.

Sunday 8th September
Our destination for Sunday is the Old Town. There are some interesting commercial buildings to be seen, as well as evidence of how prosperous the city must have been in the Middle Ages. Sites will include the foot tunnel under the river, the Scheldt Quays and Meir, the main shopping street.

The tour concludes with a group lunch (included).

Sue Constable will be well known to anyone who came to the Ruhr, Moravia or Romania with the AIA or has joined one of her City Safaris or previous Explorer Weekends. She was born in Buckinghamshire but moved to Hastings at an early age. She read History and Archaeology at Liverpool and also has a qualification in museum studies. She may have started out as an archaeologist but soon changed to being a social and industrial historian. She has worked in museums for most of her life, apart from a spell teaching and a break when her daughter was small. Much of her work in museums has been with industrial collections, ribbon weaving, nail-making and shoemaking. With her husband, Mike, she has explored much of the British and European waterways network. As a social historian she is also interested in how people live and how they organise their living spaces and environment.

We will be staying at the de Keyser Hotel, De Keyserlei 66-70, Antwerp District, 2018 Antwerp

This modern four star hotel is close to SNCB Antwerpen Centraal Station on a street of many restaurants and bars. Guests can enjoy a buffet-style breakfast each morning. A selection of Belgian beers and other drinks is available at the hotel bar.

All Rooms are en-suite and air-conditioned, free WiFi is available

Travel will be by public transport and we will have three-day travel passes to enable us to do this (included).

The walks will be mainly on hard surfaces. Many of the roads and pavements are still paved with setts and these can be uneven. There are almost no slopes to be negotiated as we will be on the flood plain of the river. There will be escalators and steps to get to some of the tram stops which are underground.

We leave you to make your own travel arrangements to and from Antwerp to suit your own convenience and use of alternative departure points. It is easy to reach Antwerp using the Eurostar train to Brussels and changing there for Antwerp. If you book the Eurostar ticket online specify your destination as Antwerp and the system will then include a ticket to ‘Any Belgian Station’. This allows you to travel on any service from Brussels to Antwerp except for the High Speed Trains. There are frequent trains between the two cities and the journey takes about 50 minutes. There is also a small airport which serves the city.

If anyone is considering coming by car, note that the city operates an emission charge for vehicles coming into the city centre similar to the new London low emission zone. There is no parking at the hotel.

Detailed joining instructions will be supplied about two weeks before the start of the tour.

All participants must carry a valid passport for travel in the European Union.

The cost of the tour is £515 per person sharing, single supplement £110. The single supplement is entirely accounted for by the additional costs charged by the hotel for single occupancy. With a high proportion of singles on these tours it is not possible to avoid this.

There is a city tax of EUR 2.40/person/night which you have to pay at the hotel when you arrive.

Heritage of Industry is pleased to offer a discount of £10 to any paid-up member of the Association for Industrial Archaeology at the time of the tour.

The cost includes:
  • 3 nights bed & breakfast accommodation
  • Dinner on Thursday, Lunch on Sunday
  • All entrance fees
  • 3 day travel passes in Antwerp
  • Expert guiding and services of an experienced tour manager throughout
  • Research for the visit
  • Professionally produced, comprehensive tour notes
Excluded are:
  • Lunches (except Sunday)
  • Dinners (except Thursday)
  • Drinks
  • Expenses at the hotel other than bed & breakfast
  • City tax
All costs are in Pounds Sterling (GBP) and are based on present accommodation, transport costs and taxes. Any change in these may necessitate a price change.

Please note that cancellation charges will apply from 11th July 2019, and, although these will be modified to the extent that costs are not actually incurred, you are strongly advised to insure against the need to cancel and to cover medical treatment and repatriation charges in the event of illness etc.

Participants who do not have travel insurance must nevertheless accept full responsibility for these eventualities. To get state-provided healthcare in Europe you will need a current EHIC which you can obtain free online at or by phone: 0300 3301350. If you already have an EHIC you should check the date as they expire after 5 years. These arrangements may be dependent on Brexit negotiations.

Bookings will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to space availability. Booking is subject to a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 20 people . Book as soon as possible and by 11th July 2019 to ensure a place but please feel free to enquire after that date if a place is still available. We will contact you as soon as possible to confirm the booking. Invoices for the balance of the price will be issued about 8 weeks before the tour starts.

You are advised not to make non-refundable, contingent arrangements, such as buying train or air tickets, until we have confirmed that the tour will run.

A non-refundable deposit of £55 per person is required on booking. Bookings can be made definite only when the booking details and deposit are received and accepted in writing/email by Heritage of Industry Ltd. The company's standard terms and conditions apply. The balance of the price is to be paid to Heritage of Industry Ltd on presentation of the invoice. All monies paid to Heritage of Industry Ltd will be held, in accordance with government regulations**, in a customer protection account until the tour is complete so that your money is safe no matter what happens.

Payment should be made via your bank’s online banking facilities, the necessary details are shown on the confirmation of booking. Please send an email note when you have made payment. If you are unable to use electronic banking please send a sterling cheque drawn on a UK bank made payable to Heritage of Industry Ltd. There is no extra charge for using cheques at present.

We are sorry that we are unable to accept payment by credit/debit card or PayPal.

Click here to book online now

Click here to download a printable version of all the above and a booking form to post

Enquiries about this tour should be directed to:
Bill Barksfield, Managing Director
Heritage of Industry Ltd, The Gables, 20 Main Road, East Hagbourne, Oxon OX11 9LN UK
Tel: +44 1235 352275 (9am - 5.30pm GMT)  Email:

The Association for Industrial Archaeology

Britain was the first industrial nation and for the last three centuries industry has had a major influence on the society, environment and landscape in which we live; it shaped the country and its remains provide a link with the past that can also serve the future. The AIA is the national organisation for people who share an interest in Britain’s industrial past. It brings together groups and individuals with an interest and expertise in identifying, recording, preserving and presenting the remains of the industrial past. Uniting individuals, local societies, academics and field professionals the AIA:
  • Pools knowledge and sets standards for recording
  • Represents industrial archaeology by membership of national and international bodies
  • Supports local and special interest societies
  • Monitors planning applications to alter or demolish industrial sites and buildings
And through its programme of awards and grants it:
  • Sponsors research and rewards excellence
  • Assists preservation and restoration
  • Encourages research and publication
Heritage of Industry Ltd is very pleased to support the activities of the Association and very much hopes that you do too and will become a member.

Apart from the discount available on Heritage of Industry tours AIA members enjoy a range of benefits which are shown on the Membership page of the AIA website where you can also find full details of how to join:

An AIA member joining this tour will already have recouped nearly 1/3 of the AIA membership fee but more importantly the support members give enables the AIA to continue its work.

** The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 (SI 1992 No. 3288)