A Weekend Break at Bosrijk Village, Efteling

Efteling is Holland's largest theme park. This fantasy-themed theme park is filled with magic and features elements around myths, legends, fairytales and magic. Efteling is super popular and the third-most visited theme park in the world. I can certainly see why. We absolutely LOVED our visit and would highly recommend to everyone who still believes in magic.

A Weekend Break at Bosrijk Village, Efteling (A Review)


Getting to Efteling 


We visited Efteling directly after our 6-night stay at Duinrell. I'd highly recommend combining the two holidays if you can. We travelled to the Netherlands with DFDS Seaways and travelled by car which you can read all about in this post here. It was an easy 90 minute drive to Efteling from Duinrell. We used google maps and found it no bother - it's very well signposted. On arrival, make sure you follow the signs for hotels rather than the theme park if you are staying over. We made the mistake of joining the traffic heading to the theme park which added another 20 minutes onto our journey.


Lots of people asked me whether it is possible to visit Efteling via public transport and the answer is yes - in fact it seems very easy. Check out the Efteling website here for details. 

Accommodation Options at Efteling 



There are a few different options for staying on-site at Efteling. I personally think staying overnight is the absolute best way to experience Efteling. Overnight stays include unlimited access to the theme park. Overnight options include:

Efteling Hotel which is just a 5 minute walk from the theme park. There are 20 themed suites (I have my eye on the sleeping beauty suite) as well as regular rooms and junior suites. Facilities include an indoor kids castle play area, Fairytale character visits, breakfast, complimentary car parking and early access to the Efteling theme park. You can find out more about the Efteling Hotel here.

Efteling Loonshe Land which is a holiday village within walking distance of Efteling (although it is the furthest away, there's also a shuttle bus). Expect holiday houses, a hotel with rooms and themed rooms in this area of the site. Facilities include several play areas for children, a small farm where children can pet animals, stories from the Sandman, bike rental, complimentary parking and early access to the Efteling theme park. You can find out more about Loonshe Land here. 



Efteling Bosrijk Village which is where we stayed. This holiday village in the woods features houses, group accommodation and apartments. Facilities include pizza delivery, bar, bike rental, swimming pool, playgrounds, storytelling with the Sandman, breakfast delivery, complimentary parking and early access to the Efteling which is just a short walk away. You can find out more about Bosrijk here.


10 Reasons to Stay at Bosrijk Village at Efteling 


We loved our stay at Bosrijk Village. We were lucky and managed to book an elusive one night stay for £270 including parking, 2 days theme park access and swimming which I think was an absolute steal for the 5 of us (2 day theme park access and parking alone would have cost £100 more!). Check out current last minute deals and offers here.



Normally, you need to stay at Bosrijk Village for 2-5 nights with check-in being a Monday, Wednesday or Friday. You can check the prices and dates here. Here are my 10 reasons to stay at Bosrijk Village:

Lots of space & everything you need in a beautiful woodland setting

We stayed in a three-bed village house within the Bosrijk village and were really impressed with how much space we had and the quality of the amenities - all within a beautiful woodland setting. Downstairs was open plan with a porch, downstairs loo, boot cupboard and open plan kitchin/dining/living area plus patio doors which looked out onto a private terrace with seating.  Upstairs there were three large bedrooms and a family bathroom.



We were really impressed with our house and it had a luxury feel to it. Expect comfortable sofas, a flat screen TV, complimentary WiFi, dishwasher, coffee machine and more.

Playgrounds

Bosrijk Village is set in the woodland and there are lots of little playgrounds dotted about. Usually one in the centre of each village square. The playgrounds are much more than your average playground with huge climbing frames, dens to hide in, stepping stones, swings and lots to inspire your imagination. My three played in the playground next to our accommodation for three hours after a busy day in the theme park. We honestly struggled to bring them inside when the sun was setting. The absolutely loved it and invented their own game based on the Sandman of course.

A Weekend Break at Bosrijk Village, Efteling (A Review)





Sandman theming

Mr Sandman is a friendly elf who lives in a giant sandcastle in the middle of Bosrijk Village (you can see his castle in the middle of the lake - it's very impressive). The Sandman sprinkles magic dust over children's houses at night to help them sleep. I thought the Sandman might be too young for my three (aged 12, 10 and 8) but they absolutely adored him and fully embraced the full experience. There are lots of little nods to the Sandman throughout the village and I LOVED the theming which included:

  • Sandman bedding on our beds (including the grown-ups) 
  • Sandman nightcaps for us all to wear in the evening (and take home)
  • Sandman pictures on the walls of our accommodation 
  • Sandman storytelling and meet and greets at the Gatehouse (near the village reception) 
  • Sandman bedtime story waiting for us in our room (we could take this home and it's now a favourite) 
  • Sandman plates delivered with the kids' pizza (for them to take home) 
  • Sandman gifts to buy in the on-site gift shop 
  • Sandman snakes and ladders game to play in the bunk room 









It has been a good few years since I read a bedtime story but you honestly can't help but get caught up in the magic of it all.  I read the Sandman story to my three before bed (with our nightcaps on of course) and they were enthralled. It was one of the best memories of our holiday and the Sandman definitely enabled us to enjoy some proper family time together.

