STAYING IN A DUTCH CASTLE WITH TEENS

We love a castle.  Even better than visiting a castle is sleeping in one.  Trouble is that hotels in castles tend to be on the expensive side.  Imagine my delight when I discovered that staying in a Dutch castle with teens needn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Dutch Castle hotel

STAYING IN A DUTCH CASTLE WITH TEENS

At first I couldn’t believe it.  Crenellations: tick.  Moat: tick.  Formal gardens: tick. €30 Bed and Breakfast: tick.  Kasteel Assumberg has it all.  I showed Mr CW the pictures, he loved it.  Then I broke the news that Kasteel Assumberg is in fact a youth hostel.  Hence the cost.  So whilst the exterior looks lavish it is not awash with luxury trimmings inside.  If you need a spa, a swimming pool or room service then you need to find another castle.  What it does have is a games room, a huge chest full of every imaginable kind of ball to play with and space to run.  Perfect for teens.

HEEMSKERK STAYOKAY

Stayokay is what youth hostels are called in the Netherlands.  Staying in a Dutch youth hostel is very similar to staying in a British youth hostel.  When we checked in we were handed our room key and our bedding.  You make your own beds in youth hostels but putting on a duvet cover, pillowcase and sheet doesn’t take much time.  Our en suite family room was in one of the castle towers, so it was circular and very tall.  Our double bed had a huge head board that concealed the bunk beds for the teens, a neat arrangement then made the teens feel that they had their own space.

Staying in a Dutch Castle with teens

We had a view of the moat and surrounding gardens from one of the windows.  Look at that nice flat cycling terrain.

Staying in a Dutch castle

We opted for a three night cycling package which included bike hire, breakfast, a packed lunch and a welcome drink, which was very welcome.  We sat in splendour with our beer looking out through those tiny panes of glass to the formal gardens beyond.

Dutch beer

All meals were self service and we also chose to eat dinner at the castle.  The food was plain and plentiful, nothing for a teen to object to.  One night there was a barbeque which we ate in the castle courtyard.

Youth hostels are geared up to cater to youths.  In the grand entrance hall there was a huge chest packed with outdoor games that could be used for free.  The teens fished out a football and were soon kicking it around outside with some Dutch teens.  If it had been raining they could have played board games (OK they could have sat with their phones) in the games room which was adorned with a suit of armour.  No need to worry about using those phones as there is complimentary wifi in the castle (that’s good news for blogging mothers too!).

Staying in a Dutch Castle with teens

Grown ups are catered for with peaceful gardens to wander in and lots of cosy nooks to sit down and read a book and a bar to serve tea, coffee or maybe something stronger at the end of the day.

All those crenellations make for a good back drop for a wedding photo.  Assumburg castle is a popular venue for weddings.  Whilst we were staying nobody tied the knot but a steady stream of couple arrived in their wedding finery to have their photo’s taken on the drawbridge.

HIRING A BIKE AT STAYOKAY HEEMSKERK

We went for a package that included bike hire but you can decide to rent a bike from Stayokay once you’ve arrived.  The bikes are good sturdy Dutch bikes which take a bit of getting used to as the rear brake is operated by peddling backwards.  Heemskerk is on the edge of the North Holland Dunes Reserve a vast, car free, area that is criss crossed by countless bike paths.  You can choose to cycle for miles or just to pedal off to the nearest sandy beach.  We did a bit of both and also spent a day cycling inland alongside fields and canals.

ASSUMBERG CASTLE HISTORY

Kasteel Assumburg or Slot Assumburg was first built in the thirteenth century to help protect the province of Holland from the West Frisans.  The fairy tale castle as we see it today was constructed in the late fifteenth century meaning that all those fearsome crenellations were never meant to be defensive but just very impressive decoration.  The fancy formal gardens were planted up in roundabout 1700.   By 1867 living in draughty damp castle had lost its allure and the building was abandoned, by the turn of the nineteenth century the building was in such a state of decay that it was sold the the Dutch state for one Guilder.  Work began on restoring it and in 1933 the first guests were welcomed to the newly opened Youth Hostel.  During the second world war the castle was occupied by the Germans.

