A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

Autumn in Leiden: Where are the Best Parks in the City?

The leaves are starting to turn orange, and Leiden has been transformed into an autumn-lover’s dream. Is there anything more picturesque than the canals lined by golden trees, accompanied by sound of the crunch of crisp leaves under your feet? Now’s the perfect time to explore some of Leiden’s parks (before the weather betrays us again), and there are some hidden gems.

Van der Werf Park

Every aspiring Leidener should have visited this park by now, but it’s at this time of year that itreally shows its colours. By now it might be too frosty to laze about on the grass like in the summer, so find a bench looking over the canal towards the Law Faculty and take in the surroundings.

Students gather in Van der Werf park as the sun sets.



Another park lining a canal, this one is in the north of inner city Leiden, an area possibly rarely visited by students unless they live there. It lies behind a housing block, entirely hidden unless you know where to enter; however, take a walk or a cycle there and admire this secret open space.


Also in the north end of the city, this picturesque park is actually an island all of its own. Sitting on the bank of the canal and looking over to the Zijlpoort, you wouldn’t be able to tell now that this peaceful spot was once part of Leiden’s metal industry – in the 19th century this park was the site of a metal factory. The park can be reached by two bridges over the Binnenoostsingel, in the east of the city.

Polderpark Cronesteyn

The biggest of Leiden’s parks, the Polderpark Cronesteyn can be found on the outskirts of the city, bordering the large A4 motorway. Since this is a little further out, visiting this 90 hectare park is the perfect opportunity to take a Sunday afternoon cycle. There’s also a café in the centre of the park with enough space to park your bike and take a moment to appreciate the peaceful surroundings.

Cycling through Polderpark Cronesteyn.

Hortus Botanicus

Every Leiden student should have already visited this park, especially seeing as students get free entry. Not only is it filled with enough grassy places to sit and enjoy an autumn day, the enormous greenhouses are also an interesting place to take a wander if it’s getting slightly frosty outside – it’s easy to imagine you’re exploring a South American rainforest, despite being only a 10 minute walk from the library.

Exploring a surreal world at Hortus.

About Abigail@TheLeidener

I graduated from Goldsmiths in July 2016, and just a week later moved to Leiden to start my Masters in American Studies. This was a huge change from living in the bustling metropolis of London for 3 years, but a very welcome change nonetheless! Leiden also seemed the ideal place to study America, considering it was the place the Pilgrims first took residence from England before setting off for America. So far it’s been great meeting a host of other international students from around the world (including many others from the UK) and I look forward to documenting my time here through writing for The Leidener.

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This entry was posted on October 20, 2017 by in Leisure, Nature, Student Life and tagged , , , , , , .

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