Monday 8 May 2023

A Guide to Keukenhof Botanical Gardens: 5 Things to do on your visit

Nestled in the picturesque town of Lisse, the Keukenhof Botanical Gardens is a horticultural masterpiece that captivates visitors from around the world. Known as the "Garden of Europe," Keukenhof is a floral paradise that showcases the beauty and diversity of nature in all its splendour.

Open for just a few months each year and with millions of vibrant tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and other magnificent blooms, the gardens offer a sensory feast of colours, scents, and awe-inspiring landscapes. Steeped in rich history and conveniently located near Amsterdam, Keukenhof Botanical Gardens is a must-visit destination for those seeking an unforgettable experience immersed in the beauty of flowers and nature.

1. Stunning Tulip Displays
Renowned for its stunning tulip displays, Keukenhof features over seven million bulbs in full bloom throughout the months of March, April and May. Famous for its breathtaking displays, the gardens boast a variety of colours and patterns creating a truly magical sight you won't want to miss. Throughout the opening months, you'll be able to wander amongst the flower trails, book tickets to enjoy the Whisper Boat trip that takes you along the waterways as well as take in the various flower shows that take place during the season.

The bulb fields bloom at their best depending on the weather:
March - blooms depending on the weather.
April - first blooming bulb fields in early April; most bulb fields will be in bloom by the second half of the month.
May: final bulb fields will be blooming.

2. Beautiful Landscapes
The main draw to Keukenhof is of course the beautiful landscapes - in addition to the tulips, you can discover a huge variety of other flowers and plants all arranged in intricately created landscapes throughout the gardens. It creates a hugely diverse and beautiful experience and while there is so much to discover outside, be sure not to miss their displays inside. 

In 2023, we were able to discover a variety of colourful flowers and plants on display in the Willem-Alexander Pavilion. Next to the 500 varieties of tulips, you will find cut tulips, amaryllis, various potted plants and bulb-on-pot with the season ending with an impressive lily show.

You'll also have the opportunity to purchase a huge array of bulbs, flowers and plants before leaving the gardens and if you're restricted by customs - you can order online too.

3. Don't miss the fun activities for children around the gardens
Keukenhof offers a huge range of activities for visitors, including boat tours, cycling, and walking tours. There are also various exhibitions and shows, such as the Flower Parade, that takes place during the season. Being hugely family-friendly, it would be such a great place to experience with children too.

The fun and interactive treasure hunt gives children the opportunity to embark on an exciting adventure to find hidden clues and solve puzzles throughout the gardens or you can head to the Children's Pavilion where they can engage in arts and crafts, face painting, and interactive exhibits that teach them about nature and gardening. 

Adjacent to the gardens you'll find a separate children's farm called Miffy Farm based on the popular children's book character and there's a petting farm where children can get up close and personal with friendly farm animals. You'll also find the playground featuring swings, slides, climbing structures, and other fun equipment, allowing children to play and enjoy themselves in a safe and enjoyable environment. 

4. Rich in History
The history of Keukenhof dates back to the 15th century. Countess Jacoba van Beieren (Jacqueline of Bavaria 1401-1436) gathered fruit and vegetables from the Keukenduin (kitchen dunes) for the kitchen of Teylingen Castle which was built in 1641. The estate then grew to encompass an area of over 200 hectares. Landscape architects Jan David Zocher and his son Louis Paul Zocher, who also designed Amsterdam's Vondelpark, redesigned the castle gardens in 1857 and that park still constitutes the basis of Keukenhof today.

In 1949, a group of influential flower bulb growers and exporters came together to create a flower exhibition to showcase the Netherlands' world-renowned flower industry. They chose Keukenhof as the site for this exhibition due to its picturesque location and rich history - the first Keukenhof Flower Exhibition was held in 1950 and has since become an annual event.

Today, Keukenhof is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Netherlands and continues to attract visitors from all over the world.

5. Convenient Location:
Keukenhof is located in Lisse, just a short drive from Amsterdam (25 miles southwest of the city), making it easily accessible for tourists and cruise excursions from the port in Rotterdam. The gardens are open for only a few months each year (typically from late March to mid-May), so be sure to plan your visit accordingly to make the most of your time there. Visitors can reach the gardens by car, public transportation, or organized tours. There are ample parking facilities available for those who prefer to drive, and regular bus services run from nearby cities and towns. 

Situated in the heart of the Dutch flower-growing region known as the "Bollenstreek" or the "Flower Strip." The area is renowned for its vast fields of colourful flowers, especially tulips, which are in full bloom during the spring season.

A visit to Keukenhof Botanical Gardens is a truly enchanting experience that delights visitors of all ages thanks to its journey into the world of flowers and nature. Whether you're a flower enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a day of beauty and tranquillity, Keukenhof is a must-visit destination that will leave you with cherished memories and a renewed appreciation for the wonders of nature.

See more from Keukenhof via their website - Welcome to Keukenhof 

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