This is a collaborative post.
When I got married, I didn’t really want a hen do. It seemed like an unnecessary expense when we were already shelling out for the wedding and a honeymoon to New Zealand. But as it turned out, the weekend before the wedding, there happened to be a water polo tournament in Amsterdam. So, I had that hen do after all – and totally fell in love with Amsterdam.
Sadly, as is often the case with these things, I didn’t see as much of the city as I wanted to. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to head back as a short break. And personally, I think it will be the perfect place to take the children. I love the fact that Amsterdam isn’t too big, it’s incredibly friendly and cycling is popular. The canal system is both beautiful and fun, and there’s plenty to keep the whole family entertained.
Libby has just learnt to ride a bike without stabilisers, and I do hope that over the summer, she will continue to grow in confidence. I have no doubt that it won’t be too many years before we can cycle together as a family. Amsterdam is the perfect place to cycle – it is renowned for being cycling friendly.
It is a myth that Amsterdam’s reputation as a cyclist’s paradise is simply down to being flat. It is in fact known as the bicycle capital of the world due to the amazing infrastructure, set up to ensure that cycling is both safe and pleasant. This is why – as Hilton point out in their guide to Amsterdam – virtually everyone uses a bicycle regularly.
Anne Frank Museum
When I was at school, history wasn’t a subject that I naturally took to. This was partly due to the fact that we studied nothing but crop rotation for the best part of three years (true story). But what did interest me were factual accounts of people’s own experiences. That’s why Anne Frank’s Diary was one of the most impactive books I read as a child, and one that I want my own children to read.
When the girls are old enough to read Anne Frank’s diary, I intend to take them to the Anne Frank Museum. It is somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit, and I believe it will reinforce both their interest in WWII, and their empathy for the situation that Anne Frank was in at such a young age.
I always enjoy discovering unusual museums. I have a particular interest in science and the natural world, so there are a couple of museums in Amsterdam that really appeal to me. The Tropenmuseum is all about people. It covers everything from culture to events to emotions and lots more besides. And better still, it also has a junior section that is hands on and interactive.
The Nemo Science Museum is another interactive museum that aims to teach people about both science and technology by getting them involved and sparking interest in the subjects. This is another museum that I think would be perfect for the whole family, particularly when the girls are a little bit older and start to learn about the subject in school.
The last time I was in Amsterdam, there was a little incident involving the canal, around 200 water polo players and a rather rickety boat. When I say rickety, I mean so decrepit that it sunk. Despite that, I can’t help think that a leisurely trip down that gorgeous canal on a rather more classy boat would be pretty relaxing. I’d love to take an evening boat ride and enjoy dinner during a cruise down the river. My evening boat trip in Amsterdam can’t end in disaster twice – can it?
Whenever I stay in a hotel abroad, I tend to seek out the same hotel chain for at least the first night. This is rather unlike me – I’m quite spontaneous and equally happy sleeping under canvas as in the lap of luxury. But after a flight, the only thing I want to do is get to the hotel and know that everything I need will be there. There will be a good restaurant, a friendly bar and immaculate rooms. That’s why I almost always end up booking the Hilton – its reputation precedes it and I’m never disappointed.
The Hilton Amsterdam is located in the Uptown neighbourhood, giving you a flavour for the real Amsterdam. Bicycle hire is available right from the hotel, they have a children’s playground and special family packages are available. What’s more, the hotel has a unique history – just ask the staff about the ‘bed in for peace’ by John and Yoko – or listen to their famous ballad and let them tell you about it themselves. And of course, there’s the Hilton service that keeps me going back.
At present, Hilton have a sale on all their Amsterdam hotels. This includes up to 25% off at the Hilton Amsterdam. Such a great way to enjoy this beautiful city. Please note this is a collaborative post but all views, opinions and sinking boats are my own. The fabulous photographs were kindly provided by Hilton.