Amsterdam - the perfect child-free weekend destination


Dutch canals

When you’ve got young kids, nothing beats a family holiday. Getting away together is a fantastic way to spend quality time, keep the youngsters engaged, and even teach them a thing or two. One thing’s sure getting them used to flying and new cultures when they’re young is always a bonus. What’s more, there are plenty of family-friendly vacation spots to make the most of when travelling together and some Kid-focused hotels even host fun clubs should you want to mix culture and travel with also the odd break for an hour or two.

However, a short child-free break can be a really positive experience. I recently went to Durham for two nights, it was the first time I had ever left our kids for more than a night, that's over 7yrs of not one proper child-free weekend away and you know what it went really well. Then kids loved having fun with their grandparents and we had a fantastic time exploring the historical northern town of Durham we all felt renewed and refreshed from our weekend away. It's made us think more about the future, about exploring new and old places just the two of us. Of course, our main focus is always family-friendly breaks but it has opened our eyes to the benefits of child-free breaks away.

I've recently been thinking about visiting Amsterdam as it's one of my favourite cities as it's perfect both for family breaks, in fact we have taken the kids twice, as well as adult ones. I was lucky enough to live in the Dutch capital for a few months before having kids and it will always have a special place in my heart and while I love the family element I would also like to return to this fantastic city child-free at some point in the future. I thought I would put together a little list of why it's the perfect place for a short child-free weekend away that is easily accessible from the UK.

Street Art

The romantic setting

With its canal lined with narrowboats and picturesque buildings, Amsterdam is very unique and instantly eye-catching and just like other iconic cities such as Paris and Venice it definitely has that romantic edge to it. Rather than a gondola ride, you could book up for an iconic sunset canal cruise or enjoy sundowners from the Library bar which offers views across the city. During the day you could wander through the colourful floating flower market and beautiful tulips at Keukenhof. Also eating al fresco picnic style in Vondelpark, central Amsterdam’s largest green space without having to rush and just taking time to be present in the moment.

Canal boats

The Museums

Let’s be honest, Amsterdam’s museums are one of its primary selling points and while they have some really great interactive and child-friendly exhibitions there are some that are less interesting to the younger members of your family so being able to work around the Van Gogh museum without any signs of boredom from little ones is refreshing as it having the time to read the plaques and information, plus your adult-only status also leaves you free to snap up tickets for the Heineken Museum.

Boutique shopping in Nine Streets

We tried to pop into the Red Wing store while in Amsterdam with our kids last time and we lasted about 1 minute in the shop as they simply were not feeling it. Kids generally are not a huge fan of clothes shopping and there are some things on the continent that can be harder to find in the UK so being able to stroll through this very trendy part of town at your own speed would be bliss. The nine streets are packed with quirky speciality shops, designer good, vintage stores as well as cool hip concept stores.

Amsterdam hip
Cool Shops in Nine Streets

Explore the Capital by Bike

Yes you can of course do this with children but I know it would also be a lot of fun without as we could explore for much longer, at our own speed, stopping off at different cafes and bars when we felt like it and seeing the city from the best way, on wheels. I also love finding street art and Amsterdam is a haven for incredible street art.

Indulge in the local food

Amsterdam has a variety of local food delicacies that you need to try and you could easily spend a while day bouncing from one cafe to another and why not? While my kids are not the biggest foodies, although they are up for trying new things that rather be outside exploring than tasting new dishes so being able to spend time savouring each taste, not in a rush is something I would certainly enjoy. Stroopwafel and Poffertjes in the morning followed by all the Cheese and liquorice and I know John would enjoy the different kinds of local fish.

Coffee Shops and Red Lights

While I don't smoke and I hardly drink the two things that Amsterdam is very well known for is The Coffeeshops and the Red Light district. I used to have to ride my bike through parts of the red light district to get to work when I lived in Amsterdam and there are some very fantasticating points of view within the area such as one of the oldest churches and a Buddhist Temple although some parts are clearly inappropriate for children I would recommend exploring the area as it's completely different to anywhere else and one to tick of the bucket list. The same goes for Coffee Shops, you could visit an iconic one such as Green House United which has been frequented by celebrities over the years and of course, you don't have to partake in anything and these venues do also sell coffee as well.

If Amsterdam doesn't take your fancy or you actually want to spend more time in Holland exploring some of the other cities then why not visit Rotterdam as well? Here is a great guide to visiting Rotterdam for the first time by the fantastic bloggers at Fly Drive Explore.

Amsterdam guide


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  3. It does look like a stunning place to visit. I remember going as a child and visiting Anne Frank's house, which was so emotional and thought-provoking!

  4. I adore Amsterdam and would love to get back there again as my previous trips have never been long enough. I wasn't sure about the liquorice but my dog I had when I last went loved it lol

  5. I’ve never been but I’ve seen quite a few people who have been this summer and it looks great. I hadn’t realised there was so much to see and do. I was always put off by the idea of the red light district

  6. I haven't been to Amsterdam for years, its a beautiful place. How lovely to have some time together x

  7. We visited Amsterdam 2 years ago with the kids. It was a short weekend so we didn't get to see a lot. Plan to go back soon.

  8. I would love to visit Amsterdam and love that there is loads of stuff for the kids to do. It does sound nice to visit as a couple too!!

  9. I have never been to Amsterdam but it is somewhere I would love to visit. It looks great here. I would love to visit some of those coffee shops. Lovely photos :)

  10. We’ve never been to Amsterdam but would love to go one day and explore the canals. Wonderful photography x

  11. Those photos are stunning and the place is just so lovely. I would love to visit Amsterdam soon with VIP.

  12. I really must go back to Amsterdam - I went for new year in 2015/16, and it wad dark and gloomy and a bit miserable. Your pictures make it look lovely - I'm glad you had a nice weekend away x

  13. I visited Amsterdam in 2004...don't remember too much about it as I was on my stag do!

  14. This isn't somewhere I have visited before, but so many people suggest its the perfect place for a weekend away without the kids. It looks very pretty and calm too


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