2019 saw us back in The Netherlands once again. On top of our usual visit to Duinrell, we arranged a week in Hulshorst, in the province of Gelderland.
We took the overnight ferry from Hull to Rotterdam again, taking our car with bikes on the back. After years of doing the tunnel crossing, then driving through France and Belgium, we now prefer the more relaxed nature of the overnight ferry. Especially as it involves much less driving.
At some point, I’d love to do the journey, car-free. Though I’m having some trouble persuading the family on this. Maybe one day…
We arrived on the Sunday of the first week of our trip at the holiday park Droompark Bad Hoophuizen, located in Hulshorst. In previous years, we’ve tended to book holiday homes through Airbnb, so this was a bit of a departure.
Hulshorst itself is a small village located between Harderwijk and Nunspeet. Harderwijk is a small city, located in the geographical centre of The Netherlands, about 50km east of Amsterdam.
The holiday park overlooked Veluwemeer, a long and narrow lake, separating Gelderland and Flevoland. The province of Flevoland is made up of reclaimed land and was originally part of the Zuiderzee, before it was drained. Last year, we stayed on the opposite side of the Zuiderzee in Enkhuizen, you can read more about that trip here.
The weather for the first week was a little mixed. There was some lovely hot days and some slightly colder, overcast days. We managed to avoid any serious rain though, which was good. The holiday park had a lakeside beach with water sports and a modern, clean indoor pool. So there was things to do onsite, whatever the weather.
There isn’t really much in Hulshorst or in the immediate area, though Nunspeet and Harderwijk are just short rides away. While staying at Hulshorst, we visited Apenheul, a free-roaming zoo of primates. We also took opportunity to return to Utrecht, one of our favourite cities.
Cycling in the area around Hulshorst is generally pretty good and there’s decent quality cycling infrastructure along the main routes. The roads around the holiday park didn’t have any cycling infrastructure to speak of. Mostly, this was fine as the roads were very quiet, though they did have quite high 60km/h speed limits.
We really enjoyed our stay at Droompark Bad Hoophuizen. It was a lovely holiday park, with a great location over the lake. The accommodation was fantastic, really clean and modern, though the area we were in was a little quiet.
While the onsite restaurant was pretty good, it wasn’t always open and was reserved for a wedding one evening. The onsite takeaway and shop were pretty poor. This seems to be a common theme of a few holiday parks we’ve stayed at.
For the second week of our trip, we were back in Duinrell for our ninth visit. Like I’ve said before, we never intended to be the kind of people who stay at the same place every year, but it seems we are. Next year might be our last visit though.
If you want to find out more about Duinrell, have a read of my post Duinrell, a family and cycling friendly holiday park in The Netherlands, or some of my other posts featuring Duinrell.
We were lucky to get some great weather in our second week. We did experience a couple of crazy storms some evenings, but the daytime weather was fantastic. As usual, we planned our week around the weather, making the most of the sunshine by going to the beach and out for rides, then going to the theme park and pool when the weather wasn’t so good.
There were five families in total again this year, all of whom had been before. We were spread across Duinrell a bit more than usual, though we still had opportunity to socialise together, choosing a different cabin as a base each night. Probably best, given I’d brought the ukuleles with us (when I’m not going on about cycling, I can often be found helping organise Stretford Uke).
We returned to some of the places we’ve been to many times before, including the beach at Wassenaarse Slag, the miniature park at Madurodam, Leiden and a few trips into Wassenaar. In addition, I took the opportunity to get a bit further afield with rides to Voorburg and Delft.
As I’ve said many times before, cycling around near Duinrell is so great, you don’t need a car while you’re there. There’s so much that’s in riding distance and the safe cycling infrastructure means cycling with the family is a pleasure, not a worry.
If you have kids and you’re looking to experience what The Netherlands has to offer, both on and off the bike, then Duinrell is great option.
2 thoughts on “Netherlands 19”
Have you tried the Efteling in the south of The Netherlands? It is a very nice amusement park to stay for the whole family regardless age. The entrance fee is a bit expensive but definitely worth it. And there are also very nice cycle options near this place (e.g. the Drunense duinen). The nearest largest town is Tilburg (about 10km). ‘s Hertogenbosch is a bigger nearby city and the province capital. It has some nice channels. Though it is slightly further away (about 20km) from the Efteling (the Efteling is located in the town of Kaatsheuvel). Another point of interest is the Biesbosch nature reserve (about 30 km away from Kaatsheuvel).
In or near Kaatsheuvel you can either stay in a hotel. There is the Efteling hotel. Which is expensive. But includes a gaest entrance for the Efteling that opens before the main opening in the morning. This hotel is unique because the whole hotel, including every bedroom, is “themed”. Alternatively, you can stay in the Efteling cabin park. Slightly cheaper (for a family), also themed, and also includes early morning park access. Or find a campsite nearby (there are 2 campsites really close to the park). Camping would be the cheapest option.
If you go for (mainly) only cycling I can recommend the province of Drenthe, in the north-east of The Netherlands. This could be a relatively cheap holiday if you stay on campground(s) only.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks for the suggestion Wim! We’ve looked at Efteling previously, but I’m not sure why we haven’t considered it. We haven’t been to Tilburg or ‘s-Hertogenbosch, but it’s an area we’d like to visit. We’re currently looking for options for this year’s trip to The Netherlands, so we’ll definitely look into it further!