Back in June my Mom came to visit from the USA and we took the kids to Duinrell Amusement Park in Wassenaar, Netherlands. I had read great reviews and joined a group on Facebook that had tons of information. The trip has now hooked me onto holiday parks. We travel a lot and part of being able to afford so many trips is by staying low budget without compromising the important things (like sight seeing, eating locally etc).
I ended up booking a 3 bedroom Cosy with A/C from Canvas Holidays (at the time they were slightly cheaper than Eurocamp and booking directly with the site). It felt like a bargain for only £350 (I’ve since found that if you book through the Polish Eurocamp site you can pay half that in the off season). I also prebooked with DFDS the ferry from Dover to Dunkirk. I tend to do the ferry over the Eurotunnel usually because it’s cheaper and I don’t really mind the town time. I also always book a morning ferry to France and stay the night in Dover which I enjoy.
Dover, England- Night before we leave
We live less than three hours from Dover so I booked my favorite Travelodge that I’ve stayed at 3 times now. It’s close to the waterfront, near the castle and also lots of places to eat within walking distance. It’s a 5 minute drive to the port. We are English Heritage members and hadn’t been to the castle yet so that was our first stop when coming into town. We went to Cullins Yard for dinner and then had dessert at the new dessert place Kaspas which was right next to the hotel (we have one at home and are obsessed).
Arrival Day- Brugge lunch and Checking in
We caught an early ferry to Dunkirk. The ferry takes about 2 hours and gave us time to eat some breakfast, play some cards and just relax. It’s a nice way to see the Cliffs of Dover also. The drive from Dunkirk to Wassenaar is just over 3 hours but we knew we’d want to stop for lunch on the way and decided Brugge would be a nice place to stop since we’d never been there before. I did some research ahead of time and we parked at t’ Zand parking garage, from there it was an easy walk into the center. I knew we wanted waffles so we went to House of Waffles and stopped in the town square and went into some shops (hello chocolate).
We spent a couple hours in Brugge and then were on our way. We didn’t want to arrive too far before check in time at Duinrell because we didn’t want to have to wait. We went the wrong way into the park accidentally going into the area for day guests but relatively quickly found our way in the right direction. Check in was pretty easy, we did have to pay for a tourist tax which was pretty minimal. We had printed passport style photos through Boots before we came so we wouldn’t have to use their photo booth for our passes to get into the park. It was less than £1 for 3 4×6 filled pages and I used this website to resize and print off of. The Tikibad (indoor water park) does cost extra if you don’t book direct with Duinrell, but considering the hundreds we saved I didn’t mind.
Tikibad prices: 5.50EU for 2 hours, 6.50 EU for 3 hours, and 7.50EU for all day (if you leave you have to repay though).
We were booked in the Middenveld area of the holiday park which was very close to the main building with small supermarket and some restaurant options. It was only 5 minute walk to the entrance to the amusement park.
Duinrell Amusement Park
We spent 2-3 days at the amusement park scattered throughout the week. The other days we did day trips. Sometimes we came back and went to the park for just an hour or two. Other days we went to the Tikibad for a couple hours. My kids favorite rides were the swings, the rollercoasters and a ride that was like an airplane. We rode all of these multiple times.
There’s loads of information on the rides and the Tikibad here on Duinrell’s website also.
We in large part used the holiday park to base camp for day trips around the Netherlands. The first day trip we did was Delft. We drove and parked at one of the parking garages and then walked the shops. It was smaller than I expected and I wasn’t really feeling doing the museums with the kids. We all had fun sampling cheese, doing some shopping, walking the canal some and we had a nice lunch in the square.
We used the public transportation from the holiday park to go to Amsterdam. In hindsight I feel like I should have just drove because it was pretty expensive in my opinion (16 euros just to get to Den Haag by bus one way, then the train tickets which wasn’t that bad but then another 16 euros for the bus back, it was about 70 euros total for 4 people). Next trip we will either drive to the train station in Voorschoten, use one of the park and rides which is only 1 euro to park in, or park at NDSM and take the free ferry. I’ll update after we do it in next year but leaning towards NDSM.
I had prebooked us tickets for Anne Frank House. They do not offer these tickets same day usually so you have to plan ahead. I was glad we did it and my daughter was the perfect age to really start understanding it. We did a canal cruise which unfortunately the kids got kind of bored of and it took quite a long time. I think next time I will take them to the NEMO museum which I hear is really nice. I thought I’d like Amsterdam more than I did, but I honestly preferred the towns we explored more.