Hi there - has anyone been on a tour of the Battle of Waterloo sights (in Belgium, south of Brussels) that they would recommend? I see lots of options online, just want to know which ones are good/reputable. Thx!
The "tour" of the actual battlefield is a tram ride run by the private company that maintains the battlefield and some of the surrounding buildings. It only operates in the summer months, as far as I know. I can't imagine what any other tour company could offer other than transportation to the battlefield. If you can figure out how to get there by public transportation, there's no reason to book an outside tour.
If you have a real interest in Napoleonic Wars, go for it, but don't expect something like Gettysburg. Only a few buildings from the era remain, battlefield markers are few and far between and the actual field is still mostly cultivated argricultural land. There's an interesting cyclorama, a giant mound with a statue on top, the museum shows a couple of decent short films, and a less-than-thrilling wax museum. Overall, it's something that I'm glad I visited, but I wouldn't return unless it was to watch the annual re-enactment.
I have been to Waterloo but only once and am hesitant to recommend any tour, mainly of the cost and what you get. If you have a rental car, that's the best way, where you can track down the sites and sights connected with the Waterloo Campaign, Waterloo the town itself, the farm house, Wavre, Charleroi (now that's the place over the river), Plancenoit, etc. Doing the battle field, seeing the other villages, and seeing the museums/houses, such as Wellington's HQ and that of Napoleon, without the pressure of time with the car takes about two days.
Unfortunately, the one time I was there I was limited to ca 6.5 hrs, which my friend's (who had access to the car) time limit for staying, ie. on the road by 19:00. I suggest instead of a tour set your priority as to what you want to see and track them down yourself. Your priority list may not be included in a tour.
If you are totally dependent on public transportation, then a tour would be a more practical option to what you can see on your own. The longer the tour the better, depending on the cost.