Things to do in The Hague

Take the ferry from Harwich to Hook of Holland and drive straight to The Hague from there

Escher The Hague
Five The Hague Essentials

1. Visit the Mauritshuis, freshly renovated and home to one of the world's finest collections of Dutch Masters artworks.

2. Follow in the footsteps of 13th century knights and Dutch royalty as you explore the Binnenhof and Ridderzaal.

3. Be transported into the phantasmagorical world of M.C. Escher in Het Paleis.

4. Go window shopping and enjoy a traditional Dutch pancake in De Passage, a covered shopping gallery built in 1882.

5. If you can't make it to Scheveningen, the Panorama Mesdag - a 360-degree, 19th century painting of it - will make you feel as though you're right there on the beach.

Walking Tour of The Hague
The heart of The Hague

Explore the Binnenhof, The Hague's cultural centre, and the Mauritshuis museum. Enjoy a drink at one of the cafés whose tables spill across the cobblestones of the city's three main squares: The Plein, Grote Markt and Buitenhof.

Stroll along the Lange Voorhout, north of the Binnenhof, a former extension of the Haagsche Bos (Hague Forest) which is now a tree-lined square bordered by grand 18th century townhouses.

Don't miss Lange Voorhout Palace, once Queen Emma's residence and now the M.C. Escher Museum.

Five free things to do

1. Book a city tour with a Hague Greeter: these knowledgeable, friendly residents volunteer to share their love for their city and walk you through it for a couple of hours. Book your Greeter at least two weeks ahead of your visit.

2. Visit the Netherlands on the last weekend of April to discover The Hague's party side. The national holiday Koningsdag (King's Day) is celebrated on 27 April in honour of King Willem-Alexander's birthday, transforming the country into Europe's largest open air festival. As the official home of the House of Orange, The Hague goes to town with live music, residents dressed head to toe in orange and countless informal street market stalls.

3. Bring your bicycle with you and make the most of Holland's excellent cycle path network. Download the Parkenroute leaflet from the Fiestersbond (Dutch Cyclists' Union) website for details of three cycle routes in and around The Hague, Scheveningen and the dunes.

4. Celebrate the opening of herring fishing season in Scheveningen on Vlaggetjesdag (Little Flags Day), when the Nieuwe Hollandse (New Dutch) young herring is caught (late May to late June). Hundreds of boats sail out to fish for herring to great fanfare, complemented by food and craft stalls, music and boat displays.

5. Visit the free exhibition showcasing the history of the Netherlands through original copies of historical documents at De Verdieping van Nederland inside the Royal Library. It includes the original sales act of the Dutch purchase of Manhattan from native American Indians.

Peace Palace
Archipelbuurt and Zeehelden

These two districts to the northwest of the Binnenhof are home to a number of attractions including the neoclassical Paleis Noordeinde (not open to the public but worth admiring from outside) and its Paleistuin park.

The impressive Vredespaleis (Freedom Palace); the Gemeentemuseum (Municipal Museum) and Panorama Mesdag can also be found in this district.

dutch forest
Statenkwartier and Scheveningse Bosjes

These two leafy areas separate The Hague centre from the dunes and coastline of Scheveningen.

The Statenkwartier is residential, with a host of different architectural styles, while the Scheveningse Bosjes (literally, Scheveningen's little woods) are delightful for walking and cycling through to reach the beach.

dutch beaches

The lively seaside town of Scheveningen is a million miles away from the relatively staid centre of The Hague.

It's worth a visit for its unashamed kitsch (particularly on the Pier), the long sandy beaches with excellent windsurfing and kiteboarding and countless beach cafés. Marvel at the palatial Kurhaus, used for spa cures during Scheveningen’s heyday as a 19th-century resort and now a luxury hotel and casino.

Other attractions include the SEA LIFE aquarium and Scheveningen Museum.