About Waterloo Battlefield
Waterloo Battlefield, near Brussels in Belgium, was the site of the final battle of the Napoleonic Wars. The Battle of Waterloo saw the French forces led by Napoleon Bonaparte clash with the coalition of British, Belgian, Dutch and German soldiers led by the Duke of Wellington and Prussian forces under the command of Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher.
Waterloo Battlefield history
Napoleon‘s strategy had aimed to capture Brussels and separate and divide the armies of Wellington and Blücher with the aim of prompting each to retreat. However, despite defeating the Prussians on 16th June at the Battle of Ligny, he was unable to force them to retreat entirely, meaning they were still free to support Wellington’s force. Needing a decisive victory to prevent an invasion of France, Napoleon decided to attack. The two sides met at Waterloo Battlefield on the morning of 18 June 1815.
The battle lasted eight hours and ended in the dramatic defeat of Napoleon. The Battle of Waterloo was extremely close-run and much of it was a result of both timing and the communication. In fact, Wellington himself decried that it was “the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life”.
For France the result of the Battle of Waterloo would mean the second restoration of King Louis XVIII and the end of over two decades of war. For Napoleon, it meant the end of his rule and his career.
Waterloo Battlefield today
Today, Waterloo Battlefield is a popular tourist site and includes numerous monuments, the most famous of which is the Lion’s Mound. There are many things to see at Waterloo Battlefield and many resources such as audio guides, battlefield tours, films and even summertime recreations. Guided tours are available for added fees and range from one to three hours in length (check the official website for tour times).
Getting to Waterloo Battlefield
Visitors can reach the site of the Battlefield of Waterloo is easily by car or public transportation. To reach Lion’s Mound by car, use exit 25 “Butte du Lion” on the Ring O motorway between Brussels and Mons / Charleroi. Free parking is available near the mound.
From Brussels and Waterloo, use bus W (stop Route de Nivelles) or bus 365 (stop Monument Gordon). Braine-l’Alleud is the closest train station. It is a 3 km walk or short bus ride (W) to the Hameau du Lion.
The ultimate guide to the historic sites of Belgium, from Menin Gate to Waterloo Battlefield and more, includes an interactive map of Belgium's cultural monuments and landmarks.