I visited the In Bruges filming locations way back in 2015 on my long weekend Belgian break to Brussels and Bruges. So basically, this post is way overdue. Luckily, I’m all too happy to rewatch one of my favourite anti-wanderlust inspiring travel films. For a black comedy-action film with a crap tonne of swearing, In Bruges sure does deliver those #holidayvibes.
Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) are Irish assassins working for a man named Harry (Ralph Fiennes) in London. When a job goes wrong, they are sent to Bruges in Belgium to await further instructions. Ken, the more experienced assassin, tries to enjoy the break while Ray, a novice hired hand, expresses his disliking of Bruges whenever possible.
“Get the f*ck out of London, yous dumb f*cks. Get to Bruges.” I didn’t even know where Bruges f*cking was. [pause] It’s in Belgium. – Ray’s opening monologue
If there’s one thing I love more than the iconic one-liners in In Bruges (and they are bloody hilarious) it’s the film locations. Bruges is an adorable, medieval canal-side city on the Flemish/Dutch side of Belgium. It’s fairytale good-looks, cobbled pedestrianised streets and cosy taverns are juxtaposed against the assassins’ brutish actions and coarse language.
It’s just such a great film and you could honestly plan your Bruges trip using these locations as they cover a lot of the main attractions. So let’s check out the In Bruges filming locations in (yep, you guessed it) Bruges, Belgium!
In Bruges Filming Locations in Bruges, Belgium
1. Minnewaterpark, Begijnhof
The pair begin their trip in Bruges walking through Minnewaterpark over the Minneburg (Minnewater bridge) next to the round castle-esque Poertoren Tower. Then they walk next to Sashuis, a little brick house you can see in the back of the shot. Minnewaterpark is literally as it sounds: a park with a lake next to it.
This seems to be ‘the’ only way to enter Bruges as Harry later crosses the same Minnewater bridge when he arrives in Bruges later in the movie. But to be fair, you’d definitely pass through Minnewaterpark if you were walking from Bruges train station so a tip of the proverbial cap for continuity.
The men have sped up a bit and now they’re walking through Huidenvettersplein. I think some sneaky jumpcuts are going on during these few short scenes because one minute the men are walking towards Church of Our Lady Bruges, and the next minute they’re in a different part of the city away walking from Fish Market Vismarkt down Huidenvettersplein. Hmm. I guess I’ll let them off…
3. Rozenhoedkaai Photo Point 2/8
The men then turn right and stumble upon one of the most popular landscapes in Bruges known as Rozenhoedkaai. It’s named after the rosary beads that were sold here years ago. This has got to be one of the most picturesque In Bruges filming locations.
It’s a beautiful scene and worth checking out, despite the crowds. This photo I took here was my desktop background for many years!
4. Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce Hotel, Wollestraat 41/47
Ray and Ken then check-in to their hotel. I don’t think the name of the hotel is mentioned, but the location of their hotel is the Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce Hotel right on the Bruges canal, visible from the Rozenhoedkaai viewpoint.
Now, in the film, the hotel looks like your bog-standard, 2/3 star hotel. But the Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce Hotel is a 4-star £150-per-night luxury place. The rooms look honeymoon-worthy. So my guess is they filmed the interiors elsewhere, and there’s probably some set-construction involved too.
5. Various Bruges Canals and Bridges
Next, Ken makes Ray go ‘sightseeing’ with him and reluctantly drags him on a canal boat. The pair are visiting at Christmastime so I understand Ray’s annoyance that it must have been cold. But really, what else are you going to do in Bruges?
This scene cuts between various parts of the Bruges canal. The first shot is on the canal next to De Dijver looking towards the Church of Our Lady Bruges and the Dijver bridge. Next, we’re back on the canal outside the hotel looking at the famous Belfry of Bruges. And finally, when the pair start their conversation, they’ll have just crossed underneath the Mariastraat bridge heading away from the Visit Bruges Convention centre.
During their conversation, Ken talks about an 11th-century hospital they’re passing. And they literally are! The Sint-Janshospitaal! I bloody love the director/screenwriter Martin McDonagh’s dedication to detail for the In Bruges filming locations. See, watching movies is educational.
