Here’s why you should have an Amsterdam hen do
When it comes to a clucking good hen party destination, Amsterdam egg-sells. But don’t just wing it – the DFDS Newcastle to Amsterdam ferry is the party boat you didn’t know you needed.
Amsterdam. The Venice of the North. One of the greatest small cities in the world.
It’s a city synonymous with a good time. But while we’ve heard about stag parties going to the Dutch capital for decades now, us hens always seem more reluctant to visit.
But we’re telling you now (from personal experience), Amsterdam is about so much more than sex, drugs and tulips. It’s a hen party paradise. And there’s only one way to get there…
THE DFDS FERRY
The hen party starts as soon as you step onboard.
No need to wait around for your gate numbers or check in your suitcases – travel by DFDS ferry and the journey can be just as fun as your destination.
It is a hen party after all, gals.
For those wanting to ease themselves into the occasion with some cosy pub vibes, live music and a few calm glasses of wine, the Navigators Pub is for you.
Want something just as relaxed but a little more stylish? Head to the Compass Bar – here you’ll find a laidback lounge with a totally zen ambience: the perfect pairing with a chilled G&T (or two).
HLN Hint – if you’re feeling really sophisticated, you can enjoy a little wine tasting or whisky tasting in the Compass Bar, too. For groups of 8+, reach out in advance to the booking office.
Want a drinking destination as extra as you and your hens? Head to the roof. With stunning sea views and sunlight beaming down, the rooftop Sky Bar offers live entertainment, sexily smooth cocktails and even a BBQ during the summer.
And last but by no means least is the Columbus Club. This is your go-to for a full party atmosphere, as this club can really rock the boat. The largest bar onboard is also the loudest – with live music and entertainment like bingo and music quizzes (you could win vouchers to spend at the bar) getting everyone in the party atmosphere, before a live DJ takes over proceedings and transforms the boat into a nightclub. Get ready to throw some shapes…
An army marches on its stomach, so if you want the party to last all weekend then you’ve got to keep your gaggle of gals from becoming hungry hens.
But that’s not to say any old grub will do. Just because you’re on a hen do doesn’t mean you can’t dine in style.
Book a table in the North Sea Bistro and enjoy dishes created by chefs who’ve really pushed the culinary boat out. With an award-winning menu made using ingredients that are both local and seasonal to their two ports, the DFDS team promise to deliver an à la carte meal in style.
Fancy more relaxed fare? The Explorer’s Kitchen should be your port of call. Serving an international speciality buffet including everything from burgers to BBQ and Mediterranean to Asian, this foodie fairground is perfect for every palette. (They serve an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet in the mornings, too).
If you’re more in the mood for a light bite, you can get your caffeine hit and a slice of something nice at Coffee Crew. Serving all your favourite (freshly brewed) Starbucks drinks alongside some sumptuous sweet treats, you’ll be able to consider you and your girls suitably fuelled for a weekend’s worth of shenanigans in Amsterdam.
One word that will delight hen parties of all shapes and sizes: shopping.
Yep, on a DFDS ferry you can enjoy the best bit about any kind of international travel – the duty-free shopping. This isn’t some pokey corner shop with a handful of old perfumes on offer; DFDS’s duty free store is a magnificent mecca of great products at even better prices.
Did somebody say 50% cheaper than the high street?!
HLN Hint – on a DFDS ferry, you have unlimited baggage – so make the most of it and take an empty bag or two with you, ready to fill up with all your duty-free goodies!
Find out what else you could be getting up to onboard the DFDS Newcastle to Amsterdam ferry here
WHAT TO DO IN AMSTERDAM – 6 THINGS YOU CAN’T MISS
And now for the city itself. Because whether your idea of fun is daft drinks and dancing or soaking up all the life and culture of a new city, Amsterdam has got everything you need for your dream hen party.
So much so, in fact, that we can think of 44 reasons to visit Amsterdam right now.
Stags love a trip to the Heineken Experience when in Amsterdam, but if the world’s most famous beer isn’t quite your tipple of choice, House of Bols offers a cocktail and jenever experience that lovers of a good G&T need in their lives.
After you and your hens have finished your tour, enjoy a world-beating cocktail in their revolutionary Mirror Bar or, even better, mark the occasion in style and create your own signature serve in their Do It Yourself Bar.
If you’re anything like us, by the end of a night out you want to have cast all your inhibitions aside and be throwing shapes to the cheesiest of tunes with your girl gang. And Club NYX is the perfect place to do it.
Amsterdam has a proud history of supporting its LGBTQ+ communities and Club NYX is arguably top of the city’s rainbow-coloured totem pole. Open to anyone who just wants to have fun, NYX is spread over three floors and hosts special club nights which cater to all (and we mean all) musical tastes.
HLN Hint – Need a route of bars to visit before you get there? We’d head to Rembrandt Square – the city’s nightlife nucleus – and let fate take it from there.
Come lunchtime, make sure to stop off at hip eatery Vegan Junk Food Bar, which serves mouth-wateringly innovative ‘junk food’ (think burgers, ‘freak fries’ and everything nice), without compromising on quality, taste or texture.
But when it comes to that special meal out with the girls, there’s one restaurant that’s king of the city as well as the jungle. Lion Noir is a gem of a globe-trotting gastro haunt that’ll have flavour combos to suit your whole party. Located in the historic Gouden Bocht, in the famously colourful Reguliersdwarsstraat district, their constantly evolving menu is made up of various eclectic takes on French classics.
Enjoy a cocktail downstairs by their, erm, roaring fireplace (sorry), before enjoying your dinner upstairs or in their courtyard garden.
Jordaan is front and centre in the city’s creative spotlight, with vintage shops, designer boutiques, cosy cafés and quirky bars all jostling for position. Think the Ouseburn Valley of Amsterdam and you’ll be along the right lines…
Flanked by canals, Jordaan’s cultural clout dates back to the 1960s, when the area’s thriving live music scene attracted visitors from far and wide. But while you can still catch plenty of open mic nights, it’s the district’s famous Nine Streets that draw the biggest crowds today – a network of boutiques, bars, cafés and eateries that are bound to excite every one of your hens.
Still need some wedding bouquet inspo? A visit to Amsterdam’s horticultural heaven, Hortus Botanicus, should be top of your list.
Or, if a little retail therapy is more your vibe, IJ-hallen needs to be on your radar. This cavernous industrial building at NDSM Wharf hosts one the biggest (and best) flea markets in Europe once a month and is a must-visit for anyone who loves their vintage shopping.
While renting a bike is a great (and very local) way to see the city, cycling may not be the wisest if you’re planning on a particularly lairy hen party.
Instead, why not see the city from a new angle by exploring by boat? Drift along the network of gorgeous canals Amsterdam is famous for, soaking up the city’s inimitable architecture, urban buzz and top tourist attractions while beating the hustle and bustle – and with a glass of something chilled in your hand.
Our best advice? Go for a canal cruise that doubles up as a party boat, with unlimited drinks included in your 1.5 hour journey. Trust us, you’ll make all your hens’ day-drinking dreams come true.