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An evening in Amsterdam or London?

We will be flying to Amsterdam (wife and 2 kids, 9 and 6) at the end of April...can already see the tulips. We have 3-4 full days to be in the Netherlands but curious about best way to spend the afternoon the day we arrive and seeing if we should extend our layover in London (only I have been there before). Our flight lands in LHR at noon and connection currently scheduled to arrive in AMS at 5pm. I have the option to move that flight to depart London at 7:35p or to stay overnight and make an early connection.

So leaving out the details like how nice it would be to just check in on the first night and get settled in or the let lag issues (I will certainly account for these but not the crux of my question) which city would you spend the evening in?

My thoughts already. Since we will be in AMS for a few days, I don't think I will be missing anything by skipping out on those few hours. London offers a sight seeing bus that picks you up from LHR (we would need the overnight option for that one). I haven't spent the time to look yet, but other than dinner and a quiet evening, is there anything to 'sight-see' in Amsterdam that evening...meaning I assume museums and such would be closed by the time we got there.

As usually, thanks in advance for the help.

Posted by
4595 posts

I think "dinner and a quiet evening" will be just what you will need after your long flight. Don't forget it'll take time to get from the airport to your Amsterdam hotel, then checked in, cleaned up... It's liable to be 7:00 or later, and everyone will be tired and hungry. I'd go to Amsterdam, have a good dinner, then everyone to bed, ready for your exciting first full day.

Posted by
11262 posts

The 7:35 PM flight from LHR to AMS is "worst of both worlds" - a longer wait at the airport, but too short a time to do anything in London.

If you don't mind getting a hotel near LHR, you could certainly go into London for a night, then back to the airport hotel to be ready for an early departure the next day.

I'd personally prefer to stick with your original flights, and spend my first afternoon and evening in Amsterdam in a low key way. Walking around the center of Amsterdam is very interesting, or you can take a canal cruse. Just stay out of the bike lanes and watch out for bicycles at all times - once you're there you'll see that this is a real risk, particularly when you're jet-lagged. I'd do a walk and cruise, then dinner, then bed.

Don't underestimate how interesting just walking around Amsterdam will be, particularly for your kids. It looks so different from any US city; you won't need any "must sees" that night, as the city itself will be the sight. Then, the next day you'll be ready to tackle your designated "sights" like museums.

Posted by
1005 posts

Please don't do the London stopover. Your kids will be very tired from the long flight. Go directly to Amsterdam. If you want to do something the first evening, they have a pancake canal cruise--you eat this Dutch treat while floating along the canals. Your kids might get a kick out of it. Frankly, after such a long flight, I'd rather go to the hotel and get settled and save the cruise for another day.

Posted by
103 posts

Thanks for the posts so far.

As far as Amsterdam not being like any other city, I feel the same about London. Perhaps this is because it was the first European city I ever visited so holds a place in my memory or something.

I tend to over complicate things so adding this stop certainly does that...I just also hate feeling like I am missing out...and getting in at 5p would end up making it feel like 1.5 days for travel rather than just one where as half a day in London and an early flight to AMS feels like I can pack more in.

Anyways, just some thoughts to your responses, which I appreciate.