Things to do in Holland: Visit Schlossgarten/ Kasteeltuinen Arcen

On a beautifully sunny Friday morning, I was picked up by my Godmother and taken on an adventure. After a spot of breakfast in Krefeld we jumped back in the car and meandered through the lush, green countryside in the direction of the Netherlands. As we drove we passed fields upon fields of wheat and maize, a number of traditional windmills as well as wind turbines, and little road-side stalls, selling fresh strawberries and asparagus. Just under an hour later we eventually crossed the border and arrived in Holland.

Welcomed by blue skies and a stunning avenue of trees towering high above us, along with a handful of wonderful houses lining the road, it was certainly a pleasant change of scenery from the urban apartment blocks and tram-lined roads that I’m used to seeing in the city. Just a few kilometres over the border we reached our destination – Schlossgarten Arcen, or in the local lingo, Kasteeltuinen Arcen. We pulled into a very organised parking lot and were immediately aware that we were in Holland, due to the bicycle park nearby, which was already bursting at the seams – and it wasn’t even midday!

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After paying the entrance fee and walking the short distance into the park, we began by investigating the old castle (better described as an old manor house) sitting on its own island in the middle of a lily pad adorned stretch of water. A few of the rooms were tastefully furnished but on the whole there wasn’t too much to see inside.

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From the house, we began our walk through the vast park, exploring the various gardens, each with a different theme. These included the Rosary,Water garden, Shade garden and Casa Verde. There were even a few surprises along the way!

Our first stop was the beautiful Rosary, each corner offering something different and the aromas were wonderful, as I’m sure you can imagine! Feeling adventurous we climbed up to the viewing platform.

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From the Rosary, the garden opened upon into the Water garden with an array of different paths over, you guessed it, water. It was so idyllic, with so much greenery around, and the sounds of nature so close by!

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From the Water garden, we entered into the Shade Garden where at the end of the path some friendly chaps were waiting to say hello! (Apologies for the blurry picture, but they didn’t stay still for very long!)

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We eventually emerged into an expansive open space, with the huge so-called Casa Verde (or exotic greenhouse) in front of us. Inside, we stopped briefly for something to drink and then continued on our way.

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We passed through an oriental themed garden, stopped off in the Tuscan-themed area with an avenue of cypress trees and a terracotta pagoda at the end.

Eventually we entered the Easter Island Garden, which truly felt like another world!

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At the end of rather a lot of walking it was time to sit down at the cafe and enjoy a generous slice of  Limburgse Vlaai smoothered in whipped cream plus a refreshing cup of fresh mint tea. Not having eaten Vlaai before I was intrigued but I have to say it was rather delicious!

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Having enjoyed our refreshment break, we said goodbye to Arcen and headed back to the car before slowly making our way back across the border into Germany. On the way back ‘home’ we stopped off in the Niederrheinisches Freilichtmuseum, an open air museum showing how life used to be in this area of Germany.

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We had a quick wander around the museum but the main reason for our stop was to visit the on-site Pancake house and try one of their ‘famous’ pancakes. I opted for apple with cinnamon and raisins and my, my, it was scrumptious!

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10/10 from me!!