This past weekend was my second visit to lovely Amsterdam! This time with my darling mother, who is a fantastic travel companion as she is always up for any adventure no matter how tiring.
So for this two day trip I had a few ‘must dos’ on my list – a visit to The Anne Frank House & The Van Loon Museum being the top two. Followed by a boat trip and walks by the beautiful canals. Rain was forecast in Amsterdam a few days before our visit but luckily the light winds blew away the rain clouds and we were left with bright blue skies.
The Anne Frank house and The Van Loon Museum did not disappoint, you can read up about these two tourist hotspots on my previous blog posts. Just make sure you definitely buy your Anne Frank house tickets well in advance, as the new rule is no tickets can be purchased on the door, so to avoid disappointment buy tickets well in advance.
So my two new finds on this visit were –
The Amsterdam Flea Market – The Noordermarkt
A fantastic market dating back hundreds of years, first started in 1616. We were actually on our way to the Anne Frank House on Prinsengracht when we stumbled upon these quirky fun market. Filled with second hand clothes, antique goodies and delicious delights too!
My mother was over the moon as she loves antique hunting. The Dutch porcelain has always been a favourite of mine, I love the rich blue on the background of white, and the flowery patterns are so pretty.
My mother bought a beautiful Dutch painting, we are hoping it’s a long lost Rembrandt! I bought the prettiest antique Dutch soup bowls with a delicate blue flower design on the edges. I will treasure them forever and remember Amsterdam.
This market has been around for hundreds if years. Once a market where people sold pots, it then became a hat market, and today on the same site market goers meet up every Saturday & Monday to sell their goods and find treasures to take home.
Not to be missed!
Im not a huge fan of hotel breakfasts, I have always found that hotel breakfasts are the same wherever you go & it is so much better to venture out, find a local coffee shop or cafe and dine lile the locals.
In my past posts about Amsterdam I recommended Das Bakkerwinkel, a lovely little quaint cafe near Dam Square. I still love that place and visited it for brunch with my mother, but I also found another great place.
Vinnie’s is a lovely small cafe very near Central Station, it is perfect for those who want something healthy, and yet Dutch. It is not touristic and was filled was locals on our visit for breakfast there.
The menu is simple yet has everything you could want. We saw other diners ordering the poached eggs on toast, so decided to do the same.
But these were unlike other eggs on toast. They were super yummy. The toast was thick double toasted rye, topped with a thin slice of Dutch new Gouda cheese, the perfectly poached eggs went on top of the cheese, finally the eggs were topped with a handful of mixed fresh green salads – rocket, dill & curly lettuce. A fantastic combination which I will definately be making at home soon.
A great place to visit & a walking city so make sure you bring your walking shoes!
Im taking my boys on the next trip! So watch this space for tips on ‘Amsterdam with kids’…❤️
For anyone who has seen the movie Danish Girl, you will know what I mean when I talk about the amazing scenery.
The colourful high ceilinged buildings that line the beautiful canals, the costumes and the history. The Danish Girl was the true story of Lili Elbe, the world’s first receipients of sex change surgery. The movie was set and filmed in and around Copennhagen, amd ever since watching it I have wanted to visit this magical, theatrical city for myself.
Here are some amazing facts about Copenhagen –
– Copenhagen’s metropolitan area has a population of just over 2million people (comparitively London is estimated to be at 8.6million in 2017)
– The UN World Happiness Report has rated Danes as the happiest people on earth two years in a row.
– Danes have a special word “hygge” for that cozy feeling of togetherness. It means relaxing in great company.
– LEGO is Danish!
– 50% of Copenhageners commute to work every day on bicycle – come rain come shine.
– The Copenhagen harbour is clean enough to swim in!
– It is where the first ‘Joe & the Juice’ store opened up
Where we stayed –
As a family we love Radissons, so in Copenhagen it was the Radisson for us. We had a lovely pair of adjoining rooms at the Radisson Blu Scandinavia, which a short walk over a bridge from the main attractions.
What we saw –
The Tivoli Gardens – a famous amusement park and pleasure garden in Copenhagen, Denmark. The park opened on 15 August 1843 and is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world. Its a wondeful place for adults to be kids again.
The National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen – is Denmark’s largest museum of cultural history, comprising the histories of Danish and foreign cultures, alike. My boys spent a good 3hours exploring this fantastic space. Its very kid friendly & the coffee shop does these great huge sandwiches! Perfect for kids & lunch. It has exhibitions from the Stone Age, the Viking Age, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Modern Danish History.
Boat trip – A definate must to see the whole city. You can catch the boat all along the waterway. Its also a fantastic way to get a glimse of the infamous Little Mermaid from the sea.
Nyhavn – is a 17th-century waterfront, canal and entertainment district in Copenhagen. Stretching from Kongens Nytorv to the harbour front just south of the Royal Playhouse, it is lined by brightly coloured buildings. We sat by the water in one of the many lovely restaurants and just watched the world go by.
Where we ate –
Wagamamas- I know! Go all the way to Copenhagen and go to Wagamamas! But with kids sometimes whatever makes them happy works.
Nyhavn 17 – A great place to enjoy Herrings on a bed of fresh bread. Its delicious! Washed down with a cold beer.
Cows & Cocks – A chain of burger restaurants in the city. Chargrilled burgers o& ribs with homemade sauces in a trendy venue with booths & brick walls.
Bagt – another chain of fantastic bakeries. Fresh Danish pasteries & great cappucinos! Beats hotel breakfasts everytime.
Do not get a taxi from the airport! Save money & time by getting the metro straight to the city! My boys loved sitting at the front of the train, there are no drivers so they lived the adventure! Getting tickets is super easy from the machines near the trains, a short walk from the airport arrivals. There are even stewards on hand who speak perfect English to help!
I love London! It is such a wonderfully diverse city filled with so many great things to do! And when you have the added benefit of sunshine in the city, there are even more lovely ways to spend your time.
I lived in central London for most of my life, but a few years ago we decided to move to the suburbs with our boys. But a trip to the city is always a great adventure for us, and only 35minute train ride away. I love to plan things for the weekend for my family to enjoy. London is a city that is always alive, there are things going on for all ages at all times of the day.
Here are a few of my favourite things to do in beautiful London this Summer –
1.A Picnic in Victoria Tower Gardens –
London has some amazing parks – St. James, Green Park, Hyde Park to name a few. But I always find them to be far too crowed in the Summer months and at weekends. So for my family and I a lovely peaceful park is the Victoria Tower Gardens. Located right next to the Houses of Parliament, it not only has fantastic views of the London Eye and the River Thames, it has a recently modernised playground kids of all ages will enjoy. A huge sand pit, water feature, swings and slides. And a great new snack serving kiosk. All you will need for an escape from the crowds of London, right in the centre of the big city itself.
2.A Visit to The Wallace Collection –
The Wallace Collection is an art collection in London open to the public, housed at Hertford House in Manchester Square, London, just a stones throw away from Baker Street station. This beautifully noble townhouse is filled with the most amazing antiques and paintings from all over the world. It has some lovely classes and tours which are aimed for children of all ages. What is great is entrance to the museum is absolutely free.
3.A Boat trip down the Thames –
The Thames is such a wonderful river to ride down in the summertime. My boys love to catch the Thames Clipper service from just under the London Eye on the South Bank. You can use your Oyster Card to ride the boat and it stops at several major attractions along the river. For an extra special treat for the whole family why not sit outside on the boat and enjoy the sights al fresco.
4.A Visit to the Sky Garden –
London in the Summer on a clear day is just amazing and the best way to admire the city is from up above! The Sky Garden in the City of London is a place over three storeys and with a 360 degree view across London. Visitors can wander around the landscaped gardens, observation decks and an open air terrace of what is London’s highest public garden. Entrance is free but you need to book the visit in advance.
5. Sensational Butterflies at The Natural History Museum –
My kids love to visit museums, and London is filled with the most famous museums in the world. When the weather is warmer however my kids love to do more things outdoors. The Natural History Museum has a great exhibition that kids and adults alike love every year from March to September. Based in the gardens of the museum, it’s a perfect family day out wandering among hundreds of free-flying moths and butterflies from around the world. There are booklets available for kids to fill in and enjoy a picnic in the gardens afterwards.