Family Holidays in the Netherlands
Getting a family holiday right can be tricky, especially if you need to cater for children of various ages.
Lugging little ones long haul can be strenuous, and keeping energetic teens entertained away from their friends is another matter entirely. France and Spain might be the first destinations that spring to mind, but have you ever considered the the Netherlands for a family getaway?
Kaleidoscopic fields of flowers, old-fashioned windmills, cheese markets, wooden clogs, meandering canals and millions of bicycles make a trip Holland a real treat for everyone. There are as many types of holidays as there are families, and the Netherlands offers both big city buzz and rural hideaways.
From the port of Rotterdam you’re just a short drive away from iconic Amsterdam and The Hague, or venture nearer the German and Belgian borders to experience idyllic Dutch villages like Giethoorn and Broek.
Whatever escapade you’re looking for, here’s a snapshot at what the Netherlands has to offer for your next family holiday.
History and Culture in Amsterdam
While Amsterdam’s liberal attitude has earned it a reputation for being a playground for adults, you might be surprised to learn there’s plenty on offer for children to do too.
The opportunities to go biking and eat delicious pancakes are boundless, making ‘Venice of the North’ a failsafe choice for families. Your first port of call should be for a breath of fresh air at Vondelpark: Amsterdam’s green and gorgeous gardens. This is place where local kids learn to ride their bikes, so go for a group ride on a sunny day before enjoying a picnic on the waterside Melkhuis Terrace.
School-age children often study the Diary of Anne Frank as an introduction to World War II, and you can support their studies than a visit to the secret annexe where the Jewish diarist lived for more than two years. Anne Frank House is open for all above 10-years-old, although you are advised to prepare young children for their visit.
Action Packed Adventure in Efteling
Did you know that Holland is home to one of the oldest amusement parks in the world? Many people outside of the Netherlands have never heard of Efteling, but it’s actually one of the top-rated theme parks in Europe. In fact, many reviews place it leagues above Disneyland as a top attraction for children of all ages.
It takes around 50 minutes to drive to the theme park from the port at Rotterdam, or 80 minutes, or a shorter train ride, from Amsterdam. However you get there, the journey promises to be well worth it.
As well as being reasonably priced, Holland’s premier theme park is beautifully designed in high taste, taking on a magical fairy tale theme. The myths and fantasies surrounding the Fairytale Forest, adventure maze and steam carousel will enchant little ones, while daredevil rollercoasters like Baron 1898, The Flying Dutchman and Vogel Rock will inspire an adrenaline rush in teens and adults.
Medieval Memories in Utrecht
Learning about history and soaking up curious old buildings is a family favourite thing to do on holiday, and in the Netherlands, Utrecht is an amazing place to do both.
Located in the eastern corner of the Randstad, the fourth largest city in the Netherlands has done everything it can to preserve its ancient city centre. Many of the buildings and structures are breathtakingly beautiful, and none more so than the huge De Haar Castle.
While Efteling paints an exciting portrait of kings, queens, princesses and knights, this is the place that brings the fantasy to life. Dating back to the 14th century, this amazing castle has been completely restored and offers daily tours, with some by guides in fancy dress to make the experience seem all the more authentic. Families will love wandering the 135 acres of French-style and English castle gardens.
Stunning Countryside and Boating in Giethoorn
If you’re a couple with a newborn baby, you’ll probably be in dire need of some relaxation. While there isn’t a huge amount for younger kids to do in Giethoorn, it’s the perfect place for new parents to unwind – as well as an ideal location for families with older children who are happy to ‘chill’ for a long weekend.
Giethoorn’s main draw is its extraordinarily serene atmosphere - this magical village was founded around 1230 and is the kind most people could only dream of. It takes less than two hours to drive from Rotterdam to Giethoorn, after which you’ll have to leave your vehicle parked as it’s a car-free village.
The most common way to get around is by engine-free ‘whisper boats’, and many of the centuries-old thatched roof cottages available to hire are built on their own tiny islands. Get away from the buzz of modern life and explore curious footpaths, bicycle trails and spend quality time with those you love the most.
Ready to plan your family holiday in the Netherlands? Book your crossing from Hull to Rotterdam now.
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