An October weekend in Amsterdam

Pip was set a homework to find out about Anne Frank so we decided to visit Amsterdam for a girl’s weekend to visit The Anne Frank House. For the rest of the weekend, Pip and I did some research and then she picked the things that she wanted to do.

Amsterdam is a really easy place to visit with kids and it was great that we could mix history, culture and fun all in one weekend. We haven’t even scratched the surface of things there is to do so will definitely be back.

So this is Pip’s itinerary for a 9 year old’s weekend in Amsterdam.

Anne Frank’s House

Anne Frank’s House book’s up far in advance so this was the first thing we booked. Pip was a bit apprehensive about going but she found it really interesting and learned a lot. You are given an audio guide as you enter which you scan in each room and then listen to the description, book extracts and interviews. The museum consists of the factory and annexe and then a newer part of the building which has a mixture of exhibits, photography and video screens. It is a very moving place to visit but so worth going.

Tony Chocolonely’s Superstore

This was Pip’s favourite part of the trip. Tony Chocolonely is an ethical chocolate company who’s mission is eradicate modern slavery from the chocolate industry. Their chocolate is delicious too. The superstore (which is not as big as superstore implies) is located underneath the Chocolate Bar. One of the staff explained their mission to us and then introduced us to the chocolate vending machine. All their flavours are in the vending machine and each day there are about 5 flavours that you can taste test. One lever dispenses a square to try and another gives you a full bar. You can also design your own chocolate bar including the wrapper which takes about an hour to be made. Which gives you the perfect excuse to pop upstairs and eat all the cake and hot chocolate! Pip highly recommends this as an experience.

Van Gogh Museum

This wouldn’t have been my choice but as Pip has been learning about Van Gogh at school, she wanted to see his art in person. I got her the audio guide so she was able to walk round at her own pace and listen to the information about the pieces she was interested in. They also have several interactive stations and a scavenger hunt for younger children. Whilst we were there, the temporary exhibit was The Potato Eaters and Pip enjoyed trying some of the activities based around this artwork. They also have an impressive shop and places to eat within the building.

A’DAM Lookout

The Lookout is over the river from the train station, there is a free ferry that goes back and forth and takes about 5 minutes. The lookout is predominately a social venue, there is a bar at the top and you can also get food. We opted for the combined ticket that got us entry to the Lookout, VR roller coaster and swings. The roller coaster was really good, a VR experience of riding a roller coaster over and through Amsterdam. Pip loved the swings which swing you out over the side of the building, me not so much! There is the option to buy a photo or a video of you on the swings, I opted not to get the video as no one needs a video of themselves with their eyes tight shut! There are several photo opportunities on the rooftop and overall it was a great place to hang out and see Amsterdam from above.

Wondr Experience

This is located slightly further out of Amsterdam and involved a tram, a train and a short walk. It was worth it though. Wondr Experience is selfies meets modern art and although it is aimed at adults (it even has a beach bar on a pink beach) they have special sessions for under 11s on weekend mornings. There are 15 different rooms, each with a different theme and some also have cameras stations which you scan on to your phone and are sent to you after your visit. If you’ve ever wanted to play in a pool full of marshmallows or have a confetti shower then this is the experience for you.

Lockers are provided for free at the entrance and there is a small cafe at the end.

The logistics

I looked at the Amsterdam City Card but decided it wasn’t worth it for what we wanted to do so we booked everything individually. Due to Covid we had to book timed entry to everything which did mean that we did rush a bit to get to each place on time but the upside was we didn’t have to queue for anything and we probably managed to do more than we would have done if we weren’t on a strict timetable.

Getting there – We got the airport bus 397 from Schipol to just around the corner from our hotel. The bus goes from the bus stands outside the airport and the driver was really helpful and obviously used to tourists asking directions to their hotels. There are various ticket options which can be found here and you can buy your tickets in advance.

Hotel – We stayed at The ED Amsterdam in a double room. The hotel is really funky and in a great position just off Leidseplein so either within walking distance or an easy tram ride of most of Amsterdam’s main attractions. They have a small shop in the lobby selling drinks and snacks and also serve a buffet breakfast. The hotel was very clean and the staff really helpful. There are plenty of places to eat and drink in the surrounding areas.

Getting around – We used the City Mapper app to get around. It’s brilliant as it not only tells you which bus or tram to get but also tells you when to get off. The trams in Amsterdam are really easy to use, you buy your ticket on board and you can either buy a ticket that lasts 60 minutes or a 24 hour ticket. We did a mixture of both. You just need to make sure that you scan in and out when you get on and off public transport. The 24 hour ticket also covered us for the train to Wondr Experience.

The ferry across to A’Dam lookout is free and takes about 5 minutes. All the public transport runs regularly and we never had to wait very long. Amsterdam is also an easy city to walk around, just watch out for the cycle lanes which Pip calls the ‘Death Lanes’.

Eat – We were so busy that we didn’t have chance to actually go anywhere to eat. We had breakfast at Joe and the Juice on the way to Anne Frank’s house and at the hotel on the second day. Lunch on Saturday was hotdogs and fries from street food stands near the Van Gogh Museum and Dinner was an eat in take away at Take A Wok as we were starving and it was fast and just around the corner from the hotel.

Money – Amsterdam uses the Euro and we used our Revolut cards to get money out and to pay for things.

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