When you think of a family holiday in the Netherlands, almost everyone will think of Amsterdam. Well take a U-turn away from the capital and you’ll find Utrecht – a characterful city just waiting for you and the little ones to explore! Once the most important city in the Netherlands, Utrecht has still got all it takes to be the centre of your kids’ attention!
Utrecht is located in the central Netherlands and has been established since the times of the Roman empire. With some of its beautiful buildings still intact from over a thousand years ago, and the fact that it’s the cultural and educational hub of Holland, Utrecht has plenty sites to see and wonders to explore!
This city is connected by a wonderful network of canals. Taking the kids on the water is the number one way to get around Utrecht – you can go for a boat tour around the city, or if you’re feeling active, get yourself into a pedalo! You can chase the ducks along the water and take in all the sites, just make sure that you avoid the bigger boats – the waves can get pretty choppy!
If you a fancy a day off the water, get on your feet and discover the city centre on foot! The historic heart of Utrecht is a car-free zone that’s perfect for excitable kids who are a bit more active on their feet than Mum and Dad! The historic area is one of the city’s cultural treats. Why not start with St. Martin’s Cathedral: This place of worship was built in the early 14 th century and boasts the tallest church tower in the Netherlands. At over 112 metres high, the Dom Tower gives fantastic views over the city – that’s if your family is fit enough to tackle the 465 steps it takes to get to the top!
If your little ones are keen on making some modern trip-stops, KidZcity is sure to impress! This huge indoor play area is a kid’s paradise: there’s a 6-lane slide, a light-up horsey carousel, a merry-go-round, a play castle, a ball box with over 15000 softballs, a climbing maze, a safari train and fairground bumpers! With all that on offer, Mum and Dad will probably want to get involved! Alternatively, there is café to relax in whilst the little ones go wild!
Another fantastic one for the kids is the Miffy Museum! This classic small rabbit has been a family favourite since 1955 and with the artist originating in Utrecht, there is a pretty impressive museum in her honour! Your little explorers will love finding their way around. The whole place is immersive, so they can crawl through a real-life version of Miffy’s house then explore the rest of her world! There are also lots of creative workshops and storytimes on the weekends for them to enjoy!
After all that activity, the whole family will be ready to re-fill the tank! Don’t worry, Utrecht has a wonderful food market which is well-known locally for selling the best chunky fries in the world, complete with a signature mayo sauce! If you’re set on something sweet, try some waffles! The Netherlands are famous for their stroopwafel – two layers of wafer-thin waffles with caramel syrup in the middle, yum! Alternatively, for something for fancy, the canals are scattered with waterside restaurants and cafes that are perfect for a special meal with the whole family!
Utrecht is a fantastic little European city that will leave you wanting more! From the culture of its historic centre and the romance of its waterway canals to the cute Miffy Museum and the dazzling features of KidZcity, there is something for big ones, little ones and everyone in between!