Jennifer and Philippa were captivated by the unbelievable displays of tulips, and believe an excursion to the gardens will make the perfect excursion for anyone spending time in Amsterdam as part of one of our Dutch cycling holidays
Here, Philippa shares her impressions of their visit:
“The Keukenhoff Gardens are a must-see if you have a spare day in Amsterdam; the scale and diversity of the park is simply breathtaking and it’s something I will never forget.
These world-famous gardens, located less than half an hour from the city, sprawl across 32 hectares and contain more than 7 million tulip bulbs, each planted by hand by a team of over 100 gardeners. Only open over eight weeks from mid-March to mid-May, the gardens show the best of the Dutch national flower.
Getting to the park itself is easy: a short bus ride from Amsterdam Schiphol airport (easily accessible from the central station) takes you right to the gates in less than half an hour.
Arriving fairly early in the morning means that you beat the ‘cruise ship’ crowds and can stroll around the 15 kilometres of footpaths at your leisure without the stress of feeling rushed by the hordes of people that the Keukenhoff naturally attracts.
The diversity within the gardens is truly amazing, with thousands of varieties and a million different combinations. The gardens are split into different sections, named after members of the Dutch royal family, and no two flowerbeds are the same.
The area in and around the windmill was a personal favourite of mine, with a view to the tulip fields on one side and individual gardens on the other.
It's a very interesting and beautiful part of the park and is also close to the Japanese Garden, a more secluded area that makes for a lovely picnic spot. Whilst the tulips are undoubtedly the stars of the show, there’s much more than colourful flowerbeds to appreciate. Indoor areas showcase the best in floral arrangements, from dresses made out of flowers to prize-winning plants, all adding to the variety.
Each year the park has a theme and 2014 is the year of ‘Dutch Heritage’, with tie-in events happening throughout the open season. ‘Dutch’ weekend, a visit from the famous Dutch rabbit ‘Neintje’ over Easter, and ‘A Taste of Holland’ weekend are just some of the events taking place over the eight weeks. Even if you don’t make it on one of these special weekends, you can still see a mosaic of the Amsterdam Canals which will be there all season, as well as authentic 16th and 17th-century bulbs which can not only be seen at the gardens but also at the Rijksmuseum in central Amsterdam, too."