Take the Low road
Children find Holland surprisingly exotic, despite it being such a close neighbour. The language, for starters, isn’t something they will have encountered at school. Then there’s the fact that half the country lies below sea level, that many locals really do wear wooden clogs, the buildings look like advent calendars, the see-forever landscapes are studded with windmills and incised by canals and there are pancakes to die for (and probably herrings to hate). There’s so much to see and do.
Amsterdam is a huge draw and a very child-friendly capital. You can travel around by bubble-like boats, visit Anne Frank’s House, check out the narrowest house in the world, admire the Rembrandts in the Rijksmuseum and try some Indonesian food, a legacy of the country’s colonial past.
Everything is nearby in Holland. From Rotterdam, it’s less than an hour to Kaatsheuvel and the charming amusement park of Efteling. An interesting road trip would first take in The Hague, seat of the Dutch government and home to the excellent and completely restored Mauritshuis, where Johannes Vermeer’s Girl With A Pearl Earring resides. You might also fancy a side trip (easy by tram from The Hague) to nearby Delft to see the famous porcelain workshops. Then drive to Madurodam, a mind-boggling model village, before finishing up at the seaside
district of Scheveningen, the Brighton of Holland. Also within range are Germany’s northern cities, such as Hamburg, Hannover and Bremen.
How to get there
0871 522 9955; dfdsseasways.co.uk
Route and fares: Newcastle-Amsterdam from £532, including a cabin
Family facilities: There’s a choice of three restaurants, including the Seven Seas family-friendly buffet, the Explorer Steakhouse and the exclusive Blue Riband à la carte restaurant.
08447 70 70 70; stenaline.co.uk
Route and fares: Harwich-Hook of Holland from £180
Family facilities: Stena Line’s two superferries, Stena Britannica and Stena Hollandica, offer an onboard cinema, children’s play area and a basketball court. For families travelling without a car, Stena Line’s Dutcfhflyer service provides combined rail and ferry from any Greater Anglia station to any Dutch station from £49 one-way.
0800 130 0030; poferries.com
Route and fares: Hull-Rotterdam: £532, including cabin
Family facilities: There’s a Junior Kids’ Club for 5- to 11-year-olds and shows themed on Treasure Island and The Little Mermaid during the school summer holiday
Holland’s capital is a paradise for kids. Discover the coolest activities for kids in Amsterdam.