Three times the size of Central Park in NYC and one of the largest city parks in Europe, Amsterdamse Bos covers eight square kilometres and is just 15 minutes from the city centre. With lawns, parkland, water and woodland, there is something for everyone. Nature lovers can spot squirrels, frogs, woodpeckers, birds of prey and orchids: activity enthusiasts can kayak, cycle, or walk around this vast green oasis.
Hosting the largest collection of the artist's paintings in the world, the Van Gogh Museum is home to his most iconic pieces, as well as hundreds of lesser known artworks. Specific family events are great fun, with kids taking part in a child-friendly tour of the gallery and then joining a hands-on creative class to make their own mini masterpieces.
Who hasn’t read the world famous Diary of Anne Frank? Anne's heart-wrenching story is brought to life by a visit to the annexe where she and her family spent over two years in hiding from the Nazis. This museum provides a touching insight into the incredible but tragic life of the famous Jewish teenager and her family.
For some retail therapy (oh yes, for the kids too – toys, books, clothing and gifts), head to De Negen Straatjes, or the 'Nine Streets'. A charmingly pretty shopping district which criss-crosses backwards and forwards over three of the central canals. Beautifully picturesque: a mixture of cool designer boutiques, art galleries, quirky shops and great little cafes.
Amsterdam really is the cycle capital of the world. This is a city where pedal power rules – a population of just 700,000 and yet home to over 1 million bikes. So, when in Rome… or Amsterdam in this instance. Hire a bike and take to the cycle lanes for a city tour, or for an alternative view, pedal your way around (one of the 165) waterways on a fabulously quirky canal bike.
Previously a derelict and dingy underpass this innovative indoor play area caters for 0-12 year olds and is a great option for wet days with hyper nippers. Offering everything from soft play areas for little ones to trampolines and downhill skate-karting for older kids.
The KinderkookKafe supervised cooking café is a great concept. Children can select ingredients and then make their own food, before tasting the fruits of their labour at the end of the process. From pizza to some pretty fancy cupcakes, no one leaves hungry. Great fun, and it’s not everyday you can chill out while your kids prepare lunch for you.
Nemo Science Centre is the largest science centre in the Netherlands, offering five floors of interactive exhibits and hands on exploration. From learning what creates static electricity to climbing inside a giant bubble, understanding cosmic radiation to getting to grip with the brain (quite literally!), visits are every bit as entertaining as they are educational.
This long, thin, beautiful green oasis in central Amsterdam is the perfect spot for a picnic or ball game on a warm summers day. With its great expanses of lawns, picturesque gardens and abundance of ponds, kids can run off surplus energy, have a paddle or investigate the many play areas in Amsterdam's largest city park. There are playgrounds and cafés dotted around too.
More information: vondelpark.nl
OK, so you didn’t travel all the way to Amsterdam to paint a pot, but you may just be grateful for Color Me Mine ceramics studio – it’s a great way of filling a couple of hours on a wet and miserable day, and creative kids love it. Choose from ceramics painting or mosaic making - this is creativity for the whole family, not just the kids. Although if you’d rather have some tea and cake while the kids unleash their inner artists, that’s fine too.