Aside from the Disney World, I’ve never really considered going to a theme park-come resort. But Jo Addison from Kiddie Holidays has opened my eyes to a whole new family holiday. Jo, from Yorkshire, has two young boys and a wealth of travelling experience. She has brilliant tips and ideas over on her blog and, this week, I’m pleased she’s sharing with us what she got up to in Duinrell in Holland.
Over to you, Jo…
Having two energetic boys aged two and five means that the main thing we look for in a family holiday is something to entertain them! They love being outside, exploring new places and finding new playgrounds, so we look for somewhere where there is plenty to do in the local area for young children (whatever the weather!).
Where did you go?
We went to Holland. We caught the overnight ferry from Hull to Rotterdam and stayed at Duinrell, which is a holiday park with a theme park and water park onsite just outside the town of Wassenaar.
We had heard positive things about Duinrell for young children in particular. The theme park isn’t as vast as Alton Towers in the UK for example, but there are loads of rides and attractions which are more suitable for little ones. The indoor water park has a wave pool and water slides which we thought the boys would like too. Plus, Duinrell is near to the beach and close to other towns in Holland that we wanted to explore.
Tell us about the accommodation
We booked a Miffy Style holiday home through Eurocamp. Miffy is a rabbit character which is popular with young children, and the whole holiday home was kitted out in Miffy memorabilia! There were Miffy DVDs, pictures, toys, books and even a Miffy style lamp!
The holiday home/caravan had three bedrooms; one of which was a nursery – ideal for our youngest son, who was one at the time. This had a wooden cot in it, a changing table and a box of toys, while the other bedroom had bunk beds which my eldest son loved! Outside, there was an enclosed garden with a hammock, a playhouse and a little ride-on toy.
What did the kids get up to?
• The theme park and water park is on the same site as the accommodation, so all the rides and attractions are within a few minutes walk of where you are staying. You show ID to enter the park, but once inside you can wander freely without having to show tickets. This was excellent for us as when the one-year-old had a lunchtime nap, my husband and I could take it in turns to look after him, whilst the other took our four-year-old on some rides.
• There is a fantastic playground as soon as you enter the park which our boys loved. This had roundabouts, slides, climbing frames and was surrounded by lots of cafes and restaurants. There are also boat rides, mini roller coasters, trampolines and car rides which are particularly suitable for toddlers and younger children.
• The waterpark had a separate toddler swimming pool and toddler slide which was perfect for our children. You do have to pay extra for the waterpark but it isn’t much.
• There is also bike hire available at Duinrell, or alternatively you can bring your own bikes. My eldest son and I used to enjoy cycling round the park exploring, or going to the nearest town of Wassenaar for an ice cream.
• The beach is only four miles away from Duinrell too. This was a little ‘windswept’ in October, but would be ideal in the summer months.
Your most memorable moment/s of the trip?
The excitement on the boys’ face when they saw the massive ferry we were going to ‘sleep on’ on the way there through to spending happy mornings at the theme park and afternoons at the water park. The boys were exhausted by bedtime! We also had a few days exploring southern Holland.
Are there any sights or activities you want to shout about?
Holland is quite small so we were able to get out an about and visit towns such as Leiden, Edam and Gouda. The Kinderdijk windmills were a particular highlight – they were still stunning even though they were shrouded in fog when we visited!
Was it good value for money?
Yes – very. Because everything is on one site, it meant we could go to the theme park/water park in the morning and go back to our holiday home for lunch rather than buying anything. There was a supermarket onsite at Duinrell which was slightly more than the larger supermarkets but still reasonable.
Your top tip/s for the area?
• Try the Dutch pancakes –they are to die for!
• Continuing with the food theme – make sure you pick up some Edam and Gouda cheese, too!
• Take your bikes – Holland is so bike friendly and it is a fab way to get around.
• If you are self catering, take a little box with store cupboard ingredients such as oil, salt, herbs, spices so you don’t need to buy it there.
Which photo is your favourite and why?
I love this photo of the boys on a day out at Leiden. It was great to be able to get out and explore as well as having the theme park on our doorstep.
Would you recommend to a friend?
Yes, I would definitely recommend it! We would love to go back.
What are the five holiday essentials you couldn’t live without?
• Definitely my phone – not because I can’t do without Facebook and Twitter whilst I am away, but because I am always taking photos and videos of my boys!
• My diary – I love writing down what we did each day so we can look back on it later.
• My notepad – I always feel inspired when I am away and love to write down any new ideas I get straight away before I forget them.
• A guidebook – I love reading everything about the places we visit from the history, politics to the geography and culture.
• Some good books for my boys. We love reading so I like getting them some new books to read on the trip.
What is your most favourite place in the whole world and why?
We loved Argentina (pre kids!), but this year we have had fantastic holidays in Northumberland, The Lake District and North Wales so I would have to say the UK!
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