Pizza delivery

There is an on-site restaurant in the village if you fancy a meal out but after a busy day in the theme park, we really wanted to chill out. There is an option to order pizza delivery straight to your house. There's a menu in your accommodation and you can phone up or order through the Efteling app. As well as pizzas there are also pasta dishes, kids meals and desserts (no drinks though so come prepared or visit the on-site shop on your return from the theme park). We ordered a selection of pizzas, pastas and chocolate puddings for 55 euros which considering you are staying on a theme park, I didn't think was too bad for the 5 of us. The pizzas were delivered within 30 minutes and really tasted delicious. As mentioned above, the kids were given a free Sandman picnic plate with their meal which they love.





Breakfast delivery

Again, you can cook your own breakfast or choose to dine in the on-site restaurant. There's another option here which I absolutely loved. There's a breakfast order form in your accommodation for pastries, bread and other breakfast items which can be purchased from the shop. You tick what you'd like, hand your form into the on-site shop/bakery and pay your balance and your breakfast will be delivered straight to your accommodation the following morning free of charge. Nothing beats fresh pastries in the morning! We ordered an eclectic mix of pastries for 12 euro which was excellent value. I wish more places would offer this service.



Early theme park access

If you stay at Efteling, you are provided with complimentary theme park access for the duration of your stay. This includes check-in and check-out day. Your tickets will either be sent to you in the post or available for you to collect at your accommodation reception on the day of your arrival. We arrived at about 10:30am so missed early access on the first day but I love that if you're staying with Efteling you can enter the theme park via a special entrance so miss the big queues and if you're an early bird, you can access the park 30 minutes before they open to the general public. A few of the smaller rides are open at this time and if you wish to ride Symbolica which is Efteling's most popular ride, there's a special access queue which opens 30 minutes before the park opens and is exclusive for guests staying on site (nb the ride itself doesn't open until 10am - you have access to the special queue only so will be one of the first to ride that day).


Free parking

Parking at Efteling costs 10 euro per day. If you're staying on-site, you have access to the complimentary car park and a 20 euro saving is not to be sniffed at! In Bosrijk Village, you can't park next to your accommodation. You park in a main car park next to reception. You are allowed to drive near your accommodation and unload your cases (you can park for 30 minutes) on check in and check out. This system works really well as it keeps the forest car-free and very safe for children who are playing. It adds to the peace and quiet too I think. I did notice accessible houses had disabled parking if this was something you required. The theme park is a gentle 10 minute stroll from Bosrijk Village car park. A photo of the car park would be pretty boring so here are some more interior shots......







Complimentary swimming pool access

Guests staying at Bosrijk Village have free access to the on-site swimming pool which is open until 10pm. You access the building with your room key which is rather clever. As is normal for accommodation in Holland, if your children are under 1.3m and/or a weak swimmer, they have to wear armbands or they won't be allowed in the main pool. Heidi was ok but Jack isn't too strong of a swimmer so we decided to buy him some armbands from the lifeguard to keep her happy and give ourselves peace of mind (they were 1.5 euro). The pool area is fab! There's a jacuzzi, fast-moving lazy river, water buckets and swimming pool area as well as a toddler pool and baby pool. My kids love swimming and this was a brilliant way to relax after a day walking around a theme park. The jacuzzi was blissful on my aching feet.

Sandman storytelling

If you're staying in the Bosrijk Village, you're invited to meet the Sandman and listen to one of his bedtime stories in the evening. I did really want to do this as it sounded magical! However, our accommodation was right on the other side of the woods to the storytelling and it fell right on teatime for us (plus we were tired after swimming and a day at the theme park) AND the kids just wanted to play in the park so we gave it a miss. The stories are in Dutch so I wasn't sure if my three would appreciate it or if they'd just roll their eyes. You can chat to the Sandman in English and pose for photos afterwards which I kind of regret we didn't do. There's always next time! You can read about the Sandman storytelling and see photos here. 



Bar/Reception area

The facilities at Bosrijk Village really are second to none. The staff we encountered all spoke perfect English and we were made to feel so welcome. As well as the swimming pool and storytelling area, there's a small sand and water play area for kids by the lake and a bar area with lovely views where grown-ups can enjoy a drink. There's also a cute little shop (mentioned above where you can order your breakfast delivery from) selling drinks, gifts and snacks. We picked up a picnic and some sweets for the kids from here for our return ferry crossing home. We really couldn't have asked for more.






