From canal-side cafés to historic windmills, artistic masterpieces to ground-breaking architecture - Holland has a lot going for it, and we haven’t even mentioned the tulips yet. We can’t think of a better way to spend the Spring than touring this enchanting land.
The most important thing about spring in Holland is, of course, flowers, flowers, flowers! Two-thirds of the region has been set aside for agriculture; and the floral displays we encounter on our tour highlight the wonder of this. The world-famous Keukenhof is home to more than 7 million bulbs, which are planted here annually. Cast your eyes across an endless display of different Tulip, Daffodil and Hyacinth varieties. Then there are the grand gardens of Het Loo Palace, quite rightly recognised as one of Europe’s finest formal gardens. The late Dutch interpretation of the Italian-French garden dates back to the 17th century. Join us as we travel through attractive towns and historic cities. Amsterdam is ripe for rambling: with its compact core, atmospheric lanes and iconic canals. That’s not to mention Arnhem, the city of everevolving names; Nijmegen, on the Waal river; medieval Utrecht; and Holland’s oldest city, Dordrecht.
We also take the opportunity to view the artworks inspired by Holland’s captivating landscape at the Rijksmuseum. Discover iconic works of world-famous Old Masters - including Rembrandt, Vermeer and Frans Hals - across an expansive collection of more than 8,000 pieces of art and history.
Friday 7 April 2017
We depart by coach from our local pick-up point for Dover in time to catch a mid-morning ferry to Calais. On arrival in France we will head northwards through Belgium stopping en route for refreshments (not included) and continue to our hotel, the 4-star NH Noordwijk Hotel & Conference Centre Leeuwenhorst (or similar), where dinner is served in the evening.
Saturday 8 April 2017
Following breakfast we will depart for a visit to the gardens at Het Loo Palace near the charming town of Apeldoorn. This was the medieval castle of Prince William of Orange and is now recognised as one of Europe's finest formal gardens. When the Dutch Royal Family decided that it would no longer use the palace in 1969 the Government opted to turn it into a museum fully restoring the formal seventeenth century garden to its original state. The palace's type of baroque garden is unique to the Netherlands. It is a late Dutch interpretation of the Italian-French garden dating from the first quarter of the seventeenth century. The exotic flowers and plants and the constant supply of fresh water for the fountains must have made the gardens of Het Loo a spectacular sight worth seeing even then. Your guide will advise you on the best areas to visit.
In the afternoon we visit drive to the country house and garden of De Wiersse, described by a leading Dutch newspaper as “The most beautiful garden in the Netherlands”. Surrounded by farmland and woods lies the moated manor house, with 38 acres of garden and 74 acres of landscaped parkland lived in, designed and managed by the same family since 1678. In this historic and beautifully-kept garden a sequence of surprises awaits the visitor avenues and pergolas; meadows and formal parterres; fountains and statues and bridges over a gentle stream. The majestic structure of the wild garden, with walks beneath ancient trees and a serpentine beech tunnel, is balanced by a practical kitchen and cutting garden and an intimate sunken garden with wide English borders.
We return to our hotel for dinner.
Sunday 9 April 2017
After breakfast we depart for Amsterdam, where you are free to explore the city at leisure, an opportunity to explore some of the many attractions of this historic and cultured city. Top of the bill for many will be the Rijksmuseum, now fully open once again after a major refurbishment. Its collection of world famous Old Masters is second to none and includes a host of works from the Dutch Golden Age by artists such as Vermeer, Franz Hals and Rembrandt, including his 1642 masterpiece ‘The Nightwatch’.
Amsterdam is truly a haven for museum buffs - other museums in the city include the Van Gogh Museum, the Maritime Museum, the Theatre Museum, the Modern Art Museum and there is even a Tea and Coffee Museum. Visit the De Oude Kerk, one of the many spectacular churches in Amsterdam or stroll through the narrow streets which link the major canals. Here you will find unexpected little shops which specialise in everything from kites to beer. Alternatively we have arranged an optional one hour Canal Cruise through the narrow canals in the centre of Amsterdam - the perfect way to see this unique city (price to be confirmed).
We return to our hotel where dinner is served in the evening.
Monday 10 April 2017
Following breakfast this morning we check out of the hotel and head to one of the most famous gardens in the world - Keukenhof. This is the bulb grower's magnificent display of all the different Tulip, Daffodil and Hyacinth varieties. Over 6 million bulbs are planted annually and around one million visitors pass through it from mid-March to mid-May - it is truly breathtaking. We will also tour through the area surrounding Lisse including Noordwijkerhout and Hillegom where you will be astounded by the fields of colour which open up in front of your very eyes.
Later, we continue to Calais to catch an early evening P & O ferry to Dover and return to our original pick-up points where we expect to arrive later in the evening.
- Three nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast at the 4-star NH Noordwijk Hotel & Conference Centre Leeuwenhorst (or similar). All rooms have private facilities
- Return Channel ferry crossings
- Comfortable coaching throughout
- Entrance to Het Loo Palace and Gardens, De Wiersse Gardens and Keukenhof Gardens
- Services of a Brightwater Holidays Representative
- Single supplement £165.00
- Insurance £39.00 (under 65); £78.00 (65-74); £117.00 (75-90)
- Optional Canal Cruise Price to be advised
Hillier Garden Centre Braishfield 07.00 21.00
Hillier Garden Centre Newbury 08.00 20.00
Hiller Garden Centre Sunningdale 09.00 19.00
Please note all timings are approximate and may be changed. They will be confirmed when the joining instructions are sent out, approximately ten days prior to departure.