A Note about the Golden Labrador on Bruges Canal
There’s a quick shot of a dog in the window during the transition from the canal scene to the Belfry of Bruges scene. This dog was famous in Bruges, his name was Fidèle and I got a shot of him during my trip in 2015! See below! His cameo in In Bruges only increased his notoriety. He always rested out of one of the windows and I’m sure many tourists have photos of the handsome lad. Sadly, Fidèle passed away in January 2016, but you can find out more about him here on his own Wikipedia page.
6. Belfry of Bruges, Markt 7
Wow, not even five minutes into In Bruges and we’re already on our sixth shooting location.
Ray and Ken are in Central Markt and, again, Ken is convincing Ray to join him up the narrow, winding steps to the top of the Belfry of Bruges. This is the main tourist attraction in Bruges and the Belfry is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site that honours all the medieval belfries in Belgium. If the Belfry does look a little wonky to you, that’s because it is. You haven’t been drinking too much Trappist beer. It leans to the east by one whole meter.
Don’t listen to Ray, though, climbing the 366 steps is worth the views! Bruges is a gorgeous city worth seeing from the top of the viewpoint.
This is by far the last appearance of Central Markt or the Belfry of Bruges in In Bruges. Ray waves to an actor sat on a bench in this square and Ken is sat outside drinking a Belgian beer here when he comes face to face with Harry upon his arrival.
However, there is a pivotal scene later in the film set in the Belfry but this was filmed in a studio. This is because the steps and the top of the Belfry are just too small for a film crew, and it probably would be dangerous to shoot *this* particular scene there.
7. ‘T Zwart Huis/Bistro Zwart Huis, Kuipersstraat 23
Settling on a cultural activity that Ray enjoys, the pair head to Bistro Zwart Huis for a couple of Belgian cold ones. It’s a busy yet cosy gastropub in a 15th-century building that is popular with tourists and locals alike.
8. Gruuthusemuseum, Dijver 17
Convincing Ken to put down his book and head out for a big night of… more sightseeing… Ken takes Ray to see the Gruuthusemuseum. Granted, we only extremely briefly see the outside before Ray gets distracted by a film crew shooting in this square outside Church of Our Lady Bruges.
9. Jeruzalemkerk, Peperstraat 1
After a night at the hotel, the next day Ray lets Ken choose the ‘cultural activities’ in exchange for letting Ray go on a date with Chloe that night. The first place they visit is the Basilica of the Holy Blood, which we know because Ken tells Ray about the vile of Jesus’ blood that the Basilica of the Holy Blood is unsurprisingly named after. However, the crew couldn’t film in this church so the interiors are actually the Jerusalem Church/Chapel.
Still a pretty nice church, though, as churches go! Lots of lovely artworks and quite morbid statues.
10. Groeninge Museum, Dijver 12
Speaking of morbid and macabre, the next place on Ken’s itinerary, and our next In Bruges location, doesn’t help take Ray’s mind off his past transgressions. They pay a visit to the Groeninge Museum which houses Flemish artworks from the primitive era, the 18th and 19th century and modern pieces too.
Ray becomes rattled looking at so many paintings of headless, suffering men with their skin being pulled off their bones and tiny people being eaten by bigger people. I don’t want to know what inspired the Flemish artists.
11. Jan Van Eyckplein
A horse and carriage briefly travel across Koningstraat Bridge over Canal Spiegelrei before we join the men sitting on a bench in Jan Van Eyckplein. This square has a statue of Jan Van Eyck who was a renaissance painter. And the men are sat on a bench just in front of the statue looking out onto the canal, wondering whether or not they believe in hell, etc. It’s probably one of the most iconic In Bruges filming locations because this stills from this scene are often on posters, streaming sites, etc.
Well, let’s hope they don’t because in case you’re under any doubt: if you are an assassin, you are definitely going to hell. No matter how many old ladies you assist with their shopping.
12. Cafedraal, Zilverstraat 38
Ray and Chloe go on their date and it’s to a rather fancy French/Belgian restaurant called Cafedraal. You know it’s fancy because google has ‘£££’ next to it. Cafedraal has a rather nice courtyard with outside tables but, you know, this film is set December.
