The Keukenhof Gardens 2021: essential information for your day out

By Emma Marshall

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You know it’s spring when flower buds start to appear, stems start peeping out from their winter beds and colourful petals are blooming here, there and everywhere.  And there’s no better place to realise that spring has arrived than a visit to the Keukenhof gardens in the Netherlands.  

Read on for essential information on visiting the Keukenhof Gardens 2021.

What are Keukenhof Gardens?

Keukenhof is a garden in the Netherlands.  But it’s not just your average garden.

Known as the ‘Garden as Europe’, it’s not hard to see why.  Covering more than 30 acres, and with an estimated 7 million bulbs that will bloom, Keukenhof is an incredible sight.   

It opens to the public for several weeks a year during the spring. Essentially it’s a Netherlands flower festival.

Each year has a theme.  In 2019, when we visited Keukenhof, it was “Flower Power”.  The theme for 2021 has yet to be announced.

Where are the Keukenhof gardens?

The famous garden is only 30 minutes from Amsterdam.  And because the Netherlands is a small, this means that it’s easy to combine a short break to the country with a day or afternoon visit to the Keukenhof Gardens.

Click here for day trips that you can book that will take you to the gardens.

We combined our visit with an overnight trip to Leiden.  This is only a 25-minute bus ride away.  We visited the gardens on the Sunday before making our way home.

Other places you could visit in the Netherlands that would be accessible for Keukenhof include Haarlem (20 km away), The Hague (33 km away), Amsterdam (43 km away), and Delft (49 km away).

Why visit the Keukenhof Gardens in 2021?

Keukenhof is a wonderful place if you love flowers.  With an estimated 7 million bulbs that will bloom, you won’t feel shortchanged.

The gardens

The gardens are beautiful.  Really beautiful.  Visit and you’ll lose track of the variety of immaculately tended flower beds you walk past. 

This is one of the first things that struck me – how neat, tidy and ordered most of the garden is.  The flowers have mainly been planted into beds and follow a set pattern and route (the upkeep of these must be phenomenal). 

These are of all shapes, sizes and colours – long narrow strips, wide sweeping displays, circles of flowers linking to yet more circles, long swathes following the river bank…

Keukenhof flowers along the river bank.  There are stripes of white a red flowers with a stripe of yellow/red and pink flowers crossing it
Keukenhof flowers along the river bank
Some of the flowers you can see when visiting Keukenhof 2020 - these are in circular stripes - they are white, red and yellow
Some of the flowers you will likely see when visiting Keukenhof 2020
Some of the flowers you can see when visiting Keukenhof - these are in a neat circle - white flowers on the outside and pink inside
Some of the flowers on display at Keukenhof
Part of the Keukenhof gardens - you can stripes of pink, blue, yellow and purple flowers across the grass/lawn.  A river can be seen on the left
Part of the Keukenhof gardens

The colours

Part of reason visiting the Keukenhof Gardens is incredible is the array of brilliant and vibrant colours you get to see. 

There are reds, yellows, pinks, purples, oranges and whites, along with whole patches of beautifully striped flowers. It really is a burst of springtime from all angles.

Flowers you can see when visiting Keukenhof - these are cream with yellow centres and pink stripes
Flowers you can see when visiting Keukenhof
Some of the crocuses at Keukenhof - these are purple and mauve
Some of the crocuses at Keukenhof
Colourful flowers in the gardens - these are red with smaller yellow flowers in between
Colourful Keukenhof flowers

The flowers

As well as crocuses, hyacinths, and daffodils, a large proportion of the flowers when we visited were tulips. This is hardly surprising given we were in the Netherlands!  But what surprised me was just how many varieties there are.  

To name just a few, we saw “Black Hero”, “Purple Prince”, “Double Flag”, “Angelique” , “Spryng Break” and “Yellow Pompenette”. The list went on… (having read up on tulips since coming back, there are apparently 75 varieties).  

"Spryng Break tulips" - a variety of tulips we saw when visiting KeuKenhof in 2019 - they are deep orange/red
“Spryng Break” tulips that we saw when visiting Keukenhof in 2019

So if you’re a lover of flowers, this place is for you.  Although note that very little of the garden is wild. So if you are looking for wild flowers, you unfortunately won’t find many here.

Is visiting Keukenhof just about the flowers?

First and foremost Keukenhof is a garden.  So the main draw for most people visting Keukenhof will inevitably to be to wander around the garden and look at all the beautiful flowers that are blooming.

But there’s so much more tucked away than immediately meets the eye.

The atmosphere

When you visit the Keukenhof Gardens, the first thing that strikes you is the festival-type feel to the place. The day we visited there was a brass band marching through the grounds playing music.  

There are also various spots around the garden with other music playing (including a fairground type organ slightly incongruously belting out Ed Sheeran!). 

In the main hall by the entrance we also watched a folk group singing and dancing. (I smiled when I realised that the group were singing “Tulips from Amsterdam”. Maybe a little cheesy but definitely in keeping with the cheeriness of the lovely springtime day out we were having). 

