10x walking with the kids

What could be better than venturing outside on a lovely, sunny day? The Utrecht region has plenty of fun, educational hiking trails for children. So dust off those sneakers, hiking boots or wellies – or go barefoot – and go in search of woodland pixies, become a tree expert or enjoy the view from a 25-metre observation tower.

Beerschoten scavenger hunt

The Beerschoten country estate, close to Utrecht, has a trail that includes a fun scavenger hunt. The information point in a former coach house at Beerschoten country house sells trail guides with mini-assignments for kids for just €1. And behind the pavilion, you’ll find a free sculpture garden with sculptures the Dutch artist Jits Bakker.
> start at Paviljoen Beerschoten, De Bilt
1 kilometre

Oostbroek witch trail

A few hundred years ago, an old widow lived on the Oostbroek country estate. People thought she was a witch. Armed with a trail guide that costs €1 in the Oostbroek shop, the kids can go into the woods and discover what really happened to the ‘witch’.
> start at the Winkeltje van Oostbroek, De Bilt
1.5 kilometres

Heidestein tree trail

The tree route on the Heidestein country estate will turn your children into real tree experts. The trail takes you past the numerous species that grow in the grounds: from Scotch pines and larch trees, to conker trees and Douglas firs.
> start at Schaapskooi Heidestein, Zeist
1.5 kilometres

Zeisterbos animal trail

Zeisterbos is an ancient forest, home to Solomon’s seal, bilberry bushes, rowan trees and various species of honeysuckle. It’s a haven for birds, so with a bit of luck, you might spot a redstart, tawny owl, goldcrest or marsh tit. The Dierenroute (or animal trail, which isn’t marked but they’ll give you a map in the restaurant) takes you past the Barbary sheep pen. On a good day, you may even spot some fallow deer, but if not, the huge bronze deer sculptures won’t let you down.
> start at Restaurant ’t Jagershuys, Zeist
2 or 2.5 kilometres

De Kaap observation tower

This isn’t suitable for little ones, but older children will love it: climb the 25-metre tall De Kaap observation tower. The top of tower gives you a great view of the Utrecht hill ridge. Follow the lanes and forest paths in the Kaapse Bossen to get to the tower.
> Kaapse Bossen car park, Doorn
5 kilometres

Soest gnome path

The forest around Soest is full of gnomes, going about their business. But what do they do all day? Follow the gnome path and you’ll find out! Kids are given a gnome hat, a knapsack and a Gnome Book at the start, and they’ll meet all kinds of gnomes on the woodland trail, who will tell them exactly what to do.
> start at Restaurant ‘t Hoogt, Soest
1 to 1.5 kilometres

Heidestein sheep trail

Signposts with sheep’s heads point the way on this trail for older kids. Questions on sheep signs along the route teach them about the plants and animals that grow and live on Heidestein. The signs change with the seasons, every three months.
> start at Schaapskooi Heidestein, Zeist
1.2 kilometres

Pyramid of Austerlitz

It’s a unique sight amidst the predictable Dutch landscape: an enormous pyramid built in honour of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1804. You can aim straight for the pyramid from the car park, or take a scenic route such as the Marmontberg trail through the woods and past the pyramid. You can even climb the pyramid: the view from the top is stunning as it was built at the highest point on the Utrecht hill ridge.
> start at the Pyramid of Austerlitz car park, Woudenberg
4.5 kilometres

Gageltocht kids’ trail

This trail leads to the Gagelbos adventure woods. There are eight challenges along the way, that teach you that Gagelbos is not simply a forest. It is part of the New Dutch Waterline defence system, a collection of fortresses, bunkers and dykes that used to protect The Netherlands from enemy attack. You still come across bunkers in the Gagelbos.
> start at Gagelsteede petting farm, Utrecht
4 kilometres

Stoutenburg challenge trail

This trail through the woods around Stoutenburg Castle is an exciting hands-on (and feet-on) trail, with featuring a forest telephone, an assault course, a badger’s set and an observation tower. The trail is signposted and there’s an instruction board next to every activity.
> start at Koetshuis Stoutenburg, Stoutenburg
1 kilometre

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