So it was Meivakantie and King’s Day here in the Nethelrands and the kids have off TWO FULL weeks of school. And N is away again the ENTIRE time – so the thought os sitting around the house in the middle of the woods again bored is so dreadful. I booked myself and the kdis into a 4 day break staying at a Duingalow in Duinrell in Wassenaar, Den Haag. We had great weather last week (27 degrees!!) but it is now back to being chilly – too bad as we would have loved to make a visit to the beach during this trip as it’s right there!!
I found a deal on Travelbird.nl at 50% off which is great…. But am a big believer in that you get what you pay for. I wanted to do it on a budget so chose mid-range – not premium but not budget classification. So we knew the category (comfort class for 4 people) but didn’t know the location in the park. If you book direct with Duinrell (without the 50% discount) you can choose your accommodation from the map. I checked a day before leaving our house and the rate with a discount due to very last minute for this class was €589 for 4 nights – I paid only €299!! So even if it was bad, we really couldn’t complain about the price!
The kids and I arrived around 11:30 am and our duingalow was actually cleaned so we could go to our accommodation.
We arrived at Duingalow #9. It’s opposite unit #1, so as far away from the theme park (read SUPER QUIET) – but the walk is really not bad (10 minutes max). Plus it was a bit of an adventure to learn the way and try a new way each time. We pass the luxury safari lodges which we call the party tents as we saw a group of 30 somethings carry in cases upon cases of Hertog Jan bottles. And we pass simple green tents which Soren called them the ‘lower class tents’ (not derogatory but meaning they were not as luxurious as the Safari tents).
Just behind our area we’re the premium duingalows which if given the choice now, would have selected them as they looked nicer and bigger – a step above ours. We walked by others which were labeled TUI and Eurocamp (closer to the park and main entrance) but they looked smaller and not as good as ours but did have BBQs. There are other parts of the park which have camper vans and cars with small single tents and an area with showers.
Inside ours was perfect for our four days – and very clean. We had a Sharp TV (didn’t plan on having a tv). Wifi is a fee – I think I saw a sign of €7.95 a day, per device not a chance!! The fridge and dishwasher were Bosch brand and the washer was a silent one! There was a microwave / oven thing which we didn’t use. Four burner gas stove and all the equipment you need to make meals. There was a toaster, tea kettle, filtered coffee machine (bring filters) and Senseo machine.
The only one thing we had an issue with is the shower. The clip which holds the shower head was broken so had to wash my hair with one arm and then switch – not ideal but also not the end of the world.
Oh and the parking spots are tiny so my big car was difficult to park along with a big dam tree taking up space we stuck out a bit.
The theme park itself was good for those who like roller coasters and thrill rides. Kids had a good time going on some rides and on day two I joined them on a coaster and water coaster ride (indoor one) as it was too chilly to get soaked. Our 10 year old is 145 cm so could go on rides – though I am sure would have preferred company. Our 8 year old is a petite little thing at 119 cm, so she was not tall enough for many rides like the rollerbaan and I couldn’t take her like they do in Valkenburg. Other rides like the monorail and bumper cars, I had to go on with her. She doesn’t have her swim diploma yet and was really not in a position to say she does (as I am not confident in her swimming ability), so she missed out on the bumper boats. Of course, kids from the UK don’t have swim diplomas, so are asked if they an swim.
There were two large playgrounds which the kids enjoyed. They had large slides, and even equipment which was from my youth – super high metal slides and simple cars made out of iron. Soren met an English-speaking friend from Alaska, whose father was in the US Air Force so they lived in German for the past 6 years. Other than that, there was not many kids to friend and play football with as he had hoped.
The kids really liked bombing people in the row boats.
And Soren like roller coaster, Rollerbaan and Wild Wings – all three Maebh couldn’t go on for height restrictions.
The food at the park was not the best and expensive. First night we had pizzas at La Place – not the brick oven pizza I was hoping to have. One time we got three french fries and two slushes for €17. I think that is expensive. Kids got ice cream, churros, cotton candy and a chocolate covered banana with sprinkles as treats during our time here.