13. Meestraat Bridge
After Ray, unfortunately, punches a Canadian couple sat next to him and Chloe at dinner, they both hastily leave the restaurant before making up outside. They are stood on Meestraat bridge over Groenerei which isn’t exactly near Cafedraal. But we’ll let them off.
Harry crosses this bridge later in the film when he arrives in Bruges. It’s like his little ‘arriving in Bruges, walking through all the sites on my way to kill my employees’ montage.
14. Restaurant Diligence, Hoogstraat 5
After Ray’s date with Chloe goes tits up, he joins Ken in a bar where they meet an actor from the film set the day prior to hanging with a prostitute. The bar is Restaurant Diligence, a rather nice Belgian restaurant with a casual vibe and lots of wood panelling and furniture.
15. Verversdijk 25
The next day, Ken wakes up early, leaving Ray in bed, and saunters off to meet Yuri on Raamstraat 17 as per Harry’s instructions. However, the actual house he walks up to is nowhere near that streets, it’s Verversdijk 25. Of course, the door has a ’17’ on the front for the purposes of the film. It’s not too far away from Jan Van Eyckplein.
Yuri’s house is full of antique furniture and expensive-looking Flemish artwork, but my guess is the interiors of the house were shot elsewhere. Unless this house is the real estate equivalent of a TARDIS or Mary Poppin’s carpetbag and is way bigger inside than it looks from the outside.
16. Koningin Astridpark, Stalijzerstraat 11
Upon returning to the hotel, Ken speaks to the co-owner Maria who explains that Ray had been acting strangely and left the hotel. Ken catches up with him at a beautiful park in Bruges. This In Bruges shooting location is in Koningin Astridpark with its pretty bandstand and water features.
Ray is sat on a bench by the children’s play area when Ken finds him in a bad way, emotionally.
17. Platform 1B, Bruges / Brugge, Stationsplein 5
Instead of assassinating Ray (oh, you knew there were going to be spoilers in this In Bruges filming locations guide, yes?), Ken sends him on a train out of Bruges. Ray hops on a train departing from platform 1B at Bruges train station and it looks like it’s the real filming location.
18. Burg Square, Burg 15
After a big hoo-ha at the Belfry of Bruges (AKA Ken’s elaborate death), Harry spots Ray who promptly legs it, so Harry starts chasing him. Ray runs down Breidelstraat and through Burg Square. Ray continues running through an archway next to Bruges City Hall.
19. Fish Market Vismarkt
The continuity in some of these In Bruges filming locations are absolutely spot on. Ray runs through Vismarkt, a fish market with lots of stone columns, that he and Ken briefly passed when they first arrived in Bruges as it’s near Huidenvettersplein.
20. Peerdenstraat Bridge
There’s a bit of movie magic in the next scene though as Ray runs through a cobbled back alley (Hertsbergestraat) and turns right onto Peerdenstraat and crosses over the bridge. It’s just literally one bridge down from Meestraat bridge, where he kissed Chloe after their date at Caafedral just a couple of nights earlier over Groenerei Canal.
Ray would need to have somehow got back over to the other side of the canal, and then crossed it again… I’m gonna have to take ten points from Gryffindor for that one.
Ray and Harry end up back at Ray’s hotel, Ray jumps out of the window onto the canal and, well, you know what happens. He hoists himself off the canal boat and hobbles along Huidenvettersplein.
21. Gruuthusemuseum Courtyard, Dijver 17
And in a final bit of movie magic, we end up back on the film set which has moved slightly to the other side of the Church of Our Lady Bruges. This time, they’re in the courtyard of the Gruuthusemuseum on the opposite side of the canal to the Arentshof. You’ll be able to see a grand, ornate-looking door with a carving of a man riding a horse above it down an unnamed road just off Gruuthusestraat. It’s hard to explain, but I’ve pinned its exact location on the map at the top of this post.
This is of course where Ray is shot and Harry and the actor Jimmy meet their horrifically gory, untimely demise. And they’ll never be able to visit Bruges again.
And those are all the main In Bruges filming locations in Bruges, Belgium! Have you travelled to Bruges or watched the film? Let me know in the comments below!