Windmills, museums, theme parks, tropical indoor swimming pools, and bikes…lots of bikes! Holland is the underrated holiday destination!
Easter is the perfect time for getting away with the family, the school holiday is long, and the bank holidays mean annual leave goes a long way! As the weather is still likely to be quite cold we started by looking at the “usual” UK holiday destinations such as Centre Parcs, which would guarantee an indoor pool and a relaxed break for us all! We were shocked to find that a 4 night break in our local Centre Parcs would cost us £1000, so we started looking for alternative options…..and thats how we found Duinrell.
With some careful planning our Easter Break for 5 people, including flights, accommodation, transfer and pool access cost us £400.
Duinrell Campsite / Theme park is located 45 minutes away from Amsterdam, near the picturesque small town of Wassenaar. Holland is, in my opinion, a completely under rated holiday destination! Duinrell aside we loved what Holland had to offer as a family holiday.
If you are interested in exploring Holland check out our Amsterdam and Keukenhoff blog.
With very cheap flights from the UK to Amsterdam ( £144 return for a family of 5), and an abundance of indoor activities, its the perfect choice for an Easter break. The holiday park / campsite offers residents access to the onsite theme park with 40 rides, an indoor water pool complex which boasts over 16 slides, and is a tropical paradise. Perfect for holidays when the weather isn’t guaranteed!
Typically when booked through Duinrell site directly a 5 night break would cost 700 Euros before flights. This is really quite reasonable given the price of the UK resorts (which don’t have theme park access), but as with most things I was sure there must be a cheaper way to do it!
How to do it for Less :
- Check out the other accommodation providers on site, these include Eurocamp and Alfresco. NB: You will need to search for Wassenar and not Duinrell (They are on the same campsite). You will have full access to the theme park and access to the pool at a reduced rate of 5 Euros per person.
- Look for Alfresco deals on Groupon, At the time of booking we paid £85 for a weeks stay in a 2 bedroom mobile home with Alfresco. This included £15 discount as it was the first time my husband had bought a Groupon. Even with the additional charge for swimming this was very good value. (despite booking for 1 week as this was the offer, we used only 5 days to fit with school holidays)
- Look at dates at the end of the holidays, we stayed for the last 5 days of the School Easter Holidays, yes it meant we went straight back to school the day after, but going right to the last day saved a lot of money. (plus as the flight is only 1 hour you don’t have too much travel fatigue to contend with).
- Use skyskanner to find the cheapest flight, our flights for a family of 5 cost £144 return Liverpool-Amsterdam. (Less than the train to London).
- Consider Transfers, public transport isn’t always the cheapest option: Trains in Holland are very easy and reliable, but not cheap. We used taxi 2 airport with a cost of £100 return. Given we were only staying for 5 nights, and planned to do some public transport travel when we were there this was a great option.
Our total holiday costs including transfer for 5 days was £404! Given that as a family of five a trip to Gullivers world theme park costs us £89 this really was excellent value. We absolutely loved our time at Duinrell, and having the opportunity to spend a day in Amsterdam and Keukenhoff was an added bonus. It really was a holiday to remember, and I wouldn’t hesitate to return.
The campsite is set up in such a way that cars are not allowed close to the mobile homes, this is excellent, as the grassed/ hedged locations are completely safe for the children, no risk they will run into the road. There are clean toilet / shower blocks on site, along with facilities for washing and drying clothes if needed.
Most of the kids got around on either bikes or go-karts, both available to rent for a cost of 8 Euro per day. We didn’t hire any at this time, as our trip was short and we had jam packed days, so didn’t think it was worth it, but the kids enjoyed the go-karts available in the theme park itself. If staying in the summer we would definitely hire the bikes, as the local beach is only 15 minutes away, and the numerous cycle paths makes it a safe way to travel around.
Our accommodation with Alfresco had everything we needed, felt spacious, and we even managed a BBQ on the gas one provided.
Shopping and Restaurants:
The plaza in the centre of the campsite offers both a takeaway and restaurant, along with a supermarket. The takeaway sells the usual, burgers, nuggets and fries. The prices were pretty expensive with a family portion of chips costing 10 Euros and Pizzas 10 Euros (these were cooked in a wood fired oven, but it would soon add up if buying 5.
