Once upon a time in … Efteling theme park, the Netherlands

The traditional, fairytale-themed amusement park features elves, trolls and talking parrots, and its woodland setting and new hotel make it ideal for a family holiday

Walking along windy paths through the forest, I can hear faint screams in the distance. They aren’t the blood-curdling type, more screeches of fear mixed with delight, and offer the only clue that we are staying in one of the oldest amusement parks in the world.

Efteling, near Tilburg in the south of the Netherlands, isn’t on the radar of most Brits, even though it’s just over an hour’s drive from Amsterdam or the Hook of Holland. This is a shame, as its old-fashioned allure, based on traditional Brothers Grimm fairytales, is a refreshing change from modern theme parks – and the natural landscape has a starring role, too.

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