For a city break that won’t break the bank, go Dutch, says Carrie Lyell


The life of a magazine editor can be a stressful one. You have to juggle 867 things at once, deadlines come at you fast, and before you know it, it’s been 18 months since you had a proper holiday. But a little respite is just a train ride away…


Flying might be quicker, but get your weekend off to a more luxurious (and eco-friendly) start by taking the Eurostar. The direct route from London St Pancras, which launched earlier this year, will have you in the heart of Amsterdam in under four hours, and prices start from just £35. It was my first jaunt through the Channel Tunnel, and whizzing through the French, Belgian and Dutch countryside was just lovely. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Good for the environment, good for your wallet, and good for the stress levels.


You know what’s not good for the stress levels? Getting the address of your hotel wrong. Our much-needed city break was almost over before it had began when we arrived where we thought we were staying and they didn’t have a booking for us. But thankfully, we didn’t just jump on the next train home, and when we arrived at the right hotel – Marriott’s Renaisssance the stress melted away. The complimentary bottle of Prosecco may have had something to do with that… In all seriousness though, I’ve stayed in some right lovely hotels, and this was definitely up there with them. Attentive staff, gorgeous rooms, and my best night’s sleep for months. Dreamy.


I put a lot of nice things in my mouth in Amsterdam, but without a doubt the best was at Happyhappyjoyjoy. The Vietnamese pork meatballs were so good I actually cried, and I would eat here every day for the rest of my life if I could. If that doesn’t ruin all other food for you forever, munch your way around the world at Foodhallen. Brilliant tacos, brilliant hotdogs, brilliant everything. Sweet tooth? Fill your pockets with meringues at Stach, stuff your face with Dutch apple cake (available pretty much everywhere), and get pie-eyed at Cosy, where the coffee is also top-drawer.


Worth a visit for the lols alone, this is €5 well spent. Whoever designed Amsterdam’s sex museum clearly had a sexcellent (if slightly warped) sense of humour. Not for everyone, but if you can make it past the flasher on the ground floor, it’s actually pretty interesting.


If you go to Amsterdam and you don’t hire a bike, you’re doing it wrong. There are famously more bikes than people in the city so naturally plenty of places to rent them, but we headed to Mac Bike in the train station. Quick, cheap and efficient, you’ll be weaving over the maze of canals in no time. Be careful, though. Locals have no time for amateurs, and cycle rage is most certainly a thing, so do yourself a favour: signal properly and whatever you do, don’t get in the way.

Plan your own weekend away at, #iamsterdam

Only reading DIVA online? You’re missing out. For more news, reviews and commentary, check out the latest issue. It’s pretty badass, if we do say so ourselves. // //

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