Navigation system address: Korftlaan 3, Delft. That is the address of the petting zoo, so you shall park a little before it, on the side of the Korftlaan. Parking is free, and the parking zones are clearly indicated. I rarely have a problem finding a spot, but there is always the crazy busy day.
Whenever I have eaten in the Delftse Hout, it has invariably been delicious, welcoming and set in a beautiful landscape. I seem to remember four different places but I can only locate a couple with any certainty on the map. To be researched further.
Het Schaapskooi (item 6 on the map) at the entrance of the petting zoo used to be open to the public, but I believe it is now just opened for private parties. You could always just ask them and, if you’re lucky, try their pancakes! Either way, they still have a little kiosk selling ice cream.
Knus is a gorgeous cafe/restaurant right on the water (item 10 on the map). It is decorated completely madly, and clearly with a lot of love. Service is super quick and with a smile! Also, they really make your dog feel welcome (on the terrace at least, I did not try to take him inside): they even give out dog biscuits! There is a playground there for the kids, and you can rent out pedalos.
Between 1 April and 1 October, many areas are totally forbidden for dogs (see map), most notably the beach on the Grote Plas.
Many areas are on-leash only, but this is clearly indicated (‘honden aan de lijn’).
What is so special about it?
It is a huge woodland domain, stretching for miles and miles.
There is a special dog beach (item 25 on the map) with the usual grass field to boot.
It has a couple of petting zoos, although I could only find one on the map when I checked (Kinderboerderij Delftse Hout target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”), so I need to research the exact name and location of the other one.
The pond is so large it is more like a small lake, and its alternating green and sandy shores are extremely beautiful.
There are lots of play areas for kids, and you can also rent pedalos in places.
The Delftse Hout is THE ideal picnic place, as, despite the crowds, you are bound to find just the right nook next to the water to set up shop for the afternoon.
Watch out for
There is a nudist beach (item 20 on the map – part of the Grote Plas beach) so if you are out with the kids and not particularly want to expose them to potentially overweight and pasty naked flesh, give it a wide berth.
On really warm days, the dog-poisonous blue algae invades the still-running waters. This is clearly sign-posted (huge posters on the bins) where relevant.
It can get really really really busy on a good day.
Lots of horse-riders use the paths there too, so if your dog is a chaser, keep your eyes peeled.
Despite the restriction, the odd moped still makes it through to the quiet little paths, which never ceases to disrupt my peace (I hate nothing more than the stink and sound of a moped engine).