The supermarket although not extortionate was significantly more expensive than the local Aldi that could be found in the local Village (20 minute walk away). As we arrived late on our first day we ate Pizza take-out and headed to the shop in the village the next morning.
It was a lovely walk through a beautiful village to the Aldi. We used google maps, and it was easy to find.
There are also a number of restaurants in the small village all of which are easily accessible on foot from Duinrell in about 5 minutes ( even with kids). Given the close proximity I would highly recommend eating in the village and not the main plaza, if you are wanting to eat out.
The Theme Park:
On arrival at the campsite you will be issued with a pass for the duration of your stay, this gives access to the theme park, and reduced price entrance to Tiki Pool.
Top Tip: Take your own passport photos, any will do, as long as it shows your face. We had forgotten ours, luckily the Alfresco reps took our passports and photocopied the picture for us. There is a photo booth on site but its cost 5 Euro to use.
Our children aged 5 (twins) and 7 years old loved the theme park. The height limit for some of the bigger rides caused some problems at 120cm. Only 1 of our three was too little, so as you can imagine that went down like a lead balloon. However, there was so much for them all to do, we were never short of rides to explore. I would recommend looking at Duinrell online to prep the kids for what they can / can’t access. They won’t be disappointed when they see all the park has to offer!
There are a selection of indoor attractions, including soft play areas which rival the UK’s big centres. There is also a small theatre, which runs shows throughout the day. Our favourite was the giant log flume…which luckily has the option of a covered carriage!
Access to the theme park is direct from the campsite, you can go through the main gate, or the side entrance for camping guests. The size of the park is ideal, and when we visited in April we barely queued for anything. The close proximity to the caravans ( 5 minutes or less), means that you don’t have to worry about expensive theme park food prices as you can pop back when you’re ready for a rest.
Top Tip: Opt for a late lunch back at your mobile home, and then head over to the Tiki Pool. We found 4pm to be a quiet time to visit, as we left at 7pm it was starting to get busier.
The Tiki Pool:
We LOVED the tiki pool, the indoor tropical paradise was amazing, and there was a so much for all the children to do. Slides galore, wave pool, lazy river, children’s pools, jacuzzis and even places to sit and chill out ( if the kids will let you). There is a takeaway and eating area in the Tiki Pool, you can also take in your own food and drinks.
The website talks about showing swimming certificates to access the bigger slides, we were never asked for these. However, they are strict on the armbands for those under 120cm, ours took them off briefly and were asked to put them back on (despite being very water confident). We took our own armbands, but they are available to buy from the park shop.
There is a younger children’s area with 4 slides, and they can remove armbands here, adults can sit on the pool sides and watch the children happily playing; whilst dodging the water cannon sprays!
Some of the slides are pretty scary, but our 7 year old managed the vast majority easily… I wasn’t quite as brave!
Often changing three little ones for swimming can be quite stressful when its hot and busy, but at the Tiki Pool there is plenty of changing cubicles and lockers, which you access via a computer system, and memorable number.
The cost of accessing the Tiki pool ( when staying with Alfresco) is 5 Euros per person for 2 hours or 6 Euros for 3 hours. We went at 4 pm daily after the theme park closed, and found it to be quiet in April, it was getting busier as we left at 7pm
TOP TIP: You are given a ticket to scan in and out with, it is important that you are out within your allocated time, or you will be charged for the extra time.
During our 5 day stay at Duinrell we also spent a day in Amsterdam and day in Keukenhoff. They were both easily accessible by public transport, and it was such a great opportunity to visit a capital city we wouldn’t otherwise have seen.
For all the reasons above we would definitely return to Duinrell, I think that visiting in either April / October school holidays is ideal. The park is set up for any wether, so visiting out of season is perfect. I’m not really a huge theme park lover, so for me 5 days was just right, but I’m sure if we had been there for longer we would have found even more things to explore in the local area! Hopefully we will go back soon to try and find them……