7 Million Tulips await!

Keukenhof, is Europe’s famous spring tulip festival. Over 7 million bulbs will bloom this spring, with a total of 800 varieties of tulips on display in the show gardens. It’s an amazing riot of colour and probably a horticultural experience that every keen gardener should visit at least once.

There are 32 hectares of flowers, spectacular flower shows in various pavilions spread across the site, outdoor art and exhibitions. The Tulip Mania exhibition at the Juliana Pavilion explains how tulips became the fashion accessory of the 17th Century elite.

At the peak of tulip mania, in February 1637, some single tulip bulbs sold for more than ten times the annual income of a skilled worker.

Happily the prices have come down since then and you can order your own bulbs from the Dutch tulip suppliers who have sales stands on site. They will sort the paperwork and deliver to a UK address. (It’s very easy to get carried away with your own mania at these stalls!)

With quick flights to Amsterdam (KLM offers low fares these days) it’s easy to Channel-hop and even pop over for the day. Amsterdam hotels are so pricey that we prefer to stay in nearby Leiden, one of the oldest University towns in Europe. A mini Amsterdam, with it’s own canal network, Leiden has excellent hotels (the best is undoubtedly the boutique Huys Van Leyden, which offers airport collection) and a quick bus transfer to Keukenhof itself.

You have until 13th May to pack you camera and comfy shoes and set off to Keukenhof.