If you fancy a short city break abroad with the kids and are wondering where to go then we would definitely recommend Amsterdam and some of the places nearby.
We booked a flight for £72pp with KLM from Birmingham this October and stayed in nearby quieter Edam visiting Amsterdam and Marken on day trips to see the sights, visit museums and go on a bike ride!
Edam is a beautiful and peaceful place – it’s actually a ‘city’ and its history goes back centuries when it was an important trade centre. You can explore all this in the fascinating Edam Museum which has the only ‘floating cellar’ left open to the public in the Netherlands. You can wander the streets where there are 177 national monuments and specialist stores offering everything from cheese and chocolate to clogs and souvenirs. You can also walk all the way to the coast along the canals. We did this as the weather was perfect and we stopped at a lovely pub next to a campsite called ‘Standbad’
In Edam, we stayed at the 3* Hotel De Fortuna which we would recommend. We had the first night in quite a noisy room but on request, we were moved and had a beautiful room overlooking the canal. We had a lovely traditional meal here but also ate at the cheaper, and very popular La Galera Italian down the road.
It takes 30 mins to get into Amsterdam by bus so we went for a day-trip. First, we visited the amazing NEMO Science Museum and I would highly recommend this for children of all ages! Our 3-year-old son didn’t want to leave and I wish it was in the UK! The uniquely designed building (it looks like a ship from the outside,) has four floors of stimulating science fun. Children and adults can interact with 100s of gadgets and experiments from giant soap bubbles to going into a chemistry lab. You could easily spend a whole day here and have lunch in the roof-top restaurant which has views across Amsterdam.
We then walked through some of Amsterdam’s historic streets – a few quite eye-opening ones so you may want to avoid those with children but all part of the ‘culture’! Then we got a tram to the Museum Quarter. This is a beautiful open area with gardens and cafes and lots of places to sit. It’s also on the edge of the huge ‘Vondelpark’ which has play areas and lovely walks. We visited the Rijksmuseum and, although quite busy, we did manage to have a look at some of the famous Rembrandts and Van Gogh’s. There are activities for children to do but of course, it’s not actually aimed at children unlike the NEMO Museum.
Other museums in this area include the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum of art. With older children/teens I would highly recommend a visit to the Anne Frank Huis which is also a museum. You can walk through the rooms where Anne and her family hid during WW2 Jewish persecution.
It’s a pretty exhausting day in Amsterdam but lots of fun and you may not get to do everything you have planned! It was nice to go back to our hotel in peaceful Edam after a long and eventful day in such a wonderful city.
On the Sunday, we visited nearby Marken getting the bus to Volendam (also an interesting tourist centre,) and then the ferry to the former island. Marken is now connected to the mainland by a narrow ‘dike’ dam. This ‘low country’ area of the Netherlands has a long history of its people protecting land from the waters of the ‘Zuiderzee’ with a series of dikes, some which are hundreds of years old.
We hired bikes from Volendam and cycled around Marken, exploring the traditional houses, shops and a lighthouse which would have been too long a walk. It was wonderful to experience the landscape cycling as it’s so flat (you can see your dog run away from you over 3 days, said one taxi driver!) and you can see so much this way. We cycled all the way back to Volendam which was quite far but we stopped at a play park on the way in Monnickendam.
Overall, this is a wonderful place to visit with so many things to do throughout the year. Flight times from the UK are around an hour and the Dutch are (generally) very chilled but also very organised! Other places I would recommend nearby are Purmerend for shopping and restaurants, water sports (perhaps in the summer!) and a bit further afield is the wonderful Efteling theme park south of Amsterdam.
We booked our airport transfers with the excellent Rudi’s Taxi Company.
This is an unsponsored post and we received no discounts or media rates. Please feel free to ask us any further questions about our trip/advice!