Our tips for first time visitors.
- You are going to need to take photos (passport-type photos) at one of the MANY booths all around the park – at €4, per person here is a money saving tip: Take a photo copy of your passport, cut out the photo – DONE! At check in, they’ll give you small paper cards and plastic clear stickers to put over the photo – you’ll need those to enter and exit the park and Tiki Bad. No need to spend €4. per person on passport photos which you’ll never use again. Of course, if you have old ones laying around – bring them. They are not fussy!!
- Tips: bring towels (shower & some beach for pool) dish towels and a bath mat.
- Travel size shampoo for Tiki bad – avoid having to re-shower at your duingalow.
- Leave the park – go walk over to Wassensar (drive in pouring rain or lazy). Eat at the local restaurants and skip dessert – enjoy the amazing ice cream parlor – Lucianos Ijssalon– you won’t regret it! Enjoy the Natural Market each Saturday.
- Cooler with ice from home to pack loads if items you already have. There is a grocery store onsite (not super expensive yet not Lidl prices) which has a lot but why do spend extra when unnecessary. You have to carry it!!! Of course, if you come from abroad and flying your hands are tied but if driving as many Brits do, pack up your car in the UK.
- Bring zip lock bags or tin foil to make up sandwiches and bring to park. Food is expensive and shite in my opinion! Portion of not the best skinny fries x 3 and two slushes = €16.95. Or walk back your duingalow have lunch and return to park.
- Senseo pads or coffee with filter (#4) if you need cofffee. I brought a small container with sugar and a small sauce pan with frother only as I love a morning coffee with warm milk.
- Bring extra trash bags if cooking, but they give you one to start. Also, dish soap a sponge, wipes and a few dish washing tablets – I don’t see the need to buy full boxes of these items.Salt and pepper from home or can take a few from the restaurant in the park.
- Shampoo & conditioner
- Toilet paper
- Potato peeler if you use that cooking – didn’t see one.
- I read elsewhere their unit had UK plugs but ours didn’t plugs were local to The Netherlands only so I suggest a travel plug for your phone.
- Change your pounds in advance – closest place to change is Leiden Station.
- No blow dryer – and only two hand dryers in the pool area. I can do without but for some might be a nice thing to have in their room.
On Saturday, we left the park and visited Wassenar. The town center was cute.
Mandatory visit to Kelly’s Expat shop was in order for some extra processed junk.
All the typical shops, Intertoys, Zeeman, HEMA and Jumbo, etc and then lots of independent shops. We first had croissants in a local bakery and then walked around the Natural market. We ended up buying three pots of different sambal from an Indonesian man – Oma’s recipe, two others Madaam Jeanette and Indian. And then we had a stop at the French sausages where we bought blue cheese, congac pheasant and one more I forget.
Then we drove over to Scheveningen Pier and it started raining so we nipped into a restaurant where as I promised Soren at the seaside he can have oysters. The place we chose was the Patagonia Beach restaurant. The food was good, the decor was lovely being so close yo the pier but the service was awful!!! I think the worst I ever had in Europe. I think the only reason why the waiter got the job was that he was a gorgeous model-looking guy and could speak German to the bus load of old ladies who ordered decaf coffee and complained about their cakes being frozen inside.
Anther fun thing fir the kids was the arcade – the place where you spend a total of €50 over the course of 4 days and you get cheap, made in China plastic toys and a lollipop!! But they had a great time!!!!
On the last night, Soren came in SECOND place in the FIFA 2018 tournament beating out 10 kids – only to loose to the oldest kid in the group! Grrr.
Overall it was a nice trip, but I’m glad to be home in my house, my kitchen, my food, my shower and my BED and not a single sound of animals in the loft running back and forth ALL NIGHT LONG! Would we rush back, honestly no – the rides were a bit too restricting for our youngest and there are so many other places in The Netherlands to visit but we did have fun and I do recommend the place for other families. Our next theme park trip, The Efteling and then perhaps some parks in Germany!