Best country estates and gardens around Amsterdam
During the 17th century, many wealthy merchants owned beautiful country estates just outside of Amsterdam’s city walls as an escape from the bustling city centre. Today these spectacular manor houses and landscaped gardens offer an opportunity to find your own escape from the hustle and bustle with a quick trip. Check out one of the highlighted places below to get a taste of Dutch country life.
Frankendael Estate lies within Amsterdam's borders in the Watergraafsmeer district and is the only remaining 17th-century country estate. The park is easily accessible by public transport and boasts two historic gardens, a sunbathing area, and a marsh. The anchor is the Huize Frankendael, now a spot for cultural events, whilst the Restaurant Merkelbach serves exquisite Franco-Mediterranean cuisine in the former coach house.
Duin & Kruidberg
The Dutch dunes are full of beautifully preserved historical manorial estates, open to the public for fine or brasserie-style dining and overnight stays. Duin & Kruidberg Country Estate, dating from 1682, offers 75 luxury hotel rooms within the Zuid-Kennemerland National Park. Stroll amongst the preserved period rooms or settle down on the stunning terrace for refreshments.
Country Estate Beeckestijn
Country Estate Beeckestijn is the perfect destination for a relaxing day in the country. The gardens combine two different styles and include a rose garden, herb garden, geometric flower beds and a cherry garden, all dotted with ponds, sculptures and 18th-century architectural details. The manor house often serves as the backdrop for films and photo shoots. Check the Beeckestijn website for exhibitions throughout the year.
Thijsse's Hof is the oldest botanical garden in the Netherlands, designed by Dutch landscape architect Leonard Springer. Developed in 1925, the garden showcases around 800 species of plants that originate in the nearby dunes. It is the oldest wildlife garden in the Netherlands and one of the oldest in Europe and the world.
Landgoed de Olmenhorst (Olmenhorst estate) is a green oasis of apple and pear orchards found in Lisserbroek, a village between Amsterdam, Haarlem and Leiden. This historic estate is over 160 years old and specialises in organic products. A big draw in the autumn is self-picking fruit from the organic apple and pear orchards, complete with attractions and pony rides for the kids. The estate contains seven of its original buildings to explore. Stroll through its lush orchard or enjoy a meal or high tea on the terrace at ‘De Fruitloods’, an on-site restaurant.
Haarlemmerhout is the Netherlands’ oldest green monument. Located on the south side of Haarlem, ‘The Wood’, as it is popularly called, has an area of 60 acres complete with a deer park, petting zoo and pancake house and is host to excellent summer music festivals. Located on the edge of Haarlemmerhout, Paviljoen Welgelegen has been the seat of the government of the province of North Holland since 1930. Built during the revolutionary year of 1789, it became a retreat for Napoleon and Wilhelmina of Prussia, the mother of King William I. During office hours, you can visit Paviljoen Welgelegen for free.
It may be perpetually outshone by its showy neighbour, but Castle Keukenhof (located straight across from the world-famous Keukenhof Gardens) boasts an impressive history with 17th-century roots. Inside, you’ll find portraits, artefacts and period furniture. The estate now measures 240 hectares and is home to 15 listed buildings, an art museum, café, a petting farm and walking paths. For details of upcoming events and exhibitions, check the website.
De Zuilen is a beautiful garden estate that boasts 3,500 square metres of groomed, walkable grounds and courtyards filled with Roman and Greek statues, fountains and columns, from which the estate gets its name. From April to May, De Zuilen’s gardens bloom with narcissus, hyacinths and tulips, the latter cultivated by a tulip specialist from Lelystad. The restaurant, bar and sunny terrace are open from Friday to Monday.
Situated just outside Hilversum, the unique country estate of Jagtlust (website in Dutch) is surrounded by stunning countryside. This beautiful old country house is full of history. Soak up the history and architecture during a child-friendly 1 km walking route through the surrounding grounds, which also features the chance to gather chestnuts and explore a cave.
De Kemphaan City Estate
Close to Almere centre, the De Kemphaan city estate is the perfect destination for an adventurous day away from the hustle and bustle. Children of all ages will delight in the climbing forest, lively organic city farm, centre for rescued monkeys, and canoe beaver safari with a forest ranger. Take a break at one of the local restaurants located at De Kemphaan or even spend the night in one of the estate’s luxurious lodges.
Kasteel Museum Sypesteyn
The final heir to the Van Sypesteyn family, Henri van Sypesteyn (1857-1937) built this magnificent Castle-Museum to preserve his family’s 500-year lineage. Located in the middle of the Vecht region, the castle houses a fascinating art collection and exhibition on the Van Sypesteyn family, while the beautiful garden is perfect for a walk. Be sure to check opening times as the castle is closed during the winter months.