Blooming Marvellous break in the Netherlands

Trevor Smith on 18 April 2008
Being lucky enough to have been a coach driver / tour manager with some of the major coach operators in the UK, and touring the UK and Europe on a regular basis for around fourteen years, I had the ideal knowledge to arrange our short break!

Two groups of friends and some family wanted to go to the Netherlands and visit Keukenhof Gardens for an extended day!

There was no operator that matched this request ideally and with my connections in the coach industry and still holding my driving entitlement for PCV (Passenger Carrying Vehicles) I jumped at the chance to book that ideal break to satisfy the groups request.

I booked the four star Golden Tulip Hotel at Lisse which on the map was the ideal location for visiting Keukenhof Gardens for the day. The hotel was an excellent choice as some of my guests had limited walking ability and so we all had ground floor rooms.

Talking through with my clients, we decided to make three varied and interesting days of our three day, two night break to the Netherlands.

On Friday, we called in on the town of Ypres in Belgium for lunch, but also to view the majestic Menim Gate, a great monument to those who sacrificed so much for us today back in the 1914-1918 war. Ypres is a great stop off point for all, with a variety of restaurants, bars and street cafes as well as the infamous Belgium chocolate shops.

Making our trip into Holland via Antwerp and Rotterdam we were extremely pleased with my choice of hotel, the views across the bulb fields (in full bloom at this time of year) was a delight on the eyes and enforced the fact that we were in the great Dutch Bulfields!

Keukenhof was not disappointing either, being just a few minutes (six actually) away from the hotel, we could enjoy seven hours viewing the vast array of colours of all the different flowers available. We even enjoyed a cruise round the some of the Bulbfields for a little under an hour.

Keukenhof Gardens is a show piece garden with all the major suppliers in the Netherlads putting on their best shows. For me the Orchid House was the most impressive display, with so many varieties.

The Orchid House is a four star hotel with a great restaurant and will be the venue of our repeat journey in 2009 to see the great Flower Parade held of the weekend of 24 April 2009.

Our return journey bought us down the coastline and across the Main and Rhine Delta ending up in Sluis for a visit before a lunchtime visit to Brugge - a venue that can be visited at any time of the year.