Jump onboard with P&O Ferries for a city break in Delft


After those three short working weeks last month, those with a bit of advance planning skills might already have had a longer holiday this year. With one bank holiday left this month, P&O Ferries offer those who hesitated the first time around the chance to squeeze in one last away trip before the summer holiday season. Matthias Scherer thinks Delft in Holland is worth considering for a quiet yet inspiring city break.

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It might be little known that European university towns have got a flair entirely their own, but that doesn’t mean it’s true – cities like Marburg in Germany or Granada in Spain owe their quirky vibrancy just as much to the student life as to their long respective histories. Similarly, Delft combines internationalism of its technological university with a cultural history stretching back hundreds of years to make for a cosy and varied vibe only a short bus ride from P&O Ferries port in Rotterdam.

Delft University of Technology is renowned world wide for its engineering department, but it also provides more sensual distraction in the form of the botanical garden on campus, which are open to the public. There, more than 7000 different tropical and subtropical plants are spread over an area of almost 2.5 ha, which includes a glasshouse complex.

The Oude Kerk (“Old Church”) is located near Delft’s market square and easily visible as one of the highest city monuments (along with the nearby Nieuwe Kerk, the newer church) – as well as its slight tilt, not unlike Pisa’s famous tower. It was built in 1246 and restored in 1548, and the carved wooden pulpit of that time is still accessible to view. Its stained glass windows, installed after WWII, are beautiful in their detailed depiction of biblical scenes as well as local history.

Around the corner from the Oude Kerk there is a monument to one of the most influential dutchmen. The scientist and philosopher Hugo de Groot is widely credited with laying the foundations for international law, and was born in Delft.

A five-minute-walk south is Locus Publicus a pub well-loved by beer aficionados – the perfect meeting or starting off point for tired walkers or pundits ready to hit the town. Over 400 beers are on offer, most of which are best enjoyed on the terrace overlooking the street. A bit closer to the town centre is Speakers, another bar with a great beer selection that has the bonus of turning into a club later in the evening.

Delft should be on the list of anyone looking for a short weekend trip involving a trip on a boat, a bit of culture, a bit of walking around a European town and some more or less moderated drinking.

P&O Ferries from Hull leave for Rotterdam once a day. Delft is only 10 miles away from Rotterdam, a distance easily covered by train or bus.

Image credit: Berto Garcia

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