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Kasteeltuinen Arcen Gardens

By alison - May 3, 2010 (Updated: March 3, 2016)

Arcen Castle Gardens near Venlo in the Netherlands

This spring I discovered a new gorgeous garden in the Netherlands called Kasteeltuinen Arcen (The Castle Gardens of Arcen). Although my visit was a bit early in the season to see the gardens at their best, Arcen has quickly become my new favourite garden destination.

A few months ago I ordered a book called The Garden Lover’s Guide to the Netherlands and Belgium (Buy on Amazon US, UK). While flipping through, I was blown away by the illustration of Kasteeltuinen Arcen. Andrew and I decided we would visit Arcen gardens the day after our Keukenhof tour.

Kasteeltuinen Arcen Gate

Kasteeltuinen Arcen Gate

Arcen Castle dates from the 17th century and is built in the Baroque style. Its architecture however, is overshadowed by the 42 hectares of magnificent gardens. The property (which is a total of 450 acres) was purchased by the province of Limburg in 1976. In the 80’s the castle and gardens were restored and opened to the public.

As you first enter Arcen gardens, you walk into a traditional, formal garden. There are clipped hedges and neatly groomed flowerbeds. Apparently, there are 10,000 roses of 500 different species. Because we were visiting in early spring, many of the plants were not yet in bloom. The abundance of plantings and rose bushes definitely whetted my appetite to return later this summer and enjoy the flowers.

Entering Arcen Gardens

Entering Arcen Gardens
Formal Gardens at Arcen

Formal Gardens at Arcen

The next section of the gardens is a beautiful grassy area, dotted with ponds. Geese and ducks make their homes here and a circular path allows you to wander through. The daffodils were still blooming along the banks of the canals adding a splash of yellow to the brilliant green grass.

Daffodils bloom beside the canals

Daffodils bloom beside the canals

Then we came to one of my favourite areas – a beautiful woodland garden. In the shade of the trees azaleas, violets, fritillaria and astilbes bloom. There are also little streams and waterfalls flowing beneath blooming cherry trees. It is a gorgeous secret garden.

Strolling through the woodland garden

Strolling through the woodland garden
Stream in the shade garden

Stream in the shade garden
Primroses in the shade garden

Primroses in the shade garden
Fritillaria meleagris also known as Snake's Head Fritillary, Checkered Daffodil, Chess Flower, Frog-cup, Guinea-hen Flower, Leper Lily.

Fritillaria meleagris also known as Snake’s Head Fritillary, Checkered Daffodil, Chess Flower, Frog-cup, Guinea-hen Flower and Leper Lily. I just love these flowers!

At the farthest end of Arcen gardens is a huge glasshouse containing a tropical garden. Inside is a treetop walkway and large koi pond.

Inside the tropical greenhouse

Inside the tropical greenhouse
Feeding the koi

Feeding the koi

The koi and waterfowl aren’t the only animals in Arcen gardens. In addition to turtles, storks and black swans, there are also squirrel monkeys and lemurs. We entertained ourselves for ages watching a baby lemur learn to climb, with the help of his community.

Lemur Baby getting a boost

Lemur Baby getting a boost

On the far side of Arcen are the theme gardens, filled with decorative architecture, statues and artworks. You can visit gardens from around the world: Japan, Italy, Thailand and more.

Thailand? Bali? No Arcen in the Netherlands

Thailand? Bali? No Arcen in the Netherlands
In the Bamboo garden

In the Bamboo garden
Japanese Garden

Japanese Garden

There is also a playground area for children (and those of us that are kids at heart.) Andrew was thrilled to discover a 26 hole mini-golf course that was free to play and had some very challenging holes.

Being a kid in Arcen

Being a kid in Arcen
Andrew plays mini-golf

Andrew plays mini-golf

Arcen gardens are so much more than flowers. Wandering through this park is like strolling through a garden wonderland. Around every turn is something new and beautiful to discover. I can’t wait to return at see it at its best in the summer.

