In my view, no stay at Duinrell is complete without a trip to Leiden. We’ve been there plenty of times and I’ve covered the route previously in 2015. Though it deserves another post, as there’s changes on the way and we chose a different route on the way back.
Leiden is a smallish old city, with a history dating back to 860. It has the oldest University in The Netherlands and has many typical features of cities here. Rivers, canals and very Dutch architecture. It’s located about 11km away from Duinrell, to the north east.
To get to Leiden, we followed our usual route there along the canal, past Valkenburgse Meer and Stoomtrein Katwijk Leiden.
Starting at Duinrell, we rode along Storm van ‘s-Gravesandeweg and across the junction onto Dr. Mansveltkade. At this point, we were on a mixture of quiet roads with no dedicated cycle infrastructure and at one point a loose stone path.
After passing some farming and industrial buildings, we turned onto a segregated cycleway that took us past some apartment buildings and a small farm where we often stop to feed the animals.
After leaving the farm, we carried on to the cycleway parallel to the canal and past the marina. The route along the canal to Valkenburgse Meer is very picturesque and is always a pleasure to ride.
Arriving at Valkenburgse Meer, we followed the route round the lake, alongside the railway track for Stoomtrein Katwijk Leiden. We then joined the bidirectional cycleway on Ommedijkseweg, passing under the A44 motorway. This is a high quality cycleway of a decent width, with a good surface and is well used.
Continuing towards Leiden, we stopped at the lifting bridge over the Oude Rijn as boats passed below. Once the bridge lowered, we carried on along the cycleway on Haagse Schouwweg.
Next we went through a new underpass going under the N206. This has been under construction for some time, but is now complete. Before it was built, it was necessary to cross on the surface at signalled crossings. The new underpass is much quicker and convenient.
We continued on the route to towards Leiden, on the cycleway parallel to Plesmanlaan. Passing under railway lines and turning left towards Leiden Centraal.
We then arrived at the station itself and at the bus station. At this stage, the segregated cycleways disappear and you’re left with paint on road cycle lanes. Mixing this with large numbers of buses makes for quite an unpleasant experience, particularly riding with kids. The cycling infrastructure in this area is definitely in need of an upgrade.
We parked the bikes up at Beestenmarkt, had lunch and went for a boat trip and a wander around the city. This made for a very enjoyable afternoon. Leiden is a lovely city, with fantastic buildings and canals and a really pleasant atmosphere.
After we’d finished, we set about getting back to Duinrell. We decided on a different route, hoping to see some different sites. That didn’t quite work out, as we chose to follow a Google Maps route, which wasn’t brilliant.
We initially set off along the cycleway next to the N206, crossing a few junctions and passing a windmill. Despite the size of the road here, there wasn’t much traffic and it was a reasonably pleasant experience.
We turned off onto Verdistraat and carried on straight as we passed over Korte Vliet, a waterway connected to the Oude Rijn and built to enable boats to bypass Leiden.
We carried on along Trompweg, passing under De Vink Station, which has a convenient underpass for cycles. Once out the other side, we continued through some housing estates with quiet roads and Stevenspark.
We were soon on Rijksstraatweg, which runs parallel with the A44. Although quite narrow with just painted lanes, there were quite a few cars going fast and overtaking in both directions. This made for quite an unpleasant experience.
At this point, Google Maps tried to direct us across a footbridge over the A44, near the ABF sports club. As tempting as this was, we weren’t about to carry a bunch of bikes and a trailer up the steps. Maybe back in the UK, but not here. One of the perils of using Google Maps, even when using cycling directions.
Instead, we carried on until we got to the junction with the A44. This enabled us to get over to the other side and onto the streets leading to Duinrell. We were now back on segregated cycleways and away from overtaking cars, something we were glad of.
Soon, we were back in Duinrell. After a very enjoyable day out in Leiden and riding in the sunshine.
Back to part part 8 – The route to Stoomtrein Katwijk Leiden