Strandpark Vlugtenburg began operating in around 1916, is one of the oldest holiday parks in the Netherlands, and is a very short walk from Strand ‘s-Gravenzande, a long sandy beach.
Here’s a little video I made, as an introduction to the place:
Strandpark Vlugtenburg’s distinctive cabin bungalows are based on a design inspired by nautical shapes, with round porthole windows and a spacious living/dining area.
They vary in size, sleeping from 4 up to sixteen people. We stayed in a 6-person bungalow, which felt enormous compared with some other holiday park/glamping units. Their interiors had just been refurbished, and it showed; ours was bright, light, modern and comfortable.
As well as a TV in both the living room and master bedroom – showing Dutch television and a handful of English language channels – the cabin had a dishwasher, microwave, coffee maker, hob and fridge.
The bedrooms varied in size from the double master bedroom, with room for a wardrobe and bedside cabinets, to a twin room and a small bunkbed room, which had space for beds but not much else besides. Like the rest of the bungalow, the bedrooms were light and bright, and they overlooked the rose bushes growing at the back of the bungalow.
There was a separate toilet and shower room, with a large walk-in shower for sluicing off all that sand from the beach.
About half an hour after we’d checked in, a friendly woman turned up at our door, brandishing a bunch of flowers as a ‘welcome to the vacation park’. As well as personable humans, Strandpark Vlugtenburg had a plethora of animal inhabitants; our bungalow was in easy reach of a small lake, with ducks, moorhens and herons coming to visit every day.
One thing that felt unusual about this holiday park was the tendency to allow certain areas to grow wild. At first I was surprised to see nettles, brambles and wild grass banked up in places. But the park was otherwise well-maintained, with not a scrap of litter in sight, and with roses, poppies and geraniums growing everywhere. I suspect it was intentional to let some weeds grow, like the ‘no mow’ areas you see in a few London’s parks, where wild plants and flowers are encouraged, so that birds and insects can flourish. Either way, the overgrown areas helped give a more natural, less manicured feel to the place.
‘S-Gravenzande beach was a short walk away from the holiday park, across Spanjaards Duin, a protected area where rare sand lizards live. You can’t walk on the dunes themselves, but they give you an eyecatching, otherworldly view on the way to the beach.
Dogs are allowed onto the beach in winter; in summer you can only visit certain areas with your canine friends. ‘S-Gravenzande has clean, pale sand, with room enough for plenty of sun-seekers to spread out on sunny days, and a few bar-restaurants directly on the beach.
Food and drink
The closest supermarket to Strandpark Vlugtenburg was Hoogvliet, a 5-minute drive away. There was also a Lidl and Aldi a bit further away in Hook of Holland. If you didn’t fancy nipping out to the supermarket, you could order breakfast to be delivered to your bungalow for 6.95 Euros pp, or a barbeque’s worth of gourmet meats for 15.50 Euros pp.
Strandpark Vlugtenburg’s cafe restaurant, He Pannenkoek, opened late morning through till 6 or 7pm, or later on request. It was a pancake house specialising in traditional Dutch fare like pancakes (even the savoury kind, with bacon, cheese and onions were served with a side order of syrup), and poffertjes, or bite-sized pieces of pancake cooked in a special pan, dusted with icing sugar and – if you wanted a really hefty dose of comfort food – smothered with butter and ice cream.
On the beach near Strandpark Vlugtenburg there were three beach restaurant/bars: Zomertijd, which had an open fire and was open all year round; Elements, a place with a Balearic vibe; and De Pit, a hipster restaurant set in a converted sea freight container, with trampolines on the sand outside for the kids to bounce on while you ate yummy wood-fired pizza.
As well as the beach, there were other attractions a car journey away (all of which could be reached in under an hour):
- Rotterdam, the country’s second city, listed in Lonely Planet’s top 10 Best Cities for 2016, where you can visit a zoo
- The Hague, whose Mauritshuis museum is home to some well-known Dutch art, like Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring
- Gouda, where you can watch clog-wearing traders and farmers barter on a Thursday morning at the cheese market
- Kinderdijk, a UNESCO world heritage site with 19 windmills set along a stretch of canal
- Duinrell, an amusement park that has an indoor pool with a large number of water slides
- Delft, an impossibly pretty town with canals and cobbled streets
You can read about them here:
Ferry: we travelled from Harwich in Essex to Hook of Holland via the Stena Line overnight ferry, which I’ve posted about here. Stena Line run two crossings a day. From the port it was just a short drive to Strandpark Vlugtenburg.
Other methods: I investigated other ways to get to Hook of Holland, but from our home in London, driving onto the Stena Line ferry was by far the simplest method. It was also the quickest and cheapest option. But if you preferred, you could instead fly to Amsterdam and hire a car and drive, or take a connecting train to Hook of Holland; or you could catch the Eurostar train to Brussels, and change there onto a connecting train.
Pin for later:
We were invited to stay at Strandpark Vlugtenburg aan Zee by HolidayParkSpecials for the purpose of this post. HolidayParkSpecials offer holidays in many holiday parks in Holland, and they offer weekend, midweek, week or two week stays at Strandpark Vlugtenburg from €11 per person, per night including service costs. Prices vary according to availability; this price is for the 10 person holiday cottage for a midweek at the end of June. Bookings can be made at www.holidayparkspecials.co.uk.