I apologize for all of the photos but it’s just such a great place that I couldn’t narrow them down anymore. So here are a few more. Enjoy!

Exploring the theme gardens

Exploring the theme gardens
Buzy as a bee

Buzy as a bee
Galanthus commonly known as snowdrops

Convallaria majalis commonly known as lily of the valley
Primrose

Primrose
Purple Hellebore (another of my favourites)

Purple Hellebore (another of my favourites)

Kasteeltuinen Arcen is located in the picturesque village of Arcen, 10 Km north of Venlo, in the province of Limburg. It’s an easy daytrip from Belgium or a great weekend getaway destination.

Love castles, palaces, and ruins like in this article? Us too! Don’t miss the full listing of Castles we’ve visited in Europe and beyond.

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Alison

Alison

Big Cheese at CheeseWeb
Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of Cheeseweb.eu. She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
Alison
Cheese + Goats = My personal heaven. We discover an oasis in the cheese desert. https://t.co/Os8U86UEiX - 1 day ago

15 comments

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Loads of #photos from Kasteeltuinen Arcen Gardens in Limburg, The Netherlands -- Topsy.com

  2. Comment by Sion @ paris (im)perfect

    Sion @ paris (im)perfect May 3, 2010 at 17:39

    I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but once again, gorgeous photos! I’ve never heard of this garden before – wonder why. It’s amazing! I’d like to plop myself right down in one of these photographs. Maybe a nice spot right by the canal lined with daffodils. 🙂

    P.S. I can’t believe they have lemurs, too!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison May 3, 2010 at 18:53

      I know! We’ve been here 5 year and never heard of it either. There website is only in Dutch so that may be part of the problem. I love lemurs and the baby was absolutely adorable. What a little ball of energy.

  3. Comment by Andrew

    Andrew May 3, 2010 at 18:16

    Among the amazing things about this garden is the open space… I think even when it is crowded you can still find a quiet spot. The area around the ponds would be a great place to spread a blanket and have a picnic. Each time you’re there, something new would be in bloom and the colours would be fabulous. Although it has some areas that are clearly for kids (or young at heart), the majority of the space is devoted to the landscape and the gardens. A wonderful day trip if you’re in Benelux or western Germany.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison May 3, 2010 at 18:55

      So true. You can easily spend a whole day there without getting bored. A glass of wine by the canal side would be a nice way to pass the afternoon 🙂

  4. Comment by Rob Rambags

    Rob Rambags May 4, 2010 at 08:40

    We are delighted that you people enjoy our park so much.
    Maybe you can visit us in June. The roses will be mind blowing!

    Rob
    Manager
    Kasteeltuinen Arcen

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison May 4, 2010 at 10:27

      Thank you so much for stopping by CheeseWeb! Your park in stunning and I will definitely try to make a trip back in June.

  5. Comment by Louise

    Louise May 4, 2010 at 13:32

    Seems to be the perfect place for a garden lover and her mini-golf playing husband 🙂

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison May 4, 2010 at 14:11

      It was indeed!

  6. Comment by expatraveler

    expatraveler May 5, 2010 at 05:46

    Wow Alison, those photos were amazing. I think it needs to be on my list of places to visit… How beautiful!!!!!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison May 5, 2010 at 09:41

      It is beautiful! I can’t wait to go back and see more 🙂

  7. Comment by Charlie's Tribe

    Charlie's Tribe May 5, 2010 at 11:34

    WOW!! We never even knew that there was such a thing as a Checkered Daffodil.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison May 5, 2010 at 12:22

      Weird isn’t it? I first saw them a few years ago at Keukenhof and loved them. Even though it looks more like a droopy tulip, it’s not a tulip or a daf. It’s a type of Fritillaria… which it doesn’t look anything like. Ah nature… 🙂

  8. Comment by Jana

    Jana May 6, 2010 at 11:26

    Beautiful pictures! Thanks for the tip, I hope to visit it soon!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison May 6, 2010 at 12:08

      You’re very welcome Jana! Thanks for stopping by!

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