I don't know about you, but spring is definitely my favourite time of year what with the longer, warmer days, and all of the beautiful flowers! My family and I like to get out and about to make the most of the season, and this year we're planning to head to the Netherlands to see the world-famous tulips and flower parade.
Bloemencorso Bollenstreek 2014
This year, the world famous flower parade, Bloemencorso Bollenstreek, will be celebrated between April 30th and May 4th, with the parade itself taking place on Saturday, 3rd May. The parade will start at 09:30 in Noordwijk and will make its slow processions to Haarlem, along a 42km route, arriving at 21:00.
Bloemencorso Bollenstreek Flower Parade
The parade is abundant with colour, with 20 giant floats and 30 cars adorned in flowers, and stunning sculptural designs. It takes millions of flowers and the work of hundreds of volunteers to create the beautiful procession you will see before you. This is considered one of the best flower parades in the world, which means there will be plenty of spectators out on the streets. Claim your spot along the route early if you want to be in the best position possible to admire the floats as they glide past.
If you miss anything, or just want to see them again, all of the floats will be on display in Haarlem until 17:00 on Sunday, 4th May.
Another attraction along the flower parade route is the spectacular Keukenhof Gardens. The parade itself will pass through Keukenhof at around 15:30 on Saturday, 3rd May, which gives you the perfect opportunity to admire both of these floral wonders.
This area of Holland is famous for its bulbs, in particular the tulip fields, colourfully spanning miles of countryside. Keukenhof is the world's biggest flower park, and every year, 7 million of the regions finest bulbs are planted in celebration of spring and the regions horticultural heritage. On display, you will find a breathtaking array of tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, irises, roses, lilies, carnations and orchids. The overall effect is quite the spectacle, with a heady mix of different perfumes.
You don't have to wait until May 3rd to visit Keukenhof, though. The park opened on 20th March and will remain open to visitors until 18th May. To find out more about Keukenhof, visit our dedicated Inspiring Ideas page!
Things to do in the Netherlands
As well as the colourful Bloemencorso Bollenstreek flower parade and the beautiful Keukenhof Gardens, there is plenty to keep you busy in the Netherlands. Noordwijk, where the parade starts, is equidistant between Rotterdam and Amsterdam, both of which are exciting vibrant cities.
If you can't resist calling in to Rotterdam as you drive past, and we can hardly blame you, make sure you visit the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, which boasts one of the finest collections of Dutch masterpieces. If a bit of light shopping is more up your street, then head to the Blaak Market, which is the city's largest and best market, offering all manner of trinkets and treats to delight all the senses. Het Park, Rotterdam's best-loved park, is a great place to escape all the hustle and bustle and relax after a tiring drive.
A trip to the Netherlands wouldn't be complete without a visit to its beautiful capital city, Amsterdam. One of the best ways to take in the sights and truly make the most of this uniquely beautiful city is to hire a bicycle, which gives you the freedom to explore at your leisure. If you only visit one gallery or museum, make it the Van Gogh museum, which is full of some of the most awe-inspiring art works by not only Van Gogh, but also the likes of Monet, Gauguin and Toulouse-Lautrec. A visit to Artis Royal Zoo, the oldest zoo in Europe, is sure to be a special day out for the kids – there are themed habitat zones, an impressive aquarium and even a petting zoo.
However you decide to spend your time in the Netherlands, you are bound to have a holiday that you and your family will never forget!
How to get there
With Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, it takes just 35 minutes to get from the UK to continent, which is the fastest way to cross the Channel. The drive from our Calais terminal onwards to the Netherlands follows a beautiful route that will only take you a short couple of hours.
To get to Noordwijk where Bloemencorso Bollenstreek 2014 will be starting from, it will take about 3 and a half hours to drive there. Simply follow the E40 route from Calais as far as Ghent, where you can then join the E17 route to Antwerp. From here, all you need to do is join up with the E19 that will take you as far as The Hague, where it is then an easy drive on to Noordwijk. We hope you enjoy the flower