Fairy tale castle

Just as the castle itself decayed so did its surroundings.  Local farmers filled the moat up with surplus bulbs and the whole area became a rubbish tip.  Eventually the moat was dredged and the land cleaned up, work then began on restoring the gardens.  Now the whole area is public park and kept pristine by the hard work of volunteers.

STAYING AT STAYOKAY HEEMSKERK: NEED TO KNOW

  • Prices start from €23 per person bed and breakfast in a shared room
  • Bike hire packages start from €66 per person and include breakfast, packed lunch, two nights accommodation and a welcome drink.
  • Dinner cost €16 adults and €8 children
  • If you are a member of the YHA you get a discount of €2.50 per person per night
  • You need to make your own bed
  • You can hire a towel or bring your own
  • Free wifi
  • Heemskerk is about an hours drive from the ferry terminal at Hook of Holland

We stayed at Heemskerk Stayokay at the beginning of family summer holiday during which we cycled, crossed the Afsluidijk, crossed the Wadden Sea to the Frisan Islands, went on Europe’s highest swing and went on a food tour of Amsterdam.

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Staying in a Dutch Castle

Oregon Girl Around the World

22 Comments

  1. November 15, 2017 / 3:31 pm

    Wow! What an amazing place to stay. Freya would go nuts if we rocked up there. Fab post!

    • November 15, 2017 / 3:35 pm

      Thank you, Harwich and the ferry easy to get to from Norwich …….

      • November 15, 2017 / 7:46 pm

        Oooh no flying! Might look into that.

        • November 15, 2017 / 7:53 pm

          No, no flying. The Netherlands is the nearest bit of abroad you can almost see it from Caister on a clear day!

  2. pigeonpairandme
    November 16, 2017 / 9:44 pm

    I was so envious when you told me about this, and it’s fantastic to read about it. We need to go! If only so we can say ‘travel snap’ again….. #FarawayFiles

    • November 17, 2017 / 6:22 pm

      It’s important that we keep the game of travel snap going!

  3. November 17, 2017 / 6:10 pm

    I’ve never stayed in a youth hostel before, but I might change my mind for this one! Looks like a lovely stay! #farawayfiles

    • November 17, 2017 / 6:22 pm

      We love a youth hostel and have stayed in some amazing buildings in stunning locations

      • November 17, 2017 / 6:49 pm

        Cool! Sounds like a great idea for a longer post!

        • November 17, 2017 / 6:51 pm

          Now there’s an idea …. youth hostels we have loved

  4. November 18, 2017 / 12:32 pm

    What good fortune to find such a fabulous place with history, convenience, and appeal to teens. Wow!

  5. November 19, 2017 / 9:08 am

    I’ve been trying to book a family room at St Briavels YHA (the UK castle equivalent) but it always seems full on the dates I want. Perhaps a trip to the Netherlands would satisfy my ‘stay in a castle’ longing!

    • November 19, 2017 / 11:25 am

      I’ve been trying for St Briavels for ages too!

  6. November 19, 2017 / 9:33 am

    This castle looks wonderful! I love visiting castles, but I have never actually stayed in one. Were there many older people staying here? I used to love Youth Hostels, but I think I’d feel a bit too old now 🙁

    • November 19, 2017 / 11:33 am

      This one was mainly family groups but you might have felt a bit odd as a young romantic couple.

  7. November 19, 2017 / 3:06 pm

    The architecture of this place is simply remarkable and outstanding, Catherine. I would love to explore it soon. Is one day enough to see it whole?

    • November 19, 2017 / 4:51 pm

      A one night stay would enable you experience all its castle wonderfulness

  8. Angela
    November 19, 2017 / 5:38 pm

    Wow! So glad you found a castle stay at a reasonable price — that’s amazing!

    • November 19, 2017 / 5:41 pm

      It was a great start to our holiday

  9. Esther
    November 20, 2017 / 9:03 am

    What a cool stay. Lots of historical places in The Netherlands are getting a new purpose, because the upkeep of these monuments is so expensive. To be honest, I don’t mind at all! This looks brilliant.

    • November 20, 2017 / 9:21 am

      So good to building being used rather than decay

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