Utrecht, one of the country’s oldest cities in central Netherlands, is well worth exploring. Start in Breukelen, at the 13th century Nyenrode estate (now a university), enjoying the deer park, maze, rose garden and jogging trails through the surrounding woods.
A short 20-minute drive from Nyenrode is De Haar Castle - the largest and most luxurious castle in the Netherlands. Located in the small village of Haarzuilens, the towers, ramparts, canals, gates and drawbridges of the castle are of fairytale proportions - and the trees, old gardens and ponds that surround them are worth a visit in their own right.
Where to stay? In the charming town of Zeist, where 20th-century castle Kasteel Kerckebosch sits tucked away in the woodland-rich outskirts. Spaces are a riot of iron cast knockers from Utrecht cathedral, plush upholstery, and an irresistible fireplace from an 18th-century Amsterdam canal house. With gorgeous castle guest rooms offering sweet sweet gezelligheid (Dutch for cosy atmosphere), it’s the perfect place to restore that castle-hopping energy.