An Amsterdam Day Trip From London

Amsterdam: a day trip from London

I genuinely think I can speak for all Aussies and Kiwis living in London when I say that there is very little in life that can generate as much excitement as the idea of a day trip to another country. From the city of Adelaide where I grew up, I had to drive for 8 hours (non-stop. No biggie) to hit the closest major city. And from there it’s another 12 hours to the next one. To fly to another country, the closest being New Zealand, is a flight of just over 4 hours.

Amsterdam: a day trip from LondonAmsterdam: a day trip from London

Quiz any Australian or New Zealander as to why they’re living in London and it’s likely they’ll cite ease of travel first. The fact that there are so many different countries right on the doorstep of the UK is almost unbelievable to us. So while Brits smirk at us like we’re crazy, we jet off whenever we can to wherever we can, paying no regard to how much leave we have left. No leave? No problem. We’ll explore for a weekend. No weekend? Seriously, no problem. We’ll go for a day.

Amsterdam: a day trip from London
Amsterdam: a day trip from London

When British Airways launched a series of European day trip airfares earlier this year, I was desperate to plan a day away in a foreign country, and so I decided to surprise Brendan with an Amsterdam day trip from London; a destination we’ve been meaning to visit for some time but which neither of us had managed to get to yet. The return fares cost me just over £100 each which, although not dirt cheap, came with all the benefits associated with BA (in-flight snack, 2 pieces of hand luggage each, allocated seating and flying from airports that are actually located in the cities they’re named after). Also, not staying overnight meant no accommodation cost, which seriously brought down the overall price of our mini adventure.

We arrived at the airport, bleary eyed at a seriously unmentionable time on a Saturday morning and I revealed to Brendan that we were taking a day trip to Amsterdam. He had been pretty confused up until this point, and it was nice to finally be able to share my excitement about visiting this new destination!

Amsterdam: a day trip from London
Amsterdam: a day trip from London

With only a day in a brand new destination, our priorities were as they always are: find good food & drink, and wander around to get a feel for the soul of the city. Thanks to a few recommendations from friends and Amsterdam locals (special shout out to Frankie for her awesome tips), we ate and strolled our way around the sun drenched city, taking in the beautiful canals, tasting new delicacies and even recording some video while we were at it (you can check out the finished product below…including Brendan finding out our destination for the day)!

Amsterdam: a day trip from London
Amsterdam: a day trip from London

Amsterdam was so much more quaint and pretty than I was expecting. I wasn’t such a fan of the central part of the city (it was too crowded, too full of drunken Brits…and the Red Light District is just not a place I can be OK with) but the surrounding districts, like Jordaan, I could have wandered through for days. One of the highlights for me was a stall in Lindengracht Market in Jordaan, where we tasted delicious pancake-like treats called poffertjes. So, so good. Another memorable discovery was Brouwerij de Prael, a microbrewery in the centre of Amsterdam that serves fabulous local beer and employs people with mental illnesses who might otherwise have difficulty finding employment. 

Amsterdam: a day trip from London

Although a day in a new city is never enough time, it’s a great way to see the highlights, and Amsterdam is a really great destination to explore for a day or a weekend. I’d love to go back for a little longer to see even more, but before then, there are more day trips to plan…like Dublin, Rome and Vienna!

Would you take a day trip to another country, or do you think I’m crazy? Any tips for next time I’m in Amsterdam?

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  • Emily Ray says:

    Although I’m a Brit, I DEFINITELY understand your appreciation of weekend/day trips from London. I’ve visited lots of UK cities and also Oslo and Paris in just a couple of days, and it’s always such a good way to squeeze a little bit of excitement into your week.

    I’ll be visiting Amsterdam for the first time ever in just a few weeks, and this post is so useful – I’ve heard so many good things about the Jordaan district that I think it’ll be on the top of my list of places to visit :)

    Emily x

    • Elle Croft says:

      Exactly – and when everything is so close, it seems a shame not to make the most of a weekend (or day) trip!

      Have an amazing time in Amsterdam – definitely check out Jordaan and try to get to Brouwerij de Prael if you like beer!

  • Valerie says:

    I love Amsterdam! <3 Not sure I'd go just for a day trip though. There's so much to do and see. I went there for my birthday last year; it was sort of a long weekend kinda thing and it was great. I just didn't want to come back! haha. xx

    • Elle Croft says:

      There is so much to see, isn’t there? You certainly can’t see it all in a day but it’s a nice way to get a feel for the place. A birthday trip there sounds lovely! x

  • jaklien says:

    You had my favourite food: Poffertjes. I love them. :-)

  • Amsterdam is soo much fun, absolutely love the city! You’ve captured it really well, thanks for sharing your photos :-)

  • Very happy to have stumbled across your blog. Believe it or not, I lived for ten years in Belgium and never visited Amsterdam. It is beyond ridiculous. Your lovely pictures have motivated me to make the day trip over from London! If you haven’t been to Belgium yet, it also merits a weekend trip – especially Antwerp, Ghent & Bruges.

    (Americans also don’t think day trips are crazy…we’ll drive for hours to get somewhere for a little day trip.)

    • Elle Croft says:

      Thanks Jess! I’m glad you stumbled upon it too!
      Isn’t it funny how we always visit places further afield and forget about those in our own backyard? I lived in Australia for 21 years and never got to New Zealand! So silly.
      Oh, Belgium is beautiful but I still have so much more to explore…Bruges is very, very high on my list! :-)

  • Kelly says:

    You’re not crazy at all! We did the same thing back in June when we went to Copenhagen for the day using the cheap BA tickets – I think if the flight is under two hours then it’s totally possible. Go in spring and see the Keukenhof Gardens – it’s colours and quantities of flowers are just amazing! xx

    • Elle Croft says:

      Oooh, yes, I’d love to see the flowers there in spring!
      What is Copenhagen like as a day trip destination?

      • Kelly says:

        It’s pretty easy to be honest; I had visited prior and had seen a number of the big sights but it’s an easy day trip from London if you don’t have your heart set on seeing everything. Copenhagen is a fun city, very young and vibrant and a weekend or a day trip is easy peasy as it’s quite small, flat and compact; I wouldn’t want to spend any longer than two nights xx

      • Elle Croft says:

        I think a lot of places are like that; you can have a great experience as long as you’re not hell bent on seeing EVERYTHING there is to see!

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