One in five of the Dutch population visits Efteling every year - since opening in 1952 it has come to be regarded as one of the Netherlands' institutions.

The park is a good mix of old and new. There's rowing, canoeing, fairground- type stalls, a Haunted Castle, a Forbidden City, a Wild Water River Ride through the Inca City, a Swiss Bob ride and a 140-year-old merry-go-round. Daredevils are also catered for by Bird Rok - an indoor rollercoaster in pitch black darkness - and the Python rollercoaster which provides a series of stomach-wrenching corkscrews and loop the loops.

Smaller children will enjoy the Labyrinth Maze, but watch out for the spurting water and air blowing bridges. (Mums, make sure you don't wear your flared skirt.) Meanwhile in the Fairytale Forest you'll find Snow White, her wicked stepmother and the Seven Dwarfs, Rumpelstiltskin, Hansel and Gretel, the Troll King that lives in a tree and speaks his own language and even coloured pigeons pecking around too.

By the way, if you run short of cash in Efteling you can withdraw money at the world's largest cash dispenser which comes in the shape of a sofa. If you don't want to keep your cash receipt you can then deposit it into the mouth of one of the talking paper gobblers situated all around the park, constantly crying out "papier, papier".

Best for: People familiar with traditional fairy tales.

Worst for: People who prefer hi-tech wizardry.

Admission price: Around pounds 12 per person and children under four are free.

Opening times: Open daily from 1 April to 31 October from 10am to 6pm. Extended until 9pm from 10 July to 29 August.

Food and drink: The park has 15 eating places, including a-la-carte and self-service restaurants and a range of fast foods. One of the specialities that you should try is the mini round pancakes with a choice of toppings available at the Poffertje Kraan restaurant. These start at around pounds 2.50. There are several large picnic areas where you can eat your own packed lunch.

Best for adults: Parents who golf could visiting Efteling's golf course. They also run golf clinic weekends. If you get time it is also well worth visiting the nearby towns of Breda and Den Bosch - these are both traditional Dutch towns with cobbled streets.

Getting there: We travelled by Eurostar (tel: 0990 186186) from London Waterloo to Brussels then to Tilburg Station in Holland (via Amsterdam) where we took a taxi to the Hotel Efteling (which costs around pounds 15). Flying or self-drive are both possible too.

Nearest city: Tilburg, although it's better to stay in Kaatsheuvel.

Best time to go: Try to avoid Sundays, as this is generally the park's busiest day.

Sample package: A two-night break at the Efteling Hotel in Kaatsheuvel, situated opposite the park, costs from pounds 261 per person sharing a twin or double room. Prices include bed and breakfast accommodation and return travel with Eurostar from London Waterloo or Ashford. Children under four years of age can stay for free when sharing a room with at least two adults. Self-drive prices are from pounds 183 per person including a crossing on Hoverspeed Fast Ferries from Dover to Calais or Ostend.

Further Information: Amsterdam Travel Service (tel: 01992 456080).

Rating: 8/10

The author travelled with her two children, Lewis (aged seven) and Craig (aged five).

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