So you have family visiting or you want to take the kids exploring beyond the city limits – look no further. These are the favourite tried-and-tested day trips from Amsterdam by the Amsterdam Mamas. Enjoy!
Dutch Cities and Towns
Delft is beautiful and easy to explore in a day. With no cars allowed through the centre, you feel like you step back in time. There is also a lot of history here relating to the Delftware, the famous blue and white pottery.
Visit Leiden and go to Naturalis, the natural history museum, and check out the dinosaurs! It's a short train ride from Amsterdam, then a short walk. Great fun.
The Spoorwegmeuseum in Utrecht is a hit with old and young alike. In the winter, the train museum is transformed into a Christmas paradise, including an indoor skating rink. And for Thomas the Tank Engine fans, they hold an annual Thomas event. Also in Utrecht, the Dick Bruna Huis is where you can learn all about Nijntje (Miffy) and the world of Dick Bruna’s lovely books. Great for children as there is lots to touch and explore.
On a sunny day, a day trip to Paleis Het Loo is beautiful. There is a palace over 300 years old and great gardens to explore – really find out how a Dutch royal family lived.
Kasteel De Haar is a beautifully restored castle, fit for modern living. There are special tours for kids, and the grounds are gorgeous.
Closest to Amsterdam, the medieval castle Muiderslot might also be the most child-friendly castle in the Netherlands. There are plenty of fun, hands-on activities for kids, including demonstrations. Combine it with the seasonal ferry for a fun day out.
Open Air Museums
If you like a hands-on feel of what life was like in North Holland, visit the Zuiderzee Museum in Enkhuizen. You can make ropes, visit the sweet shop, do a treasure hunt, or make a klompbootje. There is also an indoor museum too. If you plan carefully, you can combine with a day on the popular steam train and boat.
GeoFort is a new award-winning navigation museum, billed as a "fortress island". There's nothing quite like it! Rather remote. a car is a must to get there.
Touristy as it is, you can't help but be charmed by Zaanse Schans. A short ride north of Amsterdam, it offers working windmills, cheese, clogs, chocolate, the original Albert Heijn store, boat rides and more!
The Hoge Veluwe is a beautiful national park in any season. The Kroller-Muller Museum hosts an impressive art collection and the beautiful glass building itself is a gorgeous location. There is a lovely sculpture garden to walk through or you can use one of the free white bikes (some have child seats) to explore the woods. Pop into the visitors centre too to see the view underground.
Between late March and mid-May, you can visit Keukenhof. They have wonderful gardens to explore, mazes to get lost in, and tulips galore. Take the mother-in-law as a good excuse, but you will all enjoy it.
For a true taste of Dutchness, go for a fietstocht. Try biking to Durgerdam or Marken – stop for apple pie on the way and have lunch in the super-cute traditional village. You can also take the boat across to Volendam and then cycle back via Edam.
Go fruit and flower picking – zelfplukken! Depending on the season, pick some apples and pears at Olmenhurst (usually September and October), flowers at the Big Bulb Shop (usually April and May), or strawberries in Lingedijk at Fruitbedrijf De Hoenderik (usually June to July). Call before you go to check what is in season.
And there is more…. Be sure to check out our articles on our favourite beaches, museums, and theme parks in the Netherlands. And for more ideas, sign up for our Weekend Roundup Newsletter. It's full of fun things to do, every weekend, in and around Amsterdam with the kids. Don't miss out!
Happy exploring, everyone!
This list has been compiled from the recommendations of our members on the Amsterdam Mamas Facebook group. This article has been updated in 2016 by Donna Bardsley.
Simone Davies is the owner and directress of Jacaranda Montessori Playgroup. As well as being a mama of 2 children, Simone provides a Montessori environment for parents and babies and also hosts courses and workshops.