Finally, school is out for the summer! Many of you will be probably traveling to see family or friends, or just to have a break in some exotic place. But for the next 6 weeks, whether you will be around for a longer period or a short one, there is so much to enjoy during the summer break in Delft and surroundings.
Actually I just love Dutch summers. I know it sounds silly, because this year, after all the showers, colds and winds we are still wondering if summer will finally arrive. But, I am keeping my glass half full and I can almost sense it: it is going to be a great summer! I love the green fields everywhere, the flowers sparkling their colors, and the sky, so blue with the usual white fluffy suspects accompanying. I love the sight of so many lovely boats on the canals, the kids jumping in and out of it and the fishermen staying calm. And then the many cyclists, “dagjesmensen” or hard core backpackers, full terraces and festivals everywhere. There is a vivid holiday feeling that keeps on sending the best vibes out there. In all of the Netherlands. But you don’t need to go far, surely it is so in Delft and the villages and cities nearby.
When my daughter was small and we lived in Ypenburg, Delfse Hout was our place to be. And it still is. Picture yourself at Knus, sitting on the terrace with a good book or magazine, or a nice friend to talk to, while your little one is playing with other kids in the fantastic playground they have over there. Then grab a water bike or little boat and take a tour on the lovely water around. Show your child the many birds and plants, take a little picnic bag with you, and just enjoy the nature so close to the city. Or grab your swim suits and towels and relax on the usually crowded beach in Delfse Hout. And another day don’t forget to go visit the ‘waterspeeltuin’ and the ‘kinderboerderij’ that are not so far away. And of course the farm Hoeve Biesland, which has a “doedag” on the 23rd of July. Are you or your kids into nature and discovery, why don’t you take a look at the activities they organize in de Papaver? From nature walks, to making your own jams and children’s photography workshops, there is something for everyone.
If your kids are old enough to go cycling for a longer stretch, look a little further. Cycle through Den Hoorn and have a drink at Op Hodenpijl in Schipluiden. It’s a lovely place where you can find art, good food and nature in one small old church and its garden. And if your kids or yourself are up to it, keep cycling along the canal through Westland, you are in for a treat of beautiful old Dutch farms, windmills and nature. Or pass Delftse Hout and cycle along the Dobbeplas lake and have lunch at De Vang in Nootdorp, a nice restaurant situated in an old mill. Before your return, stop and have a good Italian ice cream at L’arcobaleno in Nootdorp as well.
If your kids are smaller, I am sure they will love an exciting ride with the tram or train. Mine used to get really excited when she was smaller. You can always just jump into tram 1 and go directly to Scheveningen. But you can also get out in The Hague and look for arty and cultural activities for kids. All the museums have children or family activities, that are usually very affordable but also very insightful. Or you could catch the train to Rotterdam, spend a inspiring and creative day at KunsthalFAMILIEdag. Or visit adventurous Maritiem Museum, learn all about ships and go on a historic ship on a tour on the Maas on one of the Sundays (make reservations on time).
Does waterskiing and wakeboarding sounds cool enough for your older kid? Very nearby, in Honselerdijk you can find a great spot called Wollebrand. Enjoy your cup of tea or nice dinner while your kids are trying to keep from falling into the water. And if you have smaller kids, the area is really nice for a stroll. And are your kids taller than 1.40m? Then why don’t you try a day of climbing ropes and trees in Klimeiland in Vlietland, in Leidscheveen. The kids will love it, and there are plenty of other activities to do in Vlietland too. And if the weather gets really tropical, we can all do with a day at Aquapark Spash near Rotterdam, don’t you think?
And I know, I know, we are still living in The Netherlands and it’s just being realistic that there will be rainy days as well. Well, nothing to worry about. First of all, Delft just got another brand new indoor playground Avontura. And with small kids you can always enjoy a morning or afternoon at Klieder. And this summer the kids are in for many treats at the Pathe Kids Zomerbios, tickets for only 5 euro per child. And, you don’t need to be nerdy to just love the activities at Science Centre of TU Delft. This summer they organize many workshops for different ages, also nice for the mamas and papas to join in. There are even summer camps where you can built your own longboard or robot.
As I said, I love Dutch summers, and I also love living in Delft. Without any special activity in mind you will find me and my family cycling or walking around. Buying some fruit on the market, having lunch at Kek, looking for new music releases at Sounds, borrowing new books and DVD’s at Dok, discovering new bands at Westerpop and enjoying a late evening ice cream from Otelli or De Lelie and not minding the queuing at all. There are of course always some friends around to just have a play date with and lit up the fire for a bbq!
Somehow, after writing all this I feel a bit sorry that I have to miss two weeks of all the beautiful things around us while we are travelling. But we will be back soon and enjoy every bit of the long summer days. Have a fantastic and sunny summer! And don’t forget to experience a fabulous sunset at the sea side in one of the long summer evenings!