The Province of Utrecht has many beautiful estates, castles and monasteries located in or near beautiful nature reserves that are a must visit. Some of these historic buildings are fully furnished in the atmosphere of the past. Others have been converted into beautiful restaurants or hotels. The estates, castles and monastery were of royal, noble or ecclesiastical ownership. Even wealthy merchants had beautiful country houses and spectacular gardens laid out outside the city. Nowadays these stately buildings are open to the public and you can also enjoy all the beauty that estates, castles and monasteries offer.
Peeking at estates, castles and monasteries
Recently I visited some beautiful estates, castles and monasteries in the province. I would like to share my favorites with you, because these hidden pearls are definitely worth a visit. My journey of discovery went past impressive furnished castles to austere monasteries in the Dutch countryside. All easily accessible by bike or public transport.
1 | Estate De Paltz in Soest
Cycling the Stijlroute from Utrecht to Amersfoort is an experience. The route passes impressive works of art, but you can also visit the Soesterberg airbase and Landgoed De Paltz nearby. I was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful estate De Paltz. The stately villa stands in a beautiful environment of up to 80 hectares with beech avenues, sight axes, a coach house and a shepherd’s house. You can have lunch in the beautiful villa surrounded by greenery and just relax and before continuing cycling on to Amersfoort. On the estate are also performances, exhibitions and concerts organized. You can walk a walking route of 3.4km or join an excursion. Please note: dogs are not allowed.
De Paltz 1
2 | Splendor at Castle De Haar
It took me years to finally decide to visit Castle De Haar. And how sorry I am that I haven’t discovered this beautiful castle and its colorful gardens before. Castle De Haar has so much to offer: a colorful park, wonderful history, art exhibitions, flower gardens and more. You can easily spend half a day to visit the castle and its surroundings. Be warned because you’ll fall from one surprise to another and won’t get bored. The interior of the castle is amazing! Step through the gate of the castle and imagine yourself in a different time. Many international celebrities have stayed in the castle, from Coco Chanel to Roger Moore. Kasteel De Haar is the largest castle in the Netherlands, which was privately owned by the van Zuylen family and where her descendants stay every year for a holiday. How nice it is to have a holiday in a castle and gardens at this time of year.
3 | Zusters at Buitenplaats Doornburgh
Buitenplaats Doornburgh is located along the river Vecht, in this beautiful area you can walk in silence over many small bridges. In addition to a beautiful 17th-century country house, you will also find a monastery on the beautiful estate. A priory, to be precise, where sisters have lived for years. After the departure of the last inhabitants who stayed in the priory, it was time for a new destination. The minimalistic location now houses restaurant De Zusters. Where last year I enjoyed a delicious experience dinner in the various rooms of the priory. At Buitenplaats Doornburgh you can not only walk but also admire small-scale art exhibitions. On Sundays, performances are organized in the garden or indoors.
Restaurant De Zusters
De restaurants doesn’t do dinner anymore, but you can still visit for coffee and lunch.
4 | Kasteel Kerckebosch in Zeist
Kerckebosch Castle is a hotel and restaurant with a beautiful terrace located in Zeist. The castle with stained glass and a beautiful modern yet classic interior is 120 years old. Kerckebosch is situated in a wooded area, easily combined a visit with a day out on the Utrechtse Heuvelrug. At Kerckebosch I was able to enjoy the art of the restaurant during a culinary event. If you want to enjoy a high-level dining experience then an evening in Kerckebosch is definitely recommended. Before dinner you can admire the surroundings on foot and sit down at the table with a good appetite.
5 | Kasteel Amerongen and restaurant Bentinck
Amerongen Castle dates from 1680 and has a rich family history. The castle is located near the village of Amerongen and is surrounded by historic (purée) gardens. The castle is furnished as a small-scale museum and tells the story of the former residents who played an important role in politics. The stables of the castle houses Restaurant Bentinck. A restaurant with some historical elements where you can dine in ambiance, but is also a nice place for a coffee or extensive lunch.