Day 1 - 12 April 2019
Arrival & Check-In - 4* Airport Hotel Schiphol
Check-In to the Airport Hotel Schiphol near Amsterdam in time to meet your tour guide and fellow garden visitors over complimentary drinks between 1800-1900. Your tour guide will give you an overview of your tour and hand out a tour information booklet. Make you own arrangements for Dinner.
Day 2 - 13 April 2019
Gardens Visited: The Flower fields of Lisse & Hillegom, a Nursery, Making of the Bloemencorso Flower Parade
After breakfast and checkout, we tour through the stunning bulb fields of Lisse & Heillegom by luxury coach. Here, you will see vast tracks of land devoted to the cultivation of flowering bulbs most of which will be in bloom. An unforgettable sight! En-route, there will plenty of opportunity to stop and take photos before we reach our next destination, a local Nursery. After a set lunch (included) we’ll have a sneak preview of some of the parade floats that we will see tomorrow during the incredible Bloemencorso Flower parade. Hundreds of volunteers will be busily attaching spring flowers to their floats before the parade begins. Dating back to 1947, the Bloemencorso Flower parade is closely linked to the spring flower exhibition at the Keukenhof which we visit tomorrow. Towards the end of the afternoon we travel to Utrecht where we will stay for the next 5 nights at the 4* Citycourt Hotel. Located in the heart of the old city centre in an old courthouse, the hotel has been carefully renovated to include all the modern comforts expected by the international traveller. We’ve chosen this hotel not only for its comfort but also its location. There are a number of excellent dining options nearby and many of the iconic Utrecht landmarks are easily reached by foot.
Day 3 - 14 April 2019
Gardens Visited: the Keukenhof, the Bloemencorso Flower Parade
After breakfast we travel by coach to visit the world famous Keukenhof. Set in 32 hectares (79 acres), the Keukenhof (or Kitchen Garden) is one of the largest and most famous garden destinations in the world. Each year, more than 7 million flower bulbs are planted in the park and it has become a showcase for the Dutch bulb growing industry. The Keukenhof garden itself is made up of a number of different gardens each with their own style. Perennials are combined with bulbous plants to great effect and there is a historical garden where you can see many old bulb types. We’ll leave plenty of time for you to wander freely through the gardens and have lunch at one of the restaurants there (lunch not included). In the afternoon, the Bloemencorso will pass very near the Keukenhof gardens. Horticulture is an important part of Dutch culture and we're lucky to be here at the same time as the important Bloemencorso Flower Parade where floats of all shapes and sizes are festooned with Spring flowers and paraded with great pride around the local bulb growing area. Leave early to be sure to find a choice position to watch the flower parade pass en-route to its final destination. Don’t forget your camera !
Day 4 - 15 April 2019
Gardens Visited: Hortus Bulborum, the Keukenhof
After a leisurely breakfast we leave our hotel and travel by luxury coach to visit the Hortus Bulborum. Dating from 1924, The Hortus Bulborum is a living bulb museum with a collection of more than 4,000 historical bulbs. Most of the bulbs that we’ll see in flower are tulips, narcissus and hyacinths, but there is also a small number of Fritillaria and crocus. Your tour guide will tell you all about the Tulipmania period of Dutch history (1635-1637) and point out some of the most famous tulips in the collection: the ’Duc van Tol Red and Yellow '(1595), 'Zomerschoon' (1620), the exotic parrot tulip 'Perfecta" (1750) as well as many other fascinating examples. Following a set lunch, we return to the world famous Keukenhof for a special guided visit by a professional Dutch gardener who will explain to us the various techniques they use to make sure that the garden is always in exemplary order throughout the relatively short Spring flowering period. We will learn about about how many years bulbs can be grown in the same place and the importance of land rotation. We will also learn how to plant bulbs in combination for maximum impact throughout the season. After our visit, we return to our hotel in Utrecht. Make your own arrangements for dinner, either at the hotel or nearby at one of the restaurants recommended by the Hotel’s concierge.
