Keukenhof: A complete guide to visiting the tulip gardens of Holland
The tulip gardens at Keukenhof are undoubtedly one of the most popular - and most unique - sights in the Netherlands, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world every year. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Keukenhof in 2023.
About the Keukenhof gardens
Keukenhof - which directly translates as “kitchen garden” in English - wasn’t always the major attraction it is today. Today, the park welcomes over 1 million visitors every season, but it started its life as a relatively unassuming kitchen garden on the grounds of a castle.
The history of Keukenhof Holland
Keukenhof is located on the former grounds of Teylingen Castle - more specifically, the hunting grounds and castle kitchen, which incidentally is how the park got its name. Teylingen Castle dates back to the 13th century.
In 1641, the estate was purchased by Adriaen Maertensz Block, who at the time was the governor of the Dutch East India Company. Block had a manor house constructed on the grounds. At the time, he named the manor Keukenhof - nowadays, it’s known as Castle Keukenhof (Kasteel Keukenhof). The castle is located to the southwest of the Keukenhof gardens.
The park opens to the public
The estate changed hands several times over the following years but in the 19th century it was purchased by Baron and Baroness Van Pallandt. In 1857 they hired David Zocher and his son - the landscape architects responsible for the Vondelpark in Amsterdam - to restructure and redesign the gardens in the English style.
These designs remain the basis for the park today, which first opened its doors back in 1949, when a group of Dutch bulb growers and flower exporters came together to showcase their products. The park didn’t open to members of the general public until 1950, when it received a total of 200.000 visitors.
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See a sea of flowers in Holland
Nowadays, Keukenhof covers an area of 32 hectares, featuring around 7 million flowers - everything from daffodils to roses as well as the iconic tulips, of course.
If you’re in the Netherlands, you don’t have to go to Keukenhof if you want to get a glimpse of some gorgeous flowers, but a trip to the gardens offers you a magical chance to experience a sea of beautifully cultivated blooms.
Each autumn, a team of 40 gardeners work to plant the 7 million bulbs, which are donated to the park by over 100 growers. The planting season, which lasts from October until the beginning of December, is unsurprisingly a major task, as the planters use various tricks in order to ensure the gardens are in bloom for the entire time Keukenhof is open.
Keukenhof features a couple of different gardens, all centred around different themes. The Topical Beach Garden, for example, replicates a tropical atmosphere with palm trees, sand, and hammocks, while the Green Tea Garden has a huge selection of herbs and edible plants.
What flower is Keukenhof best known for?
As much as Keukenhof does showcase a variety of different plants and flowers, the gardens are undoubtedly known for one flower, and one flower in particular: tulips. Of the 7 million flower bulbs, there are a whopping 800 different varieties of tulips.
But, aside from the tulips, on a trip to Keukenhof you can expect to see plenty of other beautiful flowers, including roses, lilies, carnations, irises, hyacinths, and daffodils, which all come together to create a truly enchanting experience for all visitors, no matter how far they’ve travelled.
While Keukenhof is only open eight weeks a year, Castle Keukenhof and the castle gardens are open all year round. And the good news is that the castle gardens are completely free to visit! Every summer, the castle hosts a dahlia festival, showcasing this gorgeous flower in all its glory. On the castle grounds, you’ll also find a petting zoo, which offers great fun for the whole family.
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Keukenhof opening 2023
Keukenhof is open throughout the year for private events and festivals, but is only open to the public for a short eight-week period in the spring, typically from mid-March to mid-May. In 2023, the Keukenhof gardens are open from March 23 to May 14. The best time to visit the garden depends on the Dutch weather - but generally the peak visiting times are in April.
There’s more to do at Keukenhof than just look at the flowers! If you’re visiting with little ones, then there are some fun activities to keep them occupied, including a scavenger hunt, a maze, and a playground.
If you’re no longer considered a child but are still very much into fun activities, then check out the various art installations dotted around the park, rent a bike or book a boat trip to explore the tulip fields around Keukenhof, or go on a guided tour of the gardens to learn more about Keukenhof and the flowers.
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Practical information for your visit to Keukenhof 2023
Are you planning to visit Keukenhof in 2023? Here’s what you need to know.
Keukenhof opening times 2023
Between Thursday, March 23 and Sunday, May 14, 2023, the Keukenhof gardens are open every day from 8am to 7.30pm.
Despite what many non-locals might believe, Keukenhof isn’t in Amsterdam - it’s actually located in the town of Lisse in the province of South Holland. The address for Keukenhof is: Stationsweg 166A, 2161 AM Lisse.
If you’re planning to visit the gardens, there are a number of ways to get there. You could of course drive - the park is located between the cities of Haarlem and Leiden, so is accessible via a number of major roads, and there is plenty of space to park your car as well as a couple of charging stations for electric vehicles. Parking costs 6 euros and the Keukenhof car park closes at 7.30pm. There are also parking spaces for coaches and camper vans.
Alternatively, you could travel by bike or by moped. There are bike racks at both entrances to the park, and there’s even the option to rent bikes at Keukenhof if you’d like to explore the local area after visiting the gardens.
Finally, you could take public transport - if you choose to do this, there’s a combi ticket option that covers the cost of entry and public transport travel. There are buses that run to Keukenhof from most of the major Dutch cities, including Amsterdam, Haarlem, Leiden and The Hague.
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How far is Keukenhof from Amsterdam?
So Keukenhof isn’t in Amsterdam - but luckily it isn’t too far from the Dutch capital. As mentioned above, you can take one of the shuttle buses that run between Amsterdam and Keukenhof, but it’s not your only option for travelling to the park.
Keukenhof is only around a 50-minute drive from the centre of the city. If you’re in the mood for a workout, you could even decide to bike to Keukenhof! If you cycle via Hoofddorp, it’s a 34-kilometre route and will take around two hours in total.
Visiting the Keukenhof restaurant
If you’re planning to spend the day at Keukenhof, you might be happy to hear that you’re allowed to bring your own food and drink into the park. But, if you don’t bring any snacks with you then don’t worry: there are various restaurants and cafes dotted across the park. There are also a couple of stalls selling ice cream, coffee, and other similar quick snacks and drinks. It’s worth noting, however, that all the food and drink outlets in Keukenhof are cash-free, meaning you can only pay by card.
For a slightly more sophisticated dining experience, check out Restaurant de Hofboerderij at Castle Keukenhof, where they serve coffee and cakes, as well as sandwiches and small bites.
You can buy your tickets online, via the Keukenhof website. When booking, you’ll purchase your tickets for a specific timeslot on a specific date - the timeslot indicates your arrival time, but once you’re in the park you can stay as long as you like. You can also buy tickets in person at the Keukenhof ticket office (once again, you’re only able to pay by card), but pre-booking online is slightly cheaper.
In 2023, ticket prices start at 19 euros per person for adults, and 9 euros per person for children aged four to 17. Childen aged three and younger can enter for free. In addition to the combi ticket for admission and public transport, you can book tickets for groups of between 20 and 200 people, with each ticket priced at 18,50 euros. There are also group tickets available for schools.
Keukenhof: Ready for your visit!
So there you have it: absolutely everything you might need or want to know about Keukenhof. You’re certainly ready for your trip. So, what are you waiting for? Book your tickets today to make sure you’re able to experience the beautiful flowers in person and in bloom!
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