Lucens, a small town near Lausanne, is famous for its lovely castle, a small but important Sherlock Holmes Museum, ample opportunities for hiking and cycling, as well as a mini-golf and swin golf courses in Cremin.
Lucens is a small but lively town an easy 20-minute drive from Lausanne. This old village is beautifully located in the Broye region with the mighty Chateau de Lucens towering over the old town. Sir Adrian Conan Doyle lived in this medieval castle and the town thus has a small Sherlock Holmes Museum with memorabilia of his father Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the most famous detective in literary history. Many hiking trails lead from the old town into the hills and forests where dedicated mountain bike and horse riding trails are open for public use. The small agricultural community Cremin sports 18-hole mini golf and swing golf courses.
The Medieval Chateau de Lucens Castle
The top sight to see in Lucens is the medieval castle that towers over the old town. The oldest parts of the fortress are from the thirteenth century but much of it is from the sixteenth century or newer.
The typical Savoy round towers of Castle Lucens are up to 26 m high while the fading painting of the bear coat of arms of Bern reminds of the long dominance of Bern over Vaud.
This medieval fortress absolutely looks the part but unfortunately is not open to the public. However, it is worth strolling up to the castle for close-up views from the fourteenth-century Sainte-Agnès chapel and the bridge over the dry moat.
The Chateau de Lucens can be rented for special events and in addition to several conference rooms with period furniture have ten bed rooms available too.
Visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum in Lucens, Switzerland
The Chateau de Lucens was for a few years the home of Sir Adrian Conan Doyle, the son of the famous writer. He created a small museum dedicated to his father, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and his famous characters Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.
In 2001, the small, two-room Sherlock Holmes Museum moved from the castle to the Maison Rouge, an old building with lovely red-and-white shutters. The museum has around 120 exhibits related to Sir Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes including letters and original drafts of his famous detective stories – in a digital era, it is hard not to be impressed by the clarity and neatness of his handwriting.
A special room shows the 221B Baker Street lounge created for the 1951 Festival of Britain. It has original memorabilia related to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, showing items from their adventures – commentary is available in English, French, or German. For many visitors, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are clearly more than just literary characters from a bygone age — displays are studied and stories remembered as if they were real life characters.
The Sherlock Holmes Museum in Lucens is open on weekends from 2 to 5 pm (or any time by appointment for groups). Admission is CHF7 for adults and CHF5 for children 8 to 16 – a bit pricy for non-enthusiasts given the small size of the museum. The Swiss Museum Pass is accepted.
The Old Town of Lucens in the Broye Region near Lausanne
Apart from the magnificent chateau and the Sherlock Holmes Museum, Lucens have few significant must-see sights. The old town is pretty and has an interesting blend of very old and new buildings. The ancient and slightly dilapidated seem to sit pretty comfortably next to the very modern in this town.
Lucens has several large industrial buildings, especially near the railway station, and is clearly more alive even on a Sunday afternoon than towns that live of tourism or those mostly occupied by “artists” and commuters. The people are very friendly too – “bonjour” flows freely from the mouths of all ranging from early teens to octogenarians, whether hiking or struggling uphill on a mountain bike.
The hills and forests behind Lucens Castle have several easy hiking trails. A special mountain bike trail (marked VTT) is around 6 km long with 13 obstacles. Mountain bike rentals are available – advance reservations necessary. Horse riding is also possible in the region.
Mini Golf and Swin Golf in Cremin near Lucens
In the small agricultural community of Cremin, a kilometer or so uphill from Lucens, visitors can enjoy a game of mini golf of swin golf. Follow the cow signs to the swin and mini golf courses on a farm in Cremin – ample free parking at the entrance to the village.
The golf courses are open seven days a week from late March to early November from around 9 am to nightfall. Minigolf sur herbe is CHF9 and CHF6 for under 16s – equipment included. Swin golf is CHF17 (plus CHF14 for club rental) for adults and CHF9 (CHF6) for children. The mini golf should be completed in just under an hour while the swin golf can take three to four hours.
Transportation to Lucens and Cremin in the Broye Region near Lausanne in Switzerland
Getting to Lucens by car is very easy from Lausanne, Genève, and the rest of the Lac Léman region. Lucens is only a 20 minutes drive from Lausanne on Route 1 – the former main road to Bern.
Route 1 (not to be confused with Autoroute A1!) leads from the Autoroute A9 exit 10 (Vennes) in Lausanne via Moudon to Lucens before continuing to Payerne and eventually Bern. Driving times from Vevey and Montreux are around half an hour and an hour from Geneva.
By train, Lucens can be reached hourly in 45 minutes from Lausanne on direct trains and more frequently (and only about ten minutes slower) with a change at Palézieux. Swiss Railways has online timetables and tickets.
- See also Photos and Images of Lucens for more pictures of this pretty town and lovely castle.