Keukenhof 2021: essential information for your day out

The Keukenhof Gardens in Holland

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 Keukenhof 2021 in the Netherlands. 

Read on for essential information on visiting Keukenhof 2021.

What is Keukenhof 2021?

Some of the colourful flowerbeds at Keukenhof with the stream beside it

Keukenhof is a flower 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’s essentially a flower festival.

The garden opens to the public for several weeks a year during the spring. In 2021, it runs from Saturday March 20th until Sunday May 9th.

Each year has a theme.  In 2019, when we visited Keukenhof, it was “Flower Power”.  The theme for 2021 is “A World of Colours”. It will be the festival’s 71st year.

Where are the Keukenhof gardens?

Colourful flowers with a hut by the trees at Keukenhof gardens
Image 1393819 © Gerda Abou Shanab/ Dreamstime.com

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.  Its proximity meant we had a lovely weekend combining a visit to Keukenhof with exploring the city, including a sightseeing trip on the canals.

Other nearby places if you want to combine a trip to the Netherlands with a visit to Keukenhof 2021 include Haarlem (20 km away), The Hague (33 km away), Amsterdam (43 km away), and Delft (49 km away).

Why visit Keukenhof 2021?

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

Apparently over a million people visit every year making this a key tourist attraction in the Netherlands. Here’s why I think you should consider visiting Keukenhof 2021.

The Keukenhof gardens

The Keukenhof 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…

Flowers along the riverbank in Keukenhof - visit Keukenhof 2021 to see these
Keukenhof flowers along the river bank
Some of the colourful flower beds at Keukenhof
Some of the flowers you will likely see when visiting Keukenhof 2021
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

The colours

Part of reason for visiting Keukenhof 2021 is the incredible 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 2021 - these are cream with yellow centres and pink stripes
Flowers you can see when visiting Keukenhof 2021
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 a visit to Keukenhof 2021 just about the flowers?

First and foremost Keukenhof is a garden.  So the main draw for most people visiting Keukenhof in 2021 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 window that you can see when you visit Keukenhof 2021
The windmill at Keukenhof Gardens 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 Gardens

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

…..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 Keukenhof Gardens

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
See small streams 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 Keukenhof 2021?

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 Gardens
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 Keukenhof 2021?

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

What is the best time to visit Keukenhof Gardens?

Between March and May, you’re likely to experience relatively pleasant spring-like days. The temperatures probably won’t be overly warm, especially at the start of the period, but it’s very possible to have clear bright and sunny days, perfect for a wander through a flower garden.

In terms of the flowers, when you visit might depend on what you want to see. Lots of flowers will be blooming at the start of the festival (we can vouch for that!). However, according to the Keukenhof website, if you want to see the larger tulips, then it’s best to plan to visit later in the season.

Will the flowers be out if I visit Keukenhof 2021 early in the season?

We visited in March 2019, early in the Keukenhof season.  When we were there, there were plenty of flowers out.  These included crocuses, tulips, dafodills and hyacinths.

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.

With over 7 million bulbs planted in the gardens every year, there will be something for everyone, regardless of when you visit.

What are the opening times for Keukenhof 2021?

Opening hours are 8am until 7.30pm.

How long should I spend in Keukenhof Gardens?

We stayed in the gardens for about half the day. But you could easily spend a whole day here, especially if the weather is nice. There’s plenty to see and do and several places where you can buy some food and drink and have a break.

The park also allows people to bring their own food and drink in if that is your preference.

So it’s place where you can make a day of it. However, note that if you want to time your visit for the quieter times of the day, the Keukenhof website advises arriving before 11am or after 3pm.

They also say that Mondays, Tuesday and Wednesdays are quieter.

How do I buy Keukenhof tickets?

Keukenhof tickets can be bought at the Keukenhof website; at the moment, this says that tickets will be available by the end of November 2020.  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 2021 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 2021?

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 can I 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).

Can I download a Keukenhof map before visiting?

Yes, you can download a Keukenhof map to help you plan out your visit. Click here and scroll down the page to access this.

Where can I stay when visiting Keukenhof?

Given Keukenhof’s proximity to different cities in the Netherlands, there are no shortages of places to stay.

We combined our visit with an overnight stay in Leiden. This is a lovely place with canals to take boat trip on and a lovely centre to explore. We stayed in the Ibis Leiden Centre. This was perfect for the train station and for the bus to Keukenhof, which was less than 5 minutes away.

Other places in Leiden include the Best Western City Hotel, and the Van der Valk Hotel, which sits on the water. You can also stay on a houseboat if that takes your fancy. Click here for other places to stay in Leiden.

In Haarlem, the Boutiquehotel Staats gets good reviews. It’s located centrally and near to the beach. Likewise, the Hotel Lion d’Or is highly rated. To browse all accommodation in Haarlem, click here.

Click here to explore options in The Hague. The Grand Hotel Amrâth Kurhaus is situated on the beach and really is grand! Other hotels are located in the city, including the Best Western Plus Plaza, and the Hilton hotel. For more options, click here.

In Amsterdam, there are so many places to choose from, and it really depends on the area that you choose to stay in. To explore some options, click here.

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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