The canal, windmill and animals

If you fancy a break from walking around the garden, you can take a boat ride on a canal. In 2019, this cost 8 euros for adults and 4 euros for children and lasted for 45 minutes.

There’s also a windmill you can climb.  This has wonderful views out across the surrounding fields.  

The Keukenhof windmill - this sits by the river and has a platform halfway up where people are looking down from
The windmill at Keukenhof that you can climb

And for children visiting Keukenhof there’s a playground and a petting zoo.

Two goats that you can see when visiting Keukenhof
Some of the animals at Keukenhof

The river and streams

The gardens in Keukenhof are generally a relaxing place to wander around at a leisurely pace.  It has a small river flowing through it with a fountain…..

Part of the river running through the garden - this is a small section with trees and lush green banks surrounding it
The river running through the garden
A fountain at Keukenhof - this has trees behind it
A fountain at Keukenhof

…..for a bit of fun try out the stepping stones. 

The stepping stone in the river - these are quite large and safe enough to walk across.  In the picture you can see a train of people walking across them
The stepping stones at Kuekenhof

There are also little streams and waterfalls tucked away, and a variety of spots where you can sit and take in the lovely surroundings.  

One of the small streams and waterfalls in the garden - this is surrounded by vegetation is quite rocky
One of the small streams and waterfalls you can see when you wander around Keukenhof

There is also a scattering of greenhouses where you can look at further varieties of flowers.  These include some of the more exotic and delicate ones that need to be housed indoors. 

And if you’re in need of a pitstop and a bit of rest and relaxation, there are several cafes to stop in and gorge on some tea and cake.

So there’s all sorts of other things to see and do here – not just flowers. There’s definitely something for everyone.  

What is there for children when visiting the Keukenhof Gardens?

Adults will obviously appreciate the flowers here. However, there is also plenty for children.  

There is a playground and a small petting zoo with goats, sheep, rabbits, a pig and a large majestic peacock strutting its stuff. 

Some of the animals in the petting zoo in Keukenhof (goats)
Some of the animals in the petting zoo at Keukenhof
A brilliant blue peacock sitting on a fence
A peacock at Keukenhof

Children will also undoubtedly love climbing the windmill and having the chance to ride a boat on the canal. 

When can I visit the Keukenhof Gardens in 2021?

Keukenhof 2021 opens on 20th March.  It runs until 9th May.

Will the flowers be out if I visit the Keukenhof Gardens early in the season?

We visited in March 2019, early in the Keukenhof season.  When we were there, there were plenty of flowers out.  

It is true that we did also find that there were some beds that were quite sparse and some with only a small sign of life.  

However, we were told that this can be the case throughout the season.  As different flowers bloom at different times, there will alway be some (lots in fact!) to see, as well as some beds waiting to bloom or that have already bloomed.

What are the Keukenhof Gardens’ opening times?

Opening hours are 8am until 7.30pm.

How do you buy tickets to the Keukenhof Gardens for 2021?

Tickets can be bought at the Keukenhof website; at the moment, this says that tickets will be available in the “autumn”.  You can also buy tickets at the time of your visit from the on-site ticket office.

Alternatively, you can buy tickets on the dedicated buses that run to the gardens – these cover the cost of the journey plus your Keukenhof ticket (ask for a Combi Ticket).

Keukenhof garden tours

There are also organised tours to the Keukenhof Gardens. Many of these are Amsterdam to Keukenhof and often include other things that you may also want to see on your day out.  This includes trips to tulip fields, Delft, and windmills.  

See below for a selection of tours that will take you for a visit to the Keukenhof Gardens:

You can also purchase the Holland Pass. This gives access to over 100 places in the Netherlands, including Keukenhof 2020. It is valid for 30 days from the first time that you use it.

How much are tickets to access the Keukenhof Gardens?

Entry on the day is 19.00 euros for adults. For children between the ages of 4 and 17, the cost is 9 euros.  Children under 4 can enter for free.  If you buy tickets online, there is a 1.50 euro discount for adults.

There is also a charge of 6 euros for car parking.

Are there any accessibility issues when visiting the Keukenhof Gardens?

Most of Keukenhof is relatively flat (or if not, on a gentle slope) so accessibility should not be an issue. There are disabled toilets on site.

Wheelchairs can be hired for a 20 euro deposit and these can be reserved in advance.

How do you get to the Keukenhof Gardens?

We visited on a Sunday morning from Leiden where we had stayed overnight and getting there couldn’t have been easier.  

It was a 25-minute journey on a dedicated local bus that has been put on to take you to the gardens.  This runs from the bus station outside the train station directly to the entrance of Keukenhof. 

You can even buy your ticket before boarding to allow you skip the queues when you arrive (the Combi Ticket).  I’d recommend this as the queues were considerable when we arrived.

The Keukenhof website has information on the buses you can catch to the gardens and timetables.  As we did, you can buy a Combi Ticket that covers both your journey and entrance to Keukenhof.

If you alternatively book an organised tour to the gardens then you will not need to worry about transportation (see above for a selection of tours or click here for a round up).

More ideas for short Europe breaks

If you enjoy short breaks to Europe, you may also be interested in some of my other posts. Below is a selection, but see my main website for more ideas.

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