During our week in Utrecht, I took the kids to Griftpark. A park about 3km away, on the outskirts of Utrecht centre. To get there, we started by heading down Amsterdamsestraatweg, towards Utrecht.
Riding along Amsterdamsestraatweg is always quite pleasant. This is due to the high quality unidirectional cycleways. There are plenty of side roads along the route, though as you have priority over the traffic to and from the side roads, riding along is safe and pleasant.
Towards the end of Amsterdamsestraatweg, we took a left onto some of the quieter streets. While riding through here, we got to see some examples of the filtering and retractable bollards they have in Utrecht. The bollards are arranged in diagonals and can be used to let buses, emergency services and residents/permit holders through. As ever, Bicycle Dutch covers these in an extensive post on how to prevent rat running.
Carrying on towards Griftpark, we rode along a mixture of roads, some with painted lanes, some with protected cycleways. We also passed a windmill, which was nice.
Arriving at Griftpark, we spotted plenty of dedicated cycle parking, which we used. It seemed like most people chose to park in front of the gates to the playground than use the dedicated parking. Convenience wins out again.
Up until 1959, Griftpark used to be a waste dump for a gasworks and was heavily polluted. When the gasworks closed, the city decided to put a park on top of it to cover the pollution so it couldn’t do any harm.
In the park is a children’s petting farm, with a playground attached. The playground was large and well-stocked with plenty of equipment, including a very large climbing frame. The kids enjoyed the playground very much, and we spent a very pleasant afternoon having lunch and playing.
After we’d finished in Griftpark, we got on the bikes and headed towards the centre to grab an ice cream. This was just a short ride along the city moat, mainly on painted cycle lanes.
The ice cream shop we ended up at was IJssalon Luciano, a family business that started in 1996. We know Luciano’s from Wassenaar, where the first shop opened and where it’s something of an institution. There’s now eight shops around The Netherlands and the ice cream is fantastic. So if there’s one nearby, I recommend a visit.
After our ice creams, we headed back towards Amsterdamsestraatweg and back to our apartment, after a short ride and a very pleasant afternoon.
Back to part 4 – Around Utrecht centre
Next to part 6 – Around Amsterdamsestraatweg