This week, I visited the breathtaking Keukenhof bulb gardens in Lisse, The Netherlands, with KLM UK. This sea of colour is a must-see for plant lovers – the photos really don’t do it justice!
Keukenhof’s history dates back to the 15th century, but it wasn’t until 1949 when leading bulb growers suggested using the 200 hectare estate to exhibit spring-flowering bulbs. Now, Keukenhof welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.
Each year, Keukenhof has a theme. 2019’s theme is Flower Power, and the estate’s 40 gardeners and designers introduced lots of references to hippie culture and the 60s peace movement. It was a great opportunity to show off some beautiful varieties and colours.
There’s so much to see at Keukenhof – I wish I could’ve taken you all along with me! You may have seen my Facebook live video where I take you on a little tour of the grounds, but if not, you can see it again here.
And, if that isn’t enough, here’s a short video I created with some of my favourite areas at the Keukenhof.
Planning a trip to the Keukenhof?
On my Facebook page, I asked if you had any questions about Keukenhof! I’ve now answered these below. If you want to know more, or you’re planning a trip, then feel free comment on this post to ask a question, or visit the Keukenhof website here.
What happens to Keukenhof when bulbs aren’t in flower? Is it only open in spring or can you visit year-round?
These magical gardens are only open for a short window each year, usually around 8 weeks whilst the bulb park is looking at its best!
During the rest of the year, the site is a lot quieter with a lot less staff working in the grounds. However, soil is improved and tended to, and replanted with new designs each autumn.
I have been exclusively told about some plans to open Keukenhof in the summer though…! In fact, the adjacent Keukenhof Castle will be opening this summer with some dahlia gardens, and I should have more information on that very soon!
Are bulbs sold there for autumn/fall planting?
Yes! You can order ahead, and receive them by mail. As many experts will know, the time when the park is open is not the same time that you should plant bulbs. Spring flowering bulbs should be planted from September onwards, so if you see any dry bulbs for sale in Holland whilst you’re visiting the Keukenhof, beware that they may not perform the way that you expect them to…
What is the food like?
There is a tremendous range of different food outlets to choose from, and range from a full sitdown meal to some casual Dutch snacks on the go. There are also plenty of drink stations.
Is there a gift shop?
Yes, there is more than one option for buying gifts at the Keukenhof. It could be memorabilia or dry bulbs, there are also kiosks for placing your order ahead for autumn delivered bulbs.
Did you buy anything from Keukenhof during your visit?
No, not on this visit! However, I did indulge in a few kroketten, one of my favourite Dutch snacks.
How many different varieties of tulips are there?
Oh gosh, I will need to look this up! My guess would be it runs into the thousands. The range of tulips seems to increase year-on-year, and just when I imagine the breeders have run out of colours and combinations to create, they come up with some new ones. Check out a few newbies from the show this year:
Remember the park is not just planted with tulips, there are also many daffodils, hyacinths, fritillaries, and other spring bulbs. In fact, in total there are 7 million bulbs of all types planted within the park!
Where’s the best place to stay when visiting Keukenhof?
You have a few different options, you could choose to stay at Schiphol airport, as there is a bus that heads straight to the park each day. Or, you can stay in Leiden, where there is also a bus that heads to the park. Other than that, you could stay in the nearest town which is Lisse, a charming Dutch town with some very good restaurants. You can walk to the Keukenhof from there in fact, and enjoy some of the nearby bulb fields on your way.
Is it accessible for those with disabilities?
Yes, the majority of the Keukenhof Park is easily accessible by wheelchair.
If you’re considering a visit to ‘the world’s largest bulb garden: the Keukenhof’, it is open from 21 March to 19 May during the 2019 season. It’s open 8am to 7.30pm each day, and you can easily reach the park by courtesy bus from Schiphol airport or the nearby city of Leiden.
KLM UK fly from 16 airports in the UK, why not check out their latest prices on the website? Click here!
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.
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