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Help Driving Itinerary -UK to France,Belgium & Holland 5days

London, United...
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165 posts
14 reviews
Help Driving Itinerary -UK to France,Belgium & Holland 5days

Hello,

Our family of 5 (4 adults and a 2 year old ) will be arriving in Calais via Eurotunnel from London for 5 nights in the first week of August.

I'm hoping you can help me to plan my itinerary a little bit better or at least give me some idea where to start my planning, keeping in mind we need to include some activities for a 2 year old!

We really enjoy nature & photography pretty landscapes, old buildings, rural barns/farms , canal paths, lakes & beaches and driving along the country back roads.

We will arrive in Calais but not sure where to start with our itinerary. My sister's family is traveling from the States for their first driving trip into Europe , so would like to include whatever is realistically possible. Please, also any suggestions on beautiful back roads, old villages or pretty drives would be very much appreciated.

I know there is more to see and do than we will be able to do, but here's a tentative plan I have outlined.

We are planning to travel in mid-pace as permissible by a 2 year old's patience levels, so although I have listed 3 countries/destinations, we can reduce the number to suit our needs. I was thinking of some destinations in our bucket list below:

1-2 nights in Bruges & mini Europe - I've only done Bruges as a day trip and find it pretty but not sure if 2 days are too much for the town.

1-2 nights in Holland ( smaller towns in the countryside ideally staying overnight in a petting farm with B&B facility- any suggestions are welcome) visit Zaanse Schans & Madurodam

1 night France ? - since we arrive/depart Calais , is there a nice village/ town we can stay in nearby for an overnight journey and some sightseeing?

Between min Europe & madurodam is any one preferred over the other? We'd probably only do one of these.

Any other alternatives on towns and sightseeing options are welcome.

All thoughts are welcome. Thank you!

Amsterdam, The...
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16,943 posts
1. Re: Help Driving Itinerary -UK to France,Belgium & Holland 5days

Still on the very first page of the forum... https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g18859…

Tring, United...
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12 posts
58 reviews
2. Re: Help Driving Itinerary -UK to France,Belgium & Holland 5days

Bruges is only just over an hours drive from the Eurotunnel terminal. The thread Celia mentions already includes Veurne as a alternative stop-off. Or St Omer if you want to stay French. No idea for the 2 year old though.

Avoid the Belgian coastline from de Panne to Nieuwpoort like the plague - horrid. Go to Clacton instead.

Pretty country back roads is asking a lot of the flat lands between Calais and Bruges !

Amsterdam, The...
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16,943 posts
3. Re: Help Driving Itinerary -UK to France,Belgium & Holland 5days

[We really enjoy nature & photography pretty landscapes, old buildings, rural barns/farms , canal paths, lakes & beaches and driving along the country back roads.]

What I sometimes do is adjust the settings in my GPS and tell it to avoid highways, and it also has a setting for scenic roads. It makes the ride take twice as long but it's usually a lot more scenic too, and you pass through a lot of small towns (slowing you down to 50km/h and speed bumps and traffic lights of course).

[1-2 nights in Bruges & mini Europe - I've only done Bruges as a day trip and find it pretty but not sure if 2 days are too much for the town.]

You could go to Ghent this time. Also very pretty, and its medieval castle in the center is well worth a visit, and probably also fun for the child. It's a more 'real' town than Bruges, Ghent has more locals and less tourists. It's also got many quirky shops and nice cafes and restaurants. For example Mostaardfabriek is a nice shop with mustards and olive oils, Priem is a vintage & modern wallpaper shop, In De Pauze is an opera cafe with vintage decor, shops like Zsa Zsa, O'zon and Zoot and such have nice gifts and gadgets and clothes...

[Calais , is there a nice village/ town we can stay in nearby for an overnight journey and some sightseeing?]

Boulogne-sur-Mer, Wissant, Wimereux, Cap Gris Nez / Cap Blanc Nez (in clear weather you can see Dover from there)... but personally I'd stay overnight in Ghent.

[Any other alternatives on towns and sightseeing options are welcome.]

You can pass by Kinderdijk windmills and skip Zaanse Schans windmills. Saves you from going north that far.

You can visit Heusden cute fortress town in the Netherlands. And maybe go for a walk in Loonse en Drunense Duinen dunes / forests. From what I recall there is also a restaurant in that nature reserve that serves pancakes, but not sure.

If you want to take a different route back than you can include Goes and/or Middenburg and/or the cute beach town Domburg.

Edited: 30 June 2016, 15:17
Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
16,943 posts
4. Re: Help Driving Itinerary -UK to France,Belgium & Holland 5days

P.S. Mind what time you have lunch. Restaurants in France close their kitchen for many hours during the afternoon! If you're too late (I believe after 1.30pm or 2pm) you will have a hard time finding any restaurant still offering food! We scoured multiple towns for one that still served food at 2pm.

In the Netherlands you will find many more cafes with food from 10am or 11am onwards without stop until about 10pm. The ones who close their kitchen in the middle of the afternoon are rare.

5. Re: Help Driving Itinerary -UK to France,Belgium & Holland 5days

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