Highlights of Holland by train
From our base in beautiful Delft, we visit the popular Keukenhof Gardens, the superb Royal Delft Porcelain factory and vibrant Amsterdam. We also make a wonderful journey across the countryside by vintage steam train.
Our holiday begins at our dedicated Departure Office in St Pancras International, where we board the Eurostar to Brussels in Belgium. Here we change trains and travel across the Dutch border to the city of Rotterdam, where we join a private coach for the final leg of our journey to the town of Delft. Famous for its pottery, the town is one of the prettiest in the Netherlands.
Today we visit the Royal Delft porcelain factory, which produces the famous 'Delft Blue'. Here we enjoy a guided tour. Delft has long been associated with intricate blue and white tin-glazed pottery, and during the tour we see a painting demonstration and visit the factory museum. Following the informative tour, your day is at leisure - giving you chance to explore the town, its charming canals, the 17th century merchants' houses and the Town Hall.
Another option is to visit the excellent Johannes Vermeer Museum. Vermeer is undoubtedly one of the best known Dutch artists, from the 'Dutch Golden Age'. He lived his whole life in Delft and dedicated himself almost completely to his work. Although only 34 works have been attributed to him, they are renowned for their masterly use of light.
The museum details his life in Delft and the stories behind his impressive paintings. Perhaps you'd like to visit Delft's Beestenmarkt, the central social hub of the city - the Markt is a great place to experience the local cuisine of the region with a plethora of excellent restaurants and cafés. The square is tree lined and framed by the attractive architecture of the city and is home to plenty of shops and places to sit and people watch.
This morning we enjoy an excursion to the famous Keukenhof Gardens, where we can admire the fantastic fl oral displays. About seven million tulip bulbs are planted here each year along with crocuses, daffodils, orchids and other flowers, creating an explosion of brilliant colour.
The gardens only open in the spring, to ensure the best possible seasonal display of the beautiful flowering plants. Across 80 acres of parkland, Keukenhof also has tranquil ponds, sculpture gardens, greenhouses, a windmill open to the public, and several cafés. One particular delight of this incredible park is the Historical Garden, where some 400 years of tulip cultivation is explored through carefully-planted flower beds.
Here you can find a reproduction of the original Dutch tulip garden, planted by botanist and doctor Carolus Clusius, which inspired enthusiasm for the flower and resulted in the tulip's affinity with the Netherlands. Keukenhof's other gardens are still wonderfully scenic, with thematic designs to suit varying interests.
Art-lovers may find themselves inspired by the Selfie Garden, themed less for the modern craze, and more in homage to the multiple self-portraits painted by famous Dutch artist Van Gogh. In the Insect Garden, enjoy bouquets of butterflies, and in the Romantic Garden, be wooed by the subtle pastel colours and a fairy-tale path through the woods to a charming summerhouse. The Herb Garden is as much a pleasure to smell as to see, with fragrant herbs nestled beside sweet-smelling hyacinths, Jonquil daffodils and bright orange 'Ballerina' tulips, all overlooking stunning views of the bulb fields, where so many of the garden's flowers are cultivated.
Today we travel by coach to the picturesque village of Hoorn. Here we have time for a quick visit to the fascinating Steam Train Museum. The museum restores old steam locomotives, running them on a preserved line; a journey which we take. We travel through the beautiful Westfrisian countryside in vintage carriages, passing through numerous idyllic villages on our journey to Medemblik.
Later we continue by coach to Enkhuizen, where we visit the enthralling Zuiderzee Museum. This fascinating complex provides a comprehensive insight into traditional Dutch life in times gone by. The outdoor section recreates the fishing villages and communities that made up this seaside region before the creation of the pioneering Ijsselmeer Barrier Dam.
We enjoy time to stroll around the preserved buildings, which include engaging little shops, traditional dwellings and fish-curing workshops, and to explore the impressive collection of wooden ships and other rare exhibits in the museum's indoor section. Later we return to Delft by coach.
Today we enjoy an excursion by rail to the superb city of Amsterdam. On arrival we take a guided walking tour of the Dutch capital, built on a myriad of canals.
We visit Dam Square, where we learn of the history of the Royal Palace and National Monument. Thanks to the trading boom in the 17th century, the Netherlands and especially Amsterdam became an affluent international power. Thanks to this economic upturn, the streets of the Dutch capital became lined with all manner of grandiose buildings, displaying the wealth of the traders and merchants who built them. Naturally, this money found its way to government hands, resulting in the construction of a majestic town hall, which eventually became the Royal Palace. Built with yellow sandstone, the lights which shine off this building give it almost a golden appearance.
During the walk we pass the Begijnhof, one of the oldest and prettiest inner courts in the city. Begjinhof is a true oasis at the heart of this metropolis. A small square of green grass surrounded by some of the prettiest town houses in the city, Begjinhof is an excellent place for those wishing to discover some of the more relaxed charms of Amsterdam. We also pay a visit to Kalverstraat - the famous shopping street.
After our tour you have time to explore at leisure. Amsterdam is home to some fascinating museums, such as the Rijksmuseum, Rembrandt House, and Van Gogh Museum. Featuring some of the artist's best-known works, such as 'Almond Blossom' and 'The Bedroom', the museum boasts the world's largest collection of the painter's work. Known for their vibrant colours and hectic brushstrokes, Van Gogh's delightful works are celebrated posthumously in this incredible gallery - a wonderful way to round off your holiday.
Alternatively you could simply take a stroll along the paths of one of Amsterdam's tree lined canals brimming with barges and water taxis, bridges aplenty cross the river that wind around Amsterdam. Tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner back in Delft.
Leaving Delft behind, today we travel by coach to Rotterdam, then onwards by rail to Brussels. Here we connect with the Eurostar back to London.
Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 36 verified reviews
As usual,everything about the trip was arranged very well. I am still disappointed that not all hotel rooms are what they are made out to be i.e. 3 star,in the brochure.
The holiday was well organised,the hotel was excellent and we had a tour manager who 'managed ' us all very well.
We had two problems neither of which were GRJ problems a) my wife fell over in Amsterdam - which we put down to an even pavement b) train returning from Amsterdam stopped a long time in the second station and ended withus having to de-train and then catch the next (very overloaded) train - there were at least two versions as to why that happened.
Really enjoyed it. Our tour manager was very good and friendly. Hotel was well located and the staff and management couldn't have done more.
Good food & hotel interesting tripd
Overall it was a lovely few days. A bit hard going with the luggage - not being able to be dropped at our hotel in Delft - was the only serious thing which dropped us down from awarding a fifth star.
A good leader and an enjoyable itinerary. The Hotel was very good. We enjoyed the position in the square at Delft. One comment on the Hotel I do think they should have a vehicle to transfer our cases to and from the coach. The visit to Zuiderzee we needed more time if we wanted to visit the Museum and the village.
I gave our feedback in the comprehensive questionnaire at the end of the trip. Why this?
The trips out v good room in the hotel good ,hotel food could be better. Stella was excellent caring and kind.
An enjoyable holiday, good hotel in an ideal quiet location (vegetarian food not very imaginative but Europe is behind the UK in this).
Highlights of Holland by train