Staff Review

The Low Countries


18 Nov 2016

by The Kirker Team

Kirker Holidays

Given the opportunity, I always prefer travelling by rail over air - so I was delighted that the itinerary for my return visit to the Low Countries involved no airports.

After the swift and comfortable Eurostar journey from London, my visit started with a day in Brussels including an al fresco lunch at the wonderful Bocconi restaurant belonging to Hotel Amigo. We then continued to Bruges, which was my personal highlight - especially as it was my first visit. It was every bit as 'chocolate box' pictureque as I had hoped and certainly whet my appetite to re-visit again in the winter months, when I can imagine snow-topped roofs and crisp mornings. The Museum Pass provided by Kirker for all Bruges holidays certainly enhances any stay, and saves valuable time which might be spent queueing for tickets. A climb to the top of the Belfry before the crowds arrived helped to work off my hearty breakfast enjoyed at the Pand Hotel. (Incidentally, breakfasts do not come much better in my opinion - eggs cooked to order in front of guests on the kitchen's aga, local cheese and meat selections and plenty of coffee to keep me energised for my day of exploration.)

On the theme of food, my restaurant tip in Bruges would be Kok au Vin (pre-book a table through our Concierge) - a fantastic culinary experience. (Make sure you include the accompanying wine 'flight', the only flight I needed on this trip!)

I then travelled on the impressive high-speed rail service to Amsterdam (with a brief pit stop in the quaint town of Ghent.) The journey took just over an hour and the first class service included a civilised light meal served at our table.

My very first trip with Kirker was to Amsterdam back in 2001 and I was interested to see the changes over the past 13 years! Reassuringly the city was as I remember, but the most significant change has to be the re-opening of the iconic Rijksmuseum, which can conveniently be combined with a visit to the neighbouring Van Gogh Museum. After a long day of sightseeing it was wonderful to relax back at The Grand Hotel. Its Garden Terrace becomes a tranquil, candle-lit haven in the evening where you can enjoy a cold beer and some 'bitterballen' - typical Dutch (and very moreish) meat croquettes.

The culmination of my trip was a day spent in The Hague, including a visit to the newly renovated Mauritshuis. To see so many works by the Dutch Masters all under one roof really was quite breathtaking.

The towns and cities of the Low Countries can easily be combined and are enhanced by a range of excellent museums and wonderful, authentic dining. With such an easy journey by rail from the UK, I certainly won't be leaving it another 13 years before my next visit.

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Our expert reservations team regularly travel to a wide range of destinations to explore new cities, visit hotels and to research museums, galleries and restaurants so that we can offer the most up-to-date advice and recommendations.


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