Visiting Efteling Theme Park with Tweens

FINALLY we are onto the main theme park. We spent 1.5 days exploring Efteling Theme Park which was enough to get a real feel for the place. I feel that 2-3 days are probably needed to explore the park fully. We took everything at a pretty relaxed pace. Efteling is like no other theme park we've ever been to before. The magical theming is second to none and it really is pure escapism. Many people prefer Efteling to Disneyland Paris as they say it's cheaper, the queues are shorter and the rides are better/longer. Here are our top 10 highlights:

Our 10 Highlights from Efteling Theme Park 


Symbolica

Symbolica is one of the signature rides at Efteling. One of the things I noticed about Efteling is that they always exaggerate queue time. We joined at 50 minutes and it only took around 25 minutes. We found this to be the same across the park. Symbolica is a 'Palace of Fantasy' and it's fairly difficult to explain but I'll try my best. The first part of the experience is a walk-through experience where stairs move and objects talk to you - you kind of feel as if you have stumbled onto the set of Hogwarts. Then, you are prompted to choose a journey. We decided to go with 'Treasure' and before we knew it we were sitting in a cart and being whisked around a magical universe. We sailed past a whale and quickly escaped as the roof started cracking, we waltzed around the King's banquet hall and witnessed so much magic before our eyes. It was truly wonderful. You can't go to Efteling and not experience this ride. It's suitable for all ages.



Themed inexpensive food

Theme parks abroad are way ahead of the game when it comes to food. I really wish the UK would take a leaf from their book. There are LOADS of choices when it comes to dining at Efteling including little vending machines serving hot food if you're in a rush. We wanted to grab something quickly on our first day so popped to the chicken house. We ordered a meal and drinks for all 5 of us for just over 20 euros. What a bargain! The kids meals were themed with Symbolica (the ride we'd just been on) and even included a free magic wand. I had the best satay sauce of my life here! There aren't any English menus in the fast food sections but they do have photos and they were pretty easy to decipher (plus as always, everyone spoke and understood English).





Gondola ride

I'd read that the Gondola ride was a nice way to relax and they weren't wrong. This 20-minute ride is the perfect place to chill and watch the world go by as you sail along. We met ducks, spotted lots of fish, sailed past windmills and generally enjoyed the scenery and giving ourselves a rest from the bigger rides/walking.






Python Rollercoaster 

Jack decided that he was ready to try an upside down rollercoaster at Efteling and Python was perfect for the job. With two full loops and a couple of spiral turns (I don't think this is the correct term but I'm going with it) and a height restriction of just 1.2m, we all decided to ride it together. The queue went down really quickly and Jack absolutely LOVED it. In fact, we all did. He was proud as punch and there's no stopping him now.





Fairytale Forest

I've dedicated a whole post to the Fairytale Forest (which you can read here). I think you need a good couple of hours to properly experience it. The walk-though, magical attraction is a nice place to chill out away from the main park for a bit and isn't just for little kids either.


Train Rides

Efteling is fairly big but there's a regular train ride running around the park to save little legs. On the day of our visit, trains were every 10 minutes so there was never much of a wait. What I loved about the trains here is that they were proper steam trains so it felt much more special than a regular theme park train. The views of the lake and theme park were fantastic too.






Haunted House

I just didn't know what to expect from the haunted house. It was like no other haunted house I'd been in! For this one, you stand in a room and watch a magical show in front of your eyes. Zombies wake up, ghosts fly past and you might get a fright. The show is behind a screen and doesn't feature real people but it might be frightening to little ones. We didn't know where to look next and found it to be spectacular and fairly unique.

The Talking Bins

I'd heard about the talking bins before our trip but they are so much better in real life. Kids LOVED them. You'd walk past a bin and their face would say 'Feed Me' (in Dutch). Kids would then have to 'feed' rubbish into their mouths and watch as the bin gobbled it up. What a great idea!

Pop-up Theatre and Storytelling

As you walk around the park, there is lots of pop-up theatre and storytelling. Again this is in Dutch but you don't need to understand the language to follow along. There's magic, fantastic characters to meet and greet and it was all done to such a high standard. I think small children would absolutely love this.

Pancakes

We visited a pancake house right on the main strip underneath Symbolica. Considering this was a prime location, the price was fantastic (under 50 euros for the 5 of us). The kids were given a pancake surprise which features lots of little toppings dishes and a fairytale stencil which they could bring home. Sitting in the sunshine, eating pancakes right in the heart of the action before we headed home was such a lovely way to end our trip and something I will always remember. 






I have only just touched the surface with my highlights. There is SO much more to enjoy at Efteling including more family rides, a pirate area, white knuckle rides, water fountain shows and a special evening show called Caro. You can find out more about all there is to do at Efteling here. 





Let me know if you fancy a visit. Efteling is a place we're definitely not going to forget in a hurry. 


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A Weekend Break at Bosrijk Village, Efteling (A Review)








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9 comments

  1. It sounds like such an amazing place to stay and visit, I had never really heard of it much before you visited x

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    1. It was honestly the best! A real alternative to Disneyland I think x

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  2. Looks like an amazing place to visit with kids.

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  3. I love the little houses! There certainly seems like there is plenty to do, with kids of all ages. 😊

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    Replies
    1. Ah they are so cute aren't they - I didn't want to leave!

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  4. Efteling is on my bucket list - it sounds like you had such a lovely time and I know our two would love it x

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  5. I have just booked Duinrell for half term next May and we have a few days after. I really fancy this place and heard so many great things about it. How last minute did you book to get such a great deal. As for 3 of us it’s coming out at £350

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