Amsterdam is readily accessible from the UK. The quickest option is flying; from one of London’s airports this will take less than 1 ½ hours, plus check-ins, etc. Alternatively, taking the Eurostar from London to Brussels with a high speed connection to Amsterdam takes around 5 ½ hours, depending on your time of travel. You could take a ferry from Harwich to Hook of Holland, either driving or connecting with trains at either end. The crossing takes approximately 7 ¼ hours but is certainly the most economic option.
Where to Stay in Amsterdam
Like most major European capitals, Amsterdam is a busy and bustling city, so it is advisable to book accommodation in advance of your trip. There are hotels ranging from the large and luxurious to modest, family-run enterprises. These include several that are advertised as being wheelchair friendly, so if mobility and access is likely to be an issue you can still enjoy the Amsterdam experience. Bed and Breakfast can be found, but less commonly than in English cities and self-catering apartments are available. For those keen to experience life on Amsterdam’s famous canals, houseboats can be rented although it’s best to book this delightful option as far in advance as possible.
What to Do and See for Free!
Walking through Amsterdam’s streets is a fantastic way to enjoy the sights of this enchanting city. As well as the distinctive architecture, there is always something interesting to see along the famous network of canals. Why not take advantage of the free walking tours that leave the National Monument at Dam Square daily at 11.15 am and 1.15 pm and learn a little of Amsterdam’s fascinating history, too?
A visit to the famous Vondelpark allows visitors to enjoy a wonderful greenspace in the heart of the city. The park houses its own theatre, but you may be fortunate enough to catch a free open-air concert (see their website for schedule details). Free lunchtime concerts also take place at Concertgebouw on Museum Square on Wednesdays at 12.30pm.
Amsterdam houses some of the world’s most famous art and whilst visiting some of the major galleries can be pricey, some less well-known and more contemporary versions are free. One of these is the outdoor sculpture park, Rijksmuseum Garden, which includes some works by famous artists such as Henry Moore.
Another free exhibition can be found in the basement of the EYE Filmmuseum. This permanent exhibition explores the country’s rich film culture (there is a charge for visiting the rest of the museum). A free three-minute ferry ride from the station will take you to the museum.
As with all travel, it is prudent to be adequately insured. Over 65s travel insurance not only covers possible problems that occur more frequently as we mature, but is often available at special rates. To find the best cover available, shop around reputable insurance companies, explaining your travel details and circumstances. It may also be helpful to contact agencies such as SAGA and Age UK who appreciate the needs of the older traveller. So get packed, get covered and Bon Voyage!