Perfect for a weekend away, with so many cool bars and restaurants, museums and things to do. I wheel my trusty Ted Baker suitcase past unusual architecture excited about a fun weekend ahead with friends.
Cycling is a fun, fast and eco way to get around - just watch out for trams (and tourists who’ve been partaking in the local coffee houses!) I’ve tried borrowing friends’ bikes but my legs are not as lengthy as the tall Dutchies, so I’ve rented a Bike with Mike's Tours for the weekend.
Verguldeneenhoorn @verguldeneenhoorn is a converted 1702 farmhouse in Oost Amsterdam. Spot the golden unicorn and burgundy shutters, as bikes whizz past this gorgeous boutique hotel. In summer, sit in the garden for lunch, where blue and white delft plates adorn the walls. There’s a lovely cosy interior restaurant with dark beams and vegetable print wallpaper.
Once well fed, browse the shops for vintage and interiors - the Dutch have impeccable taste and there are so many cool design boutiques:
Book a private boat with friends, music playing, gliding past the amazing canal houses with fancy facades and gables and modern architecture.
Amsterdam’s canals are definitely best explored by boat. Wrap up warm and take a cruise to see the Amsterdam Light Festival from 1st December to 22nd January.
In winter the square has an ice rink full of skaters on Ice* from mid Nov to early Feb.
Check out the spa at Conservatorium Hotel @conservatoriumhotel for an underground escape. Hotel guests have access to Akasha gym, pool, jacuzzi, sauna and hammam. (Visitors can book a treatment Mon to Thurs to enjoy two hours access)
The Museumplein is Amsterdam's largest square with museums Rijksmuseum @rijksmuseum (check out the tea garden), Van Gogh Museum @van_gogh_museum - best to book tickets in advance, Moco Museum @mocomuseum and Modern Art at Stedelijk museum. @stedelijkmuseum
THINGS TO DO
In the summer head out of the city, into the forest to open air theatre Amsterdamse Bostheater for theatre performances, film evenings and concerts.
Film lovers - Catch a movie at Pathé.nl, Theater Tuschinski. (especially gorgeous Theater 1)
From March to May, just 30 minutes outside the centre of Amsterdam, head to enjoy the beautiful Keukenhof Tulip Gardens festival.
August is fabulous, fun and colourful Pride weekend, with rainbow canal and street parades for the party people.
Diamonds can be your best friend! Add some sparkle with a visit to The Mill Diamonds. Diamond factories offer free guided diamond-cutting tours, and sell diamonds: Royal Coster Diamonds, Gassan Diamonds, Amstel Diamonds or Diamant Museum
FOOD & DRINK
De Vondeltuin is a family friendly café in Vondelpark and also offers cocktails!
Loetje Amsterdam Café an informal steakhouse restaurant with a lively atmosphere and a great reputation close to Museumplein. Keep it classic, order its famous steak with salad and fries.
Mondi restaurant has exotic vibes, tasty Caribbean-inspired fusion cuisine to feed your soul, fab cocktails and DJ sounds on the weekend.
Van 't Spit - informal dining at this spit roast chicken hang out, in De Pijp.
For whisky cocktails and American-Asian comfort food, J.D. William's Whisky Bar @jdwilliamswhiskybar is a fabulous family-owned bar in stylish bare brick surroundings in Jordaan.
A la carte Michelin star Restaurant de Juwelier is an old school bistro with tasty and surprising dishes.
Waterkant is a cool, buzzy place with good beats and a fun atmosphere to meet friends, grab a drink by the water and watch the boats go by.
De L'Europe Amsterdam is a stylish, luxurious 5* hotel in a great location loved by its guests and Abbotts clients.
The Manor Hotel @themanoramsterdam is an urban boutique 4* hotel with stylish rooms in a former civilian hospital. Visit their pop-up restaurant A Beautiful Mess @abeautifulmess_amsterdam a 5min walk from Muiderpoort station.
Or stay at buzzy The Hoxton hotel. Both are located on The Nine Streets on the Herengracht canal.
Anantara Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky on Dam Square overlooks the Royal Palace for picturesque dining at the Grand Café Krasnapolsky and Michelin-starred restaurant The White Room. Relax in the award-winning Anantara Spa.
Dream big, sleep tiny at SWEETS hotel @sweets_hotel - iconic bridge houses transformed into hotel suites for a radically different place to stay. Formerly housing the bridge keepers, opening and closing bridges for passing boat traffic on the busy canals.
Contact Abbotts Travel to book your trip and for advice on the best hotel to suit you.
Get the train from Kings Cross, take hand luggage and pop into cool quirky designed The Standard Hotel for food/drink at fabulous Decimo.
Eurostar trains from London St Pancras International direct to Amsterdam Central take around 4 hours.
Beat security queues by booking a business class flight. Amsterdam is only about 45 minutes away from London into huge airport Schiphol.
Grab a bus, train or taxi into the city.
If you want to be kinder to the environment and your wallet with the help of google maps, it’s fairly easy to navigate public transport & most have air con. Allow extra time.
Book an unlimited Amsterdam public transport card before arriving for an easy way to get around when you don't want to cycle on GetYourGuide