Day 5 - 16 April 2019
Gardens Visited: Boskoop, The Tulip Trail, Goldhoorn Gardens
After breakfast we travel to Boskoop, an area world-famous for its 750 nurseries specialising mostly in woody plants and perennials. As you will see, the nurseries are situated on long stretches of land divided by narrow canals. In fact, up until World War II almost all transport in the area was by narrow boat. Invoking this time, we will take our own boat and tour along the nurseries and learn more about the history of this fascinating area. If time permits, we will stop off at a couple of the most important nurseries. Afterwards, we leave Boskoop and pick up the Tulip Trail in the Flevopolder. Before its land was reclaimed, this area was known as the Zuiderzee (Southern Sea). Now, more than four meters below sea level, the soil in this area is exceptionally suited to the cultivation of tulips. You’ll be amazed at the many hundreds of acres of fields of tulips in bloom : too many different colours and varieties to count ! After lunch, we travel a short distance to Goldhorn Gardens. Set in 4000m2, the garden has been divided into different compartments each with their own atmosphere. Giving us an authentic image of rural country life in the Netherlands you’ll be amazed at the sight of thousands of flower bulbs planted here in combination with perennials. After a full day, we return to our hotel in Utrecht. Make your own arrangements for dinner, either at the hotel or nearby at one of the restaurants recommended by the Hotel’s concierge.
Day 6 - 17 April 2019
Gardens Visited: Het Loo Palace, Kröller Muller Museum & Sculpture Garden
Today we visit two very different gardens. First, we travel to Het Loo Palace. Built between 1684 and 1686 for King William III and Mary II of England the palace is a fine example of Dutch Baroque architecture and is now a state museum. The palace garden was designed by Le Nôtre's nephew, Claude Desgotz. In keeping with Baroque style it is perfectly symmetrical, has an axial design with radiating gravel walks, and includes parterres with fountains, basins and statues. From Het Loo Palace we make our way by luxury coach to the Kröller Muller Museum & Sculpture Garden located in the splendid Hogh Veluwe National Park. The museum was opened in 1938 and has the second-largest collection of paintings by Vincent van Gogh in the world. Adjacent to the museum is one of the largest sculpture gardens in Europe. Set in more than 75 acres (30 ha) it has a fine collection of modern and contemporary sculptures. The museum, its design and sculpture garden perfectly reflect its founders conception of a symbiosis between art, architecture and nature. It’s a very special place. We return to our hotel in Utrecht for the last night of our stay. Make your own arrangements for dinner, either at the hotel or nearby at one of the restaurants recommended by the Hotel’s concierge.
Day 7 - 18 April 2019
Gardens Visited: Leiden Botanical Garden, City Tour Leiden - Departure
After breakfast and checkout we travel by coach to visit Leiden and its Botanical garden. Dating from 1590, the botanical garden was originally established for the benefit of the Universities medical students and very soon amassed an extensive plant collection many of which were bought back to the Netherlands by the Dutch East India Company (VOC). Many plants from the 18th century have survived. There is a Tuliptree
) from 1716, Date plum
) from 1739, Ginkgo
) from 1785 and Golden Chain
) from 1725. Tropical plants can be found in the greenhouses and one of the largest collections of Asian orchids in the world can be found here. Leiden Botanical Garden is an oasis in the middle of an ancient university town. After lunch, we will go on a walking tour of Leiden itself, a city with a rich cultural heritage, not only in sciences, but also in the arts. One of the world's most famous painters, Rembrandt was born and educated in Leiden. As you will see much of the 16th- and 17th-century city centre is still intact and unlike Amsterdam is a very pleasant place to explore at leisure ! At the end of our walking tour we’ll have a farewell dinner at a good Indonesian restaurant. Afterwards, we’ll travel the short distance back to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.