Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Fun for all the family on a trip to the Netherlands

The Netherlands offers so much for families who holiday there.
The Netherlands offers so much for families who holiday there.

Following two years of cancelled trips and long waits for refunds, it was great to finally get on a plane again and return to the Netherlands.

After two enjoyable trips to this area in the past, it was a natural choice for us to return.

Our good mood was slightly dented after landing at Amsterdam Airport. The queues for non-EU travellers at passport control were so long that staff were not even allowing passengers out of the terminal and towards the immigration area.

Thankfully our kids remained in a good humour throughout the lengthy wait, and eventually we reclaimed our baggage and headed towards the car rental desks.

Then came a more pleasant surprise – the rarely spotted upgrade. We had reserved a mid-sized electric car, but were given the keys to a Tesla Model S.

The Netherlands is far from being one of Europe’s largest countries, but it has more charging points than anywhere else in the EU, with around 80,000 locations. This helped to remove any anxiety about range for our vehicle.

The other noticeable difference was that not only were charging stations much more frequent, but the availability of rapid-charge points was much more common than in Scotland.

“Jungalow” accommodation at the Beekse Bergen Safari Park.

Our choice of holiday venue was Beekse Bergen Safari Park near Tilburg, just north of the Dutch border with Belgium.

For those on a larger budget, the park offers cottages and treehouses which overlook some of the animal enclosures. We stayed in the holiday park area, which offers themed bungalows and camping. Our accommodation was functional rather than fancy, but perfectly suitable for a week-long stay.

As well as a huge range of animals to see in the safari park, Beekse Bergen also has an amusement park and kids’ club, with activities for younger children every day of the week.

A picturesque gondola trip at Efteling. 

Admittance to all three attractions is included for overnight visitors, and given the changeable weather during our stay, we were glad of the diversions.

Guests are also issued with a pass which allows free entry to several other attractions owned by the same parent company.

A short drive from Beekse Bergen is the Netherlands’ most-visited attraction, Efteling. In fact, despite not being particularly well known in the UK, Efteling is Europe’s fourth most popular theme park, well ahead of rivals such as Legoland and Port Aventura.

Efteling, the most-visited attraction in the Netherlands. 

The secret of its success seems to be in the storytelling, with music enhancing each attraction. Although there are some rollercoasters, the park is perhaps best for primary school aged children. The park is large, but perfectly walkable, and has a very relaxed ambience.

For those who would prefer to stay on-site, the Efteling complex also includes two hotels and a holiday park with a range of self-catering options.

There are numerous day-trip options in the Tilburg area, with Eindhoven and Rotterdam less than an hour away by train.

We were lured across the border to Belgium to one of Antwerp’s newest attractions, Chocolate Nation. This is one of the world’s largest chocolate museums, and as well as a fascinating look into the story behind Belgian chocolate, there was the obligatory tasting session at the end.

Unsurprisingly, this proved very difficult to drag our kids away from.

Chocolate Nation is situated directly opposite Antwerp’s main railway station, so it makes for a very straightforward visit.

Our son has gone slightly dinosaur mad over the last 12 months, so he loved our visit to Het Oertijdmuseum, the largest geological museum in the country.

Dinosaur pancakes for lunch in Tilburg.

Along with a selection of dinosaur skeletons, the attraction has a large dinosaur trail, with a vast number of replicas. Although most of the printed descriptions are in Dutch, my son soon discovered that a version in English was available if we scanned the QR code, which led to more work for me than I might have planned at the outset.

Meanwhile, my wife and daughter amused themselves at the excellent high-ropes adventure centre in nearby Vught. There was a wide range of options for different ability levels, along with a high net park for younger children.

Fun on the high ropes in the forest at Vught.

The centre has a great setting next to a lakeside beach, with a restaurant that is very popular with locals.

As with our previous trips, the Netherlands is a very easy place to enjoy. Although many visitors don’t venture beyond Amsterdam, there is so much to see in the rest of the country.

Despite the fact that this was our third visit, I’m fairly sure we’ll be back with our kids sometime in the near future.

Travel facts
A kids’ bungalow at Beekse Bergen Holiday Park costs £800 for seven nights (including access to the safari and amusement park)
Beekse Bergen 1, 5081 NJ Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands