Last Easter break (April 2015) we travelled to the Netherlands and stayed at the Duinpark Koningshof.
It’s a fantastic place to spend some quiet family time, with really well equipped tents – although calling them tents doesn’t do them any justice… They are pretty and cosy, with wooden interiors, bathrooms, hot water and heating!
– Includes towels, bed sheets, duvets, blankets, kitchen utensils (including washing up liquid and towels), coffee machine (Nescafe or Senseo) and a roll of toilet paper. There is a little “den” (built on the space underneath one of the double beds) for the children to play, with some play-kitchen utensils, a little table, chair and a bean bag.
– Outside/common area is lovely, and the sand-and-water playground in the centre (see pictures above) was a hit with our older one. There is also a common”play room”, with bean bags, books, pens and pencils to draw, a wooden trunk full of dress up costumes, board games, a chalk board, etc. There are tricycles for children, but not suitable for very small children (I would say they are suitable from 4-5 yo).
– Supermarket close by (in Egmond aan den Hoef) – less than a five-minute car ride.
– Choice of eggs and a variety of breads for breakfast every morning.
– Possibility of hiring some good proper Dutch bicycles (and child seats or trailers) but no helmets to lend, we had taken ours.
– Heating – which we used on some colder days.
– There is a sheep farm next door, which was a hit with our son, who asked to go and see the sheep at least 50 times a day. The farmers were lovely and showed him a 2 week old sheep.
– On some days there were a lot of planes flying quite low and being fairly noisy every now and then. Our son loves planes and so this was great for him (he also napped easily in the afternoon through the occasional noise of the planes), but I understand this might be annoying sometimes.
– When it was colder we used a lot of the thermal clothes we took, so it is a good idea to go prepared for some chilly weather, and also to take some rain wear for the kids (especially rain trousers and wellies to play in the water playground).
– You need a car to go around. It’s possible to do it with taxis/bicycles/ buses/etc, but with kids and stuff, you have to be brave to do that!
– Egmond aan Zee it’s a lovely sea-side village, with a (very) small aquarium, lots of little houses and shops. Quite touristy but the beach and the dunes are totally worth it.
– Amazing ice cream place close to the train station in Heiloo (Di Fiorentina, Kennemerstraatweg 380,1851 BK Heiloo).
– Gastro pub with lovely food just around the corner. It has a big garden with some hammocks, a playground, a trampoline and a little cage with rabbits (Herenweg 109,1934 PB Egmond aan den Hoef).
– There is a superb country pub build in some old stables with gorgeous food only a 10 minute car ride away (Heereweg 83, 1901 MC Castricum). They kept the main features including a wonderful fireplace in the main room, and have a lot of other dining rooms. There’s a dog walking around inside the dining rooms (not allowed in the kitchen though), and a lot of animals in the old stables (chickens, pigs, horses). There is an outside eating area, with a peaceful view to the fields and a huge playground. – We cycled to Alkmaar on a Friday morning to check out their cheese market: it was busy but we managed to taste and buy some great cheeses, and to have a great walk around the city: it’s really gorgeous.
Pictures above: fields of flowers and horses on the way to Alkmaar
Pictures above: Alkmaar’s cheese market and celebrations
– Zaandam has a pretty city centre, with a little canal in the middle of a shopping pedestrian street and some gorgeous green houses. Parking in the centre was not easy and a bit expensive so maybe it is a good idea to park just outside in the train station, and then walk. It shouldn’t be longer than a 10 minute walk.
– Close to Zandaam there is a great park, Zaanse Schans, with a collection of windmills, little shops with traditional wooden shoes (we can see how they are made too!), tasty waffles, metal spoons, etc. Really worth spending some hours hanging around there (there’s also a chocolate factory next door). Going around is for free, but the parking was really expensive – €9!
– One day we did a day trip to Amsterdam: driving to Heiloo, leaving the car parked in the train station (for free!) and taking the train to Amsterdam is definitely worth it.
People were really lovely and I would love to go back to that region. In shops, in trains, around town, we felt that visitors, in particular visitors with small children, are very welcome.
Picture above: quick stop on the windy dam on our way back to Germany)
Now, what about Easter 2016? Camping with small children seems the way to go! Any suggestions??
[This post reflects only my opinion and I wasn’t asked/encouraged/sponsored in order to write it by any of the services/places mentioned.]