The skies are blue, you’re feeling energetic and you want to get your family out and about and get some fresh air. Then put on some comfy shoes, pack a drink and go and explore some of the Magical Woodlands that Holland has to offer. Each woodland area is beautiful in its own right and all are lovingly looked after. The Dutch have even created special wildlife crossings called ‘ecoducts’ to allow wildlife to safely cross over motorways and railways. You can be sure to find plenty to keep your whole family entertained.
Here are our top 5 tips for finding the Magical Woodland that suits you….
1. A bird’s eye view
In the east of Drenthe you can take a visit to Buitencentrum Boomkroonpad. For a small price (free for under 4’s) you can take a walk into the woods and climb up and along the treetop walk ways. Yes! Allow yourself to enjoy the beauty of nature as far as the eye can see. Naturally this isn’t suitable for prams but once you have found your way up the staircase entrance from within a large tree trunk, the walkways are long and enclosed, allowing for all your family to participate. This walk is just about the right length for younger children and once back on the ground you can collect your pram and venture out on your own ‘walk’ through the woods. Routes for this are indicated by colours as well as in Dutch, meaning that chidren can be involved in navigating your route. There is even a 3km walk which is signposted by colourful gnomes, just perfect for keeping the pace going. Along this route you will also come across small play areas and little streams and a small lake, all perfect for a little pit stop if your legs are getting weary. Then head back to the cafe for a snack or ice cream to reward yourselves. Just around the corner from this activity centre is the Dutch version of Stonehenge albeit on a much smaller scale. It dates back to the ice age when these large stones were transported from Scandinavia and later erected into the shapes you will discover. A historic find indeed, but for children they also make the perfect climbing frame or game of hide and seek!
2. Get on your (free) bike
If it’s unending stunning scenery you’re after, beautiful architecture, famous masterpieces, having a picnic or terrace lunch and even large open sandy plains, then look no further than The Hoge Veluwe National Park. This park is situated in the province of Gelderland and expands over 55 square kilometers. A huge 65% of the area is made up of woodland from a variety of birch, oak, beech and pine trees. You can access the fenced park by one of its three entrances. This is where you will find the unique white bikes that The Hoge Veluwe is renowned for. They provide an enormous 1800 free bikes for visitors, including children’s bikes, tricycles and bikes with child seats. What’s more, no cars are allowed!
There are a range of different cycle routes to choose from but we feel that either ‘The Landscape Path ‘or ‘The Experience Route’ are most suitable for families with young children. The latter invites you to explore your journey through the senses whilst the first will guide you to many of the famous sights including the Kröller-Müller museum which houses Picasso, Van Gogh and Mondiraan works and also takes you to the large sandy plains within the woodlands. Keep your eyes peeled for reptiles, red deer, foxes and more…….. who knows what your little explorer may find!
If all of this sounds exhausting then you could pay a visit to Ermelo or Putten instead. These villages also sit within the Veluwe but you can soak up much of the woodland beauty without having to venture quite so far. If we can twist your arm, a little bike ride will take you through their natural surroundings which we are sure you won’t regret.
3. Be in 3 countries at the same time!
Southern Limburg has much to offer in terms of beauty, culture, tradition and nature. Let’s begin with the unique attraction called Drielandenpunt which translated means ‘Three land point.’ It is here that you will find the exact point where Germany, Belgium and Holland meet. Once you’ve captured the obligatory family photo you won’t be dissapointed by the rest that is on offer here too. You can easily consider this a ‘day out’ as you will discover a wonderful large playground area, a water play area and a restaurant.
If your little ones are seeking more adventure then you can take part in one of the walking packages which are free for under 4’s. A 4.5 km package, suitable for families begins with refreshments and ends by completing the beautifully manicured labyrinth (the largest in Europe). Do you dare?
This area of southern Limburg is also home to Heuvelland meaning Hill Land. It has been described as one of the most beautiful regions in Holland and we can see why, with it’s vineyards, historic villages and nostalgia. Here in the south of Holland you will discover that this so called ‘flat’ country is not so flat at all, and you can enjoy contrasting landscape to its other provinces. Naturally. this beautiful landscape can be explored through its woodlands and national parks.
4. Like the locals do it…
Let’s not forget about the cities either! Amsterdam alone has its own woods, the ‘Amsterdamse Bos’ which includes a large lake, children’s paddling pool, horse riding, goat farm and of course a pancake house!!! This wonderful expanse of woodland is easily accessible from the city centre and during the summer months an old fashioned tram can take you there from the city Tram museum. What we really like about Amsterdamse Bos is an attraction called ‘Miniport.’ This is located on its large lake and children from 4 years can become the captain of their very own boat. What’s more they can choose between a boat in the design of a life boat, cruise ship or police boat!
Dotted around the city are exploration centres within parks which invite children to learn how to make catapults, cook bread over an open fire and to use the natural resources to build huts and rafts and REALLY try them out. This is a real favourite with those children who love to be hands on. Look out for Woeste Westen or Jeugdland to name a few. We hope you packed those wellies after all!!
5. At the heart of the matter
Last but not least we bring you the Utrechtse Heuvelrug. This enormous national park is situated right in the heart of The Netherlands. Backing onto many homes and holiday parks you can enter into an experience that you just didn’t expect. Take a short walk and you can come upon the huge expanse of open sandy plains which then continue into woodland again. It is easy to visit this national park over and over again as each time you can visit one of its different attractions. These include walking routes, farms, traditional buildings with activities to keep your children busy on a rainy day, a variety of places to eat and play areas too. This national park is high on our recommendations for a fun day out or a short visit.
Using local knowledge to bring you the best baby and toddler accommodation, attractions and toddler friendly activities.