Eco-friendly travel trends are seeing us turn to trains more than ever, so it’s great news that the Eurostar now has a direct route and a more frequent schedule between London and Amsterdam.
Amsterdam is just a hop, skip and a jump away – after all, a flight only takes 45 minutes. But, if you’re worried about your carbon footprint, you might have been holding back on booking a city break to the Dutch capital. That is until the news came out earlier this year that Eurostar would running trains direct from London to Amsterdam with no stopover in Belgium.
You see, although there has been a limited service for some time, those travelling back to the UK have been forced to change in Brussels. The uninterrupted service was supposed to start in April but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The good news now, though, is that this service is scheduled to start running on 26 October. Currently two trains a day are planned to run, but this should increase to three and then four in time, as interest picks up. Prices are also looking promising, too, with competitive fares from £40. This means it could not only be better for the environment, but for your bank balance, too.
You can book your tickets for future journeys from 1 September, but remember, the Netherlands is currently on the UK government quarantine list so we advice not booking any train tickets until this changes. It’s important to check the latest guidance for travel if you are thinking of going to the Netherlands, which you can find here.
Until then, here’s some inspiration to keep you going with three unique experiences to enjoy while you’re there.
Discover the LGBTQ stories of the city on a walking tour
Elyzabeth Gorman is a historian, writer and one of the most exuberant people you will ever meet. Her walking tours are full of charm, warmth and absolutely loads of information, packed into two-hour slots.
Her speciality is introducing guests to the city of Amsterdam through the stories of the people who helped make it what it is today, but that the history books often ignore. Previous tours have focused on some of the feminist icons who have lived here, from the first female student in Amsterdam and how she changed the world to the women-led riot that almost saved the city.
But her newest history tour explores the lives of people from the LGBTQ community, some of whom faced great injustices and even gave their lives to stand up for what is right. Throughout the tour you’ll see some of Amsterdam’s prettiest streets and learn not only about the history of the place, but become familiar with stories of some incredible people that previously you’d have never known existed.
Have tea in the smallest house in Amsterdam
One of Amsterdam’s most recognisable features is, of course, its architecture. Quaint townhouses line every canal, and the winding streets are full of characterful buildings, many of them with big windows and steep staircases. So, then, we’re sure you’ll agree that visiting the tiniest house in Amsterdam is an absolute must.
At only two meters wide and five meters deep, this truly teeny house has just one room on each of its three floors. Although it was once the home of an 18th century watchmaker, it is now an adorable tea shop and tea rooms, where you can stop for lunch, desserts and to pick up some specialist brews.
The house is currently owned by a couple who bake fresh pies and cakes every day to serve for afternoon tea, which are better than any we’ve tasted in the rest of the city. Think steaming hot apple pie, dense butter cake (yes, it’s literally a cake made of butter and we will never get enough) and creamy baked cheesecake, washed down with floral fruit loose teas that smell like sweets.
All in all, it’s a pretty dreamy experience.
Partake in the 'theatre of fish' at Pesca
Pesca is a cool and lively seafood restaurant with a difference in the Jordaan area of Amsterdam. The mission here is simple: to make seafood accessible to everyone and Pesca’s way of doing this is to take you on a journey, away from the table, straight to the fish market yourself.
Before sitting down for your meal you will experience the ‘theatre of fish’ as the restaurant calls it. Here, a fish monger will walk you through everything they have in fresh that day. From salmon to octopus, nothing is wasted, so there’s a dynamic pricing policy which means fish is reduced throughout the day to make sure everything sells out. This makes the experience even more immersive, as you chat to the staff about what you like, checking out the prices on the day.
After this, it’s to the wine stop, where you can browse their bottle shop and take suggestions from the sommelier to help you decide what you’d like.
When you’re finally sat down, we can promise that the best is still yet to come. The freshness of the produce really comes through in the food, making for an unforgettable meal, full of flavour and hearty portions.
Images: Courtesy of venues