We love a castle.  Even better than visiting a castle is sleeping in one.  Trouble is that hotels in castles tend to be expensive.  Imagine my delight when I discovered a Netherlands Castle Hotel for €30 per night. Staying in a Dutch castle with teens needn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Dutch Castle hotel


At first I couldn’t believe it.  Crenellations: tick.  Moat: tick.  Formal gardens: tick. €30 Bed and Breakfast: tick.  Kasteel Assumberg has it all.  I showed Mr CW the pictures, he loved it.  Then I broke the news that Kasteel Assumberg is in fact a youth hostel.  Hence the cost.  So whilst the exterior looks lavish it is not awash with luxury trimmings inside.  If you need a spa, a swimming pool or room service then you need to find another Dutch Castle Hotel.  What it does have is a games room, a huge chest full of every imaginable kind of ball to play with and space to run.  Perfect for teens.

Heemskerk Castle with Moat
Crenellations and a moat …. what more could a girl ask?


Stayokay is what youth hostels are called in the Netherlands.  Staying in a Dutch youth hostel is very similar to staying in a British youth hostel.  When we checked in we were handed our room key and our bedding.  You make your own beds in youth hostels but putting on a duvet cover, pillowcase and sheet doesn’t take much time.  Our en suite family room was in one of the castle towers, so it was circular and very tall.  Our double bed had a huge head board that concealed the bunk beds for the teens, a neat arrangement then made the teens feel that they had their own space.

Bedroom Heemskerk StayOkay Dutch Castle Hotel
Teens were hidden behind that headboard

We had a view of the moat and surrounding gardens from one of the windows.  Look at that nice flat cycling terrain.

View of moat and trees from Heemskerk Netherlands Castle Hotel
Room with a view

We opted for a three night cycling package which included bike hire, breakfast, a packed lunch and a welcome drink, which was very welcome.  We sat in splendour with our beer looking out through those tiny panes of glass to the formal gardens beyond.

Dutch beer
Something for the grown ups

All meals were self service and we also chose to eat dinner at the castle.  The food was plain and plentiful, nothing for a teen to object to.  One night there was a barbeque which we ate in the castle courtyard.

Heemskerk Castle Courtyard
Heemskerk Castle Courtyard

Youth hostels are geared up to cater to youths.  In the grand entrance hall there was a huge chest packed with outdoor games that could be used for free.  The teens fished out a football and were soon kicking it around outside with some Dutch teens.  If it had been raining they could have played board games (OK they could have sat with their phones) in the games room which was adorned with a suit of armour.  No need to worry about using those phones as there is complimentary wifi in the castle (that’s good news for blogging mothers too!). A word of warning there are sometimes large school or youth groups staying with the accompanying noise levels of children enjoying themselves. No loud music, just children being children without their parents.

Suit of Armour, board games. Games room in a Dutch Castle Hotel
Armour and Boardgames

Grown ups are catered for with peaceful gardens to wander in and lots of cosy nooks to sit down and read a book and a bar to serve tea, coffee or maybe something stronger at the end of the day.

Wooden table with mullioned windows in a Netherlands Castle Hotel

All those crenellations make for a good back drop for a wedding photo.  Assumburg castle is a popular venue for weddings.  Whilst we were staying nobody tied the knot but a steady stream of couple arrived in their wedding finery to have their photo’s taken on the drawbridge.


We went for a package that included bike hire but you can decide to rent a bike from Stayokay once you’ve arrived.  The bikes are good sturdy Dutch bikes which take a bit of getting used to as the rear brake is operated by peddling backwards.  Heemskerk is on the edge of the North Holland Dunes Reserve a vast, car free, area that is criss crossed by countless bike paths.  You can choose to cycle for miles or just to pedal off to the nearest sandy beach.  We did a bit of both and also spent a day cycling inland alongside fields and canals.

Dutch Bicycle in Sand Dunes
Cycling in the Sand Dunes


All those dunes lead to miles of magnificent sandy beaches. Dutch beaches are fantastic, most have cosy cafes and a beach volleyball court. Unfortunately on the day we visited it was rather wet and so we gazed at the miles of sand and tried very hard to see Norfolk on the other side of the North Sea (this is never possible but always a good game). On a sunny day we would spent hours there.

Two boys and a man walking down toward a beach on a grey day


Kasteel Assumburg or Slot Assumburg was first built in the thirteenth century to help protect the province of Holland from the West Frisans.  The fairy tale castle as we see it today was constructed in the late fifteenth century meaning that all those fearsome crenellations were never meant to be defensive but just very impressive decoration.  The fancy formal gardens were planted up in roundabout 1700.   By 1867 living in draughty damp castle had lost its allure and the building was abandoned, by the turn of the nineteenth century the building was in such a state of decay that it was sold the the Dutch state for one Guilder.  Work began on restoring it and in 1933 the first guests were welcomed to the newly opened Youth Hostel.  During the second world war the castle was occupied by the Germans.

Fairy tale castle, Heemskerk Castle at sunset

Just as the castle itself decayed so did its surroundings.  Local farmers filled the moat up with surplus bulbs and the whole area became a rubbish tip.  Eventually the moat was dredged and the land cleaned up, work then began on restoring the gardens.  Now the whole area is public park and kept pristine by the hard work of volunteers.


  • Prices start from €23 per person bed and breakfast in a shared room
  • Bike hire packages start from €66 per person and include breakfast, packed lunch, two nights accommodation and a welcome drink.
  • Dinner cost €16 adults and €8 children
  • If you are a member of the YHA you get a discount of €2.50 per person per night
  • You need to make your own bed
  • You can hire a towel or bring your own
  • Free wifi
  • Heemskerk is about an hours drive from the ferry terminal at Hook of Holland.
  • Heemskerk StayOkay is a 25 minute walk from Heemskerk Station, which in turn is a 35 minute train ride from Amsterdam.


Staying in a Dutch Castle with Teens

Heemskerk StayOkay was the first stop on our family holiday to the Netherlands. You can read about exploring the UNESCO listed Amsterdam Defence Line, our crossing the Afsluidijk, sailing across the Wadden Sea to the Frisan Islands, riding Europe’s highest swing and our family friendly accommodation in Amsterdam.



  1. November 15, 2017 / 3:31 pm

    Wow! What an amazing place to stay. Freya would go nuts if we rocked up there. Fab post!

    • November 15, 2017 / 3:35 pm

      Thank you, Harwich and the ferry easy to get to from Norwich …….

      • November 15, 2017 / 7:46 pm

        Oooh no flying! Might look into that.

        • November 15, 2017 / 7:53 pm

          No, no flying. The Netherlands is the nearest bit of abroad you can almost see it from Caister on a clear day!

  2. pigeonpairandme
    November 16, 2017 / 9:44 pm

    I was so envious when you told me about this, and it’s fantastic to read about it. We need to go! If only so we can say ‘travel snap’ again….. #FarawayFiles

    • November 17, 2017 / 6:22 pm

      It’s important that we keep the game of travel snap going!

  3. November 17, 2017 / 6:10 pm

    I’ve never stayed in a youth hostel before, but I might change my mind for this one! Looks like a lovely stay! #farawayfiles

    • November 17, 2017 / 6:22 pm

      We love a youth hostel and have stayed in some amazing buildings in stunning locations

      • November 17, 2017 / 6:49 pm

        Cool! Sounds like a great idea for a longer post!

        • November 17, 2017 / 6:51 pm

          Now there’s an idea …. youth hostels we have loved

  4. November 18, 2017 / 12:32 pm

    What good fortune to find such a fabulous place with history, convenience, and appeal to teens. Wow!

  5. November 19, 2017 / 9:08 am

    I’ve been trying to book a family room at St Briavels YHA (the UK castle equivalent) but it always seems full on the dates I want. Perhaps a trip to the Netherlands would satisfy my ‘stay in a castle’ longing!

    • November 19, 2017 / 11:25 am

      I’ve been trying for St Briavels for ages too!

  6. November 19, 2017 / 9:33 am

    This castle looks wonderful! I love visiting castles, but I have never actually stayed in one. Were there many older people staying here? I used to love Youth Hostels, but I think I’d feel a bit too old now 🙁

    • November 19, 2017 / 11:33 am

      This one was mainly family groups but you might have felt a bit odd as a young romantic couple.

  7. November 19, 2017 / 3:06 pm

    The architecture of this place is simply remarkable and outstanding, Catherine. I would love to explore it soon. Is one day enough to see it whole?

    • November 19, 2017 / 4:51 pm

      A one night stay would enable you experience all its castle wonderfulness

  8. Angela
    November 19, 2017 / 5:38 pm

    Wow! So glad you found a castle stay at a reasonable price — that’s amazing!

    • November 19, 2017 / 5:41 pm

      It was a great start to our holiday

  9. Esther
    November 20, 2017 / 9:03 am

    What a cool stay. Lots of historical places in The Netherlands are getting a new purpose, because the upkeep of these monuments is so expensive. To be honest, I don’t mind at all! This looks brilliant.

    • November 20, 2017 / 9:21 am

      So good to building being used rather than decay

  10. November 29, 2017 / 11:16 pm

    We stayed in a StayOkay in Haarlem, and while the breakfast and amenities were amazing, it was no castle! How fun! Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles

  11. December 1, 2017 / 3:40 pm

    What a special youth hostel. Lovely too see the builing found a new purpose. I once stayed in an awesome youth hostel in Scottland, an old castle high up in the Highlands close to the Queens Sandringham estate. was also great #fearlessfamtrav

    • December 1, 2017 / 8:53 pm

      Heading off to check out Scottish hostels!

  12. December 3, 2017 / 4:33 pm

    An affordable family friendly castle? Take me there now! #fearlessfamtrav

    • December 3, 2017 / 5:33 pm

      And not too far away either!

  13. June 2, 2018 / 11:43 pm

    Ah wow we never stayed in a youth hotel but looks like we need to fix that! What a gem and what a budget!

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