As you are aware for Easter this year we were lucky enough to stay with Canvas Holidays on their Dutch site at Duinrell as part of their #Canvas50 celebrations. I didn’t know much about the site, but it seems plenty of people on Twitter and Facebook do and they all told me how fantastic it is, and the perfect base for a family holiday. It turns out I didn’t know much about camping with Canvas Holidays in the 21st Century either since my last experience with them was about 1983 and things have clearly moved on.
I knew that concept of camping with Canvas Holidays was that you just arrived to an already pitched tent and all you had to take was yourself and your suitcase, but this was a whole new level.
We arrived in Calais and took a more scenic, than direct route, to Wassenaar on the coast in Holland. European road maps are rubbish (because of course my map reading skills are second to none and the reason we get lost so often on every overseas trip is because every map ever made is rubbish. This is fact) but thanks to Mr B having a great sense of direction (those last two sentences are in no way connected) it wasn’t hard to find. In fact Wassenaar is sign posted from quite a distance away and once you get close to the town Duinrell is also sign posted. It’s just over 200 miles from Calais and I can highly recommend the scenic route as you really do get a sense of the real Netherlands and just how it really is dominated by water.
Canvas Holidays don’t have Duinrell exclusively but share it with several other operators so when you arrive you need to get passes for the car and yourselves as the personal passes then allow access to all the facilities on site and also the water park next door. And security at the entrance is tight, which is great, and also means that between 11pm and 7am there is no entrance or exit for cars which makes the camp so much quieter in the small hours, and safer too. But dont forget to bring an ID photo with you (or have 4 Euros for the machine if you realise before leaving home that you need ID photos, dig out some for yourselves but can’t find any for the teen who selfishly has gone out for the day. Not the sort of thing you can do in their absence, get photos, you sort of need their face, so we had to do hers on site).
The main building by the entrance is also where you can buy your Wi-Fi passes and it won’t surprise you to know I had done that before we had even announced our arrival to Canvas Holidays. You need one pass for each device unless you want to share the code and boot each other off every time you want to use it, like that was ever going to happen on our trip. No, we had one each and it was something like 17 Euros for a four day pass (weekly passes are also available). Connection speed varied, considerably, it was much faster during the day when there was nobody else around, but hey, you are on a campsite in Holland, how fast do you need it to be?!
Parking is at a premium so it is strictly one car per pitch and obviously you might not be able to park right beside your caravan, but we never had to walk more than a couple of minutes from the car back to our base. And what a base it was. The Canvas Holidays staff were all really friendly and happy to help with my odd questions such as “where can I see tulips?” and had a plentiful supply of leaflets about local attractions to hand out. I also spied a pile of books and games etc for anybody who had forgotten to bring their own.
But how has camping moved on from the tent I last stayed in, in France in 1984? Well, here is a little tour
This is the kitchen:
Equipped with everything you need, grill, oven, four ring hob, microwave, dishwasher, freezer, fridge, loads of storage space, and a corkscrew. Oh and crockery and cutlery obviously.
Can you tell there is a blogger in residence? Look at all those cables charging. Which also leads me onto plug sockets and electricity and the fact there were stacks of sockets (as many European as UK three pin so you don’t need to take adaptors). And you don’t need to worry about topping up electric or charging keys etc, it is all done for you and you need to worry about it.
We had three bedrooms, a double and two twins, and two shower rooms. A real luxury on a camping holiday. The sofa also folded out into another double so you could sleep 8. It would be a bit snug but for a family holiday it is a great way to do it, and there is certainly plenty of storage space to hide away everybody’s stuff.
There is also a gas fire in the lounge, but I do have to be honest here, we were cold. We wouldn’t leave the fire on over night for safety reasons and Holland in April is freezing at night so we were cold. And I mean properly cold. If you go and hire the linen pack I would really recommend that you take duvets with you. We did ask about extra blankets but they had all gone. The fire did warm up the living room very quickly when it was on but when you wake up cold the mad dash to the lounge to put the fire on whilst then remembering you are only in pants and you didn’t shut the curtains and are on a camp site with other people around is not for the faint hearted. Or neighbours.
Outside has everything you would need too, a barbecue, table and chairs, a couple of sun loungers, a gas barbecue and a clothes airer for beach towels and costume.
There is also a really well stocked supermarket on site that has a fresh delivery of warm bread, croissants and pain au chocolat around 8am every morning.
And if you don’t want to cook there are great options such as a pizza place, a restaurant or the buffet option that we tried which was three courses for about 19 Euros which is great value for money
Which means you can then end your evening with steak and chips, and a beer and mull over the day’s events and work out what you might do the following day
and you might need a second beer because Duinrell is a great base for a holiday in Holland, and in fact Belgium as we found when we went home via Bruges which is only a couple of hours away.
There is of course the Duinrell theme park which is right next door and free for Canvas Holidays guests, bikes to hire so you can explore slightly further afield, the beach is nearby, Wassenaar itself is beautiful (and more on that in a future post) or you can venture to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Delft, Volendam, Malurodam, as we did, The Hague, tulip fields, I could go on.
I loved this holiday and just wish it could have been longer so we could have explored more and done more. And also done less. I would have loved to have just sat on that sun lounger for a day or two with a good book and bottle of wine