Whilst for us any cruise is centred around the ship – in fact both of the children would much prefer to be on the ship than in just about any port – unless of course it’s Castaway Cay, we have a rule that we all get off and experience at least a little of the local culture.
So what did we get up to in Amsterdam?
Whilst there are great transportation options available, from trams to hop on hop off river cruises to canal boat excursions we decided that we wanted to see Amsterdam from the ground. It’s around a 40 minute walk from the cruise terminal to Anne Frank’s House and I am glad we took the option to walk. The architecture in Amsterdam was stunning and really unlike other places we have visited. Our toddler was well entertained looking at all of the boats going along the canals which are found pretty much wherever you walk, and as always our Tween was engaged on the hunt for the perfect Dutch sweet shop.
We Ate In A Traditional Dutch Eatery
We had done our research and found two pancake houses close to Anne Frank’s house, but by lunchtime the toddler had fallen asleep in his pram and as a prematurely woken toddler is akin to taking an angry Lion we decided not to disturb him. Both pancake houses were extremely busy and we would have struggled to fit the pram in them. The New Dutch Eten & Drinken was therefore stumbled upon quite by accident. It was in the right location, only about a two minute walk from Anne Frank House and had tables in a quiet location. We were expecting bog standard food aimed at a transient tourist market, but we couldn’t have been more wrong. The food was quite literally out of this world. The menu was simple consisting mainly of croissants and sandwiches, but when the food arrived it was beautifully presented and definitely had the wow factor. This is a venue definitely worth trying out, the staff were helpful and friendly, our Tween loved it, and if I’m honest so did we. It felt like we were getting a taste of real Dutch cuisine rather than eating at a restaurant aimed at tourists, which is something we always aim for and yet rarely achieve.
We Visited Anne Frank House
This was for me the main point of picking an Amsterdam itinerary as it is somewhere I have always wanted to visit and I definitely don’t regret going. That said accessibility with a toddler was hard. Our Tween listened to the adult audio guide and coped well – she had read Anne’s diary prior to the trip – but a children friendly guide even with an additional cost would make a big difference to accessibility for families. It was very much an adult orientated venue, which seems a shame considering that Anne herself was a child in hiding. I think had she survived the concentration camp but retained her fame the venue may well have looked very different. That said for adults and teens the house remains a must see venue in Amsterdam.
I have to be honest, I would love to go back and spend more time shopping in Amsterdam. Many of the small quirky shops around Anne Frank House didn’t open until after twelve and as our tickets were for the afternoon we didn’t have much time to really look around. But what we saw I loved. From beautiful gift shops, gorgeous homeware, incredible patisseries and fabulous women’s fashion to the most incredibly stylish stationery I have ever seen. I am not a great lover of either fashion or jewellery but I could have easily spent a fortune on both. Regular readers will not be surprised to discover that I did indeed purchase stationary.
Why not share your favourite spots in Amsterdam for day visitors below, I would love